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Old 03-18-2019, 01:01 PM   #1
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Are FamCamps really worth it?

There. I’ve said it.

We’ve had a motor home for three years now and have stayed at mostly at commercial campgrounds. We’ve only stayed at one FamCamp (Wright-Pat). We had a great experience at a fantastic price. We want more!

As we get ready to fully retire, we are hoping to take up the snowbird lifestyle. Looking at militarycampgronds.us, I see great locations, good security, and the minimal level of service we need.

But I also see huge differences in how the campgrounds are managed, handle reservations, pricing, and monthly rates. For those of you who use them, especially in the winter, how do you navigate this when planning?

Thanks,
—Rod
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Old 03-18-2019, 02:26 PM   #2
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We always prefer Fam Camps but granted everyone is a little different because the Base can add requirements especially for PCS reservations. They also may not have their office open as long as commercial but we like the security and the convenience of the base services. They may also have homesteaders take up sites but most bases don't allow that anymore. This is a good place to look. https://www.armymwr.com/programs-and...-rv-parks/ohio Their is another military camping site that has ratings but I couldn't find it.
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Old 03-18-2019, 02:44 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by cyclist922 View Post
There. I’ve said it.

We’ve had a motor home for three years now and have stayed at mostly at commercial campgrounds. We’ve only stayed at one FamCamp (Wright-Pat). We had a great experience at a fantastic price. We want more!

As we get ready to fully retire, we are hoping to take up the snowbird lifestyle. Looking at militarycampgronds.us, I see great locations, good security, and the minimal level of service we need.

But I also see huge differences in how the campgrounds are managed, handle reservations, pricing, and monthly rates. For those of you who use them, especially in the winter, how do you navigate this when planning?

Thanks,
—Rod


Good luck on getting through reservation... always busy
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Old 03-18-2019, 03:25 PM   #4
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I wanted to reserve a week at MacDill AFB Famcamp for January next year. I called in Jan and they said they were full. I asked about the wait list and was told it was full too. Now I’m paying an arm and leg at a private place instead. If you can get in they are usually a good deal.
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Old 03-18-2019, 03:36 PM   #5
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Getting into a famcamp during snowbird season in the warmer winter areas of country is no different then getting into a commercial park. We're all in the same boat. Make reservations as far in advanced as allowed. To MacDill's credit they do hold some 14 day spaces open for walk ups. It has taken years of staying to get the dates you want every winter. Many base parks out west allow the snowbirds in in Oct and stay till May. No short stay or walk ups. We have been KW snowbirds for past 12 winters and stay with same friends. Try it, I bet you'll like it.

Best web site for all military RV parks: http://www.militarycampgrounds.us/
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Old 03-18-2019, 04:18 PM   #6
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Getting into a famcamp during snowbird season in the warmer winter areas of country is no different then getting into a commercial park. We're all in the same boat. Make reservations as far in advanced as allowed. To MacDill's credit they do hold some 14 day spaces open for walk ups. Many base parks out west allow the snowbirds in in Oct and stay till May. We have been KW snowbirds for past 12 winters and stay with same friends. Try it, I bet you'll like it.

Unfortunately, the people I talked to at MacDill didn’t say anything about having some sites for walk ups. I asked and they said they may have a vacancy due to a no show but they are usually full all winter.
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Old 03-18-2019, 04:30 PM   #7
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I never found McDill to be anything but “More than accommodating”.
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Old 03-18-2019, 04:53 PM   #8
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I never found McDill to be anything but “More than accommodating”.

Hopefully I just called them on a couple of bad days. Overall, I completely agree Military Family Camps are a good deal.
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Old 03-19-2019, 05:47 AM   #9
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It all depends where you want to stay. Warmer climates will be busier in the winter, cooler climates busier in the summer. We have stayed at quite a few FamCamps all over the country, the two things that crank my butt are poor management and homesteaders. We have had reservations for months only to arrive and someone else is occupying the site number given to us. We have been to same FamCamp at different times only to see the same people their but with more garbage around their camper. Long and the short it is hit or miss.
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Old 03-20-2019, 06:24 AM   #10
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There is another factor in play today on space available in military RV parks. Some MWR and ODR parks allow AD PCS families to stay, as well as long term squatters.
I agree that base facilities are for AD first, but as vacation spots. Not long term home stays while pocking upwards of $3,000.00 a month HA.
But its proven that in the higher housing allowance $$ areas you will find more AD in the rv parks today since the increase in HA.
And park management feels this is just fine as it in improves their bottom line.
The down side as most observe, is the setting for raising children. Some families are way too large for RV living. There was a family in FL base park with six small kids, two dogs and mom and dad in a 32 ft TT for 3 years. Unlike base quarters there are no accommodation guide lines for sex/age limits in the parks RVs.
And as most here are aware, each command sets their own regs on what goes. Remember the old base trailer parks, will they might be back, only called famcamps.
We know of famcamps that issue pass cards to civilians to access base to use famcamp. They pay a nominal fee for background check and can use base recreational facilities, bowling alley, golf course, theater etc. (I can give you the names).
So yes, its not what it once was. Is that a bad thing.......that would be your personal opinion.
But to OP question, yes I think they are worth it
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Old 03-20-2019, 06:42 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by skypilot_1 View Post
There is another factor in play today on space available in military RV parks. Some MWR and ODR parks allow AD PCS families to stay, as well as long term squatters.
I agree that base facilities are for AD first, but as vacation spots. Not long term home stays while pocking upwards of $3,000.00 a month HA.
But its proven that in the higher housing allowance $$ areas you will find more AD in the rv parks today since the increase in HA.
And park management feels this is just fine as it in improves their bottom line.
The down side as most observe, is the setting for raising children. Some families are way too large for RV living. There was a family in FL base park with six small kids, two dogs and mom and dad in a 32 ft TT for 3 years. Unlike base quarters there are no accommodation guide lines for sex/age limits in the parks RVs.
And as most here are aware, each command sets their own regs on what goes. Remember the old base trailer parks, will they might be back, only called famcamps.
We know of famcamps that issue pass cards to civilians to access base to use famcamp. They pay a nominal fee for background check and can use base recreational facilities, bowling alley, golf course, theater etc. (I can give you the names).
So yes, its not what it once was. Is that a bad thing.......that would be your personal opinion.
But to OP question, yes I think they are worth it
I agree with everything you say and according to AFI 34-110 as far as AD goes can only be used by them on vacation, but bases pretty much ignore that and make their own rules. Looks like unless something changes AD is slowly taking over a lot of the famcamps.
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Old 03-20-2019, 07:33 AM   #12
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There. I’ve said it.
......... For those of you who use them, especially in the winter, how do you navigate this when planning?

Thanks,
—Rod
Rod,

Your last point is what hits us in the butt most often. My wife and I own a small business and can't plan our vacations a year out. Although we try to have a vague outline of when we would like to be gone invariably life and our work will get in the way. Our winter trips usually involve me calling around 2-3 weeks before we are going to find what is available and it usually isn't Fam Camps.
And the MacDill thing doesn't work for me as I don't want to drive two days to get there to find out all the short term spots are full! We've met some great folks at the civilian parks where we have ended up so no regrets.
Maybe someday we can really retire and enjoy the travels that we dream of.
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Old 03-20-2019, 12:28 PM   #13
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When we first started RVing we used the Famcamps as much as possible due their security, price, availability, etc. Over the years we have basically gone away from using them due to all the previous reasons stated by other people. the main reason we stopped was the actual cost. We travel to visit our family and thus have a destination and the shortest/fastest route to get there. We do the big round trip: Ohio, North Carolina, Fla, TX, Ca, ND, then SD and IA then return to OH. There are no fam camps within 5 or even 10 miles of our route. When you add in the cost of fuel and only 7mpg it can cost more to get to a famcamp then you save over a convenient to your route private campground, BLM, Nat. Forrest, or State Park. etc.
I have found You don't stand a chance getting into some of the popular snowbird famcamps as the "regulars" have a standing reservation even though the famcamp does not take reservations.
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Old 03-21-2019, 12:43 PM   #14
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Thank you to everyone who’s posted. Please keep the conversation going.

I understand and agree on giving active duty priority. Given some of the stories I’ve read about the state of base family housing these days, I can even understand why a large family may opt to stay there as long as they can.

My major concern is the inconsistency of reservations policy. Some allow reservations a year in advance, some 3 months, others not at all.

The Navy seems to be the only service with a single online platform for reservations. As an Air Force veteran, that really hurts. :-)

Based on what I’ve heard so far, I think my best strategy is to budget for commercial parks, but shoot for FamCamps, if I get one, we’ll count it as a bonus.

Thanks,

—Rod
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