As both the oldest and the largest branch of the armed forces, the Army has many US fort locations, including cities like San Antonio and Colorado Springs as well as bases around various parts of the world, such as South Korea, Germany, Belgium, Japan and Italy. As a service member, military spouse or proud parent, you may wonder: Where are the best army bases for families? Be it at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia or Fort Bragg in North Carolina, there's an army base waiting to welcome you and your military family with open arms.
Whether you're looking for comfortable military family housing or a place that your kids can enjoy themselves through local or on-site activities, the following are some of the best military bases for families. If you have the opportunity to go to any of these forts, take it.
1. Fort Bragg
Covering over 163,000 acres of territory, Fort Bragg isn't just big in terms of land area, it's big in numbers, as approximately 57,000 people live at the installation, primarily military families. This fact alone speaks to the fact that Fort Bragg is military family-friendly; tens of thousands of people wouldn't live here if it weren't.
Do you have children who are still in school? If so, Fort Bragg is teeming with high-quality locations for learning, from Shugart Elementary School to the Mildred B. Poole Elementary School, both based in Cameron. This small town is about a 35 minute drive from the Fort Bragg military base. Here is a list of other area schools.
Another notable perk to life at Fort Bragg are the personal health services. For example, if you have a child with special needs, the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) provides a variety of care support, including therapy, counseling, training and other ongoing assistance.
Check out the "For Families" section of the online home for Fort Bragg to learn more about all that this military installation has to offer. You too may discover why it's among the best Army bases for families.
2. Fort Carson
Home to the 4th Infantry Division, 4th Security Force Assistance Brigade and the 10th Special Forces, Fort Carson is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Roughly an hour outside of Denver, Colorado Springs is a delightful place to live, with the magnificent Pikes Peak in full view. Plus, Colorado Springs is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in America, receiving high marks for public schools, military housing, diversity and safety.
In terms of what makes Fort Carson among the best Army bases for military families, the installation's child and youth services (CYS) are top of the line. From online tutoring programs to in-home child care (FCC) to youth sports and so much more, the CYS at Fort Carson are quite comprehensive.
Visit the website for more information on what's available at Fort Carson. You can also find eligibility requirements if you're interested in leveraging the child and youth services here.
3. Fort Benning
Supporting a population of nearly 70,000 people — when including both civilians as well as soldiers — Fort Benning is well suited for big families. Located on the border of Georgia and Alabama, Fort Benning is particularly well-stocked in military family housing. For example, the Villages of Benning hosts 4,000 individual housing units and the fort actively participates in the Army's Residential Community Initiative Program. Yet despite these resources, some military families are on waiting lists. This speaks to Fort Benning's popularity.
Transitioning from one fort to another can be an adjustment. Fort Benning's Army Community Readiness Relocation Readiness Program has programs designed to make the change of scenery easier.
4. Joint Base San Antonio
Combining Fort Sam Houston the Lackland and Randolph Air Force Bases, Joint Base San Antonio is home to some of the best and brightest service members in the country, including the 5th Army, 25th Air Force and 37th Training Wing. As a city, San Antonio is overflowing with stellar and historical installations, such as Dodd Field, Camp Cushing, Duncan Field and Camp Funston. If military housing options are your foremost desire as a military family, you have plenty of them in San Antonio.
In terms of what makes Joint Base San Antonio special for military families, look no further than school choice. Randolph Field Independent School District, Lackland Independent School District and Fort Sam Houston Independent School District are all located on the grounds of Joint School Base San Antonio. Each has its own unique website that provides parents and students with updates about what's happening in classes and when parents can expect report cards.
Joint Base San Antonio also has a new parent support program for soldiers and their spouses who either just had their first child or are expecting. Staffed with nurses that provide customized, in-home support to moms and dads who may be feeling overwhelmed by their new arrivals, this support program is designed to help couples, as well as single parents, balance the demands that come with the unique combination of parenthood and military responsibilities.
For more on what you can expect at Joint Base San Antonio, visit the website and click on the "Resources" tab at the top of the page.
5. Fort Huachuca Army Base
Like so many other Army bases around the country, Fort Huachuca has a rich history. Founded in 1877 by Colonel August Kautz, this southeast Arizona fort was used as a training ground for the Apache Wars between 1849 and 1924. It was originally home to the 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers but they were eventually replaced by the 25th Infantry Regiment. In addition to hosting the Army Intelligence Center, approximately 7,400 military families live at this garrison.
Thanks in large measure to where it's located, Fort Huachuca is a great place for outdoor activities. The website has a page dedicated to upcoming family-centered activities, including drive-in movies, paintball tournaments and fun runs. For instance, on Armed Forces Day — which is celebrated May 15 — Fort Huachuca holds an Armed Forces Day 5k.
For year-round outdoor activities, military families can take advantage of the challenge course, Recreation Adventure Park and the Outdoor Recreation Sportsman's Center. Located on Garden Canyon Road, paintball, archery, batting cages, skeet and paintball are all available for use.
Check out the website for more information on things to do at Fort Huachuca.
6. Fort McCoy
Headquartered in Wisconsin's Monroe County, Fort McCoy has been around since the early 20th century and was built by Major General Robert Bruce McCoy. Covering over 60,000 acres of land, it's predominantly been used as a military training center, both by the Army as well as the Wisconsin State Patrol. Many of those who trained at Fort McCoy in the 1990s were eventually deployed during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, as this military installation served as a mobilization station.
But when military parents aren't deployed, they have plenty of opportunities here to bond with their families. For instance, during the winter months, there's Whitetail Ridge. This all-purpose ski resort has trails, tracks and slopes for activities like snow tubing, downhill and cross country skiing, as well as snowboarding. When the weather warms up, Fort McCoy also has a place to play paintball and laser tag with three outdoor courses.
Additionally, when classes are back in session, Fort McCoy is surrounded by area schools for kids of all ages, including public schools in the Tomah Area School District and colleges like Viterbo University and Western Technical College.
7. Fort Stewart
If you're looking for a spacious installation to raise a family, you won't find many larger than Fort Stewart. End to end, Fort Stewart, in Hinesville, Georgia, is spread out over 280,000 acres of land, making it the biggest Army base that lies east of the Mississippi River. The combination of its location and its vast footprint makes it an ideal locale for field artillery and helicopter gunnery training.
What it has in territory it lacks in population relative to other bases, serving right around 55,000 military families and 4,500 civilians. You wouldn't know it, though, considering the variety of family-related resources that are available at Fort Stewart's website. From outdoor recreation to renters insurance to updates on what free supplies are available for residents, Fort Stewart aims to make home life as easy and convenient as possible for military families like yours.
There is no single best Military base for families; it's all what you make of it. When you need a personal loan, Omni Financial can make funding happen in a flash. We have offices located all over the country — including several of the cities mentioned here — and are ready to serve you when you're in a bind and need money quickly. Contact us today for more information on our military loan offerings.
The information provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice. You should consult with a financial professional to determine what may be best for your individual needs.