We just spent a month at the Patrick AFB Family Campground (aka FamCamp), Manatee Cove. It is in a lovely location close to several beaches and many activities!
It is fairly small with 156 full-hookup sites (electricity, water, and sewer). There is also a 24-hour community center with free WiFi, but it does not extend to the individual sites.
They do not take reservations unless you are active duty, but as you can see in the video above there are plenty of open spaces in the summertime. However, if you want to stay here for the winter, you need to arrive early in the season. You can stay for up to 179 days at a time, and then you have to leave for 48 hours before returning.
Before I tell you more about the base and campground amenities, let me explain about your arrival to the base. Patricks has the maze style entry and no size of RV can get through the main gates. Instead, you have to go to the commercial gate off of A1A. If you are coming from I-95, take the Pineda Causeway to A1A and turn left. You’ll see a sign on the right in front of some brown buildings that tells you the commercial gate is the next left. There is a turn lane that you can get into. This is important because the driveway to the gate is not very long and depending on the size of your RV, you may have to wait in this turning lane for someone to open the gate. If you are arriving outside of traditional Mon-Fri duty hours, you will need to call the law enforcement desk at 321-494-2008 to get someone to meet you at the gate.
No Check-ins After Dark
Once you get though the commercial gate, you’ll turn right and drive around the flight line to the FamCamp. There are signs along the way to direct you. If you are arriving at night, you will have to pull into Chevron Park for the night because the campground doesn’t allow check in after dark.
Camp Host or Office
Continuing on past the park, you will approach the campground. Another important thing to know is that the campground office has very unusual hours. I’d recommend checking the website to verify, but at the time of this posting they were from 9am to 1pm 4 days per week. If you arrive outside that window, you will check with the camp host. When you enter the campground you will see a large area to pull over. The first spaces on either side of the road are camp hosts that rotate duty schedules. There will be a sign indicating which one is on duty. If the sign is not flipped up, you can proceed to the office, which is straight ahead.
There are many gravel sites right on the river and they cost $30 per night or $810 per month. All other sites are $22 per night or $595 per month May through October and $24 a night or $650 a month November through April.
Right after the turn for the office, is the new section of the campground. The older sites are all gravel, but there are many paved sites in the new section when you pass the office. However, there is no shade and many of the neighboring sewer connections are extremely close to the adjacent patios.
Right behind the office is the newer of the two bath houses, and the only currently operational laundry room. That means there are only 6 washers and 4 dryers for the entire campground, although the price is right at .75 each! There are also two dog runs right beside it.
Walking Paths, Dining Facility and Outdoor Recreation
One of my favorite parts of the campground was its accessibility to two walking paths. Every morning I walked along the one at the edge of the camp. The other begins right after Chevron Park and is a paved path that leads to Dining Facility and Outdoor Recreation. Retirees can eat at the Dining Facility and it has a screened veranda overlooking the water. Be sure to check out Outdoor Recreation while you’re at Patrick. They rent bicycles both regular and these new elliptical bikes, as well as boats, kayaks, fishing gear, and stand up paddle boards. You can rent items by the hour, day, or weekend to use over at the FamCamp.
Marina and Beach House
Finally, in addition to all the usual amenities of an Air Force base, there are two that stand out. First is the Marina over by the south gate, which has live music every weekend. They also offer sailing lessons and boat rentals. Next, is the Beach House and base beach. Directly across A1A from the east gate, it has food, beach rental items, and live music to enjoy right on the beach.
A great source of information for the Patrick AFB campground and others is the website US Military Campgrounds and RV Parks. It provides a wealth of information including which gate to enter the installation, as well as reviews.
We plan to post reviews of all the campgrounds we stay at from now on, so please subscribe to get updates. To see a recent review of the MacDill AFB Campground in Tampa, FL click here.