Navy Getaways - Vacation Rentals at Key West
By Ty Dedman

In recent years, the Navy as well as the other services have recognized the importance of providing quality and affordable facilities for both on duty and active duty vacationing and retired members, One result of this admirable policy has been the wide variety of accommodations now available to military families.

At a larger complex, such as Jacksonville, you might find facilities funded and managed by four separate Navy activities: BOQs, Navy Lodges, Navy Gateway Inns, and Navy Getaway Vacation rentals. BOQs/BEQs meet the needs of permanent party personnel, such as pilots assigned to squadrons or ships, plus base personnel. Navy Lodges service primarily active duty personnel and their dependents on TDY or PCS, although Space As are allowed. Navy Gateway Inns and Suites offer similar types of accommodations, but their focus is more on the military family on the move. The last category,Navy Getaway Vacation Rentals, is also the newest, and principally serves the retired community,

I'll pass over the temptation to look for savings to the taxpayers through consolidating some or all of these activities, but instead focus on how to plug in to the services offered to the retired community. Besides, the majority of management dollars involved belong to MWR, a non-appropriated fund source, rather than  the taxpayers.

Navy Gateway and Navy Getaway are both creations of the MWR community  (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) .and thus both share a common reservation system, with oversight from the same top level Navy command (BuPers).

The distinctive difference between these two sources of accommodations is that the latter, or "Get-a-way" Vacation category services the retired community almost exclusively.

 A specific example of a location where the Navy Getaway Vacation Rentals program is working well is in Key West, FL., where several hundred units of excess former Navy family quarters have been rehabbed into excellent vacation rentals. More specifically, in a resort area where a double room in a Hilton Hotel might cost $500 a night, a Navy family can enjoy a three  bedroom bath and a half, full kitchen, living room, and a covered and fully screened porch condo for $120 a night. Moreover, the vacation rentals  at Key West are on fenced and gated Navy property, with nearby rec facilities, PX, and commissary. Full breakfast is provided within walking distance  at a Navy mess, and is free for the first two residents  of each rental unit. Parking is available at the front door of each individual rental unit.

Retired military personnel with a retired military ID card can reserve a vacation rental unit  six months in advance., and the  max stay is 14 days.
With most condo units, the bedrooms are upstairs. A limited number of the condo units are all on the ground floor for a slight extra rental amount.


1.  1-877-NAVY-BED or 305 293 5000/5001

Before surrendering the podium, I ought to say a few words about Key West as a resort town, and a fun place to visit. When I first arrived in Key West to attend night fighter school in 1950, it was a wide open town with the downtown area controlled by the Mafia. Although the Mafia no longer runs the town, its reputation as a fun place to visit remains intact. We generally spent the mornings at the museums and other cultural attractions (Hemmingway House, Mel Fisher's museum of the Atocha treasure, etc) followed by lunch on Duval Street, shopping, or on to the beach., We tried to be out of the downtown area before Happy Hour time, and back inside the Navy gates by dark, (but that's just us, now part of the 90+ crowd.) One other option is  to take an all day excursion to the Dry Tortugas where you can visit Fort Jefferson, a Civil War relic where Dr. Mudd, of .the Lincoln assassination story was imprisoned (for life).

For dinner, our recommendation is "Bistro Sole", about one mile from the main Navy gate to Trumbo Annex, where our Vacation Rental condo was located.  Address for you GPS folks, 1019 White St. Key West FL , intersection of White St. and Truman (U.S. 1). If weather is good, choose outside seating.(Lovely) Dinners run about $100 for two, including wine and dessert.

FINAL POINT:  All Navy property on lower keys is under the command of CO, NAS KEY WEST, FL. However, the Naval Air Station is on Boca Chica Key, about 6 miles north of Key West. Navy properties on Key  West that used to be under the Naval Station, Key West (Trumbo Pt.{condos), Truman Annex,(beach and pool) Sigsbee Park (PX and Commissary) are still referred to by those names on maps and by locals.

Ty Dedman