Cabins, Campgrounds and Rentals for Football Weekends Hotel Full? We Have Some Ideas!
The best way to find housing for a football weekend or during other big events in Happy Valley is usually by bunking with friends...who else can provide you with free parking and the comfortable surroundings that you get when staying with someone you know? But, this isn’t always an option, which forces many Nittany Lion fans to look for alternate housing.
While hotels are the obvious choice for out-of-towners visiting the State College area, most of them run out of space quickly, especially on big weekends. But we have plenty of options for finding little-known vacation spots in and around Happy Valley.
The first thing you’ll need to decide is how close you want to be to the action. If you come into State College from a distance and have already spent 8 hours in the car, you might be happy to stay 45 minutes from the stadium. On the other hand, if you only drove an hour or two, you probably want to be as close to the action as possible.
Here’s some of our favorite ways to find places to stay, both close-by downtown and some that are within a comfortable drive.
7897 S Eagle Valley Rd, Port Matilda; godspeedhostel.com; 814-554-0024
Located in Port Matilda, less than 15 minutes from the stadium, this newly-built facility is 'five star rustic' with both private rooms and a bunkhouse. There is no minimum stay, and there are discounts on consecutive nights. Enjoy camping experiences like campfire and fishing in Bald Eagle creek with the bonus of modern bathroom and shower buildings. Their brand-new event hall also makes their facility a great destination for a wedding, corporate retreat, alumni reunion, party or seminar. Whether coming for a football weekend, looking for a summer weekend getaway or planning your next alumni reunion, they can accommodate you! (They have a few football weekends still open! Book now!)
Gram and Pap's Fort Bellefonte Campground
2023 Jacksonville Road, Bellefonte
What’s a camping trip without mini-golf? When you stay at Gram and Pap’s during a football weekend, you’ll be able to play without leaving the property. This campground is available for RV hookups, tent camping, and has nine cabins, as well as an on-site playground, WiFi, walking trails, and a new water lagoon. Now open year-round, Gram and Pap’s also offers RV parking between games, so you only have to drive up once during the football season.
If you’d like to spend your football weekend right in the tailgating lots around Beaver Stadium, you might enjoy renting a recreation vehicle. Nittany RV offers different size vehicles and will set it up right in your spot. Amenities include propane fire rings, pet service, catering, satellite service, grills and games. They also have packages that include game tickets.
Nature Inn at Bald Eagle
Located about 20 minutes from State College, the Nature Inn offers the comfort of a hotel with the tranquility of a state park. Single and double rooms as well as family suites, some with kitchenettes, are available year-round and include breakfast. During your downtown between on-campus events, your family will enjoy the discovery center, bird watching activities, and fire rings. Football game weekends start at $223 per night.
Camp Blue Diamond
Home to Penn State’s Outdoor School during the spring, Camp Blue Diamond is a best kept secret among locals. The rustic cabins, with quaint names like Rising Sun and Lakehouse, can house groups from 5-15 people, most in bunk or single beds. Most cabins are within easy walking distance to the lake and there are outside picnic tables and grills for barbecuing.
Bellefonte/State College KOA
2481 Jacksonville Road, Bellefonte
Located on the outskirts of Bellefonte, this nationally recognized camp-site is just a 15 minute drive to Beaver Stadium along I-99.
The KOA offers fishing, two playgrounds, and a pool, plus all of the traditional campground activities like camp fires and other planned events. They can accommodate RVs and tents and also have deluxe queen cabins with a private bathroom for up to six people. Smaller cabins with varying amenities are also available.
Along 322, Coburn
If you drive into Happy Valley from the east along 322, you already know where Poe Valley State Park is—it’s just outside of Seven Mountains, about 15 minutes from State College. Centered around a beautiful trout-stocked 25-acre lake, the area has miles of hiking trails, playgrounds, and in-season swimming. There are three camping cottages and a deluxe cottage that can each host up to five people. Pets are permitted in one of the cabins so you can bring all your Nittany Lion fans up for a weekend.
Bed and Breakfasts
Although most of the bed and breakfasts in the immediate State College and Bellefonte area are booked months in advance of the Penn State football schedule, there are other award-winning B&Bs outside of town that offer beautiful surroundings and luxurious accommodations. Although you’ll drive a little bit further for kick off, it’s nice to have a quiet home to return to after a noisy game day. Check the Pa Mid-State B&B Association for a full list of central Pennsylvania inns, including ones in Tyrone, Huntingdon, and Warriors Mark.
When all else fails, check the Web. Sites like the well-known AirBNB.com are a great way to find homes and rooms that available for a short stay. These are often owned by local residents who will vacate their home for the weekend, or who have an extra room or two to share. GameDayHousing is a newer site that focuses on finding house sharing options in university football towns. A recent search of the site found more than 60 local properties available for some of the 2016 football season, including a 3-bed, 2 1/2 bath that sleeps six on Lincoln Avenue, just minutes from Beaver Stadium starting at $700/night. You can also choose a luxury home on the base of Mount Nittany with 6 bedrooms, 4 1/2 baths for $2000/night.
If you don’t need something as fancy, you can opt for a $400/night townhouse in Boalsburg. It can sleep up to seven and has 3 beds/2 1/2 baths. And, although it’s a little further away, there’s a beautiful lodge near Whipple Dam, which is less than a 10 mile drive. For $350/night, you and six of your closest friends can enjoy the peace and tranquility of staying in the forest while enjoying modern amenities. If you’re willing to drive a little bit, this is a great place to stay and can combine your love of football with the outdoors.
RentLikeAChampion.com is another new site that features house rental specifically around the Penn State event calendar. Weekends are searchable based on the game schedule and you can also book the same house for multiple weekends, based on availability. Since this site is newer, however, many of the offerings haven’t been reviewed yet, so you might be first to stay in these properties.