Any links in this post to a merchant may contain an affiliate link, which means that if you click on that link and then buy something, I may earn a commission from it. However, all opinions in this link are 100% mine and 100% honest. If I didn't believe in a particular product, I wouldn't recommend it to you.
Baseball is America’s favorite pasttime. For baseball fans, this is the best time of year! Why? Because it is the start of the college baseball playoffs! Beginning Memorial Day weekend, college teams around the country will be competing for a spot in the College World Series. Not only is the college baseball playoffs the purest form of the sport, but it is fun for the whole family. You can soak up some sunshine, teach your children about the sport, relive your college days, and create lifelong family memories all in one weekend. We have attended many college baseball playoff games and they are some of our favorite times together as a family. There is so much electricity in the air during these games that it’s hard not to get caught up in all of the excitement!
Playoff Format and Schedule
There are over 300 NCAA schools that play baseball. The playoff season starts with conference tournaments, which begin the week leading into Memorial Day weekend. Conference tournaments vary in their format, but they are a great opportunity to watch your favorite team face off against some of their biggest rivals. Check with your favorite conference or team website to find out more information on the conference tournament.
The Regional Tournamennts begin the first week of June. Regionals includes each of the conference champions plus other top ranked teams. For Regionals, 64 teams compete in one of 16 4-team double elimination tournaments held around the nation. The winner of each of these regional tournaments moves on to Super Regionals. These 16 teams are matched up at 8 Super Regional sites. They battle it out in a best-of-3 series for a ticket to the College World Series, which takes place in Omaha, Nebraska during the third week of June. The top 8 teams in the country will play for the National Championship. For more information on locations, teams, and tickets to any of these playoffs, check out ncaa.com.
Start Your Summer with a Mini-Vacation
College baseball playoffs is a great excuse to kick off your summer with a mini-vacation. Take a long weekend and attend one of these tournaments with the family. Book a hotel close to the stadium. Buy all-session passes, which will give you tickets to every game of the tournament. Go watch the games, even if your favorite team isn’t playing. In between games, visit some of the local sights and eat at area restaurants. You may surprise yourself with how much fun you have!
Over a decade ago, my husband converted me into a college baseball fan when he took me to watch his alma mater play in Regionals in a neighboring state. We basically ate, slept, and watched baseball for three full days. We had a wonderful time and have been avid college baseball fans ever since.
Maximize the Family Fun
College baseball playoffs are perfect sporting events for the whole family. Unlike professional games, the crowds and stadiums are usually smaller and your kids can get closer to the action. They usually have some kid-friendly activities around the stadium, such as bounce houses, portable batting cages, or even playgrounds. At the College World Series, they have lots of fun things for kids to enjoy during the tournament. Let your little fans bring their gloves and try to catch a foul ball. Get to the stadium early to watch warm ups. You may get lucky and get an opportunity to get an autograph or two. Sing along with the music in between innings. Buy a foam finger or team baseball to remember your experience. Let your kids eat some classic stadium treats. There’s nothing better than eating ice cream while sitting in the warm sunshine at a baseball stadium!
Another great way to maximize the family fun during college baseball playoffs is to tailgate in the parking lots before some of the games. Tailgates can be as simple as standing around your car eating snacks or as elaborate as setting up a tent and grilling a feast for your fellow fans. Head over to this post for some tips on tailgating with small children.
Take the Excitement Home With You
The fun doesn’t have to stop when the trip is over. Take the excitement home with you and enjoy it during the rest of the college baseball playoffs. Most of the Regional games and all of the Super Regional and College World Series games are televised on the various ESPN channels. You can find the schedule on espn.com.
Another fun way to experience the playoffs at home is to make your own bracket. My son and I do this every year. We use some leftover wrapping paper and make a giant bracket on the back that includes all 64 teams in Regionals. We hang it on the wall and update it after each game.
What better way to kick off your summer fun than with a mini vacation to attend one of the college baseball playoff tournaments. These playoff games provide fun for the whole family. It is the perfect way for you to share America’s favorite pasttime with your kids while creating lifelong memories. Take your kids out to the ballgame today. Happy travels!