Acceptable. Fine. A bed. That’s normally how I describe temporary military lodges. As a military spouse, I don’t mind bunking there because it’s cheap, but I don’t brag about the amenities to my civilian friends. I brag about the price. That’s the majority of temporary military lodging. But there is something better.
It’s those cabins, townhouses and rooms with a view that are the best-kept secrets of the military.
They are the lodges that you know you should share with the newbie military spouses, but you don’t want to share your insider information. You are like a screaming toddler saying “it’s mine. It’s all mine.”
If you want super awesome military facilities, try the New Sanno in Tokyo, the Shades of Green Disney Resort, Hawaii’s Hale Koa Hotel or Edelweiss Lodge with views of the Alps. At these facilities you don’t get what you pay for. You get more than what you pay for. There is 1 small problem with these military perk places. Even though these hotels are exclusively for active duty and veterans, affordable doesn’t equal available. Often reservations need to be made a year in advance especially during the peak travel season. So instead of trying to wedge our way into the high-traffic military lodges, let’s take the road less traveled.
Let’s visit the top 10 military vacation secret spots that you will never read about in Travel & Leisure magazine.
- Marines’ Memorial Club, San Francisco, Calif. Guest reviews on Yelp said “This is our second home away from home when we visit SF. The staff is very accommodating and attentive to your needs, service is top-notch, the location is perfect, the facility is excellent and makes you feel right at home.” Did I mention there is a free happy hour and free breakfast? It’s my No. 1 choice for a hotel in downtown San Francisco.
- Seward Resort, Seward, Alaska. Alaska is one of those places that I don’t want to be stationed at, but I would love to visit. The Seward Resort offers a way for my family to visit Alaska without the 3-year orders. The website brags “Are you looking for an exciting and affordable way to see the Last Frontier? You’ve found it! We’ve got the best of Alaska in our backyard: world-class fishing, spectacular glaciers, an abundance of wildlife, and recreational opportunities galore!” Recreational opportunities galore. You know it’s got to be good. Perks? Free cross country ski rental and wine exclusively made for the resort’s guests.
- Del Mar Beach Resort at Camp Pendleton, Calif. One Yelp reviewer wrote “Want a little getaway??? This is your spot. Located right on the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base with great prices! The winter rates are 25% off! I stayed here this past weekend and was very pleased. I stayed in the Luxury Villa where you have access to a patio with grill and a bonfire. A full complete kitchen.” I’ve stayed here before and it’s a great facility. It’s perfect for families who want to be near Legoland.
- Rocky Mountain Blue at Keystone Resort, Keystone, Colo. Located 1 hour from Denver, this is a must-stay military lodge for service members who loved to hit the slopes. From ice skating to Nordic skiing, snowmobiling to snowshoeing or sleigh rides, Keystone has it all. Going in the summer? No problem. The website outlines a variety of activities. Wagon rides, anyone?
- Fourth Cliff Family Recreation Area, Humarock, Mass. According to its website, Fourth Cliff Family Recreation Area is a 56-acre seaside resort located in Humarock (Scituate) on Massachusetts’ South Shore. Fourth Cliff is in a superb location, sitting high on a cliff at the end of a peninsula, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the scenic North River on the other. It offers an excellent opportunity for solitude and relaxation.
- Soldiers’, Sailors, Marines’, Coast Guard, and Airmen’s Club, New York City, N.Y. If you want history, you must make a reservation at this “Home Away From Home” from service members and their families. This club has existed for more than 90 years and provides hospitality and accommodations for 15,000 Armed Forces personnel annually. One Yelp reviewer wrote “It’s not the Ritz, but you cannot beat the location for this price. We paid $70/person per night (based on your rate/rank) Just blocks away from the Empire State Building, we felt like we were right in the middle of the action.”
- Yellowstone Country Trailers, Mountain Home AFB. Want to stay 2 miles from the south entrance to Yellowstone National Park? The Air Force maintain 11 trailers at Flagg Ranch Campground. “These trailers are self-contained, include cooking and eating utensils, and are ready for your enjoyment,” according to its website.
- Pacific Beach Resort, Pacific, Wash. In the shadow of the snow-capped Olympic Mountains, Pacific Beach Resort offers a Navy-run hotel and cabins lining the bluff along with a full-service restaurant and conference center. Bikes and mopeds are available for rent at the shore.
- Fort Tuthill Recreation Area, Flagstaff, Ariz. If you love the outdoors, then you need to stay at the Fort Tuthill Recreation Area. The accommodations range from yurts with wrap-around decks to 2-story, 3-bedroom cabins. The backyard has a fire pit, deck and a picnic table.
- Lake of The Ozarks Recreation Area, Linn Creek, Missouri. Nicknamed LORA, this 360-acre facility is designed to provide a relaxing environment for military families. LORA offers cabin rentals, full and partial RV hook-ups, rustic campsites, a lakefront pavilion, a swimming beach, boat docks, a full-service marina, boat and Jet Ski rentals, boat/RV storage rental, parking, picnic areas, a launching ramp, fishing and a small convenience store. It’s open yearround.