By Julie Provost
It’s time to bust out your tents and hiking gear and plan a trip. Take time this summer to get to know where you are stationed by going camping nearby. Here are some of the best campgrounds to go to within about an hour of popular duty stations:
Farish Recreation Area, Colorado Springs
The Farish Recreation Area is a 655-acre resort at 9,000 elevation in the Pine National Forest. Located in Woodland Park, just 30 minutes from Colorado Springs. This park is managed by the Air Force Academy and open to active duty, retirees, DoD non-appropriated fund employees, and members of the Reserves and National Guard and their families.
There are three lakes: Grace Lake, Sapphire Lake, and Lake Leo. You can fish, rent a paddle boat, ride mountain bikes, camp, and enjoy hiking. They have tent camping, a lodge, cottages, and duplexes. The camper cabins and campsites are also pet-friendly.
Colorado Bend State Park, Fort Hood
This state park is just an hour from Fort Hood. The park offers different camping options based on what you are looking for. They have basic campsites that are about 75 to 100 yards from the river, tent camping along the riverbank, and primitive sites that you need to backpack into.
There are over 5,300 acres at Colorado Bend State Park with 35 miles of hiking trails and fishing, swiming, kayaking, and mountain biking. There are 400 caves to explore and kids can get a free ranger journal to learn more about nature.
Land Between the Lakes Piney Campground, Fort Campbell
Land Between the Lakes is 170,000 acres of forests, wetlands, and open lands on a peninsula between Kentucky and Barkley Lakes and just an hour from Fort Campbell. There are 1,400 campsites to choose from with Piney being one of the best for families.
Piney Campground offers 384 lakefront and wooded sites. Many of them have electrical hookups, and a few have electric, water, and sewer. There are primitive sites, too. You will find restrooms, a swimming beach area, archery, a ball field, bike trails, hiking, fishing, and boating docks. They also have cabins with air conditioning that sleep four.
Cumberland Island, Jacksonville, FL
Cumberland Island, about an hour from Jacksonville, Florida, is Georgia’s largest barrier island. At the national park there are campsites where you can hike, star gaze, view the wildlife, take photos, swim, hunt, bird watch, boat, fish, bike, or just sit and relax with a book.
They have more developed campsites such as the Sea Camp campgrounds. There are also wilderness campgrounds with no restrooms and designated campsites for those that want a more primitive experience.
Bull Run Regional Park, Washington, D.C.
The Bull Run Regional Park is just 36 miles away from Washington, D.C. Whether you are stationed nearby or coming for a trip, this park can be a perfect choice. There are 1,500 acres with a water park, trails, two playgrounds, a naturalist program, disk golf, picnic areas, and campsites.
You can camp in an RV or a tent, and they have rustic cabins available year round. You can enjoy the two tributary waterways of the Chesapeake Bay and visit Blackburn’s Ford. There is a lot of Civil War history in this area and there so make sure to take some time to check out the Bull Run Occoquan Trail, Native American trails, trade routes, and Civil War supply routes.
Millersylvania State Park, Joint Base Lewis-McChord
Millersylvania State Park is 36 minutes from Joint Base Lewis-McChord. You will be able to enjoy the lake, tent camp, RV camp, or glamp if that is more your style. There are swimming beaches, hiking, biking trails, boat launches, kayak, paddleboards, and pedal boat rentals, fishing, and enjoying life outdoors.
There are 842 acres with 3,300 miles of freshwater shoreline on Deep Lake. There are 120 tent spaces and Pampered Wilderness for those that would love a more comfortable sleeping option. They have a few choices from rustic to chic so you can still enjoy the beauty of Washington without having to pitch your own tent.
Julie Provost is an associate editor at Military One Click and a National Guard spouse. She can be reached at [email protected]