Officially founded in 1850 in the small city of Annapolis, Maryland, the United States Naval Academy (USNA) has trained the best and brightest Naval officers, and they began to award their graduates with bachelor’s degrees since 1976, by Congressional order.
The school is indubitably tied to American history in more ways than one, but it also has ties to the earliest days of college football, a time when very few schools fielded teams. The Midshipmen, the name of USNA’s football team, dates back to 1879. Their mascot, Bill the Goat, is a live goat with blue and gold-painted horns. Navy’s first-ever mascot was a Gorilla that was incorrectly known as the Navy Monkey.
The Midshipmen are an independent organization, similar to Notre Dame, which is a fierce rival of the USNA. For home games, the Navy Blue and Gold-clad team makes its way to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, which seats 34,000 people.
The Mids, as some people refer to the team, are a highly-competitive team with rivalries against their military brethren in the Air Force and Army, as well as schools from the Big 10 Conference such as Maryland and Rutgers.
While they may not belong to a specific conference, they more than make up for it with their many rivalries. The school does offer daytime RV parking, but it may come with a sizable price, and there is alternative parking nearby. Tickets, on the other hand, tend to be quite affordable.
Tickets for most United States Naval Academy athletic events sell for under $50, but it can depend on that week’s opponent. Typically, reserved seating tickets land between $40 to $55, and standing room tickets sell for less, often around $30. USNA competes in other college sports such as basketball, lacrosse, wrestling, and women’s soccer.
Annapolis is located in Central Maryland, which hugs the Chesapeake Bay. Travelers can find Baltimore a few hours to the north and Washington, D.C. to the west. Be aware that one or more bridges may appear if your route brings you across the Severn or South Rivers on your way to Memorial Stadium. Taylor Avenue, adjacent to the stadium, partially closes one hour before kickoff because of the Midshipmen March-On.
It is possible to park your RV at the stadium’s grounds, but there are a few steps to consider. Before you can buy your RV parking season pass, you first need to purchase season tickets. Naval Academy fans then join the Blue-N-Gold, which may cost about $50. Then you can purchase an RV parking season pass, which has been around $600 in recent years.
If parking for the season is not in your line-up, park near Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at an alternative lot for the day. The Germantown Elementary lot, which is only two minutes away by car or 12 minutes by foot, accepts RVs for less than $100. Parking and tailgating options are offered near Memorial Stadium but are often limited to daytime only spots.
The school only offers one shuttle on game day, and that is reserved for passengers that park at the Harry S. Truman Park-N-Ride lot, but this lot is for regular-sized vehicles only. The shuttle runs every twenty minutes from five hours before the start of a game until two hours after a game ends.
The City of Annapolis, however, has the Annapolis Transit Rainbow Routes, which make 180 stops throughout the city.
RV parking is offered with a seasonal parking pass until shortly after games are finished. Hookups and other amenities are not available. Check out local RV campgrounds for overnight stays near Annapolis and Washington, D.C., which will often have facilities if you need to fill or care for your tanks.
RVers will find several campgrounds in the Annapolis area, some further away than others, but most of them will provide basic amenities, namely water, electric, and sewage hookups. One of the best and closest places to park your RV is at the Washington DC / Capitol KOA, which offers essential amenities and fun activities for the whole family. Fort Meade and College Park are also known places to look for overnight RV parking near Midshipmens Stadium.
The best way to get around is to ride on one of the Rainbow routes that stop at various locations throughout Annapolis. If you park your RV at the Germantown Elementary RV lot, then you can walk over the stadium. The stadium is less than a mile away from the elementary school’s parking lot and should take around 12 minutes on foot.
If you plan to come during football season, you may want to pack a raincoat since wet weather is somewhat frequent August through October. With mild to cool temperatures in the fall, you may not have to pack bulky jackets until November or December. Dress comfortably in your favorite Navy apparel at any time of the year.
Every fan has a different style when it comes to tailgating, but most tailgaters agree that a grill is as essential as the drinks in the ice chest. If anything, bring a few chairs for your guests and a sturdy table for your food prep and display. While temperatures aren’t too hot during football season, you may also want to consider bringing a canopy tent for a little bit of shade and privacy.
The best times are often derailed when an accident happens, and they can happen randomly. Instead of being reactive to the situation, be proactive by purchasing a first-aid kit to store in your RV at all times. Also, don’t forget to double-check and bring any medications that you or your family members may need.
With such proximity to the water, it’s no surprise that Maryland’s cuisine features crab in many of its popular dishes. If you want to impress your tailgating guests, purchase crab at the local supermarket or fish seller and prepare steamed crabs, crab cakes, or any other crab dish. Crab-flavored potato chips are a favorite in these parts, so you may want to pick up a few bags for your guests to snack on at your tailgate.
Naval Academy fans might not be shocked to hear that there are plenty of great seafood restaurants in the area, including delicious crab-focused restaurants. For example, the Iron Rooster is a crab joint that locals adore, and by some accounts, it’s one of the highest-rated restaurants in the area.
Whether you want to grab a snack or you’re famished after a long day of cheering for the Mids, Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium has plenty of tasty concessions to satisfy your cravings. Navy fans have encountered Papa John’s, Chick-Fil-A, and other vendors at the stadium in recent years. If you arrive at the stadium when the gates open, which is two hours before kickoff, you can peruse Navy apparel and souvenirs at one of the shops within the stadium.
You’ll find that Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium is no different from other college venues when it comes to security. Starting in 2019, the stadium implemented a clear bag policy that prohibits fans from entering with non-clear bags larger than a clutch purse, except for diaper and medical bags. As for other items that are not permitted, it’s the usual suspects: noisemakers, weapons, outside food or drinks, inappropriate clothing, fireworks, and other items of that nature.
Extreme temperatures are not common in Annapolis, though it does sometimes freeze in the winter, which is expected. Summers are mostly pleasant, although it is humid up until September due to how close the city is to the bay. During football season, expect mild temperatures in the beginning and colder temperatures as the season draws to a close; the average low at the start of December is 38 degrees.
If you or someone you’re with needs medical assistance, head to one of the first-aid locations that are inside the stadium. Look for first-aid rooms in Sections 1, 101, 25, and 125. For any serious injuries or ailments, it might be best to dial 911 or head to the hospital. There is a hospital six minutes away by car.