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Parris Island Family Orientation, Family Day and Graduation
Terminology to learn for
Parris Island MCRD Graduation

All photos below are courtesy of "Good to Go Video."

Watch Your Step!
Respect the Marine Corps grounds during your visit to the Depot. Please do not walk on the grass. Please do not walk across the Parade Deck.

Platoon Honormen

PI Recruits Praying

PI Graduates

PI Graduates

Valor is a Virtue

Family Day
The day prior to graduation with activities planned for families of graduating Marines. Your new Marine will escort you with his left arm to reserve his right hand for saluting higher-ranking Marines.

Family at Graduation

Family at Graduation

Motivational Run
The final run for the company of recruits. A milestone in your Recruit's training. Many of the commanding officers run with the recruits for the Motivational Run.

Time-off from training for graduating Marines. Recruits must remain on the Depot during Liberty. From 12:00 noon until 5:00 p.m. on Family Day for the recruit to visit with family and friends.

Parade Deck
Huge area of asphalt where recruits practice drills and marching. Formal ceremonies are held on the Parade Deck. DO NOT walk across the Parade Deck under any circumstances.

Reviewing Stands
Bleachers setup next to the Parade Deck for family members to view emblem ceremony and graduation ceremony.

Family and friends of Marine Corps Recruits are strongly encouraged to attend the graduation ceremonies for the announcement that your Recruit has earned the respected title of United States Marine. Graduation is three-part: Wednesday is Family Orientation Day, Thursday is Family Day and Graduation is Friday. The Marine Corps has activities planned for all three days.

Plan to arrive in Parris Island by Tuesday evening before Family Orientation Day. You and your new Marine can depart immediately after the graduation ceremony on Friday. The nearest major airports to Parris Island are the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) and the Hilton Head Airport (HHH). The next closest airport is the Charleston International Airport (CHS). Transportation to and from these airports is not provided, however both airports have rental car agencies.

There is no limit to the number of guests the new Marines may have on the Depot for the Family Days or Graduation. Dress is casual but remember you will be walking around with your soon-to-be Marine and attending sessions and meet and greets on Wednesday and Thursday, so dress accordingly. Bare midriffs would be inappropriate. Very comfortable walking shoes for all family members are a requirement on both days. Wheelchairs are available free of charge at the Douglas Visitor’s Center.

You'll want to arrive early each day at the Depot to avoid long lines at the gate. For activities to do on the Depot, see dining, shopping and entertainment at the bottom of this page for restaurants, shops and hours of operation.

Important Note: Due to some holidays, including, but not limited to, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, a handful of graduating classes will graduate on a Wednesday with Family Day on Tuesday and Family Orientation Day on Monday. The same schedule will apply; substitute Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (graduation day) for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in the schedule below.

Changes in the levels of security alerts could alter scheduled events. Maps of the Depot, parking passes and the schedule of events can be obtained at the Douglas Visitor’s Center.

Gates, Security and Accessing the Depot

Click here for our Parris Island Base Access page

Family Orientation Day

  • 9:00 am-4:00 pm - Family Check-in at the Douglas Visitors’ Center; Java Café open 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • 10:00 am-12:30 pm - Marine Corps 101, including a "Behind the Scenes" tour, at Douglas Visitors' Center (Tickets are not required. Arrive early, limited seating.)
  • Lunch - Traditions (Officer/SNCO Club), Food Court, Subway, Golf Course
  • 2:30 pm-4:30 pm - Family Orientation Brief at the Lyceum (Tickets are not required. Arrive early.)
  • 4:00 pm - Meet & Greet at Traditions (Officer/SNCO Club)
  • 5:00 pm-8:00 pm - Steak Night at Traditions (Officer/SNCO Club). Reservations required.

Family Day

Please register before 9:50 a.m. at the Douglas Visitor Center.

  • 6:30 a.m. - Java Café open in Visitor Center
  • 7:00 a.m. - Motivational Run
  • 9:30 a.m. - Battalion Commander's Brief describing Recruit Training in the All-Weather Training Facility
  • 9:50 a.m. - Liberty Ceremony (on base liberty commences upon conclusion of the ceremony)
  • 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. - Barracks Open House
  • 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. - Observation of events at Leatherneck Square
  • 3:00 p.m. - Liberty Ends

Graduation Day

The Morning Colors Ceremony (flag raising) with musical accompaniment by the Parris Island Marine Band is held Friday at 7:45 a.m. in front of Barrow Hall.

Graduation is held Friday mornings at 9:00 a.m. on the Depot’s Peatross Parade Deck and lasts about an hour. In the event of inclement weather, graduation ceremonies will be held in two or three indoor locations, which will be announced on the morning of graduation at the Douglas Visitor's Center.

Click here for more information.

Dining Services on the Depot

Food Court

  • Primo's Express
  • Habanero
  • Java Café - Inside the MCX
  • Parris Island Food Court is open Monday-Saturday 6:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. & Sunday 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Serving Mexican food, pizza, and delicious hot and cold sandwiches - eat in or take out available.


  • Subway (open 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.)
  • Sand Trap Grill & Café (open 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.)
  • Four Winds Restaurant / Bar
    Family Day Lunch Buffet – all you can eat southern fried chicken, spaghetti, salad bar, cake and beverage. Adults $10, Children $5, Under 5 Free! Graduating Marines eat free! 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Brig & Brew (Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.)

Shopping Services on the Depot

  • Marine Corps Exchange open Monday-Saturday 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Sunday 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • 7 Day Store (gas & convenience store) open Monday-Saturday 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Sunday 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • 4th Battalion Weapons & Exchange open Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Museum Gift Shop open daily 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • GNC open Monday-Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Recreation on the Depot

  • Movie Theatre
  • Bowling
  • Legends Golf Course


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