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Old 04-16-2021, 09:37 PM   #1
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Military Campgrounds

I understand there are Military Campgrounds throughout the country, which are only available for use by active duty, retired or service-connected disabled veterans. I have a service connected disability and am thinking of trying a few.

Has anyone had any experience camping in Military campgrounds? Are they usually crowded or heavily booked? Are there any special considerations?
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Old 04-17-2021, 12:08 AM   #2
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Military Campgrounds

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Originally Posted by SnowWanderer View Post
I understand there are Military Campgrounds throughout the country, which are only available for use by active duty, retired or service-connected disabled veterans. I have a service connected disability and am thinking of trying a few.

Has anyone had any experience camping in Military campgrounds? Are they usually crowded or heavily booked? Are there any special considerations?
This is the best one that I have found:

https://www.militarycampgrounds.us

Enjoy your travels!
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Old 04-17-2021, 04:20 AM   #3
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Yea. tweaks me a little having served ten years but not "retired" I am not eligible to stay. Ah well.
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Old 04-17-2021, 07:00 AM   #4
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Some military campgrounds are nice, some are just average. Most are on military installations so you have to consider getting through the gate on to the installation, some have differing ID requirements. Places like Destin and Tucson will be more difficult to get into without reservations. Others are easier to get into, you just have to check.

You can download a free app, Ultimate US Military Campground Project that will show all of them. They can be convenient, we stayed at Travis AFB when we visited Napa, Great Falls on our way to Glacier NP, Ft Belvoir when visiting Wash DC. Others are good for regional visits, China Lake was nice to see central CA and Fort Huachuca is a nice spot for visiting Tombstone and Bisbee.

It’s a nice benefit for active duty and retirees, although not always cheaper than a commercial campground. It’s about 10% of our camping, the rest is COE, BLM, parks, dispersed.
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Old 04-17-2021, 08:25 AM   #5
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As noted, some are very nice indeed and some fairly ordinary but they all have excellent security, being on base. Military bases tend to be in the boonies so they are not often handy for a quick overnight (an exception is Barksdale AFB in Louisiana). But, the floor show is outstanding! Nothing like watching a C-5M doing touch and goes...

When we started out 16 years ago, it was fairly inexpensive and a lot easier to get. Three things have happened that have made getting into a military campground a challenge at times.

1.) Military members are now given a quarters allowance and, in some areas, an extra cost of living allowance. They are then on their own to procure housing and are free to pocket the savings if the can find it cheaper than the government calculates. A lot of active duty have purchased RV’s and are more or less permanent residents of the military RV parks. Technically, this shouldn’t happen but most base commanders allow it.

2.) RV park funding is no longer subsidized by the PX and the profits from the enlisted and officer’s clubs (which are nothing like they used to be — many are only open two nights week for limited hours) so they need charge enough to cover expenses. Not a problem at Key West or Pensacola but most of the parks north of I-20 have short seasons.

3.) As you noted, they expanded the privilege to include disabled veterans. Certainly a deserving group but a huge one. Makes getting into the park of your choice a mite tougher.

Many take reservations, some do not. Always call ahead — most of the MWR staffers are great to work with.

See you out there!
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Old 04-17-2021, 09:25 AM   #6
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Although we haven't been there in several years, the campground at F.E. Warren (Cheyenne, WY) was always very nice, well-kept, and quiet. Also a good BX nearby, and it's very convenient to I-25, I-80, and Cheyenne. Also not too far (less than an hour) from Laramie.

We've never stayed at the Academy campground, but a quick drive-through impression was that it's reasonably nice and very convenient to I-25 and Colorado Springs and about an hour south of Denver.
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Old 04-17-2021, 10:15 AM   #7
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Not only are there campgrounds available for use, there are equipment rental facilities at most installations. You can rent campers, boats, tents, canopies, etc.
The best military campground I've stayed in was at Nellis AFB just outside of Las Vegas.
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Old 04-17-2021, 10:31 AM   #8
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While my 4 years in the USAF does not qualify me to stay at military campgrounds, aa friend was able to get us a site at the Air Force Academy in Colorado many years ago. It was extremely well kept and we enjoyed our stay very much.
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Old 04-17-2021, 11:03 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n2916s View Post
1.) Military members are now given a quarters allowance and, in some areas, an extra cost of living allowance. They are then on their own to procure housing and are free to pocket the savings if the can find it cheaper than the government calculates. A lot of active duty have purchased RV’s and are more or less permanent residents of the military RV parks. Technically, this shouldn’t happen but most base commanders allow it.
I'm currently active duty and I've not come across anyone doing this at any of the bases I've been stationed at. I know one person that ran the numbers but it wasn't nearly as advantageous as he thought it would be. I'm sure there are some active duty folks doing this, but I don't think it's very prevalent.
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Old 04-17-2021, 11:53 AM   #10
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Well, an excellent example is Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque. It has an old section with trees and a newer section that is basically a gravel parking lot. Almost the entire older section is “homesteader” occupied. Another is Hill AFB in Utah where about 40% of the sites are. Jacksonville NAS another.

But, things can change — McChord in Washington was really hard to get 10 years ago but a new C.O. changed the rules and it opened back up.

Mind you, I am not complaining or demanding an end to the practice, just observing that it exists. I was junior enlisted once and I get that stretching every dime is a really big deal.

In Gulfport, they added a second RV park for transients and dedicated the original to AD. Works for everyone...
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Old 04-17-2021, 06:50 PM   #11
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Many military RV camps (FamCamps) were limited to "Active Duty Only" during the various stages of COVID. The Navy has a Navy Reservations- billeting/hotel site for the US, but it seems to have been compromised this last year with security warnings. Lastly, gaining access to a military installation is like driving a serpentine obstacle course requiring you to maneuver the obstacles while straightening out. Vandenberg AFB, Calif. required a south gate only entrance, then a full inspection of the RV with all hatches opened and occupants/pets to stand away from the area. The beach access was closed for the bird population and the Mighty Marine Sgt Camp Host came flying across the field with a Supped up Flux Capacitor in battle gear Golf Cart to tell me off about my small dog being off leash in a field away from the camp area and the Base Commander's Regulation that would have me to leave the base. Do your research and call them directly, but the prices are steeply increasing from $30 to $45 in popular places. VA disability cards usually require input into the base data system at the front gate visitor's registration. This is so each time you come and go it will scan at the gate.
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Old 04-21-2021, 09:39 AM   #12
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I can also attest to Point Mugu NAS famcamp just off Hwy 1, in between Malibu and Oxnard. Decent place that was nothing to write home about except for the outstanding beach. Most beach campgrounds require you to cross the highway to get to the water; here you can just send the kids to the beach. Dolphins and seals play in the water just off shore, and pictures can be taken of the seals as they come up on the sand. Apparently, boating and fishing is restricted off shore because of the airbase.
The huge letdown for this place is the mosquitoes . They are swarming predators here because of the nearby marshes. The beach offers safety from them, but around the camper, even the dogs were miserable.
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