The U.S. Navy currently operates over 40 military bases in the United States.
Furthermore, there are hundreds of U.S. joint bases managed overseas.
What are the best Navy bases in the country and abroad?
Learn more about the top Navy bases for singles and families.
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Best Navy Bases in the U.S.
The Navy manages 40 bases in the United States with most of them on either coast.
California has the most Navy bases (13) while Florida is right behind with 8 of its own.
South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington also house several bases.
Here are the best Navy bases in the United States based on criteria like location, housing, amenities, and community support:
#1 – Naval Base San Diego, California
Two words: San Diego.
In case you’ve never been there, San Diego is one of the finest places on earth, with fantastic weather, beaches, nightlife, attractions, and a more laid-back vibe compared to its northern neighbor L.A.
As a result, it’s not shocking that Naval Base San Diego is by far the most sought-after station for duty in the U.S. Navy.
The second-largest Surface Ship base impressively contains 56 ships from the Pacific Fleet.
The complex is impressive to tour with 13 piers over 1,900 acres of land.
Naval Base San Diego currently hosts over 20,000 active-duty members.
San Diego is a wonderful place to call home as it’s very supportive of the military.
The city has a plethora of things to see and do but you’ll definitely pay more in housing for this luxury.
The cost of living is worth it for outstanding weather and culture.
#2 – Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii
There is a lot of competition for the second spot on the list of best Navy bases in the country.
However, it is hard to ignore the precious history and legacy of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
The base has been in operation since 1899 and was infamously bombed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which got America involved in WWII.
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam is across from Honolulu on the island of Oahu.
The large base currently supports more than 25,000 sailors and their families.
Along with the rich history of the base at Pearl Harbor, you also get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of residing in Hawaii.
Though housing and food are expensive (like in San Diego), it’s foolish to pass on the opportunity to serve here at least once.
The weather, scenery, beaches, hiking areas, and culture will make you never want to leave paradise.
#3 – Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia
Naval Station Norfolk is the largest Navy base in the world, regardless of the country.
The massive military post provides access to more than 82,000 active-duty sailors.
Additionally, 112,000 family members and 29,000 civilians are part of Naval Station Norfolk in one regard.
The fleet of Naval Station Norfolk is astonishing with 75 ships and 134 aircraft.
Base housing is somewhat competitive since there are so many people in the area, but not impossible to obtain.
Along with plenty to do in Virginia Beach, you will also enjoy mild summers for the coast with winters that are not too terrible.
Best Overseas Navy Bases
The Navy does not have as many military complexes in the United States compared to the U.S. Air Force and Army.
However, that is not to suggest that it lacks a presence overseas, where demand for Navy bases is perhaps stronger than any other military branch.
The United States government relies on the Navy for quick access to a foreign land in the event of a conflict.
Here are the top places to get stationed overseas (if you are so lucky!):
#1 – Naval Station Rota, Spain
Naval Station Rota is in southern Spain along the west coast of the country leading into the Atlantic Ocean.
The base is across from Morocco and not far from Portugal.
Anyone that has ever been to Spain has very good things to say about the country and all the places to see.
Along with sailors, the base also hosts Marines and a small contingency of Air Force and Army personnel.
Therefore, you’ll get exposure to all branches of the U.S. military along with a foreign culture.
Spain offers sensational beaches, delicious food, and plenty of options for adult beverages.
It’s a really attractive option for young and single sailors with such incredible nightlife.
#2 – Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy
Naval Air Station Sigonella serves as both an Italian Air Force base and a military installation for the U.S. Navy.
The complex is in Sicily, Italy, the largest island in the Mediterranean and near the “boot” and “toe” of the country.
Naval Air Station Sigonella supports a wide range of U.S. commands and military activities.
The United States Armed Forces use Naval Air Station Sigonella heavily for stops bound from the U.S. to Southwest Asia.
Along with spending your free time touring Italy, you also have close connections to several other European countries.
You’ll love everything the beautiful country has to offer for Americans.
#3 – Naval Base Guam
Sailors who are searching for something more in the Far East have a couple of options.
The first place is Naval Base Guam on the very remote island of the Philippine Sea.
The Navy base is near the Pacific Ocean and also supports U.S. Air Force operations.
Living in Guam is literally like going to another planet, as you are thousands of miles from Hawaii and about as far away from the United States as possible.
Meanwhile, the United States Fleet Activities in Yokosuka is another option worth pursuing in Asia.
The U.S. Navy base is in Japan with quick access to Okinawa.
Okinawa offers terrific beaches and exotic foods to test your palette.
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Best Navy Bases for Families
Where are the best places to request a Permanent Duty Station in the U.S. Navy if you have a family?
Military families have many challenges that may be different from traditional civilian families.
However, you can improve your odds of success, and survival is partly dependent on where you get stationed.
Fortunately, these Navy bases are heralded for being friendly to military families:
#1 – Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia
Despite technically being within the boundaries of Georgia, Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay is as close to Florida as possible.
The southern Georgia base is also along the Atlantic Coast, offering some spectacular views with entertainment in nearby Jacksonville.
The U.S. government houses its Trident nuclear-powered submarines at Kings Bay.
Kings Bay is a small community that is next to the historic town of St. Mary’s, Georgia.
Regardless of the direction (north or south), you’ll find many other military families for networking and support.
PPV housing is spacious, well-maintained, and features playgrounds in every cul-de-sac.
The MWR facilities for families offer plenty to do, including a golf course. The base offers a Youth Center, a Teen Center, and a Child Development Center for daycare.
Housing is very reasonable, even if the summers are a little brutal in terms of temperatures.
#2 – Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida
There are many that consider Naval Air Station Pensacola one of the best Navy bases in the nation.
It’s easy to understand why Pensacola has such a fantastic reputation with over 16,000 military personnel calling the place home.
Pensacola is along the Florida panhandle, so unfortunately, it’s not too close to any of the major cities of Florida.
However, it’s a good place to raise a family if you don’t care about being close to a metropolis.
Housing is very affordable, with great family-friendly amenities on the base. The base has a service center to help you locate family living quarters within your budget.
Children will enjoy watching the Navy Blue Angels train at their headquarters.
Families with members who have special medical or educational needs are catered to at Pensacola. The EFMP Family Support Center is there to help you find resources.
The base has several childcare centers and recreation programs for kids and teens, including nationwide organizations like USDA 4-H.
The post is also home to the Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) and Training Air Wing SIX.
#3 – Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas
Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, like the base in Pensacola, is renowned for its heritage training Navy pilots.
The Naval Air Training Command still has its headquarters at Corpus Christi, which has been training pilots since World War II.
Corpus Christi is among one of the better places to live in the massive state of Texas, which is very friendly to active-duty military and families.
The pretty city is rich in culture and among the fastest-growing places in the U.S.
NAS Corpus Christi is located on the Gulf of Mexico, so you’ll enjoy mild weather and beautiful views. The base even has its own little marina for small watercraft.
The base offers recently built PPV housing, however, the cost of off-base housing remains modest.
Corpus Christi also provides quick access to numerous beaches in the region for a family getaway.
Best Navy Bases for Singles
Military life is not much different than that of civilians when it comes to the stark difference between where singles and married couples want to live.
While military families want somewhere safe, quiet, and with good schools — a single person wants action and nightlife.
Thankfully, the U.S. Navy is one of the best branches to join for single people since you have more of an opportunity to see the world as well as live on a coast.
#1 – Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Naval Station Pearl Harbor makes our list not once but twice.
In addition to being one of the best Navy bases in the world, it also is a terrific location for sailors living the single life.
Hawaii has everything someone not attached to a significant other or kids would want, like beaches, hiking trails, entertainment, and nightlife.
The large base has a handful of people who will want to join you on a night out.
You’ll also probably want to stay on the base since housing is astronomical in Oahu, with small apartments that average $2,500 a month for a one bedroom.
Sailors E1 to E4 are eligible for a barracks assignment.
It helps to get on a waiting list as soon as possible for base housing.
#2 – Naval Base Kitsap, Washington
Naval Base Kitsap would be number one on the list if not for a military presence in Hawaii.
Along with catering well to singles, it is also a fantastic Navy base in general.
Washington has multiple Navy installations along the Pacific Northwest, yet Naval Base Kitsap is the highlight.
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and Navy Station Everett are also in the area and are solid alternatives.
The third-largest naval base in the country includes four nuclear shipyards and one of only two nuclear weapons facilities.
Unaccompanied housing is available in the barracks to personnel E1-to E3 and for E4 with less than four years of service. It’s also available for more senior personnel based on availability.
You’ll find recreational facilities nearby, with a well-equipped gym, as well as dining facilities.
Puget Sound is one of the most desirable places to live and tourist destinations in the world so you’ll have no problem finding things to do or people to meet!
#3 – Naval Air Station Lemoore, California
Though most sailors who are single will do absolutely anything to get stationed in San Diego, there is a possibility you might miss out on the highly competitive base.
Naval Air Station Lemoore is a really good alternative for singles in California.
Lemoore is approximately halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Furthermore, it’s really close to Sequoia National Forest, Yosemite National Park, and Death Valley National Park.
If you love the outdoors, you’ll appreciate the quick access as well as a reasonable drive to one of the two biggest metropolises in California.
Naval Air Station Lemoore supports the Strike Fighter Wing Pacific with nearly 200 Hornets and Super Hornets in the region.
It’s not excellent for nightlife in the immediate area but ideal for those who love the outdoors and more rural settings.
Most personnel, E1 to E3, and E4 with less than four years of service, are required to live in unaccompanied housing.
But the facilities are nice, and well equipped, with all the daily amenities, like dining, rec center, and fitness center, within walking distance.
The weather and other on-base amenities are also amazing.
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The best Navy bases in the country have a lot to offer.
While most agree that Naval Base San Diego tops the list, there are several other excellent places to get stationed.
Your priorities might change depending on whether you are single or have a family, yet there is a Navy installation for everyone!