Family Day Marine OCS

Discussion in 'OTS/OCS/PLC' started by pinkmom, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. pinkmom

    pinkmom New Member

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    DS 1 getting closer to graduating OCS starting week 8. We know anything can happen between now and graduation but need to make arrangements for attending family day. At present only airport feasible to fly in is Baltimore Washington. Not familiar at all with this part of the country and the specifics of family day and am scared to death to drive on busy freeways (lived forever in a sparsely populated area without freeways) What is best way to get to and from airport to base? Is there a reliable limo or public transportation. Is there a location on base or near to pick up a rental car? Is it better for us to tackle the freeway in a rental car? Finally, is transportation generally needed if staying close to base during family day? I know there are more important things to worry about but would be greatly appreciated if someone can give me some insight on this. Thanks
     
  2. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    If you can, try to fly into DCA (Reagan) or Dulles. Or, really, anywhere but BWI. While at MCB Quantico myself and most people tried to use Reagan...it's about half the distance and a quarter of the hassle of BWI.

    Public transpo is possible from DCA to the Franconia-Spingfield station which is the farthest end of the metro located closest to MCB...it's still about ~20 miles. There is a train station on base that's unrelated to the metro, but how that works is a mystery to me. There will definitely be car rental places at the airport and maybe something closer. Not sure.

    There's no easy or fun way to get to Quantico. Fitting, because there's not really any fun that happens there. 95 South is (allegedly) the "fastest," but there is horrible traffic until Fredericksburg ~15 miles beyond MCB at least on any given day at any given time. Route 1 (available pretty close to Reagan) is off of the freeway but is bogged down by lights about every half mile...and, you guessed it, mind-numbing traffic.

    There's some hotels right outside the gate by Mainside and a lot more about five miles down Route 1 closer to Stafford, where TBS is. The problem is that once you get on base from either way it's still a couple miles to where OCS is. If it were me, I would fly into DCA (preferably at a weird time to minimize traffic) and rent a car. Not sure on how OCS family day works, but I'm guessing that your son will want to get as far away from MCB as fast as possible once he's allowed. Much easier to do with a car.

    95 (or 1) is not hard to drive or intimidating. It just sucks.
     
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I agree with Hurricane. Fly into Dulles or Reagan. BWI is going to be at least a 90 minute drive.

    Dulles is on 66, and you can do 66 to 234, it will bring you to RTE 1 or 95, 4 miles from Quantico.

    Reagan is in the mixing bowl, and 495/395/95/HOV can be confusing if you are driving. You can take the Metro to a VRE (Va Rail Express)/Amtrack line and it will drop you literally in Quantico.

    Honestly I would go Dulles.

    One thing to really, truly think about is if you are coming in on a Friday, get in by noon, one at the latest. 66, 95, Rte 1 become parking lots southbound by 3 because everyone is heading to the beach. If you can't make it in by that time, wait until 6.

    I am not exaggerating. It can take you from Dulles to Quantico 1 hr at 60 mph or it can take 2 doing 30 mph. 30 on Friday at 4 pm is zooming!:eek: 20 is more like it.

    Reagan and 95 is no better because you have everyone from NJ/NY driving down to get to the Outerbanks for their week at the beach. If there are only 2 of you in the car, you can't do the HOV, and by 3 it is bumper to bumper from exit 166 to Quantico @20, and you will be happy to do 20 miles an hr.

    I also agree the roads are not intimidating at all. Very well marked. It is just there is a lot of traffic during peak hrs because VA is filled with a lot of DC employees...Pentagon, FBI, DOS, IRS, that big white building, etc.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2013
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Agree with above based on my experience of DC and my single visit to Quantico. I assume the train station that Hurricane mentioned is on the Amtrak line. I do not know that for certain though. It might be worth investigating if you have transportation from the station to the hotel. You could pick of the train in DC and take a cab or limo from the airport. Depends on how badly you don't want to drive and the availability of transportation in Quantico. I think public service in the area is pretty poor and you will need, or need access to, a car while there.
     
  5. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    The other alternative is Richmond Airport (RIC) which is an easy drive up to Quantico. DCA and IAD are definitely closer- It's about 40 miles from each of them to Quantico vs about 75 miles from Richmond, but Richmond is a smaller more manageable airport and is definitely not a bad drive compared to slogging your way out of either of the DC airports if you come in at anywhere near rush hour. You should rent a car- even if you can find an affordable way from the airport to your hotel - and there are commuter trains that run from DC down thru Quantico to Fredericksburg, (http://www.vre.org/service/pdf/schedule_fbg_lrg.pdf) but then you have zero flexibility when there. Just bite the bullet and rent the car and drive carefully- you'll be fine.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2013
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    bruno gives a great suggestion with Richmond because you will be traveling No. bound when everyone typically is travelling So bound.

    The way they would do it with the train is they would have to travel from Reagan via the Metro to the Alexandria stop. From there get off and transfer to the VRE It costs about 9 bucks each way. The Quantico stop is literally next to the gate on Quantico.

    I agree with bruno, rent a car.
     
  7. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Just remember that getting to the main gate is only part of the issue. Quantico is a very large base. You need some way to get from there to the OCS area. Seems to me that there were always some taxi's just outside the gate but not sure how things work in the post 9/11 era.

    Make sure to see the new museum while you are there. I hear it is very well done.
     
  8. pinkmom

    pinkmom New Member

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    Thanks so much for the input hurricaine 12 and PIMA. I am not as intimidated now. Will have to fly to Baltimire Washington due to the several hundred dollar cost differential between tickets at the other airports. (5 of us going) Will hopefully offset by going at odd hours. If son can graduate OCS then we can make it there!
     
  9. pinkmom

    pinkmom New Member

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    Just read everyone elses response too. Thanks to you all.. Starting to get much more calm. Grandpa a WW 2 vet old hickory and wants to come so will be dealing with handicap access as well. in the future will check out the options from the south airports didnt even think of that.
     
  10. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    pinkmom, I work on Quantico and have lived up towards BWI in the past. I travel extensively and have used BWI, DCA and IAD frequently. Like those mentioned above recommend don't try this during rush hour. An off hour is best and will be the fastest trip. BWI is an easy airport to use. The rental car buses are right outside the baggage area and will take you to the rental lots. Once you leave BWI there are a million short cuts or other ways to get Quantico. Any of the mapping services or GPS apps folks have will get you there. With no traffic this ride will take about 1.5 hours. At the Garrisonville Road Exit (Route 610/Exit 143) there are a few dozen hotels. Some of the newer hotels are the TownePlace Suits and Fairfield Inn. The Hampton Inn is under going a major remodel, lots of construction. This is where most of the local restaurants and stores are too. It is very easy to get from here to the front gate of base. They will have signs on base pointing you to family day, so very easy to find. If you have any questions please let me know. Good luck.
     

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