Marine Corps MCRD Parris Island Military Travel

Marine Corps Boot Camp Graduation: MCRD Parris Island

Preparing for Marine Corps Boot Camp Graduation at MCRD Parris Island can be very exciting, especially when you have accurate information regarding the schedule of activities, and thus know what to expect. Here’s all the information you need to know to make your trip to Marine Corps Boot Camp Graduation at MCRD Parris Island very rewarding. Before you know it your loved one will be a United States Marine and begin their journey in the world’s greatest Marine Corps.

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Parris Island Graduation Dates 2019

Parris Island Ship DateParris Island Graduation Date

Parris Island Graduation Events

Family Day Schedule of Events

Family Day EventTime
Motivational Run7:00 AM
Marine Corps 1018:00 – 9:00 AM
Battalion Commander’s Brief9:30 – 10:00 AM
Liberty10:00 AM
Family Day Buffet10:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Liberty Ends3:00 PM
Meet and Greet with the Depot Command4:00 PM
Command Welcome Remarks4:30 PM
Family Night Dinner with Depot Command4:45 PM

Graduation Day Schedule of Events

Graduation Day EventTime
Morning Colors Flag Raising Ceremony7:45 AM
Marine Boot Camp Graduation9:00 – 10:00 AM
Lunch Buffet11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Download the full MCRD Parris Island Family Day Schedule.
View the full  MCRD Parris Island Graduation Schedule.

What is Marine Family Day

During Family Day, you will get the opportunity to learn more about what your Marine went through during boot camp, hear from the battalion commander, and have your Marine escort you around base showing you where they trained.

Sandboxx Tip: To avoid accidental knife-handing by your Marine, stay on their left side so they are free to salute with their right hand when passing higher-ranking Marines on base.

What to Wear to a Marine Graduation

Clothing can be casual for each day, but we recommend having a sweater or jacket for outside in case the weather takes a turn for the worse. Many families will wear custom t-shirts on graduation day that display their Marine’s name and platoon number. Although a momentous one, the occasion does not require formal wear, you’ll want to ensure that you put your best foot forward.

See your complete packing list for Marine Graduation.

Where to eat on base at MCRD Parris Island

MCRD Parris Island offers several restaurants, both casual and fast food. During Family Day, you will be able to visit the Exchange – the mall and food course on base– in addition to the bowling alley, which has a Subway, or Traditions, a family-friendly casual restaurant which is relatively affordable. There are pre-paid meals you can purchase, but I would recommend against this option. The portions are small and the food is rather simple. You are better to let your hungry Marine sniff their way to the food!

Getting on base at MCRD Parris Island

Most families will reserve a rental car for the occasion and can drive effortlessly on to the base. Each passenger over the age of 18 will be required to show a government-issued ID. The rental agreement will serve as your insurance, so don’t worry about bringing your personal insurance, but make sure you have this on hand if you’re driving your personal vehicle. Additionally, don’t purchase the additional insurance coverage from the rental agency, as your personal auto insurance will cover your rental

The feeling you get when you see your new Marine for the first time will be more than you could ever imagine. It is truly a special day and time to enjoy and celebrate with your Marine and family. There are many other questions you probably have, so please reach out to our Sandboxx Travel Team and ask away.

Ready to book your travel to Marine Corps Boot Camp Graduation? View our page on planning your trip to Parris Island for Graduation.

Happy travels, and congratulations to you and your soon-to-be new Marine!


  1. Thank you for the updates.
    Is there any public transportation from the Savannah Ga airport to the Marines Corps.
    Taxi will charge $80 one way. I’ll be traveling from Puerto Rico and I lost my house to hurricane Maria. I need to save as much as possible to afford my grandsons graduation February 2nd. It’s very important for me and my grandson since his dad (my son) died of brain cancer when my gramson was only 9 years old.
    Can you please help?
    Thank you.

      1. Good morning, Sandra. We’re sorry for our delayed response. There are no shuttles to Parris Island from Savannah, GA. A taxi may be less cost effective than an Uber or Lyft ride. Our SANDBOXX Travel Customer Support Team may be able to assist you with this. Here’s the link Click on the Chat button in the bottom right corner to speak with one of our agents. Thank you for using SANDBOXX.

    1. A group of friends and i want to travel to parris island for graduation but one of my friends is a daca dreamer and doesnt know if he is allowed on base? What type of identification is needed to enter on base? Will he have any problems getting in?

      1. Every person entering the base needs a state issued photo ID. A background check is performed if they are not accompanied by someone holding a military ID.

    1. Good afternoon. Sorry for the delayed response. There is no limit to how many family members and friends can attend Family Day and Graduation. Thank you for using SANDBOXX.

    1. Good afternoon. Sorry for the delayed response. Your new Marine receives 10 days of leave following graduation and they can return home with their families. The Marines are responsible for their transportation home and to their follow-on-schooling. Our Travel Customer Support Team is amazing at helping answer any questions you may have. Here’s a link to get you started. If you have any questions you can simply click the Help tab in the bottom right corner and someone will get with you as soon as they can. Thank you for using SANDBOXX.

    1. Good morning, Veronica. That’s a great idea. The new Marines definitely want to change out of their uniform after graduation and get into something more comfortable for their trip home. Thank you for using SANDBOXX.

      1. Can they wear their dress uniform home.I know that I was extremely proud and wore mine.

      2. Hello, Dennis. Thanks for reaching out. Your Marine can wear any uniform other than cammies. If he wears his dress blues it has to be with ribbons. The preferred dress for most new Marines is in civilian clothes. We hope this helps. Thank you for using Sandboxx.

  2. Im coming from orlando could i drive all the way to the camp or i have to take flight to get to the graduation place…

    1. Good evening, Yolanda. You can drive from Orlando. I would make sure to drive up on Wednesday so that you have plenty of time to get to Family Day bright and early on Thursday morning. If you have any other questions, please reach out to our customer support team at Thank you for using Sandboxx.

  3. Hi I am coming from Tennessee. I have 12 family members from age 5 to 70. We were gonna rent a passenger van for the trip. Do I do that with Enterprise or do y’all have a specific rental place to rent from?? My new recruit just started a week ago, when should I book my van and rooms??
    Thank you for your help!!

    1. Good morning, Amanda. We would love to help you with that. Please reach out to our Travel Customer Support Team with this link: and click on the Help button in the bottom right corner. One of our Travel Customer Support Team members will help you from there. Thank you for using Sandboxx.

  4. You said, get there by 6 a.m., and they do a run at 7 a.m. 9n family day,
    So, what do we do while they are running ???
    And why do we have to be there at 6 a.m. ???

    1. Hi, Ray. The gate can get backed up in the morning with many families coming aboard the base so that will give you plenty of time to get through the gate, park and find your spot along the parade route. Once the motivational run begins, the families watch as some of the Marine Corps Band members lead the parade. You will get a chance to get a glimpse of your Marine during the run. Many family members bring posters, banners, etc to wave as their Marine runs by. The run lasts for approximately 15-20 minutes and then the Family Day ceremony kicks off promptly at 9:30 a.m. at the All Weather Training Facility. The Marines will be released to spend the day with their families after the Family Day ceremony ends at 10:00 a.m. You will have until 3:00 p.m. to spend the day with your Marine. He then needs to be back to his platoon to prepare for Graduation the next morning. Let us know if you have any more questions at Thank you for using Sandboxx.

  5. Hello. My daughter is United and won’t be allowed to do the motivational run. I know the recommendation is to arrive at 6am for the run, but what would be a reasonable time to show up for family day to the base, sans observing the run?

    1. Good morning, Troy. The Family Day Ceremony kicks off promptly at 9:30. In order to get on base, get parking and get seated for the ceremony, we recommend arriving at 8:30. The ceremony only lasts for approximately 30 minutes and once it’s over your recruit can spend 5 hours with you touring the base and spending quality time together. 🙂 Thank you for using Sandboxx.

  6. Autocorrect is bad. What it meant to say was my daughter is injured and won’t be allowed to do the motivational run.

  7. Does the 10 day leave start on the Friday of graduation at Parris Island or Sat. the day after? Looking at a previous post, my Marine is responsible for making his travel arrangements for combat training after the 10 day leave?

    1. Hi, Charity! The 10 days of leave starts the next day, Saturday. Yes, your Marine is responsible for his travel back to SOI. We have competitive pricing at Sandboxx Travel. Here’s a link that can get you started. Please reach out to our customer support team at for further assistance.

  8. We are coming in an RV, if we can’t reserve a space for our RV on the base what is the closetst place to the base we can park the RV?

    1. Hello, Cassondra. Thanks for reaching out. Driftwood RV Park would be the closest RV park to Parris Island. The address is: 2558 Trask Pkwy, Beaufort, SC 29906. The phone number is Phone: (843) 812-1902. Please reach out to for any further assistance. Thank you for using Sandboxx.

  9. These questions and answers are incredibly informative. Most of my questions have now been answered. Thanks 😀

  10. Okay, my boyfriend just went to boot camp a few days ago. For graduation I hear there is only 1 vehicle allowed per recruit. If his family doesn’t let me ride with them is there any way that I could still attend the ceremony?

    1. Hi, Kelsey. We don’t believe there is a rule about one vehicle per recruit. We have multiple family members and friends that come to Grads with multiple cars so don’t worry about that. There are taxis available if you need to get on base, however. We hope this helps.

  11. Thank u for always giving us update.. I can’t wait to see my son on his graduation day this coming November 9.. so excited! Thank u

  12. Hi, my daughters graduation is on December 16 when should we arrive, and what’s the closest airport?
    Thank you

    1. Hi, Orlando. We recommend arriving on Wednesday, December 14th, if possible so that you can be there for Family Day on the 15th. The closest airport is the Savannah International Airport which is about an hour drive from Parris Island. Charleston International Airport is about an hour and a half drive from Parris Island. We hope this helps.

  13. Hi, I was wondering how do we get the shirts with my marines name on it and his and platoon number? Is that something we make on our own or can we buy it?

  14. Hello. I just wanted to know is there any registering that I need to do for my family and I before we get to Parris Island so that they know about our attendance at these events.

      1. Hi, Amber. They actually fit a lot into an hour. You’ll be pretty impressed and remember the Marines are standing at attention for a lot of that time. An hour is plenty of time. For any further assistance please email Have a great day.

  15. So are the events Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday or just Thursday and Friday? Also, if we cannot be there the first day can we still attend the rest? Another scenario.. if we cannot show up first thing in the morning but can come in the afternoon after things have started on the days before graduation day will we be allowed in/ will our marine know when we will be arriving or how we find them?

    1. Hi, Elizabeth. There are events Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. You’re not required to be at any of the events so if you can’t make it Wednesday, you’re still welcome to be there Thursday and Friday. I would highly encourage you to be there for the Family Day Ceremony which starts at 9:30 am. and finishes at 10:00 a.m. After that, the Marines get to leave with their families and spend a few hours with the family showing them the base, having lunch, etc. If you do get there in the afternoon, your Marine has to be back with his platoon by 3:00 p.m., unless you communicate ahead of time with him to let him know your scenario, there’s no way for him to know when you will be arriving. If you have any further questions, please email We would love to help.

  16. What time can my son who will be a Marine leave on Friday when he graduated? I dont know what time I should book my flight back home.

    1. Hi Allision,

      The graduation ceremony ends around 10 am. Once the ceremony is over Marines are allowed to leave. You’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport though, as a majority of families will be going the same way and there is only one road on and off the island. I hope this helps!

    1. Hi, Lucille. He should have access to the clothes he wore when he shipped to boot camp but may not be a bad idea to give him a choice of clothes to wear home. We hope this helps.

  17. Is it permissable to bring a picnic to share with our recruit during his leave time on Family Day. If so, is it also permissable to bring a tent,in case of rain, chairs and a cooler? My recruit’s great grandmother is coming and requires a wheelchair in order ro walk long distances. Are wheelchairs permitted? Sorry about all of the questions but we want to follow protocol. Thank you.

    1. Hi, Pat. It’s absolutely allowed to bring a picnic during Family Day. Many families bring tents, chairs, coolers, etc.., as well. Wheelchairs are also permitted. Please don’t apologize for asking your questions. We’re happy to help. Thanks for letting us be a part of your military journey.

  18. Hi my recruit will be graduating April 5th. We are traveling from the Bahamas to be there. What events are happening on Wednesday and what time should we be there ?

  19. On family day lunch and dinner do they provide those or do we go somewhere and eat? So family day and graduation day do we have to be there at 6am? I was told he comes for 10 days and the marines pay to have him flown back?

    1. Hi, Misty. There are places for you to go and eat after Family Day on base or you can bring a picnic lunch and go to one of the many picnic sites aboard the base. Seating is a first come, first served basis for the Family Day Ceremony and Graduation. If it’s going to be a big graduation, many families choose to arrive at 6:00 a.m. to make sure they have enough time to park, get to the location, go through security and get their seats. It’s your choice as what you decide to do but if you do arrive late, you could be standing. The Marines do get 10 days of leave after graduation. It’s the Marine’s responsibility to get his transportation home from graduation and to his follow on school after his 10 days of leave are over. We hope this helps. Thanks for letting us be a part of your military journey.

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