Whether your Candidate has been gone for sometime or just left for Officer Candidates School, you’re most likely anxiously awaiting word from them. If you used Sandboxx letters to communicate with them, while at OCS, you probably are feeling more up-to-date about their experience. Nonetheless, you’ll have plenty of time after Marine Corps OCS graduation to catch up with them.
You’ll get to see and spend time with your new Marine on Family Day and Graduation. It won’t be until Graduation Day, that you and your Marine will be allowed to leave base and travel around the local area. For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 best things to do in and around Quantico for OCS Graduation.
1. Leatherneck Bowling Alley
Getting on and off base could take awhile during graduation events. If you’re looking for a place to hang out on base bowling at the Leatherneck Bowling Alley is a fun and convenient way to do so.
The bowling alley has many bowling lanes, a full-service pro-shop, gaming room and snack bar. Leatherneck is known for their “Glow Bowl” sessions, where they create a club-like atmosphere with glow in the dark lights, a fog machine and music. You can open bowl by the hour or pay for an allotted time slot.
Admission: $3.50 open bowl $4.25 glow bowl $2.75 shoe rental
2. Little Hall Movie Theater
Another great way to spend time on base is seeing a movie at the Little Hall theater. The theater, which screens different themed and rated movies, is open frequently during the week.
At Little Hall Theater you can also see movies in 3D, buy discounted matinee tickets and see movies like “Captain Marvel,” “Us,” and “The Avengers.” The theater shows other near-first-run movies over four days of the week; the schedule for movies can be found here.
Admission: 2D $5/ Adult (12+), 3D – $6/ Adult (12+) glasses and tickets $3 on Thursdays (Family Day) for Adults (12+)
3. Mulligan’s Grill and Bar
After you go bowling or see a movie, you might be hungry and looking to grab some lunch. Mulligan’s is located on base, near the golf course. Serving traditional American fare, Mulligan’s offers take out or sit down service in their restaurant. Breakfast is served all day, Wednesday through Sunday, and lunch is available all week. Moderately priced and with relatively expansive options, Mulligan’s is an easy stop for lunch.
You can view the menu here.
4. Visit Mount Vernon
Once your Marine commissions and receives their first salute, you are free to travel off base with your new Marine. While there are many great things to do in downtown D.C., George Washington’s Mount Vernon historical home is a great way to avoid the political elements of Washington and enjoy the beauty of the countryside near the Potomac.
A common tourist spot for visiting students and families, Mount Vernon has recently been refurbished to accommodate large crowds. The abode, set up on the hillside to overlook the Potomac, is surrounded by gardens, tombs, farms, and even a distillery. You can tour any of these parts of the estate, including the house itself by booking tickets on their website.
General Admission: $18/ adult (online discount) $11/ youth (ages 6-11, online discount)
5. Smithsonian Museums
If you’re headed into D.C., there is much to do, but visiting one of the Smithsonian Institution Museums is a must! Whether you are interested in space, portraits or even butterflies, a Smithsonian Museum or attraction is bound to cover your passions in an artistic, organized and pleasing fashion.
Choose from 23 different Smithsonian Museums, zoos, gardens, expositions or galleries, all located in D.C. (except for the Air and Space Museum). Admission to the various museums and attractions vary from free to individually priced tickets, so make sure to explore their website to find the one that best suits your interests!
Admission: Varies by museum
Location: Varies by museum
6. National Museum of the Marine Corps
Another great museum option is the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Located just 12 minutes off base, but still in the local area, the National Museum of the Marine Corps houses more than 200 years of Marine Corps history in 115,000 square feet of art exhibitions, galleries and other artistically historical spaces.
A new exhibit in the museum features coverage on war dogs and their sacrifice, bravery, and loyalty as a man’s best friend. Admission to the museum is free, as is parking, so be sure to venture over to the museum for a half-day history lesson.
7. Georgetown, D.C.
Another great way to spend time in and around the D.C. area is venturing into Georgetown for a day. A popular tourist location, Georgetown is known for its white brick buildings and cobblestone walkways.
Once a very historical part of Northern Virginia and D.C., it is now filled with all different shops and restaurants. Depending on who you talk to, Georgetown might be most famous for housing Georgetown Cupcake, a cupcake bakeshop that has been producing fresh, handmade cupcakes and desserts for years.
While parking in Georgetown can be tough due to the large crowds and limited parking spaces, spending a day in the outdoor mall and community space is a great way to spend time with your recruit.
8. Ride Around National Mall with Capital Bikeshare
If you catch D.C. on a particularly beautiful spring or fall day, spending time outside on the National Mall is relaxing and captivating. Because it is a public space, you are bound to see people from all backgrounds and personalities, and consequently, be quite entertained!
In addition to people watching, you can rent Capital Bikeshare bikes for just $2 and ride around the different memorials and monuments near the Capitol building.
From the reflection pool and Lincoln Memorial where MLK Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, to the Jefferson and Washington Monuments, both unique and beautiful at sunset, you are bound to learn something new and enjoy adventuring.
Capital Bikeshare stations are located all around downtown D.C., especially near the National Mall, so you can get bikes from one and drop them off at a different station at the end of your riding tenure. And, if you prefer to walk, you can do that too!
9. Weekly Food Trucks At Quantico (on base)
A fun and unique on base attraction that is great for satisfying your early afternoon hunger is the weekly food trucks that the Marine Corps Community Services(MCCS) at Quantico bring onto base. From pizza, seafood, BBQ and burgers, to tacos, wraps and much more, all different food trucks drive onto base for the day and are a great snack or lunch option for those looking to stay local.
The Marine Corps Community Services(MCCS) at Quantico schedules different food trucks for different days of the week, so make sure to check which ones will be visiting while you’re there for graduation.
You can view the schedule and menus here.
Location: Indicated on the schedule; varies by truck
10. Globe and Laurel
Located 9 miles south of Quantico, roughly a 15-minute drive, the Globe and Laurel Restaurant is a more upscale dining option off of base. Instead of driving north into D.C. or being stuck with some of the typical fast food options right outside of Quantico, Globe and Laurel is a great choice for those looking to sit down for a traditional American-fared meal. The restaurant offers lunch and dinner and has fairly priced appetizers, starters, entrees, and beverages for all types of eaters.
You can view the menu here.
Whether you are considering staying local to Quantico or traveling roughly an hour north to Washington, D.C., there are lots of great entertainment options at (and in between) both locations.
Make sure you are aware of your Marine’s travel restrictions but enjoy your off-base time together!