This RV park has been rated as one of the finest military campgrounds in the country
and now we know why. We have been here the entire month of
February (I wrote this entry after leaving). It is very well run,
attractive, and cost-effective, especially with its monthly rate.
We like it so much we've decided to come back again the last two
weeks in March.
Scenic Lake D is next to the
campground; our site is off to the left.
Because of the campground's popularity we were very lucky to be able
to stay here for four weeks in one site, without having to move.
Jim found Eagle Hammock during an online search of
military RV parks in November or December. The first time he called to
ask about staying for the whole month of February, Matt (the MWR person
on site) said there weren't any vacant sites for that period of time. We
reserved a site for a shorter stay and Matt noted our request.
Our Cameo at Eagle Hammock
A couple days later Matt called to say someone had cancelled for the
whole month of February -- would we still like to come then?
Absolutely! We were very happy.
We lucked out even more because the newly-cancelled site was one of
only ten next to the lake and not in one of the two loops farther from the water.
photos we'd seen, we preferred the
This view shows the last four of the ten lakeside
sites. We're in #9.
The blue water is a shallow half-circle channel on one corner of the
We have thoroughly enjoyed this campground and our site next to the
lake at the far end of the campground.
Although we are farther from the office and activity building/laundry
room, it's usually very quiet and convenient for taking the dogs out to
potty by the lake, at the nearby dog walk, or in the woods behind us.
The water is only about 50 feet away from the front of our site. We
love being able to see clouds reflected in the water and watch the
nearby herons, egrets, ibis, ducks, geese, and other waterfowl.
Bench for enjoying the lake near
Beware the alligators! We
can't let the dogs swim in the lake
but they have lots of places to
run and hike around it.
Pier near the lakeside sites;
love those clouds!
That's the short version of our month at Kings Bay. For more
information and photos, keep reading.
A WARM WELCOME
Not only has the weather been mostly dry and seasonably warm during
the month of February -- mid-40s to mid-60s F. is average for
this time of year -- but we also received a very warm welcome
when we arrived the first of the month.
Matt Sparks, the MWR staff member on duty at the campground office on
weekdays, is a very organized and personable young man who tries
hard to please all his guests, whether they are here for one night or
three months. He is full of useful information and quickly addresses any problems.
Fortunately, we haven't presented him with any. We're happy campers.
The two campground host couples and the volunteer who organizes
social events are also a pleasure to know.
Black line = our driving route from Mayport Naval
Station, FL to Kings Bay Sub Base, GA.
A = Kings Bay. Yellow highlighted line =
FL-GA border. Map courtesy of Google.
Jim had already talked to Matt on the phone several times before we
arrived. When we came in the first day he greeted us like old friends.
Despite some computer problems Matt got us checked in fairly quickly. I
was impressed by the stack of ten green folders on his desk, ready for
all the folks who were due in that day. We were the first newbies to
arrive and he was OK with checking us in a couple hours early.
Each folder had the name of the person reserving a site that day. A
detailed campground map stapled to the front showed our site and how to
Inside the folder was a card with the campground mailing address, phone
number, website, etc., a better map of the base than we often get at
other military installations, rules and regulations, and lots of useful
information about TV stations, restaurants, dining on and off base,
indigenous flora and fauna, etc.
The campground office
overlooks the lake.
The monthly rate for the ten back-in lakeside sites is $570-$600,
depending on how many days are in the month. Since it's a short month we
paid $560 ($20/day). The daily rate is $21.
The fifty back-in and pull-through sites in the other two loops farther
from the lake range from $540-$570 per month or $19/day.
are an additional seven overflow sites where extra RVs can pull up next
to some of the end sites in the two loops and plug into the electricity
and water. I don't know the cost of those. I'm glad no one can
piggy-back onto the lakeside sites because it would impact our water and
View of A Loop from the lake; some of those sites
have a lake view.
sites in the A loop; back-in sites are in front of and behind them
around the loop.
The sixty full-hookup
sites have water, 30/50-amp electricity, sewers, cable TV (15 stations),
and free WiFi. We have a good Verizon phone and MiFi signal when we need
a secure internet connection.
A nice bonus here is
"free" laundry, like at Mayport. Even though the cost is added into the
site fees, to us it seems free because 1) we do a lot of laundry and 2)
the sites here and at Mayport cost about the same as those at other
military installations where we have to feed quarters into the washers
Activity building/laundry/restrooms/showers, with B
Loop in the distance
The laundry room and
restrooms with showers are separated from the activity room (The Nest) by a breezeway. They are located in the center of the two loops. The
office is in a separate wooden building between the first loop and the
lakeside row of sites.
AT HOME IN LAKESIDE SITE #9
We really like the location of the ten lakeside sites because they are
all large, fairly isolated,
and next to a wooded area. Back here we don't have
RVs in front of or behind us and we have a great view of the
lake about 50 feet away. The views would be even better in a motorhome
because the windshield would face the lake.
I marked our camper
with an arrow in the picture below. The older fella in the camper to the
left of us has an unusual travel trailer with a large living room picture
window in the front. Our 5th-wheel is more typical, with the bedroom and
no windows on the front cap:
Our Cameo has lots of windows on the door side (shown above) and back, however, and we
have good views to the lake from our living area.
I don't know how he did it, but the guy in site #6 pulled his large
Bighorn 5th-wheel in head first and somehow got his truck disconnected
and out. He's here long-term so we'll never get to watch him try to get
it hooked back up!
Each of the sixty sites at Eagle Hammock has a concrete pad with picnic table
and fire ring in a grassy area.
The roads through the campground are gravel. Several handicapped sites
near the activity building, laundry room, and restrooms have paved paths
to those areas.
The two loops on the other side of the campground office are brightly
lit at night. I like the fact that the lakeside sites
don't have bright lights at night. We feel safe on base and are
satisfied to have a short lamp post light at our site. The
hose/sewer/and electrical connections are
also lit at night in case we need to go out and make adjustments.
One of the advantages of our spot is being able to watch the final
construction of two cabins just beyond lakeside site #10:
We're buffered from the cabin construction by whoever occupies site #10,
which has been assigned to folks this month who are here for just a few
days at a time. Some of the other lakeside sites (such as ours) are occupied by people
staying one or more months at a time.
I took the two construction photos above on February 1, our first day here.
The next picture shows some of the trenching that was done a few feet
behind our camper on February 5. It was interesting to "supervise" the
work from inside our RV. I took this and several other photos out our
Work continued on the cabins throughout the month but the trench
work for electricity, water, and sewer was completed the first week we were here and the orange
construction fencing was removed on the gravel roadway.
After that, work on the cabins was quieter and less obvious --
skirting around the bottom of the two mobile units (stationary, but on
wheels), wooden steps on the front, and interior work we couldn't see.
By the end of the month I was able to see inside both cabins when the
campground maintenance host was working on them:
Above and below: inside and
outside the smaller of the two cabins.
The one to the right has higher
vaulted ceilings and a loft.
The cabins are quite nice. I think they are a great idea for military families and
retirees who don't camp but want to spend weekends or vacations at the
lake. When completed in March they will rent for $60/night.
The only other noise we've had at this campground is logging being
done in the forest west of the campground. The woods behind us usually
buffer those sounds but some of the other campers have complained to
management about it.
I think they need to be more thankful for what they've got here.
Many of the military campgrounds where we've stayed had much more
noise than this -- loud cargo and fighter planes at Air
Force bases, helicopters and shooting ranges at Navy bases and
Army posts, nearby trains, construction projects, horns, sirens, and so
Beautiful reflections in the lake
We can't complain about life by the lake at Eagle Hammock. It's
mostly a quiet, restful place with calming views of the water.
Through the years we've discovered that many snowbirds who stay for
several months at a particular RV park -- whether military,
public, or private -- want lots of organized activities. I guess
they get bored by themselves or they aren't motivated enough to
organize their own preferred group activities. Maybe when we're
in our 70s or 80s we'll be that way, too.
Some military campgrounds provide social activities. In our
experience, most don't. Perhaps Florida in the winter is different.
It appears to us that Eagle Hammock RV Park does a good job
trying, although some other campers have complained about the lack of
activities here. They seem to be the same curmudgeons that don't
like the new cabins (they think there should be more RV pads instead), the gravel
roadways through the campground (they want them all paved),
the reservation system, the $1/day fee increase after none in
two years, or the new limit on retiree "homesteading" in the campground
for more than three or four months at a time . . .
We were pretty amazed at all the griping some people did
when MWR had a two-hour feedback session for campground patrons the
last night we were here. Thankfully, others like us spoke up
with positive affirmations for the current MWR staff and policies.
I just don't get it. The petty complainers either need to go to some of the
other military FamCamps that aren't run anywhere near as well as this
one is, or do the rest of us a favor and just lease a winter spot at a private
RV park in Florida where they'll pay many times the cost to find
all the amenities they seek.
The volunteer who organizes social activities at Eagle Hammock
RV Park this winter is named Betty. She's a retiree and lives in
a small Class C motorhome two doors down
from us in site #7. It's rare to find an actual activities
director at a military campground, let alone one as enthusiastic as Betty.
She came into the office when we were checking in the first day. She quickly
introduced herself, welcomed us, offered us an activity calendar for
February, and encouraged us to participate in as
many activities as we were interested. Guests can either pick up
a copy of the monthly activity calendar in the office or look at the
calendars posted in the office, the activity building (The
Nest), laundry room, or the restroom. They are readily available
View across the wetland to
lakeside sites #7-10
There was at least one activity listed on 27 of the 28 days in February.
Some of them take place at The Nest, the building in
the center of the two inland campground loops. They include ice
cream socials and card games on Monday nights, pizza on
Tuesdays, bunco and movies on Fridays, two wine and cheese
parties, a Super Bowl party, a pot luck dinner, and a pancake breakfast.
Other activities are off-base, including several trips to St. Marys for bingo,
Zumba, or historical tours, three casino boat trips, and day trips to St.
Augustine, the Jacksonville Zoo, and the Woodbine Opry. Some trips are via car
pool and some are in a large van with a small fee for the gasoline.
I've even read complaints in the online campground reviews about having to pay
a small fee for gas to attend off-base activities . . .
General John Floyd House built in 1830 in
St. Marys, GA
Jim and I never choose a campground based on the activities that are offered.
We aren't party animals and we don't play bingo, cards, or do Zumba.
We don't care to participate in the types of large group activities we've usually
seen at campgrounds -- but we don't complain about what's
offered. We just do our own thing or join another couple in activities we share.
We did participate in a couple ice cream socials and pancake breakfasts at Kings
Bay and Mayport. That's one way we enjoy meeting other folks in the campground.
Our preferred method, however, is to meet other campers hiking on the trails around the
lake, walking their dogs, or cycling -- activities we enjoy.
I'll talk more about those things in the next entry and give you
a little tour of the base.
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup
© 2013 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil