Friday, September 11, 2015

Beale Fam Camp

Fam Camps are campgrounds operated by the Air Force. All military branches operate recreation facilities - the Air Force seems to be the only one using this title. To keep down labels in the sidebar I am going to label all military campgrounds as Fam Camps.

Beale's Fam Camp is nestled in the rolling foothills next to Lower Blackwelder Lake. As this is year 3 of a drought in the area, the lake looks more like a small pond and the hills are golden....BUT the area has a wide-open beauty, there are fish in the lake and it's a nice place to land.
Beale hosts 44 30/50 amp paved full-hookups and a field for tent sites.  The sites are spacious and most (if not all) have their own grassy area.
Smoke from the Butte Fire turned the sky wild

There is a nice air conditioned lounge with TV, game closet,  fridge, oven and a book swap. Monthly events are held for those staying at Fam Camp. The bathroom/showers are clean and the laundry room is the best we've seen yet. There are only 2 washer/dryers but they are new and work well. It's $1.50 to wash and $1.00  to dry for 52 minutes.  Free Wi-fi is advertised. This is our 3rd stay  here and it seems to only work up by the lounge/laundry area - very fast there.  One of the best features of Beale's Fam Camp is the friendly and helpful host, Mike. I have enjoyed my conversations with him.  Another fun element of Beale Fam Camp is the sense of community. We are new enough at this that I'm not sure if it's because it's a fam camp or because of the full-timers on extended stays.  We had several kids asking us when we'd be back as we left.
Our Gherkins in the Fam Camp Lounge
Beale is near Sacramento, gold rush towns, Empire Mine,  rivers, lakes and within a day's drive to the Sierra Nevada's, the Bay Area and much more.  Beale, was a hopping place during WW2.  There are old ruins out by the Fam Camp. An interesting spot to stop on base is the old POW cell block - ask at the front desk for directions.
The advertised maximum length of stay is 120 days per calendar year.  Beyond 120 days you must have an extension from  a commander (FSS?). I was told they must keep that number at 25% or below.  This means, even with the full-time population, there never seems to be trouble getting a spot.  We have run into trouble at a couple of other Fam Camps. Reservations are accepted and can be made up to 45 days in advance. You can make a reservation at 530-634-3382.

Full hook-ups are $18 a day for Active Duty, Reservist, Retired Military, and  National Guard. They are $20 a day for DOD Civilians, Retired DOD and sponsored guests. Dry campsites are $8 a day. Visit Beale's Fam Camp website. 

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