10 Military Recreation Facilities to Consider for Your Next Vacation – OCONUS Edition

By Stephanie Montague, Military Spouse                                                                                                                          (photo: Rota, Spain)

We recently shared affordable vacation ideas using military recreational facilities within the CONUS. In this article, we have ideas for folks stationed or traveling OCONUS.

OCONUS Military Recreation Facilities

You may be familiar with the Armed Forces Recreation Centers, which include Edelweiss in Germany, the Hale Koa in Hawaii, and Dragon Hill Lodge in Korea. Those resorts are amazing, but if you’re thinking about spring break and you don’t already have a reservation, it may be too late. Here are 10 lesser-known OCONUS Military Recreation Facilities to try this year!

  1. The Cottages at Kaneohe Bay

These serene beach cottages are located on Marine Corps Base (MCB) Hawaii. They offer amazing views of Kaneohe Bay, a beautiful stretch along the coast of Oahu. While you’re there, you can enjoy the other facilities on MCB Hawaii, including the famous Kaneohe Klipper golf course, known as one of the best courses in the military.

The cottages are basic but are fully furnished with kitchens and private decks. All of the 13 cottages have 2 bedrooms and 1 bath and can accommodate up to 4 guests. The rate is $144 per night for all patrons year round.

Reservation Policy:

  • Active duty stationed at Kaneohe Bay or Camp Smith: up to 4 months in advance
  • Active duty Marines not stationed on Kaneohe Bay: up to 3 months in advance
  • Other active duty, reservist or retired military: up to 2 months in advance
  1. Bellows Air Force Station

This beautiful recreation area is located on Waimānalo beach on the southeastern side of Oahu, Hawaii. Bellows has 117 lodging units, including cabins, condos, and campsites. You can rent virtually any type of beach, camping, or sport equipment from the Turtle Cove recreation station. They also offer fun adventures like snorkeling tours, stand-up paddle board lessons, and Hawaiian culture classes.

Standard cabins sleep up to 6 guests and cost $105 per night. The condo units also accommodate 6 people at a rate of $132 per night. Other options including the “rustic” Cedar Camper cabins ($33/night) and the family campsites ($22/night).

Reservation Policy:

The peak summer season runs from  late May to  early August. The window for active duty reservations opened in December. Other eligible patrons can reserve for summer starting March 1. Reservations for non-peak season can be made up to 13 months in advance if you book online. For the full reservation policy, visit the Bellows website.

  1. Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) Barking Sands Beach Cottages

Enjoy an escape to paradise on the island of Kauai. It takes a little extra effort to get here, but you will be rewarded with peace and quiet, great views, and a good base from which to explore one of Hawaii’s less-visited islands. While staying at Barking Sands, you also have access to other facilities on PMRF, including the fitness center and the Community Recreation Center, which rents all of the equipment you need to enjoy your time at the beach.

Barking Sands has 24 cottages. Half are beachfront, but all have ocean views. The 2-bedroom, 1-bath cottages sleep up to 6 people and are $120 per night. The 3-bedroom, 2-bath cottages can accommodate 8 guests and are $135 per night.

Reservation Policy: Up to 1 year in advance for active duty, 6 months for all others.

  1. Seward Military Resort

This full-service recreational facility is located in Seward, Alaska. It offers year-round activities for adventurous travelers, including charter fishing tours, snow sports, hiking, zip-lining, and glacier-viewing.

Seward Resort has many accommodation options, including a motel, townhouses, log cabins, and RV/camping sites. Prices vary by rank, season, and type of accommodation. Visit their website to see the full list of rates.

Reservation Policy: All guests may reserve up to a year in advance.

  1. Okuma Beach

Okuma Beach is an amazing beachfront recreation area at the northern end of Okinawa, Japan. About a 90-minute drive from Kadena Air Base, it makes for a great getaway from the cluster of U.S. military bases on the central part of the island. You can enjoy a variety of beach and marine activities, including jet ski rental, glass bottom boat tours, and snorkeling. Okuma Beach also has facilities for tennis, golf, and Go-Karting.

Lodging options at Okuma Beach include cottages, cabins, bungalows, and individual studios/suites. Prices vary depending on the accommodation and time of year. Peak season is April through September.

Reservation Policy: All patrons can reserve for peak season up to 6 months in advance. Non-peak reservations can be made up to 11 months out.

  1. Tama Hills Recreation Center

If you’re looking for an escape near the Tokyo/Yokohama area in Japan, Tama Hills is a great way to relax and spend time outdoors. This facility includes a golf course and numerous other sports fields. You can also enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and archery. The Outdoor Recreation Office rents a broad range of camping, sports, and outdoor equipment.

Tama Hills has a lodge with rooms ranging from $48 for a single to $80 for a DV. Cabins are $70 and up.

Reservation Policy: Only SOFA status personnel stationed in Japan may reserve lodging at Tama Hills. Eligible patrons stationed at Yokota Air Base can reserve rooms up to 120 days in advance. Patrons stationed elsewhere in Japan have a shorter reservation window or other restrictions. Visit the Tama Hills website for details.

  1. Wild B.O.A.R. Outdoor Recreation Cabins

This facility is an activity of Grafenwoehr, Germany MWR and includes cabins in two different locations.

The cabins at Grafenwoehr (Tower Barracks), along with the entire Wild B.O.A.R.  Outdoor Recreation center, are located on scenic Dickhäuter Lake. The 2-bedroom cabins accommodate up to 5 people and cost $125 per night. The 3-bedroom cabins sleep up to 7 guests for $150 per night. Each cabin is equipped with a kitchenette and free Wi-Fi. While staying at the cabins, you have access to all of Wild B.O.A.R. Outdoor Recreation’s activities. There is an on-site climbing wall and ropes course, equipment rental for a huge range of outdoor activities year-round, and many day trips and tours.

The cabins at Vilseck (Rose Barracks) are a bit more rustic but have modern furniture. They also have full kitchens, but no Wi-Fi. A 2-bedroom cabin sleeps 4 and is $75 per night. A 3-bedroom cabin can accommodate up to 6 people for $90 per night. Facilities near the cabins include a playground, camping area, an RV parking area, and a sports field.

Reservation Policy: All military ID card holders may make reservations on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no official timeline.

  1. Carney Park

Carney Park is an activity of Navy MWR Naples (Italy). This unique park is located in the crater of an extinct volcano. It includes a golf course, numerous sports fields, and an Olympic-size swimming pool. You can also rent bikes, tents, and other recreation equipment or book tours through the Navy Outdoor Recreation Center.

There are 27 cabins available for rent as well as camping and RV sites. Cabin prices range from $40 to $70 per night or $200 to $350 per week. Their website has details of the lodging options.

Reservation Policy: Eligible patrons may reserve up to one year in advance.

  1. Souda Bay Outdoor Recreation

While not a military recreation facility, you can stay at the Navy Gateway Inns & Suites (NGIS) at Naval Support Activity Souda Bay (Greece) and enjoy a fantastic vacation. Take advantage of the base’s amazing location on the island of Crete and use their Outdoor Adventure Center to enjoy kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, cycling, and a range of other activities. You can use their rental equipment and plan your own adventure, or you can join one of their many day and overnight trips.

Nightly rates at NGIS range from $39 for a private room with shared bath to $100 for a VIP room.

  1. Rota Naval Base Community Recreation

Located in southern Spain, Rota Naval Base is another great spot to create your own adventure vacation. Rota is a charming town with beautiful beaches and proximity to many other fantastic destinations. You can take a short ferry ride to Cadiz, the oldest city in Europe, or drive to the famous city of Seville. Rota’s Outdoor Recreation office has amazing day and overnight trips, including hiking, skiing, canyoning and mountain biking. Their Tickets & Travel office plans fun outings like touring a bodega with Sherry tasting, Flamenco shows, and regional city tours.

Rota Naval Base has two lodging options: a Navy Lodge and a Navy Gateway Inns & Suites.

PCSgrades.com is a community of military and veteran families helping each other with our biggest relocation needs through trusted reviews. Help us help each other and submit your reviews today.  Together, we can truly make a difference!

PCSgrades Author: Stephanie Montague is a communications consultant and freelance writer. She is the founder of Poppin’ Smoke, a website designed to encourage members of the military community to use their military benefits for (fun) travel. Stephanie and her husband have been traveling the world since he retired from the Army in 2015. Through Poppin’ Smoke, Stephanie shares everything she and her husband learn about Space-A travel, using military benefits while abroad, and getting the most out of travel experiences. Stephanie shares news from military MWR facilities, updates from other military blogs, and links to great travel content on the Poppin’ Smoke Facebook Page. You can also follow her on Twitter or Pinterest.

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