It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Yes, you guessed it—that magical period as the holiday season winds down and college football bowl games come at you faster than the chips and salsa bowls coming from the kitchen. Bowl Season—a blessing to college football fans and those just looking to avoid their visiting in-laws around the country.
As great as bowl season is, planning a trip to a bowl game in advance can be a toss up. You don’t know who’s playing until flight prices have gone through the roof and by the time you do know, you barely have enough time to lay out the logistics. But don’t worry, we’re here to help with all that. Let’s say you’ve committed to the Orange Bowl to escape the darkness of winter and see two of the nation’s top teams go toe to toe. To save you the headache of last minute planning, we’ve compiled a list of Orange Bowl 2017 pro tips.
Don’t forget what you came for
It’s Miami, and South Beach has a way of getting the best of an overzealous partier. Imagine the disappointment if you showed up to the game too exhausted to take in the experience for what it’s truly worth. The atmosphere at a major bowl game like the Orange Bowl is electric. Make sure you’re up for it.
Stay by the water
You came to warm up, but trust us, even in December you’re going to want a little ocean breeze. You’re going to pay extra, but easy beach access is worth the extra charge when the alternative is navigating traffic and crowds on your way to the water.
Let loose after the game
Gameday is December 30. You may as well stay another night and see what Miami has to offer for New Year’s Eve celebrations. If you can hold it together before the game, the postgame parties and NYE celebrations will not disappoint.
Book in advance
The combination of the Orange Bowl and New Year’s means accommodations prices are going to be steep. Your only way to fight it is to book your accommodations months in advance. Last minute buyers will get hit hard and will almost certainly have to settle for a second or third option.
Explore in your downtime
Coming down to Miami only to catch the game and the parties would be a mistake. The area has plenty to check out, whether it’s sampling the Latin (too many countries to name) or Jamaican food or taking a day trip to Everglades National Park, there’s plenty to see and experience.
If you’re a fan, stick with your people
Lots of fired-up fans packed in together in a party-friendly atmosphere is a recipe for a fight. There are two main ways to avoid the brawls. The first is to keep your mouth shut. Let your team take care of the competition. The second is to move with your crowd and avoid large groups of the opposing fans. If you surround yourself with fans of your team you’re less of a target and you will have fewer chances to mix it up with the enemy.
Know how to dodge crowds
Crowds are going to be part of the equation no matter what, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some quiet(er) time. One key tip is to hit Key Biscayne Beach instead of South Beach for your actual beach time. South Beach is fun to explore, but Key Biscayne is much better for getting in the water or spreading out your towel and catching some rays without the fanfare. Check out Bill Baggs Cape State Park while you’re out that way for a much more peaceful beach scene. You can bike, picnic and hit the beach.
Also, consider hopping on a fishing charter to spend some time out on the water away from it all. A little ocean breeze and escape from the crowds can work wonders.