Campground Review: Ft Benning Destin Rec Area, Destin FL

Dates: December 26-31, 2015

Campsite: 2108

Overall Score: 4.58 (out of 5)

Summary: This military campground features full hookups and is located in Destin, one of the top vacation destinations in the Southeast. We made it ground zero for an 18-person Christmas family reunion. At 4.58, this is our highest scoring campground to date.

Recreation/Amenities: 4.5

  • A marina where you can rent pontoons, wave-runners and kayaks, or launch your own boat
  • Charter fishing, harbor tours, and dolphin watching tours
  • Fishing/crabbing pier
  • Swimming pool, playground, picnic facilities, and a 2,500 square foot splash park
  • Fitness facilities and recreation equipment, including treadmills, TVs, kayaks, and paddle boards
View from the Tuna Villa
View from the Tuna Villa

Hookups & Connectivity: 4.9 – Finally, a campground that has it all! Electricity, water, sewer, free Wi-Fi, cable TV, and laundry facilities. Minor deduction because the cable reception wasn’t consistent, although that may have been due to the weather. Also, our 30-amp box had an issue, so we went with the 50-amp box, using a dog bone converter, gauze pads, and the valve off an old flux capacitor.

Local Vicinity Things to Do: 4.8 – Destin offers something for everyone. In addition to the sugar sand beaches and emerald green waters, you’ll find several golf courses, deep sea fishing, the Destin Commons open air mall, an outlet mall, water parks, miniature golf, laser tag, etc. For a more complete list, here’s the link… http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g34182-Activities-Destin_Florida.html

Among the two hundred plus restaurants, we especially like Dewey Destin Seafood, Harry T’s, The Shrimp Basket, Landshark’s Pizza, The Back Porch and late night key lime pie at the Donut Hole Bakery.

Cleanliness: 4.5 – Solid. No major issues.

Rec Area Pool
Rec Area Pool

Intangibles: 4.2

Pros

  • Lots of nostalgia associated with this place, as we have enjoyed several extended family reunions at this rec area, especially in the 90s and 00s.
  • Wide range of lodging options, all non-smoking, including RV sites, 1-bedroom suites, 2- and 3-bedroom villas, hotels and studios. The spacious Tuna Villa is available for colonels and above and is a good gathering point for family reunions.
  • Most lodging units have a water view of Choctawhatchee Bay
  • Pleasantly surprised to run into the Bagwell family at Destin Commons…good friends we worshipped with during our two years in Germany. Small world.
  • Good security—gated with code entrance at night.
  • Affordable…especially the RV sites, at $21/night.
  • Shout out to the office staff at the Destin Church of Christ for mailing me my Bible (with 20 years worth of notes) that I inadvertently left on a pew during a worship service.

Cons

  • Rained much of the week, although that’s not the fault of the campground. Rain has never stopped our family from having fun and finding things to do.
  • RV sites are packed in pretty tight with no water view.
  • Traffic jams, especially on Destin’s main strip, are pretty commonplace
  • Limited traditional hiking options, although beach hikes are fun
  • Our day trip to the normally really cool town of Seaside was mostly a bust due to a red tide outbreak. Specifically, some Karenia brevis bloomed causing ophthalmalgia and tussis for our group and the other tourists and residents trying to enjoy the town and beach. Embrace my medical terminology swag.

Bottom line: We had a wonderful Christmas week at the Fort Benning Rec Area! For the first time, our holiday gathering featured both our daughter and daughter-to-be…the incomparable Rachel and Laci. Rachel’s awesome parents, Ron and Jackie Swift, also joined us which made the week even more special.

Big Steve

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