5-Norfolk, VA- Naval Station Norfolk, NAS Oceana and others
If you’re looking for a job in the Navy, move to Virginia. Housing market is cheap. HUGE navy presence so there’s a large support system available. A little lacking in off-base activities but it may be perfect for those looking for a slower pace. You get all four seasons, so for those who don’t prefer a specific climate. Virginia’s for you.
4-Jacksonville, FL- Naval Air Station Jacksonville, and Naval Station Mayport.
Warm weather, cheap housing market, plenty of activities. Jacksonville is good for the Sailors and Families who want the best bang for their buck in terms of housing. Sure, there’s a few bugs and alligators involved. But you’re into touristy-activities, there’s golf, theme parks, and all sorts of beaches somewhat close.
3-Hawaii- Pearl Harbor and Kaneohe Bay
So the government wants to send you to a place to LIVE where others VACATION… on their dime. CHECK! Activities galore here; beaches, hiking, city life, sight-seeing, awesome food! Pack away those bulky coats and boots, you won’t need them…like ever. Cost of living and distance from family are some cons. Job market may be tougher for spouses, but all four branches of the military are active on Oahu, and there’s the booming tourism industry.
2-Everett- Naval Station Everett
Beautiful Washington State. Hiking, fishing, hunting, camping. Even with the rain, Washington was made for the outdoorsy people. Bustling Seattle is 25 miles away for those job hunters. Slip away to the suburbs if you want a little more peace and quiet.
1-San Diego- Naval Complex San Diego
I’m so biased because my alma mater is here, so I chose San Diego before the Navy chose it for us. Perfect weather, plenty of activities, wide and varied job market. I will say that the cost of living is significantly higher here. It’s SoCal, you give and you get.
Bonus: Other countries, Japan, Italy, Spain, etc. If you can, I say, try an international duty station. Join the navy, see the world right? You’ll have great stories and life experiences to tell your grandkids one day.
Notes: I graded the items that were personally important to me: a decent job market, a variety of activities, a combo of city/suburb living, large naval presence that is integrated into the civilian world as opposed to a navy base that pretty much runs the town.
Let’s hear it… what are your top 5?