The North Carolina State Wolfpack hosts home football games at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) school can be seen taking to the turf at 4600 Trinity Road on Saturdays in the late summer and fall, cheered on by a collection of mascots including Mr. and Mrs. Wuf, along with a live Tamaskan dog named Tuffy.
Carter-Finley Stadium seats over 57,000 Wolfpack fans in a building that has been regularly renovated and improved since it was first opened with a capacity of 41,000 people in 1966. The stands on game day are filled with fans clad in the school colors of red and white, a simple and classy combination.
The Wolfpack name is a pretty unique one. The name was picked up by the team when a fan in 1921 said that the way some of the football players were behaving was "as unruly as a pack of wolves." This name was considered an improvement on monikers like the Aggies, the Techs, and the Farmers, which the school had used prior to this random incident.
North Carolina is a state with plenty going on for Wolfpack fans. It has big cities, mountains, and beaches (Wilmington is a favorite near the coast), making the state an excellent spot for an RV experience.
Adding in a North Carolina State football game, ideally one against the rival Tar Heels from the University of North Carolina, would be an excellent addition to a memorable vacation.
Buying your NC State Wolfpack tickets in advance from the school ticket office online will ensure there is no disappointment on game day if tickets sell out. The ticket price has averaged out around $50 for games in the past few seasons, with tickets being found as low as $20 for non-conference games. This is a great value ticket by major college football standards, but it is worth remembering that the bigger opponents will commander higher prices for tickets.
Getting to Raleigh is easy enough because it is a city that is signposted from miles away. Coming from the north may require taking I-85 down to I-40 while coming from the south might bring you on I-95 or the 401 towards the city. Be aware that the traffic here can jam up in a hurry and give yourself plenty of time especially if you are taking an RV trip.
The stadium lots require a parking pass that might come with or be offered alongside your game day ticket. For those without passes, there are a number of businesses in the area that will open up their parking lots for fans wanting to be near the stadium for a fee of around $10 to $20. Public pay lots in the area are also an option. Tailgating is permitted in some areas for smaller vehicles. RVs are directed across the street to the North Carolina State Fairgrounds for single-game parking.
If you are attempting to reach the stadium by bus, then two city buses travel by Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh. These are the 100 bus and the DRX. The Red Terror bus goes from campus to Carter-Finley on game day. The pay lot options that are outside of the parking pass zone are generally walkable to the stadium, but there are golf cart shuttles for guests that may need help with a walk of around half a mile.
Overnight stays are not allowed on campus but they are permitted at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds which is where RVs are directed to park when attending NC State games. There are other options nearby, however, with the surrounding area offering several RV Parks and Raleigh campgrounds if you want to camp a little further afield.
The best place to stay nearby, and where tailgating usually happens, is at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. This is about a half of a mile to the southeast of Carter-Finley Stadium, and sites are on a first-come, first-served basis. The cost for a 24-hour period has been around $25 in previous seasons. Be aware space can be more limited during weekends where there are other events in town.
Jordan Dam RV Park sits about a 30-minute drive to the southwest of the stadium near the southern end of Jordan Lake. Triangle RV Park, in the neighboring community of Durham, offers campsites year-round and has hookups, but does not have a bathhouse.
Since it is only about half a mile, the best way to get to the stadium from the fairground is to walk or take the shuttle or bus that is available on some game weekends. Another fun way would be to take your bikes with you in the RV and cycle over the stadium, exploring parts of the city either on the way there or the way back. Getting around the stadium is just as simple, and the facility has outstanding access for people with disabilities.
Looking the part at an NC State game is just as important as being in the stadium. Make sure that you are wearing the school colors of red and white, avoiding blue and white of the North Carolina Tar Heels. In the summer and fall, you may get away with t-shirts and tank tops, but by the end of the season, a comfy hoodie with the school logo emblazoned on it will likely be in order.
Tailgating is a big deal at NC State games, so make sure to have all the items necessary to make the most of the morning before the game. This means bringing lawn chairs, yard games, and whatever else you can find with the Wolfpack logo front and center. If the game you are going to is early in the season, then a tent to cover you from the sun as you enjoy the day is never a bad idea.
If you are in Raleigh when the sun is beating down, then sunscreen should be applied liberally. Also, make sure to take some aloe for the spots that are missed. Drinking water will also be important at your campsite and the game. A first-aid kit, in addition to any required medications, should also be a staple part of your RV setup. Make sure all pills are within their expiration date and store safely in your campervan or Airstream.
For Wolfpack fans looking to make this a trip to remember, the NC State Athletics Department offers turnkey tailgating setups with everything you need without having to bring anything to the game. RVers can also choose to tailgate themselves, so pack your charcoal or gas grill and load up with your game day favorites. Don't forget to make your best sides, and always make an extra portion to share with your tailgating neighbors.
There are some outstanding restaurants in Raleigh, and they make it well worth staying around the city for an extra day or two. You may find everything from diners to high-class cuisine, and there is a vibrant and eclectic food truck scene to discover. Be sure to ask your new-found friends at the tailgate where they would go to eat in town if they only had one chance to visit.
Wolfpack Stadium has numerous concession stands within the stadium for those ready to eat a little more food during the game. These accept cash and card, while there are different lines for those looking for food and those who want alcohol. For those with a sweet tooth after all the burgers and brats outside, options include desserts like ice cream, cotton candy, and funnel cakes.
North Carolina State is a school that adheres to the commonly adopted clear back policy. In recent years, this has meant that all your items must fit inside a clear bag that is no larger and 12" x 6" x 12." Small purses and clutches are the only exceptions to this rule, and they will be searched in the security line before you enter the stadium. Medical necessities are allowed after an inspection. There is a police command center set up inside the stadium should any emergency occur.
Always be sure to check your favorite weather app before setting out on an RV trip. Also, check the forecast on game day so that you know how to dress comfortably. While unusual, early-season North Carolina State games can be affected by the tail end of hurricane season. If there are storms in the Atlantic that may approach Raleigh, kickoff time may be moved at late notice, or the game might be rescheduled completely.
First-aid stations in the stadium provided by the staff of Rex Healthcare. There is one station on the west concourse and one on the east, so fans should always be close enough to the first-aid facilities in the event of an emergency. Staff will be able to direct you to the nearest station, or Raleigh has world-class hospital facilities should more care be needed.