Review Detail

3.9 104
Florida 200776
Dec 31 - Jan 4
(Updated: January 05, 2013)
Overall rating
Overall Experience
VERY DISAPPOINTED!!! This is no longer a "recreation" area. It is a HOUSING area for snowbirds, and for some savvy Florida "residents" and contractors!! This is the most disorganized, inefficient camping area I've ever encountered, and I would not even call it a recreation area. I had not been here in 4 years, and boy has it changed. When I called to check, I specifically asked if there would be a space for us. We called less than 2 weeks before we went, and the young man ASSURED us that we would have at least partial hookups, and said to just "pick an open spot" if the office was closed. We drove 8 hours with 2 small kids for a 5-day vacation. WHAT A FIASCO !! We arrived about 4:30 New Year's Eve, the office was closed, and we picked an open spot. There were MANY open spots. The next day, we checked in with the camp host, who said we had to move to "dry camp" overnight (NO hookups of any sort) and then go into the office Jan. 2 at 10 am to get another spot. I went in there at 10 am Jan. 2, waited in a long line for an hour, with other people, only to be told we had to "dry camp" again EVEN THOUGH THERE WERE STILL MANY, MANY OPEN SPOTS WITH FULL HOOKUPS!! We traveled 8 hours to get there, with 2 small children, and bought over $100 worth of food that nearly spoiled. Also, the night we were in dry camp it got pretty cold, and we couldn't run our furnace or even a space heater. At 10 am Jan. 2, the office staff said "come back at noon" to see if we could get a partial or full hookup spot - STILL lots of empties!! - so we did. Then at noon, they said come back at 2. We came back at 2 - "come back at 4" so basically they jerked us around ALL DAY, wasting a full day of our 5-day vacation. Almost all the spaces that were empty the first day were empty throughout our stay. FInally at 4:30 I was completely fed up, told them we'd be leaving the next day, and that I would be contacting the base commander about this fiasco. (Which I certainly will). THERE WERE STILL DOZENS OF OPEN SPOTS, including the one which we'd selected the first night, that remained open the entire 5 days we were there! When I spoke to the manager, an empty full hook up site magically became available!! Mere SECONDS after the same young man I'd spoken to on the phone said there were NONE available and we'd have to dry camp again. HOORAY!! But not before wasting a full day, spoiling some of our food, and spoiling all our fun for 20% of our vacation time, not to mention causing a whole lot of stress. Had we known that this could happen, we could have at least brought our generator along. The fact that, when I called, we were ASSURED at least a partial hookup made this whole ordeal completely unacceptable. When I asked the manager how a site was now available when the guy JUST TOLD ME there weren't any, she said "well, he doesn't know what I see" on her computer. So apparently the folks there will just tell you anything, whether it's true or not. I heard this from lots of people: #1 - Florida residents rent their homes out to snowbirds in the winter for a lot of money, then take their RVs to live at MacDill while pocketing a good profit (renting homes for $2,000 or so per month, staying at MacDill for $600 per month including utilities). #2 - a certain percentage of spots "have" to remain open for active duty personnel (who presumably can just take off whenever they want (yeah, right) and go in with no reservations and no prior planning). #3 - retirees live here half the year (you can stay for 6 months at a time), and a certain percentage of spots are reserved for them. #4 - it's fine for civilian contractors and Reservists or active duty on TDY or PCS to live here, while getting per diem to live out "in town" and to pocket the savings. Now, I'm not bitter or anything, and don't begrudge anyone for taking advantage of a financial loophole especially in this economy, but this is supposed to be a RECREATION AREA, not a housing area. It's my understanding that MWR, non-appropriated funds, etc. are a separate funding stream from housing/BAQ, etc. So why are recreation facilities suddenly turned into housing areas? This used to be my favorite Florida campground. Not any more! Take your chances coming here, and make sure you bring your poop tank, water bottles, extra clothes, fans, heaters, generators, fuel, etc.
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January 05, 2013
Excellent review. I agree 100%
January 06, 2013
I couldn't agree more. Way too many 'clicks' over there with 'secret handshakes' and what seems to be under the table dealings. I dealt with that two years ago and haven't been back since. Unfortunately, this is certainly a situation where money talks. They have a steady, guaranteed, flow of income for the base because of this and as long as people keep showing up, there is no end in sight.
March 18, 2013
We see this situation all over military parks and state parks. Recreation facilities should be just that....nothing more. We as a collective group and individuals need to bring this issues to the base commanders, IG, whomever to stop all the garbage!
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