When you are camping in nature, you get to be surrounded by nature, hear the leaves whisper in the trees, and hear the distant call of the wildlife. So, what can be better than camping in nature? How about hearing the buzz of lightning-fast engineering going 220 miles per hour, the smell of burnt rubber after seeing a perfectly executed turn, the roaring sound of crowds cheering, and seeing the pride a race team has after winning? Racing fans and fans of fast paced events may love camping at Formula 1 racetracks! In this article, we will talk about camping at the Formula 1 racetrack (Circuit of the Americas) in Austin, Texas.
RV Camping At
Formula 1 Austin, TX
We went to the Formula 1 race in Austin this October. The next race in Austin is taking place in October 2024, if you are interested in going in the future. The Austin race is one of the largest Formula 1 events and brings in about 440,000 people to the Austin area over the course of the three-day event. They have two RV parks at the event. One is a premium campsite that sits between turns 11 and 12 of the track, so you can see all the action from your RV’s pitch. Nothing beats being this close to the racetrack. These spots come with full hook-ups, however, the prices for these sites are high due to the limited availability of spots. Where most people bring their RV is a separate parking lot just a short walk away from the racetrack. The separate lot is referred to as “Lot N” and is a dry-camping lot. This is where we visited in October 2023.
The dry-camping lot is amazing. You get to sit next to so many people from all over the world that came to enjoy Formula 1. We met people who came in from Iowa, California, Arizona, and even some Austin locals. They all shared their stories and experiences of RVing. Some constant themes we heard about RVing is that RVing is a hard to beat experience, RV maintenance can be a struggle, be prepared for the cost of RV insurance, and most of all “Enjoy It”. People there are all so friendly, so we decided to do some interviews to learn about people’s favorite trips and any tips about RV camping. If you are staying at the dry-camping lot, you will need to know some important information.
The dry-camping pitches are roughly 40 feet by 20 feet, and you cannot reserve a spot beforehand. Parking opens the day before, so you may want to plan to get there early to find a good spot. Additionally, we ran into a large number of people renting an RV and they had their area set up by the rental company, so you may be competing with them for a spot too. A lot of the pitches aren’t very level so bring a good supply of leveling pads and chocks. Another thing to consider is parking for your regular cars. You only get one parking pass for your trailer and one for your towing vehicle. We saw some people who found a way to bring an additional car to their pitch, but we think this may have been an exception to the rule. If you are coming to the event with friends and taking separate cars, you’ll want to plan ahead on where people should park. One parking lot nearby is Ruiz Parking. It might make sense to reach out to them to see if you can park your extra cars there during the event.
We would also say that bringing a generator to this lot is a must. At minimum you should bring a fan and some shade! Texas can have some extreme shifts in weather that are impossible to predict. The event in 2023 was in late October and we still had a “feels like” 100-degree day. With this being a dry camping lot without any electrical hook-up, you will need a generator for cooling or heating. Bring adequate fuel for running your generator overnight for each night you are there. Also, the restroom facilities at this area are porta potties, but they were actually pretty clean the entire time we were out there. There were not showers at this lot, but a shower pass was available for purchase for ~$35 for the whole weekend. You can buy these passes once you’ve arrived at the site.
There was not a dedicated concession stand for food at the dry-camping RV park. In fact, many of the amenities are on the other side of the racetrack. We saw lots of people grilling and enjoying food that they brought from home, but you can travel to the other side of the track for food and drinks too. You can barbecue at your pitch, but all BBQ pits must be raised off of the ground. The lot can also get dry and dusty, so no open fires are allowed at your campsite. The Formula 1 event also has a food hall, but the prices can be higher due to it being an event.
Another pro tip is to make sure the roof of your RV is accessible. If you can get on your roof, you may be able to see the race from on top of your RV. We saw multiple people go this route, and this provided cool and unique setups.
Finally, one interesting takeaway was how many RV owners only used their RV for this event. The majority of the year they weren’t using their RV except for this event. We spoke with them about possibly getting more affordable insurance based on their RV usage, and they loved the idea. They also wanted ways to save on their RV storage costs and easier RV maintenance options. For people who did travel more often they loved going to other racing events. At this same campsite (Circuit of the Americas), they host Nascar events and the premium camping spots are open year-round as a regular RV campground. You can also look to stay at other campgrounds near Austin to see these events if you didn’t want to stay at COTA.
Events are a great way to shake-up your RV camping experience. We hope you get to enjoy some this year, whether it is F1, a renaissance fair, a concert, or another way to have fun.
Guest Blogger – Anthony Martin – RVeely
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