The South Dakota State Jackrabbits are another one of those Summit League teams with a nickname that is so unique that you feel compelled to go and watch them play. Their football team is a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference, and the team is always well supported by Jack the Rabbit dancing around on the sidelines to help pump up the almost 20,000 fans that get behind the team at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.
In Brookings, South Dakota, Dykhouse Stadium, at 1396 Stadium Road, has the ability to seat almost the entire population of Brookings (25,000) when school is not in session. The stadium was only opened in 2016, so it still feels like a brand new venue from the astroturf to the premium seating to the wild antics of the student section.
South Dakota is a bucket list state for many RVers because of some of the historical sites, monuments, and landscapes that the state has to offer. If you are planning on a trip to Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, or even the Badlands National Park, then adding in a trip to Brookings to watch a high-level FCS football game in the gorgeous stadium just feels like it should be part of the agenda.
South Dakota is an incredible state for an RV trip, so keep reading to learn how to make the Jackrabbits a part of your vacation.
The best place to buy tickets for South Dakota State Jackrabbits football games and other sporting events is the university ticket office online. This will guarantee your place at the game and you can decide to buy either single-game tickets, season tickets, or even mini-plans that take in a collection of games for a discounted price. Single-game tickets are generally inexpensive at this level of college football, with entire season tickets having been available for as little as $125 in recent seasons.
Brookings is a small town that is easily accessible from all the major routes through South Dakota. When getting close to the stadium, it is important to know that North Campus Drive from Stadium Drive to Jackrabbit Lane closes from five hours before the game until about an hour after kickoff. Don't head in this direction looking to find a way to the parking lots because your way will likely be blocked.
Parking lots around Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium open five hours prior to kickoff, so make sure you get there nice and early to enjoy your game day experience. This is the same time that the tailgate area opens up. There are 11 parking lots located within walking distance of the stadium, and they have cost $10 for day parking for cars in recent seasons.
The RV parking area is in the northwest corner of the Grey Lot, and spots must be reserved through the SDSU Parking service before arrival. RVs must be in the lot three hours before kickoff, and no overnight parking is allowed.
Public transportation is limited in and around Brookings, and finding a spot to park close to the stadium is recommended. There are free parking lots west of Medary Avenue that are in walking distance of the stadium if the pay lots are full. If you need a ride from the campsite to the stadium, then a taxi or rideshare service is going to be the best option for convenience purposes.
As there is no place to stay overnight on the campus in Brookings, RVers and campers will need to look nearby to find a place to stay. That means that the location will need to be close enough that on game day you can drive the RV into place early and then enjoy all the tailgating festivities before the game. It is also worth knowing that RVs cannot leave the campus parking lots until one hour after the conclusion of a game and traffic has died down.
Looking for a Brookings RV park close to Jackrabbits Stadium? Sexauer Park Campground is less than three miles from campus. RVers are often directed here by the school for overnight camping before or after games. This park has 18 paved pads for RVs and campers and a large grassy area for tent campers. The price has been around $25 per night over the last few seasons for RVs.
For those willing to stay a little further afield, look to Oakwood Lakes State Park for an area with tons of outdoorsy activities to explore during your RV trek to South Dakota. Less than 20 miles away, this state park sits central to several generous lakes in the region.
The best way around campus and the stadium is on foot. Everything you will need for the game, including parking and tailgating, happens right next to Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium on what is a very small (relatively) campus. The stadium is well signposted and easy to navigate no matter if you are in the general admission, club seating, or hospitality section.
In South Dakota, you may be ready to watch football no matter what the weather. It is likely to be cold, so be sure to dress warmly and with layers, especially if the game you are going to occurs in the second half of football season. Wear a couple of pairs of socks if possible and remember to select clothing that is the yellow and blue of the Jackrabbits.
Tailgating requires you to bring your own gear and be ready to set up for the hours of fun to be had before the game kicks off. Having camping chairs and other items in yellow and blue will immediately have you falling in the favor of the locals. Avoid the green and yellow of North Dakota State and the black and red of the University of South Dakota if you want to make a good first impression.
Having a first-aid kit in the RV is imperative when traveling through small communities on your way to Brookings. Glass bottles are prohibited from official tailgating areas, as is hard liquor, but beer and wine have been allowed in the past. Sunscreen is a must in the summer when the sun is shining even if the rays don't feel as hot as in other locations.
Getting the grill out and showing what you can do is one of the joys of tailgating. The beauty of an RV is that the prep work can be done in advance, so be sure to have any sides or marinated meat ready to go on the day. Burgers and hot dogs are tailgating staples for a reason, but don't be shocked in this hunting region to see all different kinds of meats being sizzled up pregame.
Restaurant options in Brookings are the kind fans might expect to find in a small college town in the Northern Plains. Most of what you will find is American food including burgers, steaks, etc. with some pizza, Asian delights, and BBQ thrown into the local mix. What you can find in some of these spots are South Dakotan specialties, or specialties from other parts of the world with a South Dakota twist, such as bierocks, kolache, and pheasant.
Vendors at Dana J. Dykhouse stadium all take cash and credit cards, so if you find yourself hungry or thirsty during the game, both of those options are available. The new stadium was built with fans in mind, so you will find enhanced food options along with your traditional concession stand and vendor fare. Club seats and hospitality have access to an even wider choice of food and drink.
Jackrabbits fans will not be allowed to re-enter the facility after initially taking their seat in the stadium. This is to prevent fans from leaving and drinking in the lots before coming back into the game. Large bags and backpacks are banned, while smaller drawstring bags and purses are allowed, though they will be subject to a search before you are allowed to enter. The only outside food or drink allowed must be for medical purposes.
Brookings weather is reminiscent to much of South Dakota. It is a frozen tundra from the end of October through until April, so if the game or event you are attending occurs in that time frame, come prepared for the cold. Consider using a weather app to watch for any severe conditions, and maybe try to attend an early-season game where the weather can be in the 70-80 degree range.
A pair of first-aid stations will be active at the stadium that can help treat minor problems and injuries quickly and get you back into the stands. Those stations are located under Section 120 on the east side of the stadium and Section 101 on the west side. There is an acute care hospital in the City of Brookings that will be able to take care of more serious injuries that occur either inside the stadium or elsewhere on the trip.