Apart from regular meetings and campouts, each Boy Scout has an opportunity to participate in 1 of 4 exclusive high-adventure camps situated across the nation. In this article, we will be pin-pointing a marine-based camp in a Guide to Florida Sea Base.
Thinking of starting scuba diving in prep for Sea Base? Check out this article for a beginner’s guide!
Guide to Florida Sea Base is just one of the many high-adventure camps for Boy Scouts. Here are the 4 high adventures that Boy Scouts of America offers:
- Florida National High Adventure Sea Base
- Philmont Scout Ranch High Adventure
- Summit Bechtel Reserve National Scout Camp
- Northern Tier High Adventure
In this article, we will be providing a guide to the Florida Sea Base, outlining the following topics:
This article focuses on Florida National High Adventure Sea Base. Nestled in Islamorada of the Florida Keys, this high-adventure Scout Camp offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to discover the ocean both above and underwater. Scouts can participate in Scuba Diving, Sailing, Snorkeling, Paddleboarding, Kayaking, and Ocean Conservation in the beautiful tropics.
- Guide to Florida Sea Base: What to Bring
- Guide to Florida Sea Base: Transportation
- Guide to Florida Sea Base: Weather
- Guide to Florida Sea Base: Food
- Guide to Florida Sea Base: Lodging
- Guide to Florida Sea Base: Schedule
- Guide to Florida Sea Base: Staff
- Guide to Florida Sea Base: Facilities
- Guide to Florida Sea Base: Store
- Guide to Florida Sea Base: Food Court
- Guide to Florida Sea Base: Internet
- Guide to Florida Sea Base: Showers and Restrooms
- Guide to Florida Sea Base: Extra-Curriculars/Things to Do
- Guide to Florida Sea Base: Atmosphere
- Guide to Florida Sea Base: Around the Area
- Guide to Florida Sea Base: Overall Opinion
Note: This article is not meant to outline the program that Scouts will partake in at Sea Base. This is rather a guide to provide an overview of the camp itself.
What to Bring
- First of all, Sea Base will provide you with a packing guide before you go. However, I am adding things you might need/should be emphasized.
- Get a windbreaker/light jacket. Due to the weather, you can be caught in a downpour at the wrong time. In addition, it might get a little chilly at night, especially for those susceptible to the cold.
- Bring at least $100 to use as pocket money on the trip. There are many great souvenirs, snacks, and necessities to buy at camp. If you don’t burn through it all, that’s fine, but bring it just in case.
- Buy a watch. Even the $10 watches at the local convenience stores work, as long as they are water-resistant and can tell the time properly.
- Devices. Phones and computers are totally okay in Sea Base. There is service and charging ports. Lots of adults especially got the opportunity to catch up on office work during their stay.
Note: Continue reading for more detailed info about the weather, internet, store, and more!
- To the camp:
- The main highway stretching along the Keys (HWY 1 Overseas Highway) takes you to Sea Base
- There are no crosswalks, meaning you have to jaywalk
- In the camp:
- The whole camp is within walking distance
- To go to your daily activities, whether it be scuba diving or sailing, you will go by boats
- It is always muggy in the Sunshine State, even in the night
- Afternoons from 12-5 PM are the worst heat
- It rains almost every day, usually in the early morning, but occasionally during the day. When it rains, it pours hard for a short amount of time
- Weather can often be unpredictable, as the Keys are especially prone to hurricanes (meaning be warned when on your trip)
- Definitely, a weather shock if you don’t live in Florida!
- The food isn’t amazing, but it is filling and good enough to pass by. Reasonably as good as you can get in a Scout Camp.
- On the last dinner before leaving, everyone has a luau, providing delicious barbecue-style food (one of the best meals in camp)
- Food is accommodating to vegetarians and gluten-free Scouts
- Meals are in outdoor seating, but with the Florida weather, it’s quite pleasant to sit outside
- All crews are provided with indoor air-conditioned dorms and showers
- 8 people (a full crew) can fit in a dorm, and it includes charging ports, fans, air-conditioning, and raised bunks with mattresses
- Practically bug and animal-free; the Keys are nearly devoid of any insects or large land animals
- Each hall of dorms shares an open common room, with high-quality AC, cleaning supplies, and furniture
- You will also share bathrooms with the rest of your floor, which are relatively clean and good-quality
- It’s the best you will ever get in a Scout camp!
- SHOCKER: There’s no fixed schedule!
- The only times set in stone are the meal times, which for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, are 7:30 AM, 12 PM, and 6 PM, respectively.
- Everything else is up to the whims of your staff guides, for better or for worse.
- But usually, you will have your daily activity, eat lunch on your boat or at home base (depending on your program and itinerary), come back and relax, eat dinner, and have the rest of the night off
- This leaves you with a lot of free time, which we will hope to alleviate in the “Extracurriculars/Things to Do Section.”
- For any outdoor activity, you will always have a staff member accompanying you
- Each crew is assigned one staff member to guide them throughout the week.
- They are all highly qualified and laid-back, so if you need anything, don’t be afraid to ask!
- As previously stated, the camp has good quality bathrooms, housing, and food
- They also have a snack bar and gift shop (which will be discussed in the following 2 sections)
- All indoor places have ACs, and some outdoor areas have fans/ventilation
- A chapel for prayer and a game room for recreation are available
- Large air-conditioned store on the waterside, open during most of your free time
- Has all kinds of goods in the shop, from souvenirs to essentials, to merch, to drinks!
- Prices are obviously marked up but are pretty fair for the most part
- Popular buying options: belts, hats, shirts, and stickers of Sea Base Merch
Food Court (Snack Bar)
- The snack bar is near the game room beneath the dorms; small and cozy
- Offers store-bought ice creams, as well as their handmade beverages
- Includes items such as milkshakes, which is the most popular item on the menu. Pretty expensive at $6, but is big enough to be split between 2 people, and is still almost as filling as a whole meal
- Good data is available in almost all of the camp, even on the boat during daily excursions!
- Fast enough for good quality calls and movie-streaming
- Some places in the camp have Wifi, though they are password protected and may not be open to Scouts
Showers and Restrooms
- Each dorm hallway has showers, the ground floor has 2 rows of them, and there are bathrooms next to the canteen that has showers with them
- The cleanest bathrooms are usually your own dorm’s ones!
Extra-Curriculars/Things to Do
- Hang out at the dock and watch the sunset (the sunrise happens behind the buildings so not a great view). You can take photos, lay out on the dock, or hang your feet over the edge. Some people even fish! Just know that the dock isn’t open after dark.
- Play games in the game room beneath the dorms. They have classics like ping-pong and bean bag toss. Plus, it’s right next to the snack shack in case you want to slurp up a milkshake too!
- Go shopping in the trading post (“The Ship Store”). With its wide selection of items, take some time to bag some souvenirs for the family. Also, they have a map in the corner of the store that plots out where every troop who visited Sea Base is from. Add yours to the list!
- Take walks around the camp. With the pleasant weather in the early morning and evening, it’s the perfect time and place to take walks along the dock, marina, chapel, and around the colorful dorms. This is an all-day activity that never gets old with good company.
- Unfortunately, that’s most of what you can do during your free time (which you have a lot of). This means that you will have a lot of time with your crew friends to spend, for better or for worse.
- Continuous rotation of Scout crews: some will come and leave on Wednesdays, others on Sundays; this means that there are no real formal ceremonies
- No morning/evening flags; simply grab your food and eat!
- Overall, it’s a a much more relaxed experience than any other adventure camp or Boy Scout outing you will ever go on
- As such, you have a lot of freedom and flexibility on what you want to do during your stay. So enjoy!
Around the Area
- Across the street is Habanos, a Cuban restaurant that is frequented by Sea Base-goers. The food is pretty decent, so if you ever need a day off from Sea Base food, you know where to go!
- Down the street is the Florida Overseas Heritage Trail, which takes you over the bridge of Lower Matecumbe Key (the island that Sea Base is on) to scenic views of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean
- However, there isn’t much to do outside the premises of Sea Base, since Lower Matecumbe Key is mostly a residential area over anything else
- This was one of the most fun and unique Scout camps I’ve ever been on.
- The experience with the camp was extremely favorable, and coupled with the awesome daily activities, I would love to go back again!
- My only request would be for more fun activities to be available after scheduled excursions.
- Otherwise, a great once-in-a-lifetime experience. With this guide to Florida Sea Base, we’re sure you will have a blast!