The Avon Park Air Force Range has approximately 82,000 acres open for public access on a regular basis (unless there are ongoing active range missions) for hiking, hunting, fishing, camping, and other related activities. There is also a separate "military only" section. This is very rustic and rural camping.
Avon Park Air Force Range Outdoor Recreation
Type of site
Free with Entry
I went to this campground on a week day and the security person at the gate told me that the campground office was closed and I could not enter unless I had a permit, My DOD ID card was not good enough. He was very pleasant and called someone to help me, so a volunteer that worked at the campground office came and also told me that I could not enter unless I had a permit. He was very nice and when I asked if he could show me the campground he consented and was very friendly, The campground for persons other than volunteers is way out in the middle of nowhere and very primative, I saw 3 old campers and a big tent that looked like it had been there for a long time. The campground had no water but a pump that didn't work and a old metal cargo container that was going to be showers once hooked up. The volunteers campground is just inside the main gate and very nice. When I inquired about the campground office hours, it sounded to me that the hours were sporadic and not very regular. In order to obtain a permit you have to call or come in person, and if the office is closed the phone call will be unanswered and its a long drive from Avon Park to the gate. Once you get your name on the books and have a permit, you can come and go any time, all you have to do is show your permit at the gate and sign a log book at the campground office, but getting the permit is an obsticle to say the least. Ever tho the volunteer that gave me the tour worked at the office where you obtain the permit, he could not issue me a permit when the office was closed. He told me that the office was supposed to be open on that day, but it was closed and not really sure when it was going to reopen, because it had no set days and hours of operation. I got the feeling that the volunteers had a good old boys club going and it was difficult to gain access. As for me, I checked it out and found out that I will never go back, and advise anyone else to stay away.
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APAFR is really a nice facility (for volunteers). The portion open to anyone else is a place to park (for $15). There are several (10 I think) concrete full-service pads. These are for volunteers (4 mo commit) only. The unwashed rabble get primitive (NO facilities) parking. When we went to see, there were 5 unused pads and NO! we couldn't use one for the night. This seems to be a terrible waste of opportunities for military personnel and an obvious abuse of the taxparers money.
everyday, i'm an employee
The campground information that reads "this area is no longer controlled by the USAF" is not in the least true. Except for the few areas that are state property, which mainly is the corrections and youth academy towards the main gate, most of APAFR is in fact federal property and controlled by the USAF. I work out there, so that's how I know.
This place is a joke. It is ran by civilians and they could care less about you the retiree. I wanted to go in and look around and I was told that I had to purchase a membership to just look at the place. Don't waste your time. I can only rate this place as a -10.