Fort Hood is centrally located in Texas about an hour north of Austin and 3 hours south of Dallas. The post is enormous and spans 3 cities which include the training areas. Most of Fort Hood sits in Killeen. Harker Heights is to the east and Copperas Cove is to the west. The training and cantonment area combine to cover a whopping 340-square miles, rivaling most of America’s larger cities. Fort Hood is also the largest single-site employer in the entire state of Texas with an estimated 45,414 assigned service members and 8,909 civilian employees.
Off Base Neighborhoods
Popular neighborhoods off-post include Timber Ridge Estates and White Rock Estates in Killeen. Heartwood Park and Copperas Cove are also popular places to live for military families. Knights Ridge and Evergreen Estates in Harker Heights also host a large military population.
On Base Housing
On post housing is available for all ranks. However, not all neighborhoods fall within the main cantonment area with some communities across the highway. Fort Hood housing is privatized and managed by Winn Companies. Homes range from townhomes to duplexes to single-family homes. West Fort Hood and a few other neighborhoods are considered “on post” but are located about 1-2 miles from the main base and can be easily accessed through multiple gates. Some of these neighborhoods are open to non-military families and not all have gate guards.
Cost of Living and BAH
The average cost per square foot in the Fort Hood area (Killeen, Harker Heights, Copperas Cove) is around $76, making it a very attractive place to buy a home. Many service members capitalize on the low mortgage rates and purchase to maximize their BAH. Fort Hood BAH ranges from $960 to $1,614 for enlisted. BAH at Fort Hood begins at $1,146 for O1 without dependents and goes up to $1,767 for O7 with dependents.
You will experience two seasons at Fort Hood: hot and hotter. With mild winters and hot summers, it’s rare you will experience all four seasons. There are numerous water parks, pools, and lakes that help to keep you cool. Most people don’t seem to mind the break from the cold weather. Stay hydrated and just get used to applying that sunscreen, even during Christmas break!
There are two large Commissaries and Exchanges located on each side of the main post, and the newly built Carl R. Darnell Army Medical Center. Seven Elementary schools and two Middle Schools are also located on post. High Schools students living on post are zoned for Killeen High School or Shoemaker High School. Fort Hood also has many medical facilities, pharmacies, restaurants, parks, and pools.
Since Fort Hood is located in Central Texas, you have access to some amazing surrounding cities all within a few hour's drive.
Georgetown is a quaint town you will pass on your way to Austin. It has a beautiful city square with local shops, antiques, and excellent restaurants. Not in the mood to shop? Head to the local winery and relax with a wine tasting.
Austin is not only the Capital of Texas but known as the music capital of the world. There is so much to do in Austin that you will need to make more than one trip. You can attend a music festival, watch the bats fly off the Congress Avenue Bridge, visit the Lyndon B Johnson Presidential Library, swim in Barton Springs Pool, pose in front of the famous “I love you so much” wall, or catch a University of Texas football game. The options are endless in Austin.
Dallas is a large city that deserves more than one trip to accomplish the checklist of events that the city has to offer. The most notable attractions include the JFK History Tour that ends in Dealey Plaza, the George W. Bush Presidential Library, the Dallas World Aquarium, Cowboys football games, Rangers baseball games, the Dallas Zoo, and many more parks and museums.
Military families love to take a weekend trip to San Antonio and visit the local attractions. The Riverwalk, lined with colorful umbrellas, restaurants, boat tours, and much more. Or head to Sea World and check out the aquatic life. They have a great military discount program! Probably the most visited site in San Antonio would be the Alamo.
Houston is home to the NASA Space Center Houston, Houston Zoo, Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Astros baseball team, the Downtown Aquarium, and the Children’s Museum. You can take a boat tour and participate in one of the many crawfish boils the city hosts.
Galveston is where many families like to escape and enjoy a nice beach vacation. You can simply enjoy ‘island time’ in a beach chair or shop around, tour the Moody Gardens, or head to the Lone Star Flight Museum to check out the historical air crafts and artifacts. Galveston is also a major port-of-call to hop on a cruise ship and take an extended vacation!
Food and Drink
One Texas landmark you will come to love is the grocery store H-E-B. Though it may be the only show in town, excluding Walmart and the Commissary, it will never disappoint. H-E-B sells every product you can imagine at low prices and houses a vast array of local Texas wines and beers. After experiencing it once, you will never want to shop anywhere else again.
As for local cuisine, Texas is home to some fantastic BBQ, all things Tex-Mex to include breakfast burritos, and Texas kolaches. What is a Texas kolache you might ask? It’s a giant pastry stuffed with meat that you can get with cheese and jalapeños. If you are feeling thirsty after your local cuisine, head to one of the many drive-thru daiquiri bars. Yep, you read that right, each city in the Fort Hood area boasts a least one! But as always, be responsible and don’t drink and drive. If you would like something a little more elegant than the local “Brew Thru” you can head to any of the wineries in the surrounding area.
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