Military families lead stressful lives, with deployments, PCS moves, and many other military related issues adding to the normal day to day issues that every family deals with. It is important for military families to spend time with each other to relax and de-stress away from their regular environment whenever they can. This helps forget, at least briefly, about the issues they deal with all the time and to reconnect with each other.
Fortunately there are fantastic places for military families to do just that. They are the Armed Forces Recreation Centers (AFRC). AFRCs are affordable resorts operated by the Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Programs. They are located at ideal vacation destinations around the world.
The AFRCs are exclusively for the military and those who support them. Authorized users include active-duty military, retirees, currently employed and retired Department of Defense civilians, reservists, delayed entry recruits, and family members.
Room rates for the Armed Forces Recreation Centers are based upon rank, with junior members of the military paying less than more senior members. This allows young families to be able to afford these great vacation destinations too. The AFRCs often offer special discounts and seasonal promotions, making them even more affordable.
World Wide Destinations
There are currently four Armed Forces Recreation Centers, the Shades of Green at the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando, Florida, the Hale Koa Hotel on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, Dragon Hill Lodge in Seoul, South Korea, and Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
No matter where you are stationed there is one within a reasonable travel distance. They are all beautiful resorts, each unique from the others. They all offer a variety of restaurants, bars, fitness centers, pools & hot tubs, conference facilities, and local recreation activities.
Sunny Florida Theme Parks
The Shades of Green Resort at the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando, Florida – Visit the Orlando theme parks.
Due to the topic of my website, Shades of Green (often just called Shades) is the AFRC that I’m most familiar with. It’s located right on Disney World property, making it the ideal place for your Disney vacation. But the other Orlando theme parks are not too far of a drive if you want to check them out too.
Shades of Green has 583 rooms and suites, with standard prices of $95 – $131 per night based upon rank. Shades has two outdoor pools, including a kiddy pool and hot tub, several restaurants and arcades and a newly remodeled spa. Complimentary transportation to the Disney theme parks is provided and you can buy your park tickets right at the resort at a discounted rate.
For more information on Shades of Green see:
Shades of Green’s site – http://shadesofgreen.org/
Shades of Green’s Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/shadesofgreenresort
Relax In Paradise
The Hale Koa Hotel on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii – Vacation in paradise right on the beach.
The Hale Koa is the only other AFRC that I’ve personally been to. It’s located right on the Waikiki beach, walk out the back from the lobby, past the pool and you are right on the beach. I love the view!
The Hale Koa has 817 rooms and suites, with standard prices of $79 – $116 per night based upon rank. The Hale Koa has two outdoor pools with a hot tub, five restaurants and two bars (I recommend the pool bar!). Fitness and spa facilities are also available.
For entertainment they offer a twice weekly Luau, as well as magic and comedy shows. A wide variety of tours and excursions may be booked through the Hale Koa site.
For more information on the Hale Koa see:
The Hale Koa site – http://www.halekoa.com/
The Hale Koa on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/thehalekoa
Land Of The Morning Calm
Dragon Hill Lodge in Seoul, South Korea – A great jumping off point for touring South Korea.
Dragon Hill Lodge has 394 rooms and suites, with standard prices of $64 – $86 per night based upon rank. The Dragon Hill Lodge has an indoor pool and hot tub, five restaurants and two bars, and a shopping area called Market Square. Fitness and spa facilities are available. In addition to the restaurants, there is a deli-bakery, a Pizza Hut and Subway, and an ice cream/sundry concession similar to Cold Stone Creamery.
Dragon Hill Lodge offers a variety of tours and activities in and around Seoul, some of which are, cultural location tours, cherry blossom tours, paragliding, concerts, and DMZ tours.
For more information on the Dragon Hill Lodge see:
The Dragon Hill site: – http://www.dragonhilllodge.com/
Dragon Hill on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/DragonHillLodge
Room With A View
Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany – Vacation at the foot of the Bavarian Alps.
The Edelweiss Lodge has 330 rooms and 19 cabins, with standard prices of $86 – $149 per night based upon rank. The Edelweiss Lodge has an indoor pool and hot tub, four restaurants and two bars. Fitness and spa facilities are available.
The Edelweiss Lodge offers many different tour packages, from castle tours, to wine tasting. Other activities include walks, skiing, indoor rock climbing, arcade games, and kids programs.
For more information on the Edelweiss Lodge see:
The Edelweiss Lodge site: – http://www.edelweisslodgeandresort.com/
Edelweiss Lodge on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/EdelweissResort
A World Of Possibilities
With all the Armed Forces Recreation Centers have to offer, I highly recommend that you try to take advantage of one or all of them. The locations and prices can’t be beat!
Make some special memories before the next deployment or reconnect after one at one of these fantastic resorts. You’ll love it!
For more resources on travel, please see MilitaryOneClick’s Travel and Road Trip Pages.