Best and Worst Top Rated Air Force Bases
I created a list of the best and worst Air Force bases as rated on the internet. When you enter the Air Force you may have the opportunity to fill out a dream sheet. This is a sheet of all the places you would like to be stationed while serving in the United States Air Force. I wanted to know what bases were highly rated, yet, I had a hard time finding a comprehensive guide and wanted to ensure I stayed away from the lowest rated. So I decided to create a master list of the best and worst rated Air Force bases in America.
This review is based on the following criteria:
- Affordable off base housing
- Nearby universities
- Base facilities
- Friendliness attitude towards military personal
Keep in mind that opinions vary, but I had used the average for each.
Best Air Force Bases
Keep in mind that all bases may have their pitfalls, but the bases on the "Good" list are where most people enjoyed their time stationed and meet the majority of the criteria listed above.
- Andrews, DC: Expensive off-base housing, but it is in a centralized location so it is close to common necessities. The houses in the area are older but charming and many people on the internet seem to enjoy the base facilities.
- Bolling, DC: Expensive off-base housing, but it is in a centralized location so it is close to common necessities. The houses in the area are older, but charming and many people on the internet seem to enjoy the base facilities.
- Moody, GA: My mother says nothing else exists around the city, which for the most part is true. The city seemed like a large suburb on my way through with an estimate of about 60,000 people. From what I found on the internet, everyone seems to enjoy it and it meets the criteria I had listed above.
- Whitemans, MO
- Tinker, OK: Good base, affordable off-base housing with all the amenities I have listed above, but keep in mind it is prone to tornados.
- Grand Forks, ND: Being from MN, I know it gets colder there than it does in the Twin Cities. Again, the reason it is on the list is that it offers the things I have listed above. I personally know several people stationed here and they all seem to love it. It got great reviews 90% of the time and North Dakota currently has about a 2.3% unemployment rate.
- Peterson, CO: It is in a great are just outside Colorado Springs and not too far from Denver. From my own research most of the universities seem to be located in and around Denver so you may have to drive about an hour if you are stationed here and you are set on attending a university.
- Goodfellow, TX: The majority of people seemed to like this base, but, I refuse to live in Texas so I didn't research this one too much.
- Patrick, FL: Off-base housing is cheap since Florida was hit hard by the housing crash. Yet, you will be raking in a good amount of BAH while you're there. You might have to drive a good 30 minutes away from base to find a good location for off-base living.
- Malmstrom, MT: Extremely windy, this makes winters harsh. It is a great location for outdoor lovers. Friendly people, but the city is small as well as the base itself. Cost of living can be high in some areas. The base is building all new houses.
- Luke, AZ: This base is on the outskirts of Phoenix, AZ so you can bet it has everything listed above. Everyone stationed there seems to love it and everyone I know from Arizona can't wait to move back.
- Mac Dill, FL: This base is located in the heart of Tampa. There isn't much of a transition from the city to the base as it sort of just appears, which is good for those who want to be close to civilization. It is a massive base and you may find the facilities crowded which plays on the popularized term hurry up and wait.
- Nellis, NV: Nevada was another state that was hit hard by the housing market. In other words. you will find ample properties for sale for cheap. Now, if you have ever been to Las Vegas you will know it is a pretty busy place which may not be good for the more down-to-earth people. Other than Vegas there isn't much else around except for vast amounts of desert sand.
- Wright Patterson, OH: Big base, several universities just down the road University of Dayton, Sinclair, Wright State University, or Edison 30-40 minutes away in Piqua. There are plenty of places to rent and own as well as base housing which is extremely cheap. Base housing looked pretty nice when we looked, however, we only saw the one home because there was a waiting list for the others. I will state that the property taxes in Montgomery county are ridiculously high. On a $100,000 house you'd be paying $3,000 in tax (That's nearly 1/3 of what we were paying in Colorado on a $400,000 house). The people are friendly and there is plenty of entertainment in the area; Casino's, scene 75, plenty of bars and dining. Beavercreek is generally your ideal place to live, close access to the base an amenities to include the best school district in the area. Carriage Hills of Tipp City located in Miami County is relatively nice and close to the base as it is located just outside of Huber Heights. The houses are built custom "Ryan Homes". You may need to wait if you want to build your own, also it will cost you for the extra add-ons. Carriage Hills currently uses Bethel School District last I checked. I will say south of Dayton smells like Sewage so be prepared for that. North Dayton smells like dog food (Near Needmore Rd.) Englewood/ Union area is about a 30-40 minute drive to the base if you don't mind the drive. It's a little more quiet. Nice homes, and Northmont School district is on par with Beavercreek. Fairborn right next to the base has some nice homes, but, the school district was rated terribly.
- Hickam, HI: Hawaii, need we say more? Now, I always feel like I wouldn't want to be "stuck" on an island. But everyone who has been stationed there absolutely loves it.
- Lackland, TX: Originally this was on the bad list, but I had put it on the good list for the simple fact that I have been able to experience living here for myself. I'm positive that most of the airmen out there would probably disagree and quite frankly the base itself is a bore. It becomes overly condensed on graduation days and becomes impossible to find anything that isn't crowded. Despite the boredom you may encounter during base liberty, I guarantee there is something for everyone off base. The University of Texas San Antonio Medical Campus is 15-20 minutes away. You will have no problem finding places to rent; a new housing development is being created close to base. There is plenty of food and things to do in the city. Best of all, you can get around quickly on the several different interstates. The weather comes and goes in extremes for as long as I've been here so ensure you bring a variety of clothing. All in all, it wouldn't be a bad place to get stationed if you would like to stay in southern Texas.
- United States Air Force Academy, CO: This is a great base in my opinion. The academy is nestled underneath a mountain atop of Colorado Springs. They have 4 colleges/universities within a 30 minute drive outside of the gate. Not to mention that the city is a good size so you can find everything within that 30 minute drive: groceries, restaurants, shopping, and entertainment. Now, I'd say that most of us know Colorado for being an outdoorsy state. This couldn't be more true as 90% of the vehicles here have bicycle racks on them. Which goes to show you there are plenty of trails to blaze be it bicycle or snowboarding. The high elevation (circa 6,700 ft.) will throw you off for the first week or so until you adjust. There are plenty of "tourist" sights for you to enjoy as the surrounding area is filled with history such as the Pikes Peak rail way which brings you to around 14,000 ft. and the Manitou Cliff Dwellings.
The base itself is kind of small and you will most likely need a POV to get around as the areas are spread out. The commissary is a decent size whereas the PX/BX/ Exchange is smaller than most. There is plenty of housing nearby the base, but on-base housing is quite nice as well. This base is one of the nicest I have been on and most of the people here would agree.
Worst Air Force Bases
These bases are the ones that made the bad list. Some of them do meet the criteria for a "Good Base." Yet, out of all the reviews on the internet, these bases were the ones that ranked poorly. I remember the Carolinas being especially bad as 95% of the people hated their time spent there. I do realize that some of you will not agree with this list, but, you are the minority as this is a complitation of what the majority feels.
Worst Air Force Bases
- Seymour, NC
- Shaw, SC
- Eglin, FL
- Elmendorf, AK
- Beale, CA
- Buckley, CO
- Keesler, MS
- Eielson, AK
- Cannon, NM
- Travis, CA (My wife has never had allergies before coming to Travis, but, unfortunately for her and many others, she is now suffering from hay fever. Luckily, there is an In-N-Out right outside the gate.)
- Minot, ND
- Langley, VA
- Offutt, NE
- Warren, WY
- Mountain Home, ID
- Columbus, MS
- Hanscom, MA (Base good, Cost of living bad)
- Robins, GA (I drove through Macon the other day, it is about two hours away from Atlanta, and there is nothing else around. Fun fact: Jason Aldean (Country Star) is from Macon.)
- Davis-Monthan, AZ
- Tyndall, FL (Good for spring break, Bad because of travel time to anything else)
Your Duty Station Is...
Update: You will find out where your permanent duty station is within the first few weeks of arriving at your "tech" school. Keep in mind that some people will have their locations posted sooner than others.