Georgia and Florida meet on Saturday in what most traditionalists refer to as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.”
Because it’s in Jacksonville, both fan bases have to hit the road to cheer on their team. We could break down the route from Gainesville to Jacksonville, but it’s only 72 miles.
That’s not a road trip, it’s a visit to see the in-laws.
Georgia fans will have a more sizable journey to EverBank Field. Google Maps reveals a trip just shy of 340 miles that should take a little more than 5 1/2 hours.
Let’s have a look at the route:
Why the game could be good: It’s easy to spot a good rivalry. Just check the series records for both schools and see if they match. If they don’t, it’s usually a good one.
Georgia claims a 50-42-2 edge in the series, counting a 1904 win. Florida doesn’t count that one because it didn’t start playing varsity football until 1906.
More recently, Florida has won six of the last 10, including a 27-3 victory last fall, and 20 of the last 26 meetings.
The Gators need to win Saturday to maintain their grip on first place in the SEC East. Georgia will look to play the role of spoiler.
Stop for food: Savannah is a decent stopping point for a bite, and speaking from personal experience, the options are many.
In the mood for some good food and a great view? The Chart House is a great spot. Because the restaurant overlooks the Savannah River, try to grab a seat near a window. You might want to get a reservation, and the New York Strip comes highly recommended.
Looking for something more casual? Joe’s Homemade is rated No. 1 on TripAdvisor. Patrons rave about the sandwiches and desserts.
Savannah is a fine food town. It’s hard to go wrong, really.
What to see along the way: Take a carriage ride in Savannah. Seriously. It’s really fun.
“The Smallest Church in America” lies a little farther down Interstate 95 near Darien. The 190-square-foot church burned down in November but has been rebuilt.
It’s never locked because no one actually owns it. The original builder deeded it to Jesus Christ, so it’s always open to weary travelers. If you have a particularly rough day at the tailgate (see below), you may need to drop by here on the way back.
What to do besides watch football: Bulldogs and Gators alike can go see some tigers at the Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary. VisitJacksonville.com has a few other ideas for fans, like golfing, shopping and dining options.
Tailgating options: The WLOCP moniker was born at the tailgate scene for this game. For this game, EverBank Field holds 84,000 people. But plenty more show up just for the pregame festivities.
It’s a wild scene, best experienced early (some folks arrive at 5 a.m.) and with access to a rented porta potty. There are more partygoers than facilities, and that bad math makes for some uncomfortable wait times during a day of drinking.
Attending a WLOCP is a sports bucket-list item, and by all accounts, it’s a party with a capital ‘P.’
Parking: There are a lot of other people who want to park for this game. Read up on your options here.
Need a postgame bite or drink? Yelp suggests The Volstead or Dos Gatos for your postgame libations.
Gas: Want to save a bit of money? Here’s where to grab some gas for the return leg of the trip.