Florida Gators fans have the chance to travel west of the Mississippi in November when the Gators travel to College Station, Texas, to take on the Texas A&M University Aggies. This is only the third trip to College Station for the Gators, who played there in 2020 and 2012.
Fortunately, making a weekend of it in College Station provides some great opportunities to take in what the area has to offer before making the journey to see the Gators take on the Aggies at Kyle Field on Nov. 5.
College Station is 953 miles from Gainesville, about a 14-hour drive. It’s a fun road trip if you have the time. Head north on I-75, take a left on I-10 and keep going until you hit Houston. From there, it’s a short run up State Highway 290 and State Highway 6 to College Station. You’ll pass through Cajun Country in Louisiana (try The Best Stop in Lafayette for excellent boudin and cracklin’) and the fourth largest city in America (more on that below).
Flights from Gainesville Regional Airport to Easterwood Airport in College Station are available but expect at least one stop and higher prices than if you drive to Tampa or Orlando and get a direct flight to Houston.
Once you get there, half the fun of the experience is checking out the places where locals like to go. The following offers some ideas along those lines for places to eat, cultural attractions, and getting out into nature.
You have to eat. And when in College Station, why not do what the locals do and get a breakfast burrito or perfectly cooked Porterhouse like a sensible person? Here are a handful of homegrown options.
Dixie Chicken. A gameday staple. You really don’t want to miss this place. Expect a people-watching paradise as the crowds flow into the area for the game, as well as juicy burgers, fried chicken and cold beer.
Century City. Across the street from Texas A&M, Century City is a popular place to gather on the weekends. There’s a long list of restaurants, including Hey Sugar, a Texas-based candy, ice cream, and retro soda story.
The Republic. The Republic defines an old-school steakhouse (it’s designed around steakhouses of the late 19th and early 20th centuries) with a formal atmosphere and a menu on the expensive side. But it’s Texas, and Texas means great steaks. You’ll get that at The Republic, as well as excellent seafood, wine, whiskey, and an elegant white cloth, brick-and-wrought-iron atmosphere. This is the only AAA Diamond Four Diamond Restaurant in College Station.
Hullabaloo Diner. On the more casual end, there’s the Hullabaloo Diner, a 1940s-style diner. The menu leans toward comfort food – meatloaf, pot roast, chicken, and biscuit. Consider the Redneck Philly Steak (hint: it has peppered bacon) or the Train Wreck Fries that come topped with bleu cheese crumbles, cheddar cheese, bacon, and green onions, and served with spicy buffalo ranch dressing.
Fuego Tortilla Grill. Don’t visit Texas without visiting a Mexican restaurant that combines the best of Mexican and Texan cuisine. This is the original Fuego Tortilla Grill (there are three others around Texas), with craft tacos (including breakfast tacos), chicken and waffles, the I-Chee-Wa-Wa (hand-breaded fried chicken with smoked bacon, hatch green chiles, poblano queso, and fresh guacamole) and the Dr. Pepper Cowboy (smoked brisket, grilled onions, Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce, chipotle cream corn, and jack cheese).
If you have a free day before or after Game Day, consider these options to take in.
The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. This is on the Texas A&M University campus. It includes a reconstructed Oval Office, a Presidential Limousine, and other memorabilia and papers related to President George H.W. Bush, the nation’s 41st president.
Sanders Corps of Cadets Center. This is the perfect place to learn more about your gameday opponents. This is also on the university campus. It includes information, photographs, and exhibits about the 60-year history of the university’s Corps of Cadets and Texas A&M traditions such as the 12th Man, Silver Taps, and the Muster.
Messina Hof. The wine industry is a big part of Central Texas, and Messina Hof bills itself as The First Family of Texas Wine. The winery offers tours, tasting rooms, and an on-site restaurant.
Houston. College Station is just a 90-minute drive from Houston, the fourth largest city in America. Spend a day there and visit great museums, the world’s first Tex-Mex restaurant (The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation), the NASA Space Center, and much, much more.
If getting into nature is more your thing, consider these spots in and around College Station.
Research Park. This serene park around a lake is near the Bush Library and Museum. Great place for a quiet walk or even a picnic.
Lick Creek Park. A 516-acre park in College Station. with hiking and running trails, as well as a wildlife and nature center.
Lake Somerville State Park. This park offers 20 miles of nature trails. It’s also great for fishing, camping, mountain biking, horseback riding, and birding.
If you’re looking to make it a 2-for-1 game trip, the following sports events are happening within a short driving distance from College Station around the same weekend as the Gators game.
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