Leave is typically as Mark said, however there are some exceptions- my son moved "across the street" (grad and dash) and did not have to report back to Great Lakes until Sunday night. That was nice as he got to stay with me at the Marriott and kick back. These are the exception however so plan to spend the days with your Sailor and get him back each evening.
Getting on base to park is a hassle- a shuttle for a minimal fee ($3.00 in early '07) runs between the base and almost every hotel in the area- I really recommend it. I've both driven on base (Oct '05) and taken the shuttle (Mar '07)-- the shuttle is the way to go!!
There is some walking involved- wear some confortable shoes. And the drill hall can get kinda stuffy- they have water on sale.
Watch the weather.....I was pretty cold for both mine though September should be fine. But the climate that far north can change pretty fast.
They sell video's of the graduation--- I'd really adivse considering ordering one even though you may have taken some yourself. Check with your sailor!!
Any other concerns- be sure to ask.....one of us probably has the answer!!!
Ray.............Just got back from my son's PIR on the 12th. It was great, the activities in the Drill Hall were fantastic. Once the overhead doors opened and our kids started in we all went nuts, they looked good. Couldnt wait until they were released on liberty. Like a lot of folks stayed in Lincolnshire.........close drive, still far enough away for him to relax a little. Bring extra batteries for the camera you will go through them (wife went through an 8 pack just during PIR). Only real suggestions I have would be (1) Check in the night before and leave all uneeded stuff at hotel. If you get put into the hands on search line at the base, they will empty the car out. We lucked out and they snatched the car in front of us when he did'nt pay attention to the MP's and Police at the gate. (2) Get there early.......if gate opens at 630 be there to watch them open it. You will have a longer wait, but you can get a better seat. We ended up in the balcony, by the door they come in, and we got there at about 715. (3) The paperwork says only pics in the drill hall, believe it. (4) Make sure you get your sailor back to base on time, if not early. Friday he was allowed out until 930, but we had him back by 830 since he had a long walk back to the ship. We figured better to lose a few minutes getting back early, then lose the rest of the weekend by getting back late. (5) If you are planning on bringing his cell/laptop, remember as long as they are in the bootcamp area/ships they cannot have them. Now he did wear out the laptops keyboard at the hotel. We met up with our son at O'Hare and gave him his cell there, he didn't have room in his seabag to safely take his laptop without repacking. (6) Now this will sound stupid........after some "real food", the next thing my son wanted was some "real underwear", we stopped at Wal-Mart so he would have some. He couldnt wait to get out of the issued ones. (7) We tried to find places to go that were not around the base to hang out ...........he has a 50 mile limit. He is now in Florida getting ready for "A" school and we are packing up some of his stuff to send down next weekend. As I said my son reported in to base on Sunday, and we already have had 3 phone calls and a real address for him. Took weeks for an address and only 1 "real" phone call during bootcamp.