If your service member gets orders to Patrick Air Force Base or Cape Canaveral, consider yourself lucky and go buy a lottery ticket. You have struck gold! This little known base is right on the Atlantic coast of Florida. It sits right next to A1A and across from some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. You will quickly get acclimated to the Salt Life and never want to leave once you get settled.
Just a short drive over the Banana River and Indian River Lagoon from the Florida mainland will find you at Patrick AFB. There are many pros to living on the mainland. You get the best of both worlds living here. One plus is being so close to the beach. The rivers are absolutely beautiful, but have experienced some pollution. Local groups are working to clean them up (they are always looking for volunteers!).
Some of the best dining can be done on the rivers. You can watch the sunset or just enjoy the warm days and nights at the many outdoor dining spaces. Whether you want a dive bar (try Sunset Bar and Grill) or a more upscale place (River Rocks is fancy), you will find it here.
You may already know about one of the most popular beaches in the area: Cocoa Beach. It is a tourist area so head there for some fun in the sun if you’re into that sort of thing. If you are looking for something a little more more secluded, definitely frequent the beaches closest to Patrick. In fact, Patrick AFB’s own Beach House is the perfect recreation spot whether you are a childless couple, empty nesters, or have a wide age range of children. It’s especially nice to go there with young children (read: indoor plumbing). A close second to Patrick’s own beaches are the areas just south in Satellite Beach, Indian Harbour, and Melbourne Beach. These are some of the prettiest areas in the country.
Patrick AFB is amazing for families. Melbourne is the biggest city closest to the base with a population of about 82,000. Small town living has its benefits because everyone and everything is friendly (like taking your kids to play board games at the local brewery). The beachside areas are especially fun during the holiday season when Santa Claus visits every neighborhood on a fire truck. Living in base housing or even off base, you can see just how family friendly it is every morning. Many families choose to bike and walk their kids to school. The base housing has its own walking trail to the elementary, middle, and high school! See below for all the family friendly things to do within an hour’s driving distance.
It’s hard to recommend just one outdoor space to use because there are so many parks, nature trails, and forests to visit. The wildlife in the area may be a cause for concern if you are new to the area (read: alligators), but mostly you will love living in the area because there are so many other animals that make appearances (manatees winter there). The local Brevard Zoo is one of the hot spots to take young children to with their fantastic special kids area: Paws On. But it’s not just for the littles, they also have zoo “experience” packages in which you can encounter some of the animals. And they have a ropes course!
You can’t talk about living in the Patrick AFB area without noting the fact that you are an hour or two east of some of the biggest attractions in the state! From LEGOLand to Universal Studios to Sea World and of course Disney World, Orlando has some mega attractions to please everyone in the family. And yes if you can afford it, get the annual pass to any of these places. It will pay for itself. If you’re not into annual passes, you can still get free or heavily discounted tickets (Hello, ITT!). Many military families love staying at the military resort literally right next door to Magic Kingdom with visitors. Even if you are not into the popular attractions, there are still many things to do in the area like Crayola Experience, Gatorland, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, and the Orlando Eye.
The area has so much to offer everyone! Trust me, you won’t get a break from friends and family visiting you while you’re stationed at Patrick.
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Check out this article on Military Discounts for 2019: Disneyworld