We're just finishing our 4-month stay at Manatee Cove Family Campground, located at Patrick AFB near Cocoa Beach, Florida. We arrived on October 15th, 2019 and found over 35 RV sites vacant. With a 170-day stay limit, we planned to spend 120-days over the winter. However, we were told we could only get a site for 3-weeks. When I asked about all of the vacant sites, I was informed they were either already taken (and empty?), reserved by active duty, or were awaiting repair. As we were flying out to California in a few weeks, I needed something more definite. You're allowed to leave your unoccupied RV on site for up to 7-days. After some determination, I was offered to look at another site that they said wouldn't fit our 40' motorhome. Well... we did fit and got the site where we could stay up to 170-days.
In mid-November, they started to repair many of the vacant sites. People had arrived and took the other vacant sites. Only active duty can make reservations. All else, the campground is on a first-come basis. Regardless, the campground was full by the first week of November and remained that way until we left mid-February. Every once in awhile, a site would be vacated and quickly be filled again.
Patrick AFB is home of the the 45th Space Wing and isn't far from Cape Canaveral. It's main mission is to support space operations. While staying here, the new "Space Force" was created, which Patrick AFB will become part of. The entire base is pretty quiet, except for a few cargo planes and helicopters. The exchange and commissary are a nice size. There's also a gas station (no diesel) and class VI. The golf course seems to take up almost half of the base. There's also a nice marina which provides many activities. Many people from the campground would regularly meet at the marina for happy-hours. The base also has a few other MWR facilities, including a nice ITT. We purchased military discounted tickets for Disney World.
The campground has gone through a few expansion projects over the year. We've been here a few times before, over the past 15 years and have seen the campground in various stages of growth. Currently, there's 147 "standard" RV sites, all with full hook-ups for $22 - $24 a night (depending on season). There's also 18 "riverfront" RV sites with full hookups for $30 a night. Monthly rates are available, which saves a few bucks over the daily rate. They also have 10 "tent" sites with no hook-ups for $10 a night. There's a small community room and kitchen, where games and small events are held. During the winter, the park held a "party" each month for guests and provided the meals. We've had turkey, roast beef, chili, and a fish fry over the past few months. We're missing the "going away" party in March. There's a couple restroom buildings with showers and laundry. The older building has been closed almost the entire winter for upgrades, but it looks like it's now open again. A couple fenced in dog run areas are available in the middle of the park.
The riverfront sites are just that, lined up on the river. They get the nicer sites with views and nicer patio sets (and higher price tag). The standard sites are a mismatch. There's some real nice sites with good views and plenty of space between rigs. There's also some sites that get flooded in over 6" of water when it rains. We were in a row of sites that were very close together with the sewer connection up near the front of the site. We needed 30' of sewer hose. Neighbors on one side had their patio 12" from our slide-out. On the other side, their sewer connection was 5' from our front door with their sewer hose laying on our patio. Because the sewer connection was near the front, people weren't backing in their RV's far back, which left little room at the front of their site for their truck. Almost everyone in our row had to parallel park in front of their RV. Because the sites are close together, there were about 3' of space between vehicles. Very crowded. But hey, they told us we wouldn't fit into the site, but we did get a site for the winter without a reservation! The moral of this story for staying here in the winter - get here in early October (or sooner). You'll have a better choice of nicer sites.
Getting to Patrick AFB was easy. We followed the directions on the website and all was perfect. Just be sure to NOT follow your GPS and to use the commercial gate to enter the base. The South gate is open 24/7 but you can't get an RV in there. The East gate closed every evening, closed on holidays, and you can't get an RV in there either.
The weather has mostly been sunny (and slightly humid) with a few days of rain. We watched over 6 space launches in our 4-month stay. Some at day, some at night. We're leaving in a few days to spend a week at Disney World with our grand-daughters. All in all and despite my rantings about our site, we've enjoyed our stay here and met some wonderful people. We wouldn't hesitate coming back again.