Naval Base San Diego
Naval Base San Diego is located on the Pacific coast in San Diego, California, about 15 minutes from Downtown San Diego and 3 hours from Los Angeles, California. The base supports over 20,000 military members and serves as the home-port of the Pacific Fleet. Being stationed in Southern California provides many opportunities for every sort of family. The location boasts beautiful beaches, outdoor fun, and plenty of close attractions to keep you busy through your time here.
Off Base Neighborhoods
If you are looking to rent or buy while in San Diego, it is essential to define your priorities. In general, San Diego housing is costly. If you are ok with smaller living spaces (condo, apartment or townhouse) and enjoy the urban lifestyle, you have a lot of options in fun neighborhoods like downtown, North Park, South Park, Coronado, and Hillcrest. If you want/need more space, a yard, or a good school district; you will need to move farther out from Central San Diego. People speak highly of the school districts in East Lake and Poway. Coronado is a beautiful place to live, but the housing tends to be very expensive.
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On Base Housing
San Diego Naval Station housing is managed by Lincoln Military Housing. There is no family housing at the 32nd street naval complex. There are limited housing options on base in nearby Point Loma, Coronado NAB and Coronado NAS North Island. Most families live in base housing communities that are scattered throughout the San Diego area. These base housing neighborhoods are typically not gated, and are surrounded by civilian neighborhoods. Forty-eight communities serve the San Diego area Naval and Marine population and consist of apartments, duplexes, and single family homes. Most neighborhoods are roughly 15-30 minutes away from the base. While there are definitely some options for Officers, most of the communities are for the Enlisted Ranks and serve E1-E9.
There are no schools on the NB San Diego military base, because family housing is spread throughout the city. The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSC) is vast, and covers the entire city of San Diego, and much of the area around MCAS Miramar. South of San Diego is the Chula Vista district. Through the School Choice program, students can apply to attend any school in the district beginning in November, regardless of where they live, but acceptance is based on space available. The San Diego schools follow two different types of school calendars. Some schools are traditional, with a school year that begins in August and ends in early June. The year-round school schedule begins in late July and runs until the following July, with long breaks in January and April. Pay attention to which calendar your child's school will use, especially if you have more than one child!
Cost of Living and BAH
San Diego (and Southern California in general) has an extremely high cost of living. Housing is expensive, and San Diego BAH rates are designed to match the average rental costs in the area. BAH rates range from $2,100-$3,348 for enlisted personnel to $2,853-$3,882 for officers.
The San Diego area is not an extremely affordable area to live in or buy a home in. With the median home price of $575,000, the local markets are quite a bit higher than the national average and an increase in rate is inevitable. However, if you don’t mind paying what some refer to as a “Sunshine Tax,” San Diego is a beautiful place to live, work, and play.
The San Diego area boasts a moderate climate which tends to stay around 75 degrees all year long with a small amount of rain. The temperature does cool in the winter and even in the evenings. This means you can save on your electric bill all year long as it’s rarely necessary to have an air conditioner aside from July, August, and September when there are many days in the 90s. Even then a portable window unit should suffice. Mostly it is beautiful here year round, the perfect climate for the outdoor activities that are so popular in the area: bike riding, surfing, and beach bumming.
Because the San Diego area includes several different military bases, you will find that the resources are often spread out. Military families stationed in the area can attend events or use amenities at any location, including the 32nd Street complex, MCAS Miramar, Coronado NAB, Coronado NAS North Island, and NB Point Loma. There is a large Commissary at 32nd Street with a fresh meat and seafood counter. There is also a smaller Commissary on NAS North Island. There are gyms and swimming pools on each base, and a large family gym in Admiral Hartman housing. There is a bowling alley at 32nd Street and North Island, with a Movie Theater nearby each location. The main medical facility for military families in San Diego is the Naval Medical Center in Balboa Park, called either NMCSD or more commonly Balboa Hospital.
There is seriously so much to do in Southern California. Individuals, couples, and families are all sure to enjoy their time here. From museums to beaches, San Diego has it all. Start in Balboa Park, an open green space near downtown San Diego, where you can find art and history museums, a Shakespeare Theater, a Japanese Garden, and lots of food trucks.
MUSEUMS: San Diego is sporting some serious military museums and memorials. Among the most popular are the USS Midway Museum, The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, and the San Diego Air & Space Museum. The USS Midway Museum is housed on the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier. One could spend days here exploring the history through tours, interactive exhibits, and a wide variety of events and activities. The USS Midway is even host to the virtual exhibition, The Wall of Gratitude, in which you can submit a photo of your Service Hero and have them honored with their brothers and sisters in service. The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum is the only Marine Corps Aviation museum in the nation and worth a visit. Admission and parking are free to see all this unique museum has to offer. The San Diego Air & Space Museum offers an extensive collection of aircraft and spacecrafts from all over the world as well as simulators and special interactive activities for the kiddos. Admission is free for active military.
BEACHES: The San Diego area is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in America, 70 miles of beaches to be exact. Some local favorites are Mission Beach, La Jolla, and Del Mar. Enjoy surfing, bike-riding, or just some relaxation. All of the beaches offer something a little different and you could spend a while exploring all beach life here has to offer.
FOR THE KIDS: If the beaches happen to get boring for the kiddos, there are tons of other things to occupy their time and energy. San Diego is home to the famous San Diego Zoo which you are probably aware of, it’s also home to the 100-year-old Birch Aquarium and the San Diego Zoo Safari. Other excellent attractions for families include; Legoland, Belmont Park, Sea World, and Aquatica. Aside from theme parks, favorite activities include whale watching, seeing the sea lions at La Jolla, or catching a baseball game at Petco Park. With so many options in San Diego it’s hard to not have a good time while stationed here.
Food and Drink
San Diego Cuisine is diverse and varied and based on fresh ingredients. Taco trucks, burritos, and California pizza are all popular choices, but perhaps the defining dish of San Diego is fish tacos. Served with lime on the side this yummy concoction can be found pretty much everywhere and is a local favorite. Other favorites include Asian cuisine of all sorts and of course fresh seafood.
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