Why I Love Being Stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC
by PCSgrades Staff - April 7th, 2022
When we got orders to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, NC, I was devastated.
Before getting orders, we had three possibilities: Camp Lejeune, Miramar, or Kaneohe Bay. I'm originally from the West Coast, so I was so ready to be stationed back on the Pacific Ocean after two years in Florida.
Learning that we would be PCSing to North Carolina didn't exactly thrill me at first. But something strange happened during our time on the east coast: I fell in love with Camp Lejeune.
I fell in love with Camp Lejeune, NC
After three years here at Camp Lejeune, I have learned to love this place that I once thought I would never even like.
Sure, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the hot, humid summers - or the bugs - but Camp Lejeune has been the place where we’ve embraced this crazy military life as our own.
Here are three reasons I fell in love with this area:
When we first arrived at Camp Lejeune, NC I thought that involvement in the local Marine Corps community was the last thing I wanted. As it turns out, that involvement is my absolute favorite thing about being stationed here. We chose to live on base for the first time in our career. I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions we have ever made.
From the day we first moved in and a neighbor popped over to see if we needed anything, we have seen the “we’re all in this together” motto put into action. We have made some of our closest family friends here on base. And even though they’ve moved away, we still meet up for holidays and vacations.
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, NC is one of the most beautiful installations I’ve ever been on. Base housing dates back to World War II, which my retro-loving heart adores. There is a barn for boarding horses just a half-mile up the road. It always makes me feel like I’ve left base completely when I see them grazing. Multiple playgrounds all over the base have provided friendship for both my children and myself and often serve as meeting places after school and on the weekends.
2. Access to history
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, where school field trips mostly involve the life cycle of a salmon. So moving to a state that has historical sites from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and even earlier parts of history is just plain exciting!
Within a two-hour drive from base, there are two forts from the Civil War that have been converted into state parks. Both Fort Macon and Fort Fisher have static displays of cannons and other weapons, brick architecture, and beautiful grounds to admire.
One of our family’s favorite day trips is heading to Beaufort where Blackbeard infamously ran his ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, aground. Visitors can see a small maritime museum where they are actively preserving artifacts from the many shipwrecks that dot the shores of North Carolina. Wild ponies also run free on small islands, and ferries run families out to see them up close.
If you’re looking to take a long weekend vacation, the options seem almost endless. We’ve taken a trip up to Williamsburg, VA, every year we’ve lived here and explored the great Revolutionary War history there.
Also within driving distance is Richmond, VA, which was once the capital of the Confederacy, and still has many historical buildings to visit. The Biltmore in Asheville, NC, is also within a day’s drive, and although we haven’t visited yet, it’s on my list of places to go before we leave!
For more great things to do near Camp Lejeune, check out this post.
3. Family life at Camp Lejeune, NC
It took a while for me to be able to appreciate the quality of life that moving to Camp Lejeune gave to our family. At first, all I could focus on was how small the mall was, how the area seems to lack multicultural opportunities, and how, once again, we were stationed near a regional airport with pricey tickets home.
But the positives of living in a small town on the North Carlina Coast have slowly persuaded me that this is a great place to raise a young family.
The cost of living here is very much on the low end. Using the BAH for Camp Lejeune, families can live in comfort. Embarrassingly, when we first moved into our home here, we were paying the same amount for our three-bedroom, single-family home as we paid for our very first 400-square-foot, studio apartment ten years ago.
Even though rent has increased a bit since we moved to Camp Lejeune, we’re still paying less here than any other place we’ve lived in our marriage.
The slow pace that seems to define the small-town South also exists here. While sometimes my Northern self just wants to do something fast, I don’t miss the traffic and constant bustle of a busy city. At and around Camp Lejeune, it's possible to be on a first-name basis with employees of establishments you visit a lot. Our family happens to know one of the managers at the local Krispy Kreme (bonus points!).
What is your BAH for Camp Lejeune? Use the BAH Calculator to find out!
Camp Lejeune is a great place to live
I came to Camp Lejeune with tears in my eyes, expecting to hate it. But I don’t. I love it.
I love my 1940s home here on base, the friendships we’ve made, and the pace of life this place offers.
We are once again up for orders this year, and I know that this place I had cried about coming to, I will now cry leaving.