We all know we’re supposed to blossom where the military plants us. And embrace the suck. And not get our hopes too high when it comes to our next PCS. But that’s tough because a) we’re human and b) there are some seriously gorgeous places to be stationed. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you might secretly (or vocally!) be hoping to get posted to one of these four spots. These four are only a hop, skip, and a jump from some of the most breathtaking landscapes in all the country. Seriously consider yourself lucky if you get stationed at any of them.
Marine Corps Base Hawaii
Kicking off this list is an OCONUS PCS, since Hawaii and Alaska don’t count as a CONUS move. Any Marine would love to be stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, the most adventurous have even more reason to feel pumped about it. Located on the island of Oahu, adventure awaits you on every corner of the island. There are gorgeous volcanos to climb, giant waves to surf, waterfalls to dive into, and zip lines to zoom across. The year-round beautiful weather means no season will hold you back from exploring. Its natural beauty is endless. Some of the top places to visit are Heʻeia State Park, Oahu Forest National Wildlife Refuge, Waimea Falls and the Haiku Stairs.
Speaking of OCONUS but not really OCONUS PCSes, next on the list is a snowy dream destination in Alaska. Fort Greely is an Army base deep in the Alaskan wilderness — the nearest city is Fairbanks, 100 miles away. Sure it gets cold up there, but with the right gear, you will have no trouble exploring the vast natural wonders of this mountainous region. You can hike, snowshoe, hunt, camp, go ice fishing, you name it. Expect to see a lot of stunning wildlife, like moose and elk, while you’re at it. Nearby, check out Donnelly Dome, Gulkana Glacier Trail, Moose Pond, and Clearwater State Recreation Site. Greely is also the Army’s launch site for anti-ballistic missiles so there’s a lot of history to uncover and explore.
We all know Colorado is gorgeous. And anyone who’s ever lived there can’t stop talking about it. But that’s all for good reason! Fort Carson, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is an Army post nestled into the great Rocky Mountains. Did you know that Carson was established way back in 1942 after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor? In fact, it was the original home of the 10th Mountain Division because of the climate and location. If you call Fort Carson home, look forward to everything outdoors! Whether you like hiking, skiing, rock climbing, fishing, or any other outdoor activity in the grips of nature, this is the place to be. Aside from the many trails you’ll find at every turn, there are also some beautiful state and federal parks to check out. Don’t miss Cheyenne Mountain State Park, Garden of the Gods, Iron Horse Park and Copper Mountain.
Naval Base Kitsap
Rounding out this list is a Naval installation located in the Pacific Northwest. Lovers of the outdoors will have a field day stationed at Naval Base Kitsap on the Kitsap Peninsula of Washington state. Just don’t forget your rain gear, because it rains a lot here all year. Luckily, the rain keeps the natural habitat lush and green, a feast for the eyes and the lungs. The region has several towering mountain ranges, not to mention the Puget Sound nearby, so there is plenty of adventure to be had while off-duty. Mount Rainier National Park and the Kitsap Peninsula Natural Water Trails are two spots to get you started.
Speaking of Colorado, here’s why Cheyenne Mountain is one of the most secure bases in the US.