Though the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is often regarded as a basketball powerhouse, the Tar Heels’ football team is also ready for action. With attendance to seven bowl games in the last 10 years, three of those resulting in wins, the Tar Heels are no doubt a competitive team within the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
On Saturdays, when the Tar Heels play at home, the team and fans meet their opponents at Kenan Memorial Stadium, which is located at the center of UNC’s beautiful campus. The 50,000-seat stadium, which was built in 1927 thanks to a large donation from William R. Kenan Jr., is an open-air structure that was most recently remodeled in 2018. The seating capacity shrank from 62,000 to 50,000 after replacing the metal bleachers with individual seats.
The football team, credited with first using the forward pass in college football in 1895, has been to many bowl games, and they have won their conference a number of times. Wining aside, going to UNC on game day is a great way to spend time with friends and family, and you can park your RV near the campus.
Apart from football, don’t forget about the prolific men’s basketball team and the other sports in which UNC competes throughout the year. Chapel Hill RV parking options are offered through the school if chosen in advance.
In recent years, fans can expect to pay around $60 per ticket, but that can change depending on who the University of North Carolina Tar Heels play against. Higher ranked opponents typically drive up the price of tickets. Historically, ticket prices for basketball games have averaged in the mid-$40s. The school also competes in other sports, including lacrosse, soccer, basketball, baseball, and softball.
Chapel Hill, where UNC is located in the northern part of North Carolina, is about a 40-minute drive northwest of Raleigh along I-40. Charlotte, known for its southern charm, also offers plenty of activities near Chapel Hill, including a visit to Charlotte Motor Speedway. If you plan to make a vacation out of your trip to Chapel Hill, a stop in Wilmington, with its beautiful beaches and historic downtown area may also be of interest near the Atlantic Coast.
There are two main options for RV parking at UNC. The first option requires you to be a Rams Club member, which costs about $100 to join their lowest tier and comes with the perk of parking on campus. However, there is a more affordable public parking option at the Friday Center Park and Ride lot, although it’s a bit further away from campus. To park your RV at the Friday Center lot, you must first fill out a football request form 72 hours prior to the game, but you can stay overnight.
The Friday Center Park and Ride Lot is 10 minutes away from Tar Heels Stadium by car, which can be too far for most people to walk. Thankfully, the school provides a shuttle that costs about $5 for a round trip. The Tar Heel Express shuttle begins its route three hours prior to kickoff and continues until 45 minutes after the game has ended.
The Friday Center lot is generous when it comes to overnight stays. You can park as early as the evening the day before the game, and you don’t have to leave until Sunday afternoon. Best of all, parking at the Friday Center is free, so long as you fill out the form. Amenities such as water, electric, or sewage hookups are not offered, so be sure to fill up with water and propane before arriving.
Privately owned Chapel Hill RV campgrounds each have their own set of unique features, and you may find that basic amenities, such as hookups, can be found in all of them. A little to the north of Chapel Hill exists the Falls Lake State Recreation Area, which has tons of RV parking options and offers many outdoor activities within 25 miles of Kenan Memorial Stadium. Greensboro KOA Journey may already be along your route from the west and provides a spot for Class As, pop-ups, and rigs of all design.
The Tar Heel Express shuttle is most likely the best way to get to and from the stadium, but there are other options available for those with disabilities. The Ambulatory Care Game Day Shuttle is available for those that park at the Ambulatory Care Lot. Vehicles parking in the lot are required to have a valid state disability permit. Parking costs about $10, but the shuttle is free.
The start of the football season tends to be on the warmer, humid side, so it’s best to pack light clothing such as shorts, t-shirts, or any garments that are breezy and cool. Though it can get cold towards the end of the year, you’re not likely to need a parka. Instead, bring comfy layers, your favorite Carolina Blue UNC apparel, and maybe some rain gear or medium-weight jacket.
With tailgate parties being an all-day event, it’s important to bring the right equipment. A charcoal or propane grill is a no-brainer for this sort of activity, and don’t forget to bring an ice chest, especially if it’s warm outside. Also, it might be nice to bring a few chairs for guests, or yourself, to relax.
Football games, tailgating, and meals go hand-in-hand, but don’t let an accident ruin the fan. Make sure you have a portable first-aid kit somewhere in your RV for these kinds of situations. If you’re visiting in the summer, make sure you and others stay hydrated and alert during your outdoor adventures.
As far as tailgating goes, whether it’s burgers and hotdogs or shrimp and grits or BBQ, your fellow tailgaters will likely delight in anything you offer. You may want to take advantage of the local grocery stores to see what fresh produce and seafood are available, or you can keep it simple with traditional tailgating food. North Carolina is proud of its unique BBQ, which is something that you might also want to try.
Even though many people may not be aware, North Carolina has a rich and varied cuisine. North Carolina BBQ is the most-recognized food export from the Tar Heel State, but you won't want to overlook other dishes either. Cajun-inspired fried chicken is also a North Carolina staple with restaurants serving local versions within a few miles of the university.
If you forget to eat at the tailgate that you create or attend, don’t worry because there are many concession stands within the stadium that serve a variety of different foods. Tar Heels fans might find tacos, chicken sandwiches, BBQ, ice cream, pizza, and much more. The stadium also sells beer and wine, which is relatively new. Make sure to have your ID before purchasing any alcoholic beverages.
It seems that more and more stadiums are adopting a clear bag policy, and Kenan Memorial Stadium is no different. The stadium prohibits entrance to unclear bags bigger than a clutch purse, but you can use a clear food storage bag if you need to bring any items that don’t fit in your pockets.
Temperatures at Chapel Hill can be pleasant throughout most of the year, and in July, the average high temperature might top out at 88 degrees. Mid-summer also happens to be the rainiest part of the year and the most humid. When the football season starts, temperatures range between 63 to 81 degrees. By December, the average low temperature is in the mid-30s.
Like most other major sporting venues, Kenan Memorial Stadium employs medical professionals to assist guests that require medical attention. Near Gates 2 and 6, you can find emergency medical staff, and there are also teams that walk around the stadium. If you need assistance, contact someone immediately and ask for directions to the nearest medical personnel.