Guide to Military Campgrounds

 Guide to Military Campgrounds

Are you a currently serving, veteran and/or retired military? Then military campgrounds make the RV lifestyle even easier for you! 

Military bases offer much more than most people realize, even those who have lived on many during their years of service. 

Let's narrow it down to the top 6 benefits of military campgrounds, really military life period! 

1. Security

Guide to Military Campgrounds 1
Visit White Sands Missile Museum, New Mexico

The first one seems easy with gates and guards being common base appearances. 

Security on military establishments is hard to beat! But don't imagine barbed wire and parking lots only. 

Many military campgrounds, often called FamCamps, offer as many amenities as the fancy civilian ones with the extra bonus of safety and security. 

For those traveling with firearms, a downfall of this tight security is that you may have to check in your weapons during your stay on base. Check ahead with the campground and base website and ask again when arriving at the base gate.    

But who is privy to such security and privileges? Most military campgrounds are accessible to those with base access: active duty, reservists, retired, and 100% disabled veterans and their dependents. 

Sometimes, DOD civilians and contractors are able to stay as well depending on the base and their current status

However, each base and RV park addresses each group separately by when they can book their camping trip. Usually, active duty members are given the longest reservation period, such as 6 months in advance. 

Retired veterans often have a shorter booking period of 60-90 days out. 

Many FamCamps are so popular that no one can reserve more than 60 days out. 

Since each park and base is different, plan ahead, read the “Authorized User” guidelines, often found on park/recreation websites, and always try calling the facility to verify details.    

2. Military RV parks also save you money! 

Guide to Military Campgrounds 2
Visit Air Force Academy near Peregrine Pines RV Park

People assume the RV lifestyle is relatively cheap until they truly research or start camping. 

Staying at a military campground will save you sometimes more than 60% when compared to civilian RV parks. 

The average FamCamp runs $25-$35 per night, again with Full Hook Ups and other great amenities. Be careful to research each military RV park for rates based on your military status. 

Active duty service members will pay less than retired veterans, while civilians with base access will pay the most. 

Some FamCamps, such as Peregrine Pines FamCamp in CO, change the nightly rates based on your RV's length so that can further affect your budget. 

Military campgrounds also allow monthly, even 90 day stays, at varying locations for excellent rates.  

3. Rentals, Rides, and Recreation

Guide to Military Campgrounds 3
Rent a boat at Camp LeJeune Marina

Want to save even more money? Then remember rentals, rides, and recreation! 

Most military bases have an Outdoor Recreation office/department. This resource might also be called ITT–Information, Ticket, and Travel. 

Websites and Facebook links may include the base name followed by ITT while others stick to using outdoor recreation such as JB Charleston Outdoor Rec center

Camping reservations at this beautiful Charleston, SC, hub can also be made through that website.

At Outdoor Recreation centers, you can find discounted tickets to local attractions and excursions. 

While camping at Desert Eagle RV Park, check out sky-diving and rock climbing trips near Las Vegas through Nellis AFB Outdoor Recreation

These centers may also offer discounted tickets to non-local tourist destinations such as Disneyworld and Universal Studios to help you plan and save on your future camping adventures. 

Beyond great ticket deals, Outdoor Rec, and/or FamCamps directly, may provide kayak, boat, and many other water sport equipment rentals. 

While camping right on Onslow Beach at Camp LeJeune Marine Corps Base, venture to their marina, rent a deck boat for the day and enjoy the fabulous intercoastal waterway

You can even rent an RV from many Outdoor Recreation Centers and head to any amazing Fam Camp! 

Take sailing classes at Fiddler's Cove Marina and RV Park
Take sailing classes at Fiddler's Cove Marina and RV Park

4. Discounted Groceries and Gas

But don't stop there with saving dough because the best camping experience requires great food to eat and gas to get you there! 

Shop at the base commissary for majorly discounted groceries. Paying zero sales tax alone will save you more than shopping in town as many popular travel spots have higher taxes.

Buy gas and snacks before leaving the base at the shoppette or “C-store” to continue saving. More money means more travel!  

5. Location, Location, Location!

Guide to Military Campgrounds 4
Offutt AFB Base Lake FamCamp

Military RV parks offer location, location, location! FamCamps can be found on every ocean coast, many lakes and rivers, and close to some of the most beautiful attractions our country has to offer. 

With base access, camping can be on the quiet bayside like in San Diego at Fiddler's Cove or in the popular Florida Keys at Sigsbee Campground. 

If you want to see big cities such as Boston or San Antonio, check out Fourth Cliff Recreation in MA or the Fam Camp at Lackland AFB, TX.  

What if you like less-popular, more unique travel destinations? 

The military still has you covered! You can camp in the desert at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico or right in the middle of the USA at Offutt AFB Base Lake FamCamp

Bases may also offer money-saving transportation opportunities to popular sites such as catching the subway at VA's Fort Belvoir Campground to visit DC for the day (Transportation & Mass Transit :: FORT BELVOIR (army.mil).  

6. Community

Lastly, while the RV lifestyle alone provides a great sense of community during your travels, the military life heightens that to a closer-knit community and camaraderie among service members, past and present. 

Your campsite neighbors will always have something in common with you at a FamCamp! Talking about your military branches, duty stations, and tours brings together campers from all over and can lead to lifelong friendships. 

These conversations may even provide better travel tips than these! 

We hope your military experience does not end with only an honorable discharge but, instead, continues on in combination with the RV lifestyle for many years of travel and leisure! 

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Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at RVLifestyle.com. He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.

2 Comments

  • Thanks for posting this article. FamCamps have been our first choice for years. Have never been disappointed. Retired Navy.

  • I just read an interesting article on Military Campgrounds. I am a veteran of the Royal Canadian Navy ( navy diver ) I have a question about these military campgrounds. Are they only open to veterans and military members of the USA.
    If other veterans from Canada can camp here what security cards or information is required to use these campgrounds.

    Thanking you in advance

    Bill

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