Florida has many military bases that are located throughout the state. They represent all the military branches, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard and are located in all regions of the state.
Northeast Florida has five military bases located in the region, mostly around the City of Jacksonville and one lying a short drive west of the city. Within Jacksonville are the Navy bases of Naval Station Mayport, a Navy surface ship base located at the mouth of the St. John’s River and Atlantic Ocean in Mayport, Florida; Naval Air Station Jacksonville, which is home to a large fleet of Navy patrol aircraft resting along the banks of the St John’s River; Naval Hospital Jacksonville, located on NAS Jacksonville; and Blount Island Command, a Marine Corps logistics base. A one hour drive west of the city will bring you to Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, which is a training base for Army and National Guard troops. With close access to many bases and its low cost of living, Northeast Florida is an attractive destination for those retiring from the military who desire access to base recreational and medical facilities along with those driving as the first Florida beaches to see on your journeys down south.
The Central Florida region spans from the East Coast to the Gulf Coast of Florida and includes four military bases. On the East Coast area known as the Florida Space Coast is Patrick Air Force Base. Located very close to Kennedy Space Center, this area offers visitors great access to our history in space travel. If there for an extended time you are likely to watch a space rocket launch up close. In Orlando is the Naval Support Activity Orlando which is a military training and research facility and has nearby military exchange and commissary facilities including the DoD run Shades of Green Resort for those making a trip to the Orlando attractions like Walt Disney World. On the Gulf Coast is the Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, one of the Coast Guard’s largest air stations. Also on the West Coast in the City of Tampa is the large MacDill Air Force Base, home to an air mobility wing and air refueling wing. This diverse area, spanning from the East Coast to the Gulf Coast has plenty of warm weather and attractions to entertain visitors.
The South Florida region is home to five military bases, mostly located in the area of the City of Miami. In West Palm Springs, Florida, is the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center, a support base for the Navy undersea laboratory located at Andros Island, Bahamas. The Coast Guard has the Coast Guard Sector Miami and Coast Guard 7th District bases both located in and near Miami, responsible for the busy port of Miami and the other a command base for the Southern district of the Southeastern US and its waters that stretch across the Caribbean. Lodging facilities include Coast Guard run cottages located in Marathon Key, Florida, and in Hillsboro Beach, Florida. Directly South of Miami in Homestead, Florida, is the Homestead Air Reserve Base which is home to an Air Force Reserve fighter wing. Finally, at the end of the Florida Keys is Naval Air Station Key West, a full-sized base that is a much-visited destination for those with recreational vehicles due to its hundreds of RV spots as well as other base facilities.
With eight military bases, the region of Northwest Florida, also known as the Florida Panhandle, has the greatest number of military bases of the four regions. Going from East to West are Tyndall Air Force Base, south of Panama City, Florida, home to an advanced Air Force fighter wing, this base was badly damaged last year during a hurricane and is in a rebuilding phase. At Panama City Beach is the Naval Support Activity Panama City, home to a Navy surface warfare research center and experimental diving unit. Further West near Niceville, Florida, is Eglin Air Force Base which is home to an Air Force test wing. A short distance away is Hurlburt Field, an Air Force installation home to Air Force special operations personnel and training. Following west, in the Pensacola area are the Navy bases of Naval Air Station Whiting Field, a Navy aviation training base; Naval Air Station Corry Field, a Navy information warfare training center; Naval Hospital Pensacola, a major Navy military hospital facility that serves the Pensacola bases and military community in the area; and Naval Air Station Pensacola, “The Cradle of Naval Aviation” and home base of the Navy’s Blue Angels precision flying team. A visitor to this region will be rewarded not only with the lovely Emerald Coast area of fine white beaches and clear emerald colored gulf waters but many military facilities full of recreational opportunities and exciting free military museums to visit.
Whether visiting on vacation and looking to maximize your vacation dollar by utilizing a bases’ recreational and lodging facilities, staying long-term due to a duty assignment, or settling down in retirement, Florida has some of the best military bases to visit. From the northern First Coast and Panhandle areas down to the southern Miami and Florida Keys, the eastern Space Coast across to the western Emerald Coast, one can find many diverse and memorable experiences at the military bases across the great State of Florida. I am happy and proud to call Florida my home, it’s no wonder why so many people agree and are making Florida a fast-growing state and highly desired travel destination.