By Ashley Kornee
SpouseLink Guest Blogger
Travel opportunities are sometimes few and far in between for military families. Husbands and wives who serve the U.S. military can often have just enough time to see their families, and no time to think about vacations or off-duty activities. Luckily, there are numerous organizations, military camps and facilities that offer discounts, specialized military travel packages and family resorts.
So if your military spouse is away and you need a change of scenery, here are some ideas on where to go, what to do and how to do it.
There are organizations that work closely with the U.S. government in order to make sure that their servicemen and women get the best possible bang for their buck when their families are concerned. What are some of the best travel opportunities you should consider the next time you are on a leave and want to spend some quality time with your family?
Armed Services YMCA, Camp Pendleton, CA
California is the proud host of Camp Pendleton, a U.S. army base with a very different mission than most. This base provides the utmost care for military families, children and spouses, while their significant person is serving the army. The base itself offers servicemen and women to serve right there in Camp Pendleton, while providing a plethora of specialized programs aimed at children and families in general.
These include regular workshops, creative competitions, on-camp playgrounds all while providing security and shelter for military families. The so-called “operations” are season-based, meaning that each time of the year offers different programs and activities for military families to participate in and around the base. Camp Pendleton is the perfect place to consider even if you are serving somewhere else in the U.S. but want to spend some quality time with your family at a very small cost.
Active Heroes Retreat Center, Shepherdsville, KY
Shepherdsville’s own army retreat is designed with healing and reconnecting in mind. This family retreat is based around the idea of forgetting the hardships of war and army service by allowing military families to heal through a wide range of activities. While the main idea of the center is the post-service return to the society, the camp is still open to servicemen and women on a leave who want to spend some quality time with their families.
Some of the activities included in this center are hiking, group cooking, camping and archery only to name a few. All of them are based on daily schedules that allow families to spend time on site in their very own cabin without having to worry about traveling back and forth each day.
The Kentucky-based center is situated in a richly grown forest area that can help anyone reconnect with their family through a natural and gradual process. The retreat even has wedding and celebration options for anyone who wants to make their relationship official or simply celebrate an important family date together away from the noise of the society.
Veteran’s Bed & Breakfast
Families who opt for traveling the U.S. instead of staying at one place can breathe easier knowing about the B&Bs for Vets. This program revolves around giving veterans free accommodation and discounts for staying with them. You can even sleepover at one of the many B&B across the U.S. and continue your way onward without paying a dime for the accommodation and breakfast you just received.
This is a very good option for anyone who served in the military or active personnel who might want to consider using their discount options. And just like a professional translator from The Word Point would tell you, discounts and special offers should never be overlooked, especially if they are this steep. Keep in mind that you will have to carry a proof of your service with you as well as announce your stay at least a day in advance so that the owners know to expect you and your family.
Band of Runners, Roanoke, VA
For the more physically active families, there is the Band of Runners camp to consider. Situated in the Roanoke Mountains, this camp revolves around marathons, hiking and sports activities all throughout the year. Different military specialists and coaches are always present on camp to provide assistance for newcomers as well as families who want to be completely involved with the program. There are also numerous activities focused solely on veterans, active service members as well as young and ambitious people who want to experience a bit of the army life in a safe environment.
Band of Runners center and program is a wonderful opportunity for families without small children who want to get active and do some physical exercises, connect with other families and share their stories with people of other military families. The camp has a long history of making friends out of strangers whose only connection is the serving father or mother or child.
Base Camp 40, CO
Base Camp 40 is an interesting choice for a Colorado family trip if you are in active duty or have a veteran’s status. This organization is situated in and around Colorado with different camps, activities and hiking trips to participate in if you and your family are looking for something to do in the wild. The main attraction of BC40 is the inclusion of hunting and phishing trips in its plethora of activities, meaning that you and your family can go hunting with the resident guides and camp owners if you’d like that kind of activity.
While some families prefer a more peaceful retreat that allows them some downtime, some might like to go on a hunting trip and experience a rancher’s life, which is also an option to take into consideration. With a motto that states “It is our duty to serve those that serve us”, you can rest assured that Base Camp 40 will take care of you properly and allow you to recharge your batteries as a family.
Birdies for the Brave, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Sponsored by the PGA Tours association, this Florida-based program allows veterans and serving men and women to spend some quality time in a golf course of their choosing. Birdies for the Brave are sponsored by no less than nine non-profit organizations who aim to deliver quality experience and stress relief to serving military personnel.
They do this through specialized tournaments that cater to specific mindsets, skillsets and interests of veterans and their accompanying families. They are even capable of financing or sponsoring the veterans who choose to take up golfing after their services are over, which is another great incentive to check this association out. Finding cheap, quality lodging around the center is also possible through site recommendations which are sure to help many families who can’t afford to splurge on a vacation.
Finding specialized, curated vacation activities for you and your family is only a matter of taste and preference. Luckily for everyone, the U.S. is proud of its army veterans and active personnel, supporting their decision to serve the country by managing to provide a wide range of programs to choose from.
You will not make a mistake by choosing any one of these programs over the other, so take your family’s preferences into consideration and make sure to enjoy yourself as much as possible. Even if you are still on duty and have quite a while until you are free to leave, planning a family getaway is always an exciting prospect to consider.
About Ashley Kornee