Adventure Awaits at These 16 Air Force Recreation Areas

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A calm lake with a fishing boat
Beautiful Birch Lake (Photo: Eielson AFB)

Looking to make the most of your travel-related benefits and explore some unique getaways? Learn about 16 Air Force Recreation Areas (and one operated by a Space Force Base) that promise fun, relaxation, and adventure for members of the military community.

Guest contributor and Air Force retiree Julie Chickery highlights each location’s own special charm, from tranquil scenic spots to action-packed activities perfect for a weekend escape or an extended stay. Start planning your next memorable trip now!

Visit the facilities’ respective websites (linked within each description) for pricing, availability, and reservation policies. Patrons authorized to use Air Force MWR services encompass a broad community, from active duty personnel and their families to retired military members, eligible veterans, and DoD civilians. Contact the facilities directly to confirm eligibility.

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Birch Lake Military Recreation Area (Salcha, AK)

A cabin with wooden shingles next to a lake
A waterfront cabin at Birch Lake (Photo: Eielson AFB)

Birch Lake offers the tranquility and beauty of the Alaskan wilderness while providing the amenities and activities you’ve come to expect from a military recreation site.

Operated by Eielson AFB, this MWR facility is located on the shores of a peaceful lake just one hour southeast of Fairbanks. You’ll find a wide range of boat rentals from pontoon and fishing boats to canoes, kayaks, and water cycles. They even have fishing gear and tackle, so you don’t need to bring anything with you.

Accommodations include 23 cabins, ranging from 1-2 person to family sized, as well as 36 RV sites with electric hookups, and seven tent camping sites

As you might expect due to the Alaska interior’s cold winter weather, Birch Lake is open seasonally from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend.

Lake Martin (Dadeville, AL)

A large wooden duplex cabin next to a lake
Cabins on Lake Martin (Photo: Lake Martin Outdoor Recreation Area Facebook page)

This lakeside destination operated by Maxwell AFB is the perfect place for you to enjoy sun soaked days in the Alabama countryside.

Located an hour northeast of Montgomery, Lake Martin boasts two fishing piers, a designated swimming area, and a beautiful sandy beach. All you need to bring is your bathing suit because they rent a variety of boats, both motorized and non-motorized, in addition to fishing gear.

Lake Martin has a large campground with 11 cabins, and 76 RV sites: 66 full hookup sites and an additional 10 with water and electricity.

Fort Tuthill (Flagstaff, AZ)

A large A-frame cabin in the woods
The multi-family A-frame cabin (Photo: Fort Tuthill)

Tucked away within the expansive beauty of the Coconino National Forest, Fort Tuthill is a haven for those seeking an escape to nature. Surrounded by Ponderosa Pines, this recreation area operated by Luke AFB provides an abundance of outdoor activities, including the resort’s own network of hiking and biking trails.

Fort Tuthill is open year round, and winter guests can take a turn on the seasonal tubing hill or visit the full ski and snowboard shop to get outfitted for the excellent nearby skiing opportunities.

Situated less than a 1 ½ hour drive from the iconic Grand Canyon National Park and 40 minutes from Sedona’s red rocks, this Air Force recreation area in the perfect location to serve as a base for your Arizona adventures. For an unforgettable experience, visitors can also participate in guided rafting trips along the western section of the Grand Canyon.

In addition to standard hotel style lodge rooms, Fort Tuthill offers 11 A-Frame cabins, 11 rustic cabins, 27 RV sites with 30 amp power and electricity and 13 tent campsites. The yurts, RV sites, and tent sites all have a picnic table and charcoal grill as well as access to a bathhouse and dump station.

Farish Recreation Area (Colorado Springs, CO)

Mountain with a dusting of snow as seen from a distant hill
Views of Pike’s Peak from Farish Recreation Area (photo: US Air Force Academy)

The US Air Force Academy operates this serene mountain getaway. It’s located on 655 acres of magnificent woodlands in Pike National Forest at an altitude of 9,200 feet.

With three fishing lakes, Farish is a must-visit destination for anglers. Open seasonally between May and October, it is also the quintessential stop for outdoor lovers, with access to hiking and mountain biking trails right outside your door.

Only 23 miles from Colorado Springs, the site offers a small convenience store, recreational equipment rental, and organized activities.

Lodging options include five family cabins, six duplexes, seven rustic cabins, and eight small RV sites. The tent campsites are lakefront and require you to walk in.

Patrick SFB Recreation Lodges and FamCamp (Cocoa Beach, FL)

Two beach chairs facing the ocean, shielded by a blue tent
The beautiful beaches across from Patrick SFB (photo: Patrick SFB Facebook page)

For a beach vacation on prime Florida real estate Patrick Space Force Base has two great options. The first is a stay in one of their three 3-bed/3-bath cottages located directly on the beach across Highway A1A from the base. These homes are a short walk from the Beach House recreation facility that hosts a small restaurant.

| Related Reading: Military Beaches in Florida

On the base, the Manatee Cove FamCamp offers 165 full hookup RV sites, 18 of which are right on the Banana River. This large campground has a private beach, community center with a full kitchen, recreation room, and two laundry/shower facilities.

One of the highlights of Patrick SFB is the expansive outdoor recreation equipment rentals, including bikes, boats, kayaks, SUPs, and more. The base also offers sailing lessons and a waterfront dining hall that is open to retirees.

Tyndall FamCamp (Panama City, FL)

A raised cabin in the woods
A cabin at Tyndall FamCamp (photo: Tyndall AFB)

Just minutes from the shores of Florida’s Emerald Coast, the FamCamp on Tyndall AFB offers a wooded retreat. Located outside the base security perimeter, it provides a perfect blend of accessibility and privacy.

The campground features 100 full hookup RV sites, 18 overflow dry camping sites, and three 2-bedroom cabins. Amenities include a beautiful community center with a kitchen and rec room, coin laundry, showers, and a playground.

The main base is less than two miles away and has everything you’ve come to expect from an Air Force Base including outdoor recreation, an ITT office, bowling alley, large Exchange, gas station, and commissary. One of the highlights of the base is the base’s Crooked Island Beach, a pristine spot to enjoy the sugar white sand and blue waters of the Gulf Coast.

Bellows Air Force Station (Waimanalo, HI)

The porch of a yellow building with views of the ocean in the distance
View from one of the Bellows condos (photo: Bellows AF Station)

In search of an alternative to the traditional high rise hotels of Honolulu? Bellows Air Force Station is the perfect antidote. Offering 109 beachfront cabins, 16 condo units, 10 rustic cabins, and 55 campsites, you can easily find the best fit for your vacation.

| Related Reading: Guide to Hawaii Military Resorts

You’ll find plenty to keep you busy if you want to stay and play on the private Bellows beaches, disc golf or miniature golf courses, and in the game room. Also, take advantage of their cultural offerings, including outrigger canoe paddling, lei making, and hula dancing classes.

Bellows’ outdoor recreation rental items include beach gear, water sports equipment, and camping essentials. When you’re ready to explore more of the island, the onsite ITT office can help you find the best activities at fantastic prices.

Okuma Beach (Okinawa, Japan)

A waterfront patio with furniture surrounded by a low stone wall
Your view from the beach cottages at Okuma Beach (photo: Kadena AB)

Nestled against the stunning backdrop of the East China Sea, Okuma Beach, operated by Kadena AB, offers pursuits on both water and land.

The peninsula boasts two pristine beaches, each promising an idyllic setting for water-based activities. North Beach, renowned for its swimming-friendly waters, features a designated swim area, complete with lifeguard supervision for a safe and enjoyable experience. If adventure is more your speed, check out South Beach’s impressive range of outdoor recreation rentals including jet skis, banana boats, and snorkeling gear.

Other water-based adventures include SCUBA diving trips and glass bottom boat tours.

For those who prefer on-shore activities, the resort offers a nine hole golf course, 18 hole mini golf course, and a go-kart racetrack to name a few.

Okuma boasts a wide range of accommodations including traditional hotel rooms and suites, seven beach cottages in multiple configurations, rustic log cabins with three beds, and a plethora of tent camping sites offered at the beachfront and hillside campgrounds.

Tama Hills Recreation Area (Tokyo, Japan)

A campfire at night with a lighted cabin in the background
Tama Hills offers an escape from urban life in Tokyo (photo: Yokota AB)

If you’re looking for a true getaway after exploring busy Tokyo, Tama Hills is for you! There is so much to do at this recreational destination, operated by Yokota Air Base, that you won’t want to leave. From mountain biking (traditional or electric) and hiking to horseback riding and rock climbing, Tama Hills offers a multitude of on-site activities to get your heart pumping.

The resort also has a dining room, bar/lounge, game room, laundry facilities, and fitness center. If you love the outdoors, Tama Hills has everything you could desire: hiking and mountain biking trails, an 18-hole golf course, archery range, paintball course, mini golf, and tennis courts.

This 250-acre forested complex offers a lodge with 14 private rooms, 12 cabins of varying sizes, 21 tent campsites, and four Yurts. If you’re really into history, Tama Hills also offers a bunker camping option inside a former bomb storage facility.

Barksdale FamCamp (Shreveport, LA)

A wooden path over a marsh surrounded by greenery
The setting of the FamCamp at Barksdale (photo: Barksdale AFB)

Barksdale AFB is home to 18,000 pristine acres of woods and bayous. The FamCamp is located right in the middle of this classic Louisiana setting.

With 52 full hookup RV sites and 18 recreational lodging homes (2-4 bedrooms), there is a place to stay for any type of traveler. The campground also has a clubhouse, laundry and shower facilities. Cullen Park, which has a playground, volleyball court, horseshoe pits, and a nature trail is located adjacent to the FamCamp.

You can also access the bases’ scenic lakes and ponds with boat/canoe rentals. Flag Lake is one of the most popular for fishing.

Fourth Cliff Recreation Area (Humarock, MA)

A large motorhome with a red SUV parked in front with views of the ocean in the background
Ocean views from Fourth Cliff (photo: You, Me, and the RV)

Halfway between the historic city of Boston and Cape Cod, Fourth Cliff Recreation Area spans 56 acres. Originally serving as an Army coastal artillery station during WWII, it is now operated by Hanscom Air Force Base and has been transformed into a treasured military recreation lodging area.

The area is uniquely positioned at the confluence of the North and South Rivers and Massachusetts Bay, making this Air Force MWR facility an ideal spot for rest and relaxation. Perched on a cliff, it provides stunning views of the North and South Rivers to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.

Its beach is a haven for visitors of all ages, offering mesmerizing views and ample opportunities for shell collecting and bottom fishing.

Fourth Cliff’s scenic grounds house 14 charming cottages, ranging from efficiencies to two and three-bedroom homes, alongside 11 RV sites.

Blakeslee AF Recreation Area (Kure Beach, NC)

The porch of a beachfront house
Beachfront cottages at Blakeslee (photo: Blakeslee Recreation Area)

Tucked between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean, this Air Force Recreation Area operated by Seymour Johnson AFB is one of the most popular East Coast military lodging sites. From crafts to naturalist walks and sunset SUP tours, their recreation staff keeps things moving.

The grounds also feature basketball, volleyball, bocce ball, and a swimming pool.
When you’re ready to hit the beach, check out their variety of rentals including beach chairs, umbrellas, boogie boards, and fishing equipment.

Accommodations fit families of all sizes and include 40 cottages (one, three, and four bedrooms) and 25 RV sites with full hookups.

Wateree Recreation Area (Camden, SC)

A large wooden cabin
A waterfront cabin at Wateree Recreation Area (photo: Wateree Recreation Area)

Set against a backdrop of 25 lush, wooded acres on a secluded peninsula, Wateree Recreation Area offers a variety of accommodations designed to suit every need and taste.

Guests can choose from 11 cozy 2-bedroom cabins, four spacious 3-bedroom cabins, and an intimate 1-bedroom cabin, all nestled quietly amongst the trees. For those who prefer camping, the area offers 22 RV sites equipped with all necessary amenities and a vast selection of tent sites that bring you closer to nature’s doorstep.

Obviously the lake is the big draw to this site, and water sports enthusiasts will find everything they need here. The park offers rentals for ski boats, pontoon boats, stand-up paddleboards (SUPs), canoes, and kayaks, as well as fishing gear and inflatables.

Wateree also features a 3,500-square-foot recreation hall complete with a fully equipped kitchen. Outside, the adventure continues with a playground, multiple fishing spots, boat docks, and a boat launch giving access to the water for those eager to explore.

Arnold Recreational Lodging (Tullahoma,TN)

A wooden boat dock with a table and chairs
Docks and picnic tables for cabin residents on Wingo Lake (photo: Arnold AFB)

Halfway between Chattanooga and Nashville, Arnold AFB has several recreational lodging options on the shores of the Woods Reservoir.

The Wingo Lakeside Lodge offers 22 rooms and suites, eight of which are available for long-term stays (minimum of 1 month). Other lodging options include four fully-equipped 2-bedroom cabins, and five rustic 1- and 2-bedroom cabins. The FamCamp has 36 RV sites with water and electricity. There are also 16 primitive tent campsites.

If you want to explore the 3,000 reservoirs, the marina rents boats, kayaks, paddleboards, and water trikes. After a full day of fun, stop by the Landing Bar for a drink and some music.

Rec Camp at Lake Nasworthy (San Angelo, TX)

A motorhome parked next to a lake with a bright orange sunset in the background
Sunset over Lake Nasworthy (photo: Goodfellow AFB)

Anglers flock to this lake stocked with largemouth bass, white crappie, and flathead catfish. The Rec Camp, operated by Goodfellow AFB, boasts a state-of-the-art floating dock and marina that offers everything you need to get started. When you’re not out on the lake, there are two parks and a swimming pool to enjoy.

Lodging options include seven cabins that sleep 4 – 5 guests and 30 RV sites (20 full hookup and 10 water and electric). You can also rent one of four models of campers from their fleet!

Clear Lake Resort (Cheney, WA)

A cabin in a grassy area near an RV park
The cabins and RV sites at Clear Lake (photo: Fairchild AFB)

This seasonal military resort (open late April through Early September) is located on a spring-fed lake. A treasure trove for fishing enthusiasts, the lake is well stocked with everything from bass and catfish to trout and crappie. They even sell Washington State fishing licenses right on site.

If you’d like a little more excitement on the water, the resort rents ski boats and all the equipment you’ll need to enjoy it. There’s also a sandy beach and covered play area.

Accommodations include seven cabins, one yurt, 24 full hookup RV sites, six overflow water and electric RV sites, and 20 tent sites, all within sight of the beautiful lake.

Ready to Use Your Benefits to Stay in Air Force MWR Lodging?

All of these Air Force Recreation Areas offer family-friendly escapes from the everyday. Whether you seek the thrill of jet skiing, the tranquility of fishing, or the warmth of sun-kissed beaches, there’s an option to suit your needs.

Remember, if you see a facility you like, reserve it as early as possible! Some of these military recreation areas are very popular and fill up quickly.

Also, for more military recreational lodging, check out what the Army and Navy have to offer!

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Author Bio: Julie Chickery is a travel writer with a passion for exploration. She caught the travel bug while serving 20 years in the U.S. Air Force. After retirement, Julie and her husband, Sean, lived in their fifth-wheel RV for six years before settling down near their grandchildren. She shares travel tips and itineraries for epic road trips on her blog, Chickery’s Travels.

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