With a passion for football and basketball, the University of Maryland is an academic institution that also places an importance on sports. UM is a basketball powerhouse, with its most recent championship in 2002, and they are perennial contenders at the NCAA tournament that happens at the end of the season.
While their feats on the basketball court are legendary, the Terrapins football team is not too shabby either. Though they haven’t won a national championship since 1953, the Terrapins, also known as the Terps, have competed in over 20 bowl games, and they have won their conference several times.
If you’re wondering what a Terrapin is, you’re not alone: the diamondback terrapin is a tortoise that is native to the area. One such tortoise that is native to Maryland Stadium is Testudo the Terrapin, the team’s mascot, who was introduced in 1933. He has cheered on the home team since then.
The football team plays at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium, which was built in 1951. After the stadium’s most recent renovation in 2012, the seating capacity shrank from 54,000 to 51,802 — that’s still much more than the original seating capacity of 34,000, which lasted until 1975.
A day with the Terrapins is relatively affordable since tickets are not as expensive as other Big Ten Conference teams. Travelers who drive an RV to the stadium will be happy to know that there is RV parking available.
Load up your campervan or Airstream and head to College Park near Washington, DC. Be ready to include a visit to the nation's capital where you can explore the National Mall, the Smithsonian Institutes, and dozens of historic landmarks.
Before you pack your bags and head to College Park, Maryland, buy your Terrapin game tickets, preferably weeks in advance. Single-game tickets to see the football team start at around $25 and go up to $60 with premium or club seating additional. Expect tickets to be on the higher end when the Terrapins play Big 10 teams such as the University of Michigan Wolverines. Basketball tickets, often run a bit less with some seats selling for under $20 for certain games.
Out of town drivers can take I-495, which loops around College Park and heads to the south toward Washington D.C., or they can take U.S. Route 1 if coming from the north such as Baltimore. I-95 runs both north and south through many eastern states and might be a part of most routes to the region. The school is about 10 miles from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland sits about 30 miles to the northwest. On gamedays, pay attention to the flow of traffic and keep an eye out for any traffic control officers.
When it comes to RV parking, there is only one option, but the best part is that you don’t necessarily need to purchase your permit ahead of time. Lot 11b opens Friday evenings, and you can stay until noon on Sunday. Permits cost around $75 if you pre-purchase one and might be about $10 more not purchased ahead of time; only credit cards are accepted. Even though the school is not affiliated with Cherry Hill Park, they recommend guests to head there if parking at Lot 11b is full.
To avoid traffic or hassle of walking to the stadium, hop on the Quick Bus, which offers three different routes that each loop at different parts of the school’s campus. All three routes begin picking up passengers three and a half hours before the game starts. After the game, the buses drop passengers off until one hour after the game ends. Train and bus routes may also bring you from some of the surrounding communities to arrive near College Park.
If you arrive at Lot 11b early on Friday, you can stay up until midday on Sunday, which is a great deal that usually runs less than $100. Be prepared to dry camp since amenities such as water and electricity are not available. Terrapin fans can have the convenience of staying near Maryland Stadium in an RV and near all the action, but if spaces are full, additional options are within the area.
Cherry Hill Park is just ten minutes away from Maryland Stadium, and they offer full water, sewage, and electricity hookups. Another option within 25 miles is the Washington DC/Capitol KOA, where you can enjoy Wi-Fi, a pool, a dog park, and even rent a bike. Patapsco Valley State Park is about the same distance and is near Baltimore. Camping nearby in Maryland or Virginia can also help you make the most of your time in this region near Washington DC.
The best way to get to and from the stadium is to ride the Quick Bus. Multiple routes become active about three hours before a game. Inside the stadium, you can ride the elevator to reach your seat. Bus and train combinations may also be good options if you plan to explore some of the historical landmarks in the area, especially near Washington, DC.
With warm temperatures in the summer and early fall, it’s best to pack cool, comfortable clothing that is plenty breathable. In the winter, temperatures aren’t usually freezing, but it does get cold. To prepare, bring some warm clothing and a few extra layers.
Last but not least, pack your favorite Terrapins apparel. The University of Maryland is the only college team with four school colors: red, white, black, and gold.
When it comes to tailgating, you can make it as simple or over-the-top as you want. Whether you just want to relax with friends and family or impress your fellow tailgaters, you’ll likely want a grill. Apart from all your grilling equipment, don’t forget to bring a table to display your tailgate feast, and bring some chairs also for your guests to sit. The University of Maryland allows tailgating but has established guidelines that limit alcohol and large groups.
When you’re having fun, the last thing you want to happen is an accident, but they do happen. To prepare for small medical issues, pack a first-aid kit in your Class A or campervan. Bring plenty of water and stay hydrated during the summer months.
Crab is a popular meal inclusion in Maryland, so you might want to purchase some when you make your grocery run. Dishes like steamed crab, crab cakes, and fried soft-shell crab are all great ideas, though some may be harder to make than others. One crab dish you could make that is not too fussy is the Maryland Crab Soup. This soup is flavorful, and people enjoy it year-round.
If you love seafood, then you’ve come to the right place; if not, there are plenty of other restaurants that serve a wide selection of delights. For example, there are Indian, Mexican, and plenty of Italian restaurants. While College Park is a college town, it’s also a foodie town ready to serve you a new favorite.
Treat yourself to some delicious food inside Terrapin Stadium since there are concession stands on all three levels. Better yet, all concession stands accept credit and debit cards.
UM fans can purchase Terrapin apparel and merchandise throughout the stadium. While there are various booths within the stadium, a favorite place to shop is the Terrapin Team Shop at the XFINITY Center, which is the indoor basketball arena on campus.
Since the University of Maryland is part of the Big Ten, Maryland Stadium enforces the clear bag policy. Any bag bigger than a small clutch purse must be clear, or it will not be allowed inside the stadium. While you may purchase a clear University of Maryland-branded clear bag, you can also use a cheap, clear food storage bag.
The weather in College Park can be hot in the summer, but the heat calms down toward the start of the football season. In September, the average high temperature is 80 degrees, which is hot but not scorching. Around October, the temperature starts to cool. Rain may occur early in the football season, and snow is not unusual later in the winter months.
Maryland Stadium has several first-aid stations located in various sections, and fans can ask a staff member for directions if needed. For more serious medical emergencies, it might be best to dial 911 or head to the hospital. There are a few hospitals within 20 minutes of UM as well as several pharmacies.