We're newbies, and haven't even picked out a trailer yet. We are retired military and thought someone here might offer some suggestions on places to spend a few weeks during our cold winters. We do own two energetic dogs that will be traveling with us, so finding a warm winter destination or two would be nice - a place we could let our dogs run leash free for 30-60 minutes a day (makes the rest of our day more restful). In my dreams, this is what I'd hope to find in an RV place to stay:
-Nearby leash free beach
-If not an ocean beach, how about any scenic nearby water for fishing, kayaking, biking
Where to begin? It's somewhat overwhelming. Thank in advance.
A great advantage to being retired military (one you may already know about) would being eligible to use military base's FamCamps.
My son & son-in-law are current in the Air Force & Air Force Reserves & we have been at a few AF FamCamps. Very nice places. Wouldn't help with the dog off leash however.
Just return from a visit with our daughter in Tucson, happen to be on base & drove by the FamCamp, a large one & most sites were filled. A lot of retired folks enjoying warm Arizona in Jan.
DesertHawk- Las Cruces, NM USA
*2015 Lance 1985~Casita de Campo~23' 4" Tongue to Bumper, Dinette Slide
160 watt Solar Panel/GoPower! Solar Controller
*2009 White Ford F-150 Reg. Cab
Long Bed with A.R.E. Molded Fiberglass Topper
*Previously~ 2005 16' Scamp
The campground on Penelton California is low cost to retired military, and you can stay a fairly long time, unless they have on duty people who need the sites.
Nearby is San Onofre, and it is also fairly reasonable, but close to I5. on he beach, but actually a bluff way above the waves.
If you are disabled, you can qualify for a free pass to get into all the Federal parks, and 50% off most camping fees (you pay full price for the electric at the sites). If over 65, you get a Golden Age pass, same 50% discount, but a small charge for the card.
Some states like Oregon have a free day for veterans.
You can check with your local base about discounts like being able to use the PX, it might offer better prices on fuel or prescriptions, or food in general.
If you don't have "Roots" states like Oregon have no sales tax, and buying a vehicle there is a better deal, yet you need to show proof that you live at a address in that state, and pay a one time fee to register the vehicle based on it's overall length. Then pay for 4 years license. Washington has a reasonable sales tax, compared to say California, registration used to be outrageous, not as much as California, but Washington fixed that problem by passing a amendment to the constitution, saying that cars can be registered for $65 and must pass a new voter approval before going up again.
Are you planning on traveling around full time?
Do you plan on using the BLM sites? If so, you might want to consider a 250 - 400 watt solar system to supply power, and a 100 gallon fresh water tank, it will allow daily showers for about 2 weeks before heading to a campground for a couple of days where you can dump the tanks, take on more fresh water and do laundry. I was doing this for about a year, it was a lot of fun, and very relaxing to find a stream, canyon overlook, or someplace else interesting to explore.
Also don't make the huge mistake of buying a 3/4 ton truck, and then finding out that it can not carry the pin weight of a larger fifth wheel trailer. Try to select both at the same time.
I might also suggest at least looking over the toy hauler fifth wheels, some have 100 gallon fresh water tanks, the ability to carry 25 gallons of gas for the generator, and many are equipped with generators. They tend to have a large rear area, great place to put in a couple of large comfortable lazy boy recliners. If you decide to take along a small motorcycle, off road bike, or quad, it is possible. Some retirees like to use a pair of 150 cc scooters to do small errands, like run into town for groceries, if they only need a few things, instead of taking the truck.
Unfortunately I am not retired yet but closing in on it very quickly (23 yrs this month). I'm currently deployed in Afghanistan with the US Marine Corps but am coming to the end of my year tour here. For about four months prior to deploying and again when I get home I will be full timing it in my 5th wheel at Camp Pendleton, CA. Pendleton has RV camping on the beach at Camp Del Mar as well as at Lake O'Niel (about 10 miles inland). The beach spots are a little more costly and will of course be more crowded in the summer, but during the winter you'll pretty much be by yourself. As was already mentioned the big benefit of being retired and traveling with an RV is that most of the military bases have RV parks of one kind or another. The majority are very clean, safe and reasonably price ($15 for full hook-ups). Camp Pendleton is more expensive and the head facilities are not that spectacular but the views on the ocean or at the lake a very nice. I don't recall seeing a leash free area, however, there are numerous softball/baseball fields on base that are fenced and that's where I take my dog to run off leash...no one will bother you as long as you aren't doing it when someone is trying to play.
Additionally, by being retired you will have full access to the movie theater, bowling ally, gyms, commissary, PX and medical facilities to get prescriptions filled if you require them. As I mentioned its very safe and quiet and even on the weekends most of the young Marines leave the base on Friday night and won't return until Sunday afternoon so you've got the base largely to yourself.
Below is a great link I highly encourage you to check out...its a listing of all the military campgrounds in the country with details about what they offer, directions, costs etc....everyone who has access to military facilities and has an RV should have this in their favorites. If you need anything else please don't hesitate to contact me directly as well.
MGySgt Tim G
2011 Ram 3500 / 2013 Lance 1172
Can't think of any (MWR campgrounds) or famcamps that have off leash. Maybe there are some but I don't know of any.
Any advantage to being retired military?
Yes too many to mention, I'll start with...Don't have to get up and go in and probally going to be awhile before your pension fund goes broke and you've got(at least in our experience)some of the best medical insurance. We find most scenic places to be Nat forests. I also get a kick out of what other RV's do, to read some. Do a search on google, click the "blog" tab just under the search block and search for "RV blog" and find some that you like and have the same interests as the authors maybe you might get some good ideas. My all time favorite blog is http://blog.vagabonders-supreme.net/
In his early years, when he was traveling a lot more than now.
* This post was
edited 02/03/13 01:18am by path1 *
1990 37 ft King of the road 5th wheel. Great carpentry, summer home
1997 33 ft Holiday Rambler, Never again will a new RV come into this family
2003 25 ft Majestic M/H, Old RV rental Best travel machine we've ever owned.
For those considering riding scooters/motorcycles on a military base....keep in mind that most military installations now have required training programs and certifications to ride any kind of scooter or motorcycle on base. Information about this is usually available at the base or station military police office or where vehicle registration is done. Be sure you are in compliance with base regulations before you ride on the installations...some require high vis vest 24/7, some only at night, pants, full finger gloves, helmets, and boots over the ankles are all required.