20 College Towns You Need to Visit During Football Season

There's really nothing like being on a college campus in the Fall. Between the football games, tailgating parties, stacks of books, coffee shops, and beautiful foliage, it really is the best. And even if you already go to school in a quaint little town, visiting other colleges during the season is also so much fun (and a great excuse to visit your friends at other universities).

Towns like Austin, TX, or Oxford, MI, are great to visit anytime of year, but believe us when we say that if you travel there during football season you will not be disappointed. And even if you're not a fan of sports and don't really care to take in a game, the following 20 cities, which are still home to lots of college football fun, have a lot to offer during this peak season, from apple picking to picturesque hikes.


Clemson, SC - Clemson University

Home to the Clemson Tigers, Clemson is a hidden gem in South Carolina. It's located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and therefore nature is a big thing to see here. In addition to seeing the cool campus and watching a top-ranked football team, you can tour the South Carolina Botanical Gardens or go chasing waterfalls. There are over 30 waterfalls in the Clemson area, all of which are even better this time of year.


Tuscaloosa, AL - University of Alabama

Roll tide! Tuscaloosa is the home of the University of Alabama and one of the best teams in college football, so visiting during the season seems like a no-brainer. Be prepared to pay a pretty penny for tickets to see these players in action, but it'll be worth it. Plus, you'll be in for one big party if you do come for a game and sip on Galette's Yellow Hammer specialty drink.

Also make sure you hit up The River Market in town before you head out.


Fayetteville, AR - University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas is upping its tailgating game thanks to the HogTown Street Festival, which as of 2019's season is a home game event where live music, food trucks, and good times are everywhere. This festival, plus craft breweries and a lively art scene, make this college town totally unique. If you want to get into the Razorback spirit, you can also shop at RiffRaff, which is all about the game day attire.


South Bend, IN - University of Notre Dame

South Bend, IN, is pretty much all about the University of Notre Dame, so why not visit during football season when it's all about the game? Before or after kickoff, you can walk the stunning campus, which has a lake, lots of trees, a golden dome, and of course, Touchdown Jesus. It's like walking into a Fall catalog and it couldn't be better. PS: you can take a day trip to Chicago from campus as well.


Madison, WI - University of Wisconsin-Madison

Start your college football Saturday at the Dane County Farmers' Market on the Square in Madison for fresh foods, produce, and fun before heading to the Abe Lincoln statue on campus (because you can't get a win without Abe on your side). After tailgating, it's game time, which includes the "Jump Around" time in between third and fourth quarter that will literally shake the stadium. Top all of that off by enjoying the perfect Fall temperatures and taking a campus tour, making your weekend a complete success.


Corvallis, OR - Oregon State University

Fall foliage will be in large supply in Corvallis, OR, home of the Oregon State Beavers, during football season. Grab your favorite coffee from Dutch Bros., take a walk down by the Willamette River, get tater tots anywhere you can, and then head to the stadium for a game. Plus, OSU's colors are black and orange, so you'll feel very Halloween-ready no matter what game you attend.


Austin, TX - The University of Texas at Austin

Alright, alright, alright! When we think of Texas, we think of football, and when we think of football in Texas, with think of The University of Texas at Austin. The powerhouse football team and its traditions, which include cowboys running out of a tunnel with a giant longhorn, make Austin a city to see in season. Yes, it has a lot to offer outside of football, but BBQ, drinks on 6th Street, and country music somehow seem more fun before a big game.


Boulder, CO - University of Colorado Boulder

Once you adjust to the higher altitudes in Colorado, Boulder is a place you'll never want to leave . . . at least during football season. Even if the school isn't winning, the stadium, their live buffalo mascot, and the breathtaking views from the stands are worth a trip. Oh, and the hiking trails and shops on Pearl Street are in high supply all season long.


Blacksburg, VA - Virginia Tech

Come on, just look at this university! Not only is Virginia Tech a fun football town to be a part of, but their mascot is a Hokie (aka a turkey), making Blacksburg an Autumn-lover's dream city. You'll feel like you're in a movie as you walk around this town and take in all of its natural beauty. Oh, and be sure not to miss the Cascade Falls, which are a real showstopper throughout the Fall months.


Los Angeles - University of Southern California

If you're looking to have an endless Summer, then visiting Los Angeles and the University of Southern California during football season is a must. Sure, you can go to the celebrity-favorite hangout Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch to get into the Fall spirit, or you can take in a football game at the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Then, head to the beach on Sunday for an ideal California weekend getaway.


Oxford, MI - University of Mississippi

Hotty Toddy! Known as one of the best tailgates in college football, the University of Mississippi — aka Ole Miss — has a saying that goes, "We may not win every game, but we never lose a party." That saying rings true when celebrating at The Grove and can be felt when walking through the Walk of Champions. Southern hospitality can be felt throughout this town, whether you're at the game or touring the haunted Oxford landmarks.


State College, PA - Penn State University

Known as "The Greatest Show in College Football," a Penn State game is unlike any other. For all you non-sports fans out there, however, State College is still a town to visit during Fall. There is a Punkin' Chunkin' Festival, an apple festival, and a dutch Fall festival in October to check out, so it's a win-win.


Laramie, WY - University of Wyoming

Wide open spaces, cowboys, and football . . . what more could you want from a college town? When visiting Laramie and the University of Wyoming, it's like stepping back into the old west (and that's not just because the school's mascot is Pistol Pete, who rides Cowboy Joe the horse). This eclectic town is full of Western lore, outdoor adventures, and old school charm. After watching the game, make sure to stop by Buckhorn Bar, which is from the 1890s and has a bullet hole in the backbar mirror from a 1971 shoot-out. Once you're done in town, escape to the great outdoors to explore Vedauwoo, which is known for its views, hiking trails, and wildlife.


Knoxville, TN - University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Knoxville is in the heart of the Tennessee Valley, which means there are a lot of orchards to pick lots of apples. Sure, that's not exactly what football season is about, but it is what Fall is known for. You can take in a game one day (and wear that intensely awesome orange color) and the next get to picking berries and apples.


Charlottesville, VA - University of Virginia

Come for the football, stay for the colorful trees that surround the University of Virginia. If that isn't reason enough to visit Charlottesville, the city is full of history courtesy of Thomas Jefferson, who conceived the original plans for the University of Virginia and whose home at Monticello isn't too far away. Oh, and there are also cideries, wineries, and orchards within driving distance to experience in all their Fall glory.


Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan

Not only is Ann Arbor gorgeous during football season (think lots of trees), the University of Michigan is also one of the most iconic football schools in the country. If you're over the game, you can easily escape to one of the many parks, adventure along the Huron River, and take in the scenery nearby, which is easy to do during Fall. Plus, the campus has architecture to explore and funky coffee shops that are perfect for grabbing a book and staying indoors for a while as well.


Auburn, AL - Auburn University

Fingers crossed the Auburn Tigers win while you're in town, because if they do, you'll witness the toilet papering of Toomer's Corner. Yes, the entire town toilet papers this area after a win because it's tradition. When you're not cheering on the War Eagles, you can shop in downtown Auburn, check out the historic Toomer's Drugs, and explore nearby parks and Southern foodie spots.


Seattle - University of Washington

The west coast shines brightly from the University of Washington, and taking in a football game here is a truly unique experience. After checking out Seattle's Pike Place Market and its fresh bakeries, coffee stalls, and flower stops, walking campus is a must-do activity. Then, when you finally get to Husky Stadium, prepare for beautiful ocean views and sailgating — aka tailgating on boats in Husky Harbor!


Baton Rouge, LA - Louisiana State University

Louisiana State University, or LSU, has a real-life tiger mascot on campus name Mike, which is reason enough to check out this school. The fact that it's located in Baton Rouge is another. The wild, rowdy, and fun college town is great for anyone ready to rage, Southern style. Try some cajun food, listen to jazz music, and maybe take a roadtrip down to New Orleans once you're done, because this state really embraces all the spooky, costume-filled things that happen this time of year.


Athens, GA - University of Georgia

Football season is the most wonderful time of the year to be in Athens, and it's all because of the Dawgs. Trust us, their mascot alone is so freaking cute that you can't help but root for the home team. After you hit up all the best breweries and funky food stops in town, make sure to check out the music scene, since it's home to the B-52's and R.E.M. Come Sunday. Then head to the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, which will give you a real glimpse at what makes the South so special.