Moving to Fort Sam Houston? What Military Families Need to Know

By Carla Olivo, Marine Spouse

Fort Sam Houston is one of three primary locations that comprise Joint Base San Antonio. The Air Force is the lead agency for Joint Base San Antonio, which in addition to JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, includes JBSA-Lackland and JBSA-Randolph.

San Antonio is on the southwestern corner of an urban mega-region known as the Texas Triangle comprised of Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. It is the seventh-most populated city in the United States sitting 80 miles south of the state capital city of Austin.

What You Need To Know

Fort Sam Houston is home to the command headquarters of the United States Army North, the United States Army South, the Army Medical Command headquarters and the Navy Regional Recruiting. It is commonly referred to as the “Home of Army Medicine”.

On Post Housing

There are many options for housing around Joint Base San Antonio. Fort Sam Houston Post Housing is privatized and managed by Lincoln Military Housing. There are 925 homes in 8 housing neighborhoods available. These duplexes, quadplexes, and detached houses feature central air, a refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher. Neighborhood amenities include community centers and outdoor recreation areas.

Off Post Housing

Fort Sam is in the center of town and can be reached easily from many different areas. Nearby towns to check out include: Converse, China Grove, La Vernia, New Braunfels, and Universal City. You can read what other military families have to say about the local neighborhood at PCSgrades.com.

Schools

There is an elementary, middle, and high school on post that are a part of the Fort Sam Houston Independent School District. Bus transportation is not provided across district lines but is available to students who reside on post and live more than a mile from the nearest school available on post.

Nearby Military Ops

Lackland AFB is home to the Air Force Cyber Command and Basic Military Training. Randolph AFB is headquarters for Air Education and Training Command, Air Force Personnel Center, and Pilot Instructor Training.  Additionally, Camp Bullis and Camp Stanley are located just outside San Antonio.

The Commute

San Antonio urban area ranked 33rd in the nation for time wasted during peak commute times. The good news is when there are major delays; drivers have decent alternative routes compared with other cities.

Climate

You can expect mild winters and hot summers in this part of Texas. Mild is the key word as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and wild fires are rare. The coldest month is January with an overnight average temperature of 38°F. The highest temps occur In August with a daily daytime high of 94°F.

Outdoor Fun

The mild San Antonio climate allows for diverse outdoor activities year-round. Open spaces provide ample opportunities for bicycle riding, hiking and canoeing. Attractions include the SeaWorld and Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme parks. The five-time NBA champion San Antonio Spurs also call San Antonio home.

Remember the Alamo

Perhaps San Antonio’s most famous attraction, the Alamo is the home of the famous 1836 battle and becomes a living history with special demonstrations and events all year long. This beautiful 300-year-old former Spanish mission turned fortress is open year-round and is free everyone to visit.

River Walk offers cobblestone paths with towering trees for four miles through the heart of the city. A variety of restaurants, are sure to please even the pickiest of palates.  Work off your lunch or dinner with a relaxing canoe or kayak trip along a 1.6-mile stretch of the San Antonio River from Mission Road to Padre Park.

San Pedro Springs Park

San Pedro Springs is the second oldest municipal park in the nation and is truly an urban oasis. There are 46 acres featuring walking/hiking paths and a lake for summer swimming.

Brackenridge Park

More than 340 acres of woodland, trails and a historic par-72 golf course are sure to please outdoor lovers! Your little ones will love riding a miniature train around the park. Here you will also find the San Antonio Zoo, an elegant Japanese Tea Garden and the Witte Museum, featuring historic and science artifacts and the H-E-B Science Treehouse.

Missions National Historical Park

A chain of four Spanish colonial missions—Concepción, San José, San Juan and Espada—feature eight miles of paved cycling and walking path. Canoes and kayaks can be paddled along sections of the Mission Reach. The visitor center is located at Mission San José.

Eisenhower Park

320 acres of wooded hills, rocky canyons and dry creek beds includes five miles of hike-and-bike trails, a playground with a climbing wall, an interpretive house and picnic pavilions.

Dog Parks

In downtown San Antonio, the .65-acre Dog Park at Madison Square Park features a fenced off-leash area, mutt-mitts, a doggie drinking fountain, and benches.

McAllister Park has 1.5 acres set aside for dogs, which include a covered picnic area and walking trail.

Hardberger Park on Blanco Road has 1.8 acres for dogs, including separate areas for small and large dogs and a two-story doghouse.

The west side of Hardberger Park on NW Military Highway features an enclosed 1.5-acre area for dogs, divided into sections for large dogs and small dogs.

Day Trips

  • Austin

Visit the Texas state Capitol to see artistic diversity at its finest! Have a meal at one of the many outdoor cafes and the music scene can’t be beat!

  • A Day at the Beach

Corpus Christi, on the Gulf of Mexico, features boating, fishing and a beautiful beach! Approximately 150 miles or a 2.5 hour ride from San Antonio.

  • Choke Canyon State Park

On the shores of a 26,000-acre reservoir about two hours south of San Antonio – boating, fishing, birding, hiking trails, camping and breeding alligators!

  • Enchanted Rock

The pink granite exfoliation dome called Enchanted Rock is about an hour and a half north of San Antonio. The dome rises 425 foot above ground and covers 640 acres. Bring a kite and get ready for some great camping, picnicking and seven miles of hiking trails.

Have you ever been stationed at Fort Sam Houston? Let other military and veteran families know what you liked or maybe didn’t like about the area at PCSgrades.com.

Author: Carla OlivoPCSgrades Strategic Communications Director, previously served as the Director of Communications for Operation Hug-A-Hero and as the Media/Community Relations Officer for the Delaware Department of Transportation. She has garnered numerous TV industry awards including the Associated Press award for Spot News Reporting, News Writing, Enterprise Reporting, and Documentary Reporting. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired USMC Lt. Colonel, their two children. You can follow her on Twitter @olivowriter.

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