Top 20 Military Friendly Cities

In today’s post, I’m going to share what I believe are the top 20 military friendly cities. 

A few weeks ago I wrote an article on the most military friendly States. In carrying on with a similar line, I want to share the top 20 military friendly cities.

I know that there are several other websites that have covered this subject, but I have noticed they have only listed cities within the United States borders. As an expat myself, I know that some of us want to live outside the borders. Plus, many of our military members are not in the U.S., so I am opening up these results to cities all around the world.

You may wonder how I determine the top cities. I evaluate the:

  • Quality of life
  • Military family life
  • Nightlife
  • Things to do
  • Job opportunities for military veterans and retirees

But most importantly, I just listen to members of the military and their views.

military friendly cities

Top 20 Military Friendly Cities

I am going to start at #20 and list the top military friendly cities. I will also tell you some attractions in that city along with all military bases located in or near that city.

You may have a different opinion than I do, so feel free to leave that opinion in the comments section at the end of this post.

# 20: Naples, Italy

Naples has received a bad reputation over the years as a high crime area but truth be told, every city on this list has its share of crime. But ahh, Italy.

And since you will be wearing a uniform often, many would be robbers will think twice.

One huge danger is weight gain. Italian pasta will force you to double your exercise regimen.

The top attractions in Naples are:

  • Museo Cappella Sansavero – This old church has amazing sculptures.
  • Galleria Borbonica – A wonderful museum.
  • Via Caracciolo e Lungomare di Napoli – You will love the view.

Military bases in or near Naples are:

  • NSA Naples Naval Base
  • NSA Gaeta Naval Base

# 19: Key West, Florida

Everywhere you look in lovely Key West, there is a military discount. Key West loves the military because it is the military that kept this wonderful location going economically.

The top attractions in Key West are:

  • Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory – You will love this tranquil atmosphere on Duval Street.
  • Dry Tortugas National Park – You will love the fort and put on your snorkel and flippers and enjoy the beauty under the water.
  • One of many boat tours – There are dozens of boat tours that will take you into serenity.

Military bases in Key West are:

  • U.S. Naval Air Station
  • Naval Air Station Key West

# 18: Savannah, Georgia

You may wonder how Savannah, Georgia slipped in this list. I found that many military members love the lifestyle of this Southern community.

There are also many employment opportunities for those with military experience.

The top attractions in Savannah are:

  • The Historic District – Just seeing this old historic buildings will leave you mesmerized.
  • The Cathedral of St John The Baptist – This is an amazing church.
  • Forsyth Park – A great place to walk, relax and take in the nature of Savannah, Georgia.

Military bases in or near Savannah, Georgia are:

  • Hunter Army Airfield
  • Fort Stewart
  • U.S. Defense Department

# 17: Okinawa, Japan

There was a day when the American military was not appreciated in Japan. I know that for a fact since my father was stationed there, but that was many years ago and attitudes have changed.

In Okinawa, U.S. military is treated like royalty. Everything in Okinawa is an attraction, so enjoy your time there.

Military bases in Okinawa, Japan are:

  • Kadena Air Base
  • Camp Hansen
  • Torii Station
  • Camp Courtney
  • Camp Schwab

# 16: San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio has a high rating among military personnel. Colleges are military friendly and employers are military friendly.

The people of San Antonio show great respect towards anyone in uniform.

Top San Antonio attractions are:

  • The river walk – There are fantastic shops and eateries. The river walk is a must do in San Antonio.
  • Mission San Jose – This Catholic mission is quite old and cool to see. Mass is still held there.
  • The Alamo – See the place where Texans held out to their death.

Military bases in or near San Antonio, Texas are:

  • Lackland Air Force Base
  • Fort Hood
  • Camp Bullis
  • JBSA Randolph
  • Martindale Army Airfield

# 15: Pensacola, Florida

Pensacola has a high percentage of military residents. As such, Pensacola offers a lot to people who serve.

Top Pensacola attractions are:

  • National Naval Aviation Museum – This is one of the best Naval museums in the nation.
  • Blue Wahoos Ballpark – This is a great time for both baseball and non-baseball fans.
  • Pensacola Lighthouse – You can even go to the top and see out over the ocean. There is also a museum.

Military bases in or near Pensacola, Florida are:

  • Naval Air Station Pensacola
  • Naval Air Station Whiting Field
  • CID Corry Station
  • Eglin Air Force Base
Other posts you may enjoy:
  1. Top 13 Military Friendly Insurance Companies
  2. Top 20 Military Friendly States
  3. Top 5 Military-Friendly Banks
  4. 19 Tips On How To Raise Patriotic Kids

# 14: Houston, Texas

Houston is known for being a military friendly city.

The schools and employers love the military as do businesses.

The top attractions in Houston are:

  • The Houston Museum of Natural Science – You can learn so much about life long before humans.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts – Some very cool art work in this museum.
  • The Houston Zoo – Who doesn’t love a zoo? Houston has a great one.

Military bases in or near Houston, Texas are:

  • Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base
  • U.S. Army Reserve Center

# 13: Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville is a favorite of current military and military veterans.

There are many schools that attract students with military backgrounds and employers love hiring current and ex military.

The top attractions in Jacksonville are:

  • Catty Shack Ranch – This is a wildlife sanctuary that lets you get up close to wild animals.
  • Jacksonville Zoo – This is another great zoo in the U.S.
  • The Cummer Museum of Art – This museum has a fantastic garden too.

Military bases in or near Jacksonville, Florida are:

  • Jacksonville Naval Air Station
  • Naval Station Mayport
  • Camp Blanding

# 12: Austin, Texas

From this list of military friendly cities, we can plainly see that nearly every city in Texas is military friendly.

Austin is a huge favorite of many military personnel.

The top attractions in Austin are:

  • The State Capitol – An amazing history behind this piece of real estate.
  • Lady Bird Lake Trail – This trail is wonderful for walking or biking.
  • The LBJ Presidential Library – Just a great place to see and enjoy.

Military bases in or near Austin, Texas are:

  • Fort Hood

# 11: Columbus, Georgia

When you travel to Columbus, you are apt to see many people in military uniform.

There is a large percentage and that means that businesses cater to military personnel.

The top attractions in Columbus are:

  • The National Infantry Museum – This just shows that Columbus is a military city.
  • The River-walk – It is a wonderful place to have a peaceful walk along the river.
  • The National Civil War Naval Museum – Another military wonder.

The military bases in or near Columbus, Georgia are:

  • Fort Benning

city life

# 10: San Juan, Puerto Rico

It is where I live, and many military personnel call Puerto Rico home.

The economy is a shambles at this moment in time, so military members help hold it together.

The style of life is great.

One moment you can be in the rain forest and one hour later surfing on the ocean.

Top attractions in San Juan and the vicinity are:

  • Old San Juan – Walk and view the amazing architecture.
  • El Morro – The fort that defended the island for years is a great thing to see.
  • El Yunque – The rain forest is just a few miles from San Juan and is a wonderful adventure.

Military bases in or near San Juan, Puerto Rico are:

  • Fort Buchanan
  • Muniz ANG Base

# 9: Virginia Beach, Virginia

I would wager that if you polled 100 people randomly in Virginia Beach, 98 are either in or retired from the military.

Most businesses offer discounts for anyone with military identification.

The top attractions in Virginia Beach are:

  • The Boardwalk – This walk along the beautiful beach is an enjoyable experience.
  • The Military Aviation Museum – Learn about military aviation from the start to now.
  • The Beach – There is no way I could leave off Virginia Beach itself. It is one of the nicest beaches on the East coast.

Military bases in or near Virginia Beach, Virginia are:

  • Joint Base Little Creek-Fort Story
  • Langley Air Force Base
  • Dam Neck Fleet Training Center
  • Naval Air Station Oceana

# 8: Seoul, South Korea

The South Koreans have become quite used to having a United States military presence.

They treat us with care and respect for the biggest part.

The top attractions in or near Seoul are:

  • Ride the metro – This train goes all around Seoul.
  • The Korean War Memorial – This is a great memorial to recognize the Korean War.
  • Gyeongbokgung Palace – Learn about some old Korean history,

Military bases in South Korea are:

  • Camp Carroll
  • Camp Casey
  • Camp Castle
  • Camp Eagle
  • Camp Hovey
  • Camp Humphreys
  • Camp Market
  • Camp Stanley
  • K16 Air Base
  • USAG Daegu
  • USAG Yongsan

# 7: Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore has a long history of having military personnel in and out of the vicinity.

There is a great respect for our military and Baltimore is a top choice as a living place for veterans.

The top attractions in Baltimore are:

  • Camden Yards – This is the ballpark of the Baltimore Orioles and it has a rich history.
  • Fort McHenry National Monument – This is the Fort Francis Scott Key viewed as he wrote the Star Spangled Banner.
  • The Walters Art Museum – This is a wonderful art museum.

Military bases in and around Baltimore, Maryland are:

  • Warfield Air National Guard
  • Maryland National Guard
  • U.S. Army Reserve Depot
  • U.S. Marine Corps

# 6: Stuttgart, Germany

Stuttgart is a top choice for military personnel if having to go overseas.

It is a family friendly and military friendly city.

The top attractions in Stuttgart are:

  • The Mercedes Benz Museum – You can see the complete history of these fine automobiles.
  • The Porsche Museum – Autos are huge in Stuttgart.
  • The Wilhelma Zoo and Botanical Garden – This zoo is loved by many.

Military installations near Stuttgart, Germany are:

  • Kelley Barracks
  • Patch Barracks

# 5: Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas

As I said earlier, Texas is very military friendly, and the Dallas/Fort Worth area ranks quite high on the list as a top location where both current and ex military personnel want to live.

Top attractions in Dallas/Fort Worth are:

  • The Kimbell Art Museum – This is a great art museum.
  • Fort Worth Zoo – Another great U.S. Zoo.
  • The Amon Carter Museum of American Art – America has had some great artists, and many have pieces in this great museum.

Military bases in or near Dallas/ Fort Worth are:

  • Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base
  • Grand Prairie Armed Forces Reserve Complex
  • National Guard

# 4: Colorado Springs, Colorado

This is another U.S. city that has many military personnel residing there.

As a matter of fact, I was born there as my father was in the Air Force.

The top attractions in Colorado Springs are:

  • Garden of the Gods – These rock formations are amazing.
  • Pikes Peak – A must see when in Colorado Springs.
  • Cheyenne Mountain Zoo – This is a great zoo.

Military bases in or around Colorado Springs are:

  • Peterson Air Force Base
  • Schriever Air Force Base
  • Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station
  • Fort Carson
  • United States Air Force Academy
  • U.S. Army Space Command

# 3: Honolulu, Hawaii

Ever since the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Military has been treated wonderfully in Hawaii.

Plus, who wouldn’t want to live in Hawaii?

Top attractions in Honolulu are:

  • WW II Valor in the Pacific National Monument – See the USS Arizona and much more.
  • Diamond Head State Monument – Go hiking and enjoy.
  • Go Scuba Diving

The military bases around Honolulu are:

  • Marine Corps Base Oahu
  • Hickam Air Force Base
  • U.S. Coast Guard Base Honolulu
  • Hawaii Department of Defense
  • Shafter Flats

lonely cities

# 2: Charleston, South Carolina

It was a close call between #1 and #2.

Charleston loves the military and it shows immensely.

The top attractions in Charleston are:

  • Charleston Waterfront Park – A wonderful park with an amazing view.
  • The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge – Unlike any other bridge you will ever see.
  • Go Boating

Military bases near Charleston are:

  • Joint Base Charleston

# 1: San Diego, California

A high percentage of San Diego residents have served or still serve in the U.S. military.

San Diego has great military pride and it shows in many ways.

Top attractions in San Diego are:

  • USS Midway Museum – As I said, military is a special thing in San Diego.
  • The San Diego Zoo – I just love this zoo and I know you will too.
  • Balboa Park – A wonderful park in this urban area.

Military bases in or near San Diego are:

  • Naval Base San Diego
  • North Island Naval Air Station
  • Point Loma Naval Base
  • Coronado Naval Amphibious Base

Final Thoughts

There you have the top 20 military friendly cities, as I see it. If you’re considering relocating to the city, I would consider ANY of these cities.

Do you agree with my list of military friendly cities? Why or why not? What city did I leave out, but should have added? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below. Thank you.


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chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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