GatorTailgating.com (www.GatorTailgating.com) is doing a series of articles on where and how to tailgate at all of the Gator Football away games. This article details where and what to look out for in Miami, Florida for the BCS Title Game against the Oklahoma Sooners.
- Where are the good and bad areas of town for motels to stay in the night before/after the big game?
Hollywood, Florida's office of tourism has recently become a sponsor of GatorTailgating.com and has offered some great deals to Gator fans heading down for the BCS title game. Click here for room availability.
- What are some attractions/bars in Miami that a visitor shouldn't miss?
When going to Miami, there is no reason to not make a visit to South Beach. Whether you visit during the daytime for grabbing a bite to eat and checking out the shops or going at night to see the clubs, you won't want to miss it. Yes, the stores are expensive. Yes, the parking is limited. Yes, the drinks cost four or five times what they do at any other bar, but it's South Beach. Everyone who visits Miami has to go to South Beach at least once.
Obviously, most of the main things to do in Miami revolve around the beaches. Being that the game is in January though, I highly doubt most people will be putting on their boardshorts and bikinis to soak up the sun. So, here are a few touristy stops if you feel like being a tourist in Florida for once in your life. People speak very highly of the Metrozoo (www.miamimetrozoo.com). They also have a great aquarium at the Miami Seaquarium (www.miamiseaquarium.com) where you can swim with dolphins and other interesting stuff. For the people interested in seeing wild animals, you won't want to miss the Everglades National Park (www.nps.gov). They have airboat rides and tons of other exciting tours that take you fairly deep into the preserves.
On to the nightlife, where most of us tailgaters will be looking for some fun. First off, don't forget that there is a Fanfest on Wednesday, January 7th at the Bicentennial Park (www.bayfrontparkmiami.com). It will be a lot like the SEC Championship's Fanfare in Atlanta that was held in the Congress Center. The cheerleaders and band will probably make an appearance or two, and they will have sponsor booths set all around the place. Other than that, there isn't really anything special going on at it. The times that it is open is from 3pm -9pm. If you're heading to South Beach, you can't go wrong with B.E.D. (www.bedmiami.com), Cameo (www.cameomiami.com), or The Opium Garden (www.theopiumgroup.com). Although, you need to know a couple things before heading down there. 1 – Dress nice. 2 – Be prepared to blow some money. 3 – be prepared to wait in lines for the clubs.
If you like to gamble, there can be a lot of fun to be had at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (www.seminolehardrock.com) too.
- Where should a visiting fan go to eat before leaving Miami?
You will not want to miss Don Shula's Steakhouse (www.donshulashotel.com) . It is located inside of his hotel, but is a guaranteed dinner you will not forget. For a less expensive meal, they are known for great BBQ at Shorty's. (http://www.shortys.com/) . Finally, a restaurant in South Beach you won't want to miss out on is Joe's Stone Crab (www.joesstonecrab.com) when crab is in season (Oct 15th-May15th), which the BCS Game falls within.
- Are there any good sports bars close to Dolphin Stadium where people without tickets can tailgate and go watch the game?
There aren't many too close to the stadium, but there is one semi-close that comes highly recommended. The Champion's Sports Bar and Grill (www.doralreort.com) It has more of a gold feel because of where it's located, but is a very nice place with great food.
- How much should we expect to pay for a parking spot near the stadium?
The usually for dolphins games is anywhere from $20-50. The price may go up due to it being for a BCS Championship game. If you have an Orange Parking pass, the parking lot map below will show you where it will allow you to park.
- Where is the parking that is best for tailgating?
The orange lots (which are pre-paid and require passes) are the best for tailgating if you plan ahead. You can get three or four vehicles together before going in to park, and then park all of them side by side so that you can tailgate behind all the vehicles rather than just one. What happens in Miami for tailgating is after you park, you have an 8'x10' spot behind your vehicle that is your section for tailgating. With four vehicles together, you have a 32' x 10' tailgating spot.
- Are there any special rules we should know about tailgating, open-container policies we should be forewarned about, or anything of the sort?
If you're in the Orange Parking lot, there are no kegs allowed. If they find you have a keg, they will take your keg and remove you from the parking lot. Also, keep your drinks in a cup so that it's not obvious you're drinking. Everyone already knows you are, but there's no need to show it off.
- Is there anything else you would advise fans of before heading to Miami to tailgate for the big game?
Get there early, but not too early. Most parking lots don't open till after 10 AM on game days.