According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry, there has been an increase in shipments of Recreational Vehicles (RVs) by 15% since 2020. Sales of camping equipment have increased by 31% in the United States since 2020. These numbers speak volumes -there is a greater desire to explore more of the great outdoors. Military families are not novices at “roughing it,” often going months without their household goods after moving overseas, or even across the country. Did you know that there is an entire network of camping and RV parks for military families? Each campground has different eligibility requirements. Each campground has a different reservation system as well, some without advance reservations and some with advanced reservations with varying lead times. Make sure to look them up before you plan a trip.
Explore the North
The Great Pond Outdoor Recreation Area in Maine has 13 RV sites, 3 spaces for tents, 1 lodge that sleeps 8, 15 cabins that sleep 6, and 6 yurts. Prices range from $25 to $150 depending on the sleep site. The recreation center is closed November through April and pets are allowed on the campground. There is also a cottage with its associated lighthouses at Gull Harbor in Maine that make for a picturesque New England stay.
There are no military campgrounds in Connecticut or Delaware. There is an Air Force Inn at Dover Air Force Base, but make sure to check if there are restrictions on Space Available (recreational) travel.
Maryland is home to multiple military bases of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Andrews Air Force Base, and Patuxent River Naval Air Station, and each base has a recreation or camping ground. Annapolis is home to the United States Naval Academy, and Annapolis NS Campground with concrete sites for camping is nearby. There is also Camp Meade RV Park and Solomons Island Navy Recreation Center.
Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts has two campgrounds associated with it – Fourth Cliff Family Recreation Area and FAM camp with both RV sites and tent sites. The New Boast Air Force Station Area Campground in New Hampshire has seasonal RV and tent sites.
New Jersey’s year-round campground at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst has Willow Pond RV campground with RV sites.
West Point located in New York has two campground areas – Lake Frederick Recreation Area and Round Pond Campground – both offering season RV sites, Adirondacks, and tent sites. Fort Drum’s Remington Park also offers cabins in addition to the RV sites, Adirondacks, and tent sites
In Pennsylvania, the Tobyhanna Army Depot has Vacation and Business Villas year-round in the Coolbaugh Township.
Newport, Rhode Island is host to the Carr Point Campground with RV sites.
Stay in the South
Alabama has six campgrounds between Fort Rucker, Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Coast Guard Group Mobile, and two other recreation areas. Because these campgrounds are in the south, they are open year-round and offer RV sites, tent sites, and cabins.
Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas has RV sites with hooks ups and tenting sites for rent – including monthly rentals for those on TDY orders. If you are driving through, Fort Chaffee Maneuver Training Center has an RV park.
Florida is another state with a bevy of military bases and campgrounds. The Keys have Sigsbee RV park with vocational rentals along with the RV and tent sites. Staying in the panhandle? The Naval Air Station Pensacola’s Blue Angel Naval Recreation Area has hook-ups at grass/dirt and concrete spaces in addition to tent platform, tent, and cabin spaces. Heading to Miami? Check out Marathon Recreation Cottages and RV Park with 4 cottages and 4 RV sites.
Georgia has 9 campgrounds with two in Lake Allatoona, as far south as Moody Air Force Bases’ Grassy Pond Recreation Area, as far east as Lotts Island Travel Camp at Hunter Army Airfield, and as far west at Fort Benning’s Uchee Creek Army Campground. No matter which roadway you are traveling through in Georgia, you can find a campground. Even better to have a variety of options if stationed locally and wanted to do a little local exploration.
Louisiana has five military campgrounds – two at Fort Polk, one at Barksdale Air Force Base, one at Belle Chasse, New Orleans, and Twin Lakes Recreation area at Beauregard, Louisiana. Fort Polk Toledo Bend Recreation Center and Twin Lakes Recreation area have mobile homes on-site in addition to tent sites.
Mississippi’s home to Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulport and Keesler Air Force Base which both have campgrounds. Lake Walker Campground has RV sites but no tent camping.
North Carolina has five military bases, and each has a campground. Fort Bragg has Smith Lake Army Travel Camp. MCAS Cherry Point has MWR Family Camping. Seymour Johnson Air Force Base has Fit. Fisher Air Force Recreation Area and FAM camp. Camp Lejeune has Onslow Beach Recreation Area. USCG Support Center, Elizabeth City has Weeksville campsites.
Charleston AFB and NWS have two campgrounds – Shady Oaks FAM Camp and Short Stay. Shaw AFB has two campgrounds with Wateree Recreation Area and Falcons Nest FAM Camp. Fort Jackson has Weston Lake Campground in their recreation area with RV, tent sites, and cabins.
Tennessee is home to Arnold AFB and its FAM Camp and NSA Mid-South’s Navy Lake Recreation Area. Between them, there are RV sites, tent sites, and cabins.
Virginia is no strange to camping options – from Fort A.P. Hill Recreation Facility and Fort Belvoir Travel Camp in the north to FCTCLANT Dam Neck in the southern portion of the state. In total, there are 11 campgrounds and RV parks.
The U.S. Air Force Academy has two campgrounds – the Farish Recreation Campground and Peregrine Pines Family Camping. Also in Colorado, the Buckley Air Force Base has 40 RV sites with hookups and a laundry facility.
The Yellowstone Country Trailers at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho offers 10 RV site hookups and there are hardstand and tent sites at the Mountain Home Air Force Base Campground.
Illinois has campgrounds at Scott Air Force Base and at Naval Station Great Lakes. Indiana also has two military campgrounds- Camp Atterbury Campgrounds and Crane MWR campgrounds and cabins. McConnell Air Force Base FAM camp in Kansas has RV sites with hook-ups. All year-camping is available at Fort Campbell Campground and Fort Knox-Camp Carlson Army Travel Campgrounds in Kentucky with family cabins, youth cabins, tent sites, RV sites, and picnic areas.
Camp Grayling Trailer Park at Camp Grayling, Michigan has over 50 RV sites and 10 tent sites for camping with boat launches, rentals, and access points.
Camp Ripley DeParcq Woods Campground in Minnesota is open for service members and their families with RV and tent sites.
Fort Leonard Wood’s Lake of the Ozarks Campground has fully furnished duplexes, cabins, and mobile homes for glamping to the max as well as RV and tent sites.
Malmstrom Air Force Base Campground and Timber Wolf Resort at Malmstrom AFB are open seasonally with RV and tent sites in Montana.
Offutt Air Force Base FAM Camp in Nebraska has RV sites with hookups.
North Dakota’s Grand Forks Air Force Base has RV and tent sites at their FAM Camp and Minot Air Force Base has RV sites at their FAM Camp.
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has a FAM Camp on-site with RV and tent sites all year, but there is no available water hook-ups in the winter.
Oklahoma has FAM Camps at Tinker Air Force Base and Altus Air Force Base. McAlester Army Ammo Plant has Murphy’s Meadow Campground and Ft Sill has RV, tent, and cabins at Lake Elmer Thomas Campground. Blackhawk RV Park in the state has 12 RV sites with hook-ups.
South Dakota is home to Ellsworth AFB and their FAM Camp with lodge rooms and RV sites.
Texas is not without a lack of options. There are RV parks and campgrounds at Fort Bliss, Fort Hood, Fort Sam Houston, and Red River Army Depot. There are campgrounds on Brooks AFB, Goodfellow AFB, Lackland AFB, Laughlin AF, Sheppard AFB, and Randolph AFB. Then there are the recreation areas and campgrounds at NAS Corpus Christ and two at NAS Kingsville.
Utah’s Hill Air Force Base has two campgrounds and Dugway Proving Ground has an RV Park and Campground.
Wisconsin is home to Pine View Campground at Fort McCoy with year-round RV site and yurts/cabins/duplexes on offer.
Wyoming’s F.E. Warren AFB is home to FAM Camp with RV sites, tent sites, and one cabin.
Venture Out West
Arizona is home to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Fort Huachuca, and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in addition to the Gia Bend Campground. Each location offers varied lodging from hotels to RV sites to tents. On-base lodging has the perks of exchange and commissary for filling up on goodies at affordable prices. The Gila campground is a campground with basketball and tennis courts across from the campground and many amenities within the hotel but it is noteworthy to share that there are no showers on the campground itself.
California is a large state with a varied climate and has lodging available to military families as far south as El Centro Naval Air Facility Camp Ground and as far north as Beale Air Force Base campground. There are cabins on the ocean at Camp Pendleton and multiple hotel options in Monterey. If you are looking for a sunny spot in California to stay at for an affordable price, there are multiple options ranging from campground to RV sites to cabins to hotels.
Nevada’s Nellis Air Force Base is home to Desert Eagle RV Park with year-round RV sites and tent sites, and RV sites are available at NAS Fallon Campground, but their restrooms are closed in the winter months.
New Mexico is home to Holloman Air Force Base and Kirtland Air Force base which both have FAM campgrounds. White Sands Missile Range -Volunteer Park Travel Campsite has year-round RV sites.
Oregon’s National Guard and Air National Guard have Camp Rilea Campground and Kingsley Field Campground respectively offering RV sites and tent sites year-round.
Washington has campgrounds at Fairchild AFB, McChord ABD, and Fairchild AFB. NAS Whidbey Island has Cliffside RV park with RV sites. NS Everett has Pacific Beach Resort, Grays Harbor CGS has Westport Recreation Park and Jim Cheek Naval Ration Station has Jim Creek Wilderness Recreation Area.
Beyond the Great 48
Seward Resort in Alaska is just that – a resort. Lodging facilities are open year-round while camping is weather permitting based on the season. The resort offers townhouses, a log cabin, and motel rooms for lodging in addition to RV pads, tent sites, and yurts. For those stationed or visiting Anchorage, For Richardson offers RV and camper sites in addition to cabins at the Black Spruce Travel Camp and the Upper Otter Lake Campgrounds has a log cabin in addition! Fort Wainwright, Eielson Air Force Base, and Elmendorf Air Force base have seasonal and self-contained camping throughout the year. At the base of the Chugach Mountains, Valdez Glacier campground has 94 standard campsites and 14 pull-through sites for the ultimate Alaska camping experience.
Going to Hawaii? There is military lodging in Honolulu at the Hale Koa. If camping is more your jam, then check out Kilauea Military Camp, the cottages and campsites at Kaneohe Bay, the recreation area at Hickam Air Force Base or Bellows Air Force base, or the beach cottages at Barking Sands. There are two more Recreation Areas – the Waianae Army Recreation Center and Barbers Point Recreation Area. The cottages at Kaneohe Bay offer coastal views along the beach, with the convenience of base comforts nearby but they do offer an isolated feeling of being on the other side of the airstrip.
Don’t forget to check out what your military installation has to offer in way of renting or buying camping equipment. Renting equipment helps you try out bigger items like tents and coolers to see what will work well for your family and if it is worth the investment. Check with your Family Services per your military branch to see what they have to offer. When you are ready to buy, don’t forget about the military exchange system – both online and in-person – offering a variety of gear and when you buy on base there is the added savings of no tax!
Camping is a budget-friendly way to travel and explore your local area or save money while executing a military move.
Kat Hall says
Speaking of Michigan (which we forgot to mention Camp Grayling (MI army National guard) is in Michigan… the MI
Air National Guard also has campsites along the Thunder Bay River. One might consider checking with the Guard Bureau
in MI for other sites throughout the state. It seems to me that Selfridge ANG Base had a campground. AND they also have a Commissary & Exchange.