Like most duty stations, you’re going to find military spouses who love and hate the Fort Meade area. As you know by now, each place is what you make of it, and Maryland gives you some great things that you can’t find elsewhere, like crab. You can’t find that in Yuma or Omaha. Well, you might find it, but you shouldn’t eat it.
Fort Meade is home to the Defense Information Systems Agency and the National Security Agency, which makes it seem like a really big deal. Don’t let that intimidate you, though. It’s a relatively laid back, a pretty nine-to-five type of place. It’s a joint command, so you’ll see a lot of other military families from other branches, and you’ll learn quite a bit about their traditions and customs.
Fort Meade Climate — Always Ripe for the Picking
Welcome to the land of all four seasons! We love that in one locale, you can experience apple picking, strawberry picking, and real pumpkin picking (in their respective seasons). Fall is beautiful, especially in the historic areas of the installation and nearby towns, and snow can happen (big snow, like in 2010….yikes). And, get yourself a real Christmas tree!
You Are Here — Now, Where Do You Live?
Housing on the installation is pretty nice, which is a plus because the cost of living and traffic can be miserable. But the middle and high schools are meh — so you may be looking at the surrounding areas. Never fear, there are some great schools in the area.
One of the best things about Fort Meade is its location. It’s close to Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Annapolis. You can catch the MARC train and transfer to the Metro. You are about 15 minutes from BWI — yay Southwest flights!
About a half an hour away from Fort Meade, you’ll find the beautiful city of Annapolis. If you’re a Navy family, you’ll love exploring the Naval Academy, and you may even catch a football game there. (Even if you’re not Navy — it’s still really fun to see.)
From the Maryland State House to the Historic District, you can walk and explore for hours. The beautiful scenery at Quiet Waters Park provides the perfect location for a picnic — or family photos. Pack a sweater, though, because even in the summer a breeze can make this area cooler than you may expect.
Baltimore’s Inner Harbor
Fun — that’s the best word for the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. You’ll find fun for kids at the Maryland Science Center and Port Discovery Children’s Museum, fun for adults at the dueling piano bar, Howl at the Moon, and fun for everyone at the National Aquarium.
At the Inner Harbor, there are restaurants galore, seriously — every restaurant you could possibly imagine is in this area, and sports are pretty close by too. Check out the Baltimore Ravens, and make sure to take in the gorgeous views of Camden Yards. If you can catch a show at the Hippodrome — do it! As usual, we suggest checking with public affairs and MWR ticketing on Fort Meade for free and discounted tickets.
The nation’s capital is an amazing place to visit and should be on your Fort Meade bucket list. You could spend a week checking out the Smithsonian museums — which are free, and you’d still have plenty to see and do. Washington is only about 30 miles from Fort Meade; on a good day of traffic will take you about 40 minutes. We won’t talk about how long it’ll take on a bad day.
Sports, shows, museums, and restaurants await for every age and palate. One of our favorite places is the National Zoo. It’s free and there is so much to see. You could go every day for a week and still find something new. Plus, it wears those kiddos out! If you can’t find something you love in D.C., well — you will. We promise.
Fort Meade may feel like a boring place to be stationed, but if you get outside the gates and explore your local community, you’ll find plenty to keep you entertained until your next set of orders come down. Enjoy it while you can!
Want to explore a little farther down the road? Why not see where you can uncover adventure in Quantico, Virginia?