Did you know the American military has more than 1,000 active bases worldwide? They’re scattered everywhere around the globe from Germany to South Korea, from the North Pole to Cuba. And a lot of them are quite nice to look at too.
The good news for you is that not all of our most scenic bases require a plane ticket to get to. So if you’re game for a little base-hopping this summer and want to visit some breath-taking locales, here are five beautiful bases right here in the U.S. that your family might consider visiting:
1. Patrick AFB—Florida
Nestled right between Cocoa Beach and Satellite Beach, Patrick Air Force Base definitely isn’t hurting for beach-side views. This is a great place for surfing, kayaking, boating, and windsurfing. And lying out on the beach of course. But if you’re interested in more in-land activities, the Kennedy Space Center, Brevard Zoo, and Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum are right in the area too.
2. NAS Whidbey Island—Washington
This naval air station in Washington state resides near the South Whidbey and Deception Pass state parks. And it’s surrounded by gorgeous views of the American northwest. This locale may be a bit rainy, but it’s also filled with beautiful old-growth fir forests and is a great place for hiking, camping, fishing, crabbing, and even whale watching. Possession Point and Saratoga Passage are also some nearby landmarks you won’t want to miss.
3. Marine Corps Base Hawaii—Hawaii
Okay, so this base will require a plan ticket for most of us, but who wouldn’t get on a plane to see Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii? This is the perfect place for sunbathing, sailing, canoeing, and surfing at Pyramid Rock. But if you can bear to tear yourself away from the ocean, you might consider touring the Byodo-In Temple or climbing the 4,000 Haiku Stairs, also known as the Stairway to Heaven. Apparently the views are spectacular.
4. Fort Wainwright—Alaska
For those of you who aren’t scared of a little snow, this army base boasts the beautiful mountain scenery of Fairbanks, Alaska. Snowmobiling and skiing are obviously great things to do here, as is ice fishing at Birch Lake, hiking, and mountain climbing. This base’s MWR also offers many different organized recreational activities, including scenic and wildlife tours in the area.
5. Portsmouth Naval Shipyard—Maine
Although this shipyard is located in Kittery, Maine, it’s also right across the water from the beautiful Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This is definitely a base to visit if you have a soft spot for historical architecture and a slower tempo of life. But it’s also a great destination for golfing, going to the theater, touring the Kittery Historical and Naval Museum, and visiting the iconic Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse.
To learn even more about our country’s military bases, check out the official website at militarybases.com. And if you love to travel, you’ll definitely want to read my blog post about Travel Discounts for Veterans.