One of the best free summer attractions in Southern California is an NFL training camp. The teams have about a week left at local camps as they work to pare their rosters. The Chargers practice in the morning and the Rams usually in the afternoon. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are in Oxnard with mostly afternoon sessions. Each location offers some fetching side trips to round out a late summer day. Note: All schedules subject to change.
Rams at UC Irvine
The Rams usually practice about 3 p.m., with some minor variations, and gates open 90 minutes before. All open practices at UC Irvine are free to the public. New this year is more shade for the bleachers (arrive early) and two beer gardens adjacent to the practice facility.
Fun to watch: Star running back Todd Gurley (30), quarterback Jared Goff (16), receiver Robert Woods (25) and high-energy first-year coach Sean McVay, who’s barely older than most of his players.
Autograph tips: Players sign after practice. Access limited. Running backs and receivers will sign Aug. 14; QBs Aug. 16.
Good to know: No pets allowed (as with most camps)
Cool side trip: Ruby’s Shake Shack is a legendary view spot on the coast.
Aug. 11: 3:30
Aug. 14: 3:30
Aug. 15: 3 p.m.
Aug. 16: 3 p.m.
Aug. 17: 1:45 p.m.
Directions: From the north: Take the 405 south, exit right onto Jamboree Road. Left on Campus Road. Right on West Peltason Drive.
Parking: $10 in advance, $14 on-site.
Chargers at Jack Hammett Sports Complex, Costa Mesa
Chargers’ practices are among the most consistent — 10 a.m. to noon — and are free and open to the public, at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa. Gates open at 9 a.m. Fans are encouraged to reserve free bleacher seating passes, available on a first-come basis.
Autograph tips: You can high-five players as they enter the practice field between 9 and 10 a.m. For autographs, after practice is best. It helps to have a roster so you can call out to specific players.
Good to know: Fans may bring their own food, water and soft drinks. Small coolers OK.
Cool side trip: Take private surf lessons with expert surfers at Huntington Beach.
The schedule (online)
Aug. 11: 10 a.m.-noon
Aug. 15: 10 a.m.-noon
Aug. 16: 10 a.m.-noon
Aug. 17: 10 a.m.-noon
Aug. 18: 10 a.m.-noon
Aug. 22: 10 a.m.-noon
Directions: From Los Angeles, take the 405 south to 55 south. Exit Del Mar/Fair Drive. Turn right onto Fair Drive. Right onto Fairview Road. Right into Gate 3.
Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard
Admission to Cowboys camp is free and no tickets are needed. There is a limit on capacity at the River Ridge complex, at 2101 W. Vineyard Ave., but it is seldom reached on weekdays. Training camp is outdoors and no shaded areas are available.
Autograph tips: Players sign before or after practice. A good position: southwest exit of the training camp field
Good to know: No backpacks allowed. Small diaper bags OK.
Cool side trip: Bike ride along the ocean at Oxnard Beach Park
Aug. 11: No practice
Aug. 14: 3:45 p.m.
Aug. 15: 3:45 p.m.
Aug. 16: 3:45 p.m.
Aug. 17: 10:45 a.m. (last SoCal practice)
Directions: From Los Angeles, take the 101 Freeway north. Exit at Oxnard Boulevard, then turn right. Left onto Town Center Drive. Left onto Ventura Road. Complex is about a mile down Ventura Road on the right.
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