Sure, every military base or duty station has its perks, but some military bases just stand head and shoulders above the rest.
These 5 military bases, for a variety of reasons, are the best bases that our writers have ever lived at.
Presidio of Monterey, California
If you love going to the beach in the fall, then this is the place for you! It’s jeans and sweater weather almost all of the time, with the gorgeous Pacific Ocean just steps away. On the beach, you can stand and watch the fog roll in, see it swirl around you and blanket the coastal town in mist.
Beyond the scenery, freshly picked produce from local farms is available everywhere you look! Plus, with the world famous Pebble Beach Golf Course close by, it’s easy to hit the links or check out the annual Pro-Am tournament.
For military spouses, volunteer opportunities, on base and off, abound. The opportunity to study alongside your spouse is also available, as space allows at the Defense Language Institute. Some spouses have been able to study a second (or third!) language while in Monterey. Since the Presidio is a joint services installation, being here allows everyone to bust out of their service-centric bubbles and create even more amazing friendships!
San Diego, California
From Camp Pendleton up north to Miramar in the east, with Coronado holding it down in the south, this whole region is a fan favorite for military bases.
And what’s not to love? Beautiful beaches, with low waves for the little ones and big surf for the brave. Nearly perfect weather year-round, sunny skies daily and rarely a cloud to be seen. The flowers are blooming all the time and the ocean breeze cools off even those rare scorching hot days.
For foodies, this is the place to be: with Mexican, Asian and soul food (plus so much more) available around the clock.
Animals lovers rejoice! The world famous San Diego Zoo just celebrated its centennial and is hosting fun events through the end of 2016. Its sister park, the Wild Animal Park in Escondido, lets visitors get up-close and personal to the animals on safari-style tours.
Out east, and slightly north, lies Temecula Valley. This wine region is producing reds, whites and sparklings that will please even the most discerning palates.
With military bases all over this area, you are never at a loss for resources, health care or community connections. For families, couples or those flying solo, SoCal is the place to be!
If you are looking for castles, forests and international travel opportunities, Stuttgart might just be your military base.
Located close to the German/French border, Stuttgart is in the heart of Europe. By rail, road or air, you can access all that this continent has to offer easily. From lunch in France to shopping in the Black Forest or buying a car in Sweden, all of these adventures and more can be yours!
As you travel, don’t neglect the places closer to home. Stuttgart features beautiful castles, stunning parks and festivals year-round. Their Oktoberfest is the second largest volksfest worldwide, behind Munich.
Near the holiday season, the Christmas market is open for business with artisan crafts and local cheer. When you factor in museums and the opera, Stuttgart is a cultural mecca!
JEB Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia
Located in the heart of Hampton Roads, an epicenter of East Coast naval operations, JEB Little Creek is combined with Fort Story as a joint service base for the Navy and Army.
Little Creek is easy to get to and close to so much. From beautiful beaches to the history of Virginia, this region is sure to be a winner for you! Plus, you can watch the ships head into and out of the port.
Nature enthusiasts can enjoy hiking, biking and running trails along the coast or in one of many local parks. For history buffs, this region offers museums on local, national and military history.
Let’s not forget the food! From fresh from the boat seafood to boiled peanuts to down home Southern cooking, you can find it all here.
Within driving distance, you can access the Carolinas and the Mid-Atlantic. A trip up the coast gets you to Jamestown, where the first English colonists settled. Military families should head inland for Civil and Revolutionary War battle sites.
The nation’s capital, and one of the busiest military hubs in the United States, Washington, D.C., is a great place to live like a local!
D.C. is a great place to pick up running, biking or walking. Just picture it: ending your run at the Lincoln Memorial as the sun rises behind the U.S. Capitol. Perfection!
D.C. is the perfect place to explore like a tourist. Almost all the museums are free and you can visit national landmarks, like the White House on your weekends.
You can also see live music, comedy and explore tons of different cuisine. Comedy and music shows are hugely popular in the U Street corridor. Ethiopian, Vietnamese and El Salvadorian foods are fan favorites with the locals.