We kicked off the NFL season this week and everything football shifts into high gear! Now is the time to firm up your travel plans for your annual Fan Trip and Fantasy Football Getaway. We have 3 destinations you should consider, each offering their own unique attraction. 3 destinations guaranteed to make your annual Fan Trip and Fantasy Football Getaway a success!
All three of our recommended destinations are perfect for packaged bookings. Combine air, hotel, and rental car and watch your savings accumulate. Fly in on a Thursday, fly out on a Monday giving yourself plenty of time to enjoy your destination. Please be mindful of those late season early games that can often be flexed, so plan your departure accordingly.
Jacksonville: The Jags are competitive again, reigning champs of the AFC South! The 2018 schedule includes the usual suspects, division opponents Tennessee, Houston, and Indianapolis, plus arch rivals Patriots and Steelers as well as the Jets and Redskins. Tickets are available in a wide range of prices.
Jacksonville Beach area is the place to stay with its wide selection of hotels, great restaurants, and proximity to craft breweries and taprooms. A free shuttle (tips are appreciated) by Beachside Buggies whisks you effortlessly between hotel, dining and partying destinations between Jacksonville and Atlantic Beaches with a convenient smartphone application at your service.
The Jacksonville beer culture is first class, one of the best in the South. Plan an evening brewery crawl with the Jax Brew Bus, owner Mike Maulsby says, “Our tours are as much a tour of the craft beer culture as they are about the beer tasting. Much of the fun is due to the comradery the customers experience between stops. We try and hit 3 breweries that are about 20 minutes apart from one another. We also try to make sure at least one of the breweries has food available. We switch the schedule up every week to keep the tours different and so repeat customers can hit different spots”. Reservations are available by emailing Jax Brew Bus.
As for daytime activities, Visit Jacksonville offers a long list of fun things to do on their website, including the Jacksonville areas best golf courses, if you are looking back to nature, check out Squatch and Siren Adventure Guides for your own personal paddleboard adventure. For the fishermen book your Jacksonville Fishing Charters through FishingBooker with over 80 fishing charters, inshore as well as offshore charters available.
New Orleans: It just doesn’t get any better than “The Big Easy”, everything you could hope for in a Fan Trip destination. Hotel accommodations are plentiful, and the restaurants are out of this world, with more activities than you could ever imagine.
The Saints are expected to compete for the NFC South title, with Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara leading the way. The Saints host their NFC South rivals, Tampa, Atlanta, and Carolina, as well as Browns, Redskins, Rams, Eagles, and Steelers. Tickets are easy to come by at varying price ranges.
You can’t go wrong with a hotel in, or just outside the French Quarter. You don’t have to be right on Bourbon St but being close won’t hurt. The city has an amazing party atmosphere, imagine your group on their very own Bourbon Street Balcony stocked with beads with a bar credit at their very own private bar! Invite friends if you like or keep it all to yourselves. Email Bill@playhardertours.com for details.
The food is the star attraction of this city, everything from 5 Star restaurants to late night dining delights. Be sure to try the char-grilled oysters at Acme Oyster House, have an oyster Po’boy at Johnny’s Po Boy, eating a Muffuletta from Central Grocery is a must! Looking for breakfast? Try coffee with chicory and beignets at Café du Monde. Wanting more than you could ever hope to eat at one sitting? Visit Mother’s and be sure to try the debris. If its a 3 am breakfast you are looking for, visit the café made famous by the movie Benjamin Button, The Clover Grill. A personal favorite is the Red Fish Grill right on Bourbon St and for BBQ shrimp visit Pascal’s Manale. Visit Cooter Brown’s at the bend of the Mississippi, for watching Saturday college football, eating NOLA classics and drinking from one of the best tap lists in the city!
New Orleans has a budding beer culture that’s best to be explored by a brewery tour. New Orleans Brewery Tours offers a hotel pickup followed by a visit to 3 of the local breweries complete with beer sampling!
Las Vegas: You might be wondering how could Vegas be my choice as a Fan Trip and Fantasy Football Getaway? After all, the Raiders are 2 years away from their relocation to Vegas. The answer is in the gaming, with every sports book in the city set up with multiple screens, you could watch every game and not miss a snap. You can wager on your favorite games, and with the seasonal overlap of college and professional sports, your entertainment is limitless! All that is without consideration of betting the horses and the dogs in every venue conceivable.
Vegas may not be the bargain destination of 40 years ago, but you can still find a few deals around the city. Fremont Street hotels are priced a bit lower than The Strip and packaged pricing that combines hotels and air offer the best value without compromising hotel quality. You’ll find great restaurants all over Vegas, but the buffet seems to be a major attraction. Vegas.com offers a list of The Best Buffets in Vegas with the Rio Hotels Seafood Buffet being one of my favorites.
The beer culture is thriving in Vegas, with breweries popping up all over the city. You’ll find several with direct affiliations with the area’s hotels and casino’s but the best way to explore the craft beer scene in Vegas is through a brewery tour. Vegas Craft Beer Tours offers all-inclusive tours that combine visits to 3 breweries with beer tastings and a food pairing meal complete with roundtrip transportation. With my love of German beer and culture, I must suggest you include Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas in your itinerary. Reservations are required! This is as close as you can come to a traditional München Hofbräuhaus experience without flying to Munich . Waitstaff dressed in dirndl and lederhosen, traditional German cuisine and entertainment and of course the delicious Hofbräuhaus beer served by the liter!
Vegas is a year-round experience, not just for football. Include Vegas in your plans for Super Bowl Weekend, the NCAA Basketball Tournament, NBA and NHL playoffs, as well as MLB Playoffs. The very successful Stanley Cup finalist, Vegas Golden Knights are a must-see experience. Nothing is more exciting than watching NHL hockey in person!
The Beer-Centric Traveler writes for Play Harder Tours… Please email Bill@playhardertours.com and start your travel planning today! For a complete list of recommendations please email with “Fan Trip and Fantasy Football” on the subject line. I’d love to hear your suggestions too.