The complete Naval Station Norfolk base guide

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Naval Station Norfolk
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jesse Schwab)

Ready for your next Navy adventure? If your PCS is taking you to the Norfolk Virginia Naval Base, then you’re in for an exciting duty station. Norfolk is the world’s largest naval base! Even more exciting, its close proximity to plenty of really neat places means you’ll never run out of things to do. Head north to see the sights at Washington, D.C. or drive to the beach. There’s fun everywhere. Before you have fun, make sure you check out the base. It’s massive. It occupies nearly 3,500 acres around the Hampton Roads area known as Sewell’s Point.

Norfolk is the HQ for Fleet Forces Command. It’s also the largest concentration of U.S. Navy Forces. On average, 75 ships and 134 aircraft are home-ported at Norfolk. An average of 275 flights take off per day – that’s one every six minutes! Read on to discover more about this very important Navy base and what to expect when you move to Norfolk, Virginia. Speaking of Virginia, here’s how the state participated in the War of 1812.

Submarine at Naval Station Norfolk
Sailors aboard the Norwegian diesel electric submarine HNOMS UTVAER (S303) prepare mooring lines as the submarine arrives at Naval Station Norfolk. The arrival marks the first time a Norwegian submarine has pulled into a U.S. port. UTVAER will play a part in anti-submarine training while operating with the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group. (Photo by: Petty Officer 2nd Class Rafael Martie)

Naval Station Norfolk Location

Naval Station Norfolk is in southeastern Virginia. In fact, the installation is in the Sewells Point area of the City of Norfolk. Collectively, the area is known as “Hampton Roads.” Of course, this includes plenty of the surrounding cities, like Williamsburg, Newport News, Hampton, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Suffolk.


Norfolk can be reached by car using the following routes.

Heading in from the north (through Washington, DC)? Take I-95 S to I-295 S to I-64 W to I-564 and follow signs for Naval Base Norfolk

Driving from the south? Take I-95 N to US-58 to I-64 and follow signs for Norfolk

Coming from the west? Take I-64 E to the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and follow signs for Norfolk


Flying to the closest airports: Norfolk International Airport, Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport

Norfolk International Airport (8 miles) is the closest international airport and is served by 7 major and regional airlines with multiple destinations.

Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (27 miles) is served primarily by American Airlines (with a couple of other small airlines) with over 150 destinations.

Norfolk is along the East Coast, so if you’re coming from the West Coast, your drive might be long, but having a car would allow you to travel around the area more easily.

Ship at Naval Station Norfolk
A landing craft air cushion approaches the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan as it prepares to depart Naval Station Norfolk to provide humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake near Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Photo by: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Rafael Martie)

Contacts at Naval Station Norfolk

Administrative Department: (757) 322-2888

Base Exchange: (757) 440-2000

Base/Ship Information: (757) 444-0000

Chapel: (757) 444-7361

Commissary: (757) 423-6070

Fleet & Family Support Center: (757) 444-2102

Housing Office: (757) 445-2753

ID/CAC Card Processing: (757) 444-8263

Legal Office: (757) 341-4470 or (757) 341-4588

Lodging Reservations: (757) 489-2656

Parenting & Life Skills Programs: (757) 444-2102

Pass & ID Office: (757) 322-2971

Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office: (877) 995-5247

Sixty-Third Medical Group: (757) 225-7630

School Liaison Officer: (757) 445-0350

Unaccompanied Housing: (757) 322-1012/1013

Mission and Units 

Chiefs at Naval Station Norfolk
Submitted photo by Clay Farrington. Chief Petty Officer Selects from commands in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area and out of state commands pose for group photos aboard the decommissioned Iowa-Class Battleship USS Wisconsin (BB-64). Over 50 commands participated in the 19th Annual CPO Heritage Days training event, which was hosted by the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, in conjunction with Nauticus, the City of Norfolk and area Chief Petty Officers from August 20-22, 2019. The event is the areas largest and longest running history and heritage training event for new CPO Selects. (US Navy Photo by Clay Farrington/Released).

Naval Station Norfolk’s mission is to support and improve the personnel and logistics readiness of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. The Norfolk Naval base provides seaport, airport, and squadron facilities, quality of life, and personnel management services.

Norfolk Naval Base is home to four Carrier Strike Groups (Two, Eight, Ten, and Twelve), four Destroyer Squadrons (2, 22, 26, and 28), and Submarine Squadron 6.

This installation is also home to the Naval War College. Here you’ll also find the Navy Warfare Development Command and the United States Second Fleet. Let’s not forget about Carrier Strike Group Four and the the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command. Adding on, the Naval Reserve Force, the Navy Fleet Readiness Centers, and the Naval Surface Force Atlantic all call Norfolk home! It’s also home to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and the Commander Navy Installations Command N6 and N8. Speaking of NCIS, here’s why real life NCIS is more important than you might think!

Homecoming at Naval Station Norfolk
U.S. sailors and their families leave the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) after mooring at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., Aug. 7, 2012. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua T. Rodriguez/Released)

Naval Station Norfolk History

Norfolk is located on the site of the first permanent English settlement in America in 1607. During the Jamestown Exposition, high-ranking naval officers agreed that this site was ideal for Naval activity. Then, after the United States entered World War I in April 1917, the Secretary of the Navy was persuaded to buy the property.

In 1968, Norfolk played a major role in John F. Kennedy’s vision of putting a man on the moon. The air station on site became Recovery Control Center Atlantic, which provided command, control, and communications for the ships and aircraft participating in the recovery operations of Apollo 7.

Norfolk now houses the largest concentration of U.S. Navy forces. It is the hub for Navy logistics going to the European and Central Command theaters of operations, and to the Caribbean.

Iowa-class battleships USS New Jersey and USS Missouri at NS Norfolk in 1954.

Things to Do Around Norfolk


SpringHill Suites by Marriott (5.8 miles)

Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterfront Hotel (11.7 miles)

The Landing at Hampton Marina, Hilton (5.57 miles)


The Grilled Cheese Bistro (8.3 miles): Grilled cheese + tomato soup

Saltine (9.9 miles): Seasonal shellfish and seafood

Dirty Buffalo (5.5 miles): Hot wings and bar fare

WWE at Naval Station Norfolk
Sailors, right, and World Wrestling Entertainment performers compete in a dodgeball tournament at Naval Station Norfolk. World Wrestling Entertainment personalities are participating in activities designed to give back to service members and their families.(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Molly Greendeer/Released)


Nauticus & the Battleship Wisconsin (10.1 miles): The Battleship Wisconsin is one of the largest and last battleships built by the Navy. Explore its deck through a self-guided or guided tour to learn the history of the ship that earned 5 battle stars during WWII.

The Sailing Center & Marina (1 mile): At The Sailing Center, learn to sail and kayak! Or, spend some time fishing or paddle boarding. The center even offers powerboats and sailboats. The Marina offers deep-water slips, conference rooms with a view, a nearby fishing pier, boat ramp, ice, bait and fishing supplies, WiFi, and dinghy storage.

Colonial Williamsburg (43.5 miles): This 301-acre historic area is an interpretation of a Colonial American city. You’ll find dozens of authentic or re-created colonial houses, many relating to American Revolutionary War history. The site has buildings dating from 1699 to 1780. A number of them are reconstructions on their original sites! Notable structures include the Capitol and the Governor’s Palace, each re-created and landscaped to what is known of their late 18th-century condition, as well as Bruton Parish Church and the Raleigh Tavern.

Fitness at Naval Station Norfolk
Sailors and their family members participate in a Tae bo fitness class at the Waterfront Athletic Complex in building Q-80 at Naval Station Norfolk. Tae bo is one of many fitness classes offered at the athletic complex for Sailors and their family members to maintain physical fitness.

Norfolk Naval Base Housing

There are three housing choices when you call Norfolk home. You can choose to live on base, off base, or out in town. Contact the Housing Services Office as soon as you receive orders to Norfolk to find out more about wait lists times and what to expect when you arrive.

Unaccompanied Personnel Housing is available for single service members. 

Housing in military communities is provided by Liberty Military Housing (formerly Lincoln Military Housing). Like other privatized DoD housing partnerships, Liberty owns and maintains housing in and around Naval Station Norfolk. Ten communities serve nearly 1,600 military families in the Norfolk footprint. 

Schools Near Norfolk, Virginia Naval Base

Students who live on base are eligible to attend Norfolk Public Schools. Off-base mil-kids can attend Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, or Virginia Beach Public Schools, depending on where you live. Norfolk also boasts an impressive array of private schools in the area.

Be sure to bring immunization records, birth certificates, and proof of a physical exam when enrolling your children in school. 

CVN 69 at Naval Station Norfolk
The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) passes Fort Monroe National Monument as the ship departs Naval Station Norfolk. Eisenhower is deploying as part of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. Navy’s 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Julie Matyascik)

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Norfolk naval base the biggest in the world?

Yes, Naval Station Norfolk is the world’s largest naval station, supporting 75 ships and 134 aircraft alongside 14 piers and 11 aircraft hangars.

Can you visit Norfolk naval base?

Yes, but if you do not have a valid military ID, you will need to stop at the Pass and ID Office to gain base access.

What ships are at Norfolk Virginia Naval Base?

Naval Station Norfolk has aircraft carriers, cruisers, amphibious assault ships, guided missile destroyers, submarines, and a fleet of military sealift command, including cargo ships and oilers.

Where Should I Live Near Naval Station Norfolk?

The neighboring communities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach provide housing, employment, and other services for Naval Station Norfolk military families. The region’s cost of living is higher than the national average.