The Best Bases Across America For Military Families

Whether you’re joining the military single with plans to start a family, or if you already have one, it would be swell knowing the best bases to plant your roots. With so many different bases in the nation, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out the best place to raise kids. It’s a common dilemma that runs through the minds of many military parents. Continue reading and you’ll learn about the best military bases in the U.S. for servicemembers with families.

Fort Carson Is A Dream Come True

little girl
RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images
RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The Fort Carson Army base, located five miles from Colorado Springs, has what many families look for in living situations. A couple of its pros are the beautiful mountains that surround the area and the move-in ready housing. Also, the population is 80% families with kids under 18.

There are activities for all ages and a tight-knit community feel. To help create a hometown vibe, there are many community events. You’re lucky if you get placed here.

Things To Do Near Fort Carson

family with dog
mangothehd/Instagram
mangothehd/Instagram

Wow, where shall we begin? For starters, if your kids enjoy animals, you can take them to hand-feed elephants, watch penguins waddle around, or view an orangutan paint a picture for you at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can train for the Hunger Games at the Cheyenne Mountain State Park, where you can participate in the archery range or hike the Dixon Trail. One thing you have to try at least once is rock climbing at the Garden of the Gods.

If You Can Handle The Cold, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Is For You

couple
salinamaryphoto/Instagram
salinamaryphoto/Instagram

Located in Anchorage, Alaska is the Army and Air Force joint base Elmendorf-Richardson. If you can handle harsh winters, then this place is perfect for the family. There’s so much snow and outdoor adventure awaiting you!

This base houses 20,000 families and is only 20 minutes from downtown Anchorage. Those in the military often find that living on the base turns out to be cheaper, and thankfully, there are 19 different areas to choose between here.

Things to Do Near Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson

outdoors
akmccarty/Instagram
akmccarty/Instagram

For starters, you can always go cross-country skiing, fishing, or just let the kids fool around at the Far North Bicentennial Park. There’s also the Alaska Zoo, where you can see black bears, flying squirrels, and seals who float by for your enjoyment.

A lot of the activities near this base involve snow, so why not hop on a snowmobile and zip through Chugach State Park? In the summertime, you can ditch the vehicle and bring out the kayak.

Quality Family Action At Fort Sam Base

family outside
johnsonville/Instagram
johnsonville/Instagram

Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, is also the “Home of Army Medicine.” This base is one of the best for families, thanks to the various on-site schools, housing options, and activities.

If you’re a new military family, you can have your choice at quadplexes, duplexes, and detached houses in eight neighborhoods. Some families prefer to stay off base, which is okay here because the location of Fort Sam makes for an easy commute from the suburbs.

Things to Do Near Fort Sam Houston

robots and women
rkpodowski/Instagram
rkpodowski/Instagram

The San Antonio DoSeum is the perfect place to bring children and let them roam around. They can learn about the environment, interact with robots, and train to become a secret agent there!

If you appreciate the water, then take a trip to the Riverwalk where you can go on a boat tour, have a few drinks at Howl at the Moon, and even shop for some new threads. Oh, and basketball fans can see the San Antonio Spurs play at the AT&T Center.

Get Some Ocean Views At Fort Story

four more years in service
h2osboi93/Instagram
h2osboi93/Instagram

There aren’t many bases that feature sand, sun, and a family-oriented community, but Fort Story in Virginia Beach is one of them. The base is for those in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

This station is a popular destination for military housing and for training Expeditionary Forces. The housing situation at Fort Story is superb. There are more than 250 two-story townhomes that come complete with oceanfront views. It’s kind of tough to beat something like that.

Things to Do Near Fort Story

group outing
nomadic_elf/Instagram
nomadic_elf/Instagram

If the beach is your thing, then Fort Story has you covered. If you want to get more of a workout in, then you can head over to First Landing State Park and take on a 20-mile trail.

One mustn’t miss out on the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, where they have rotating exhibits of sculptures, film, and photography. When the weather starts to heat up, hop in your bathing suit, and head to the Ocean Breeze Waterpark.

Live Life At Marine Corps Base Hawaii

family to be
PATRICK BAZ/AFP via Getty Images
PATRICK BAZ/AFP via Getty Images

If Hawaii is an option, then this one makes the list no matter what. Unless you’re afraid of being on an island or feeling trapped, why wouldn’t you want to get stationed at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii?

Located in Kailua, Hawaii, this Marines base has plenty of cozy oceanfront housing and tropical weather. There is no shortage of activities for families who get to live at this great station.

Things to Do Near Marine Corps Base Hawaii

family at the dole plantation
lisa_johnson1/Instagram
lisa_johnson1/Instagram

One of the things that tourists love, but locals can enjoy just as much, is taking a trip to the Dole Plantation. There, you can participate in the Pineapple Garden Maze and taste sensational pineapple flavored yogurt.

If you want even more time with nature, take a stroll through 400 acres of green at the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden. Don’t forget to check out the Waikiki Aquarium where you can see giant clams and octopi as well!

Joint Base Lewis-McChord Is A West Coast Gem

family reuniting
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

If you’re a fan of the west coast, but prefer some colder weather, then Joint Base Lewis-McChord would be the best situation. Located in Tacoma, Washington, this base has all the breathtaking views one could ever ask for in their life.

This Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps station features quick commutes and lively communities that make it a sought-after destination. The great medical care and childcare programs are only a few of the stellar features.

Things to Do Near Joint Base Lewis-McChord

tacoma
kariotto22/Instagram
kariotto22/Instagram

Call up your friend and set up a play date for the kiddos at the Children’s Museum of Tacoma. There, they can play in waterfalls, climb treehouses, and paint a Picasso. If you want something a little more thrilling, spend some time at the American Lake Park where you can rent jet skis.

There are also many amazing places to dine, including Marzano, an Italian restaurant that serves Nduja Mussels, Chittare al Mare, and Lasagna Bolognese.

Feel The Sun At Naval Base Coronado

family
Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images
Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Much like with the Hawaii station, Naval Base Coronado is another location that provides excellent ocean views and fantastic weather. Located in Coronado, California, this Naval base is on the San Diego Bay, not far from Downtown San Diego.

Naval Base Coronado has eight facilities, each consisting of their own neighborhoods. If the weather doesn’t seal the deal for you, simply cruising around the island is enough to bring you joy.

Things to Do Near Naval Base Coronado

golf course
carlycarol/Instagram
carlycarol/Instagram

Downtown San Diego isn’t too far from the base, so that’s always an option for you and the kids to check out. There are tons of amazing dining options for the whole family to enjoy.

If you have a pooch, take him or her to the Coronado Beach and Dog Park. Practice your putting at the Coronado Municipal Golf Course. Also, if baseball is your thing, it’s just a short drive to Petco Park where you can see the San Diego Padres belt some homers!

Members Of The Navy Enjoy Naval Station Mayport

family gathering
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

If you’re in the Navy and looking to plant roots for a family, then Naval Station Mayport has your name written all over it. It’s one of three large Navy stations in Jacksonville, Florida, with about 32,000 families calling this station home.

They’ve added newly-renovated and newly-constructed homes fully packed with all major appliances in four different neighborhoods. It would be tough not to be satisfied at this station with all the amenities they provide for sailors and their families.

Things to Do Near Naval Station Mayport

florida animals
chancexavier_/Instagram
chancexavier_/Instagram

If you have animal-lovers in the family, take a trip to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens where you can see cobras, sloths, and even rhinos. You can also pet some goats and walk along the paved trails at Tree Hill Nature Center.

For those more into the science scene, venture to the Museum of Science and History for interactive exhibits about topics such as the solar system and Florida’s wildlife.

California’s Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

california
David McNew/Getty Images
David McNew/Getty Images

Here we have another California based station and it’s U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. It’s right next to Oceanside and San Clemente, two popular locations along the coast of California.

We can’t stress enough that the location of this base is everything. It isn’t too long of a drive to Los Angeles if you’re feeling Hollywood, but it’s even closer to Carlsbad, the village by the sea. Whatever you’re in the mood for, you can make it happen if you’re based here.

Feel Free To Invest In The Area Around U.S. Army Base Fort Knox

Army
Mary Knox Merrill/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images
Mary Knox Merrill/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

There’s a large population that lives on U.S. Army Base Fort Knox in Radcliff, Kentucky. The number is well over 11,000, so there is a high demand for housing and they do provide it.

The base is right near Elizabethtown and Vine Grove, where the average home for a house is in the $136,000 range. It’s a safe investment to plant some roots here if this is where you end up stationed!

It’s Hard To Beat Eglin Air Force Base

man and dog
_harris08_/Instagram
_harris08_/Instagram

Florida strikes again with the Eglin Air Force Base. Here, airmen and their loved ones enjoy tons of amenities at this base, as well as the occasional Army attachment getting stationed here sometimes.

Not only is it in gorgeous Florida, the family activities never run out! There are many things to do directly on the base or you can go to the nearby zoo, visit a white sand beach, and several other day trip destinations that are all memorable.

Some Good Stuff Going On In Fort Hood Texas

fort hood family
krumphanzel.okura/Instagram
krumphanzel.okura/Instagram

Found 70 miles north of Austin, Fort Hood Texas is a pretty large Army installation. Here, basic training goes down, as well as many other forms of conditioning. There’s also a ton to do here.

The housing varies and there are plenty of opportunities to participate in resident programming and child-friendly events. Another cool thing is that Texas’ real estate market has a reputation for offering larger homes for less money. Not only will you be in a friendly community, but you also will have more money in your pocket.