Moving to Lackland AFB? What Military Families Need to Know

By Carla Olivo, Marine Spouse

Your orders say Lackland AFB. And you are excited to be moving near the seventh-most populated city in the United States, San Antonio! This popular western urban center is on the southwestern corner of an urban mega-region known as the Texas Triangle comprised of Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.

What You Need To Know

Lackland AFB is home to the Air Force Cyber Command and Basic Military Training and is one of several military installations housed under the name Joint Base San Antonio. Nearby Randolph AFB is headquarters for Air Education and Training Command, Air Force Personnel Center, and Pilot Instructor Training. 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”.

Camp Bullis and Camp Stanley are located just outside the city. Port San Antonio is an industrial/business park and aerospace complex located on the old Kelly Air Force Base airfield. San Antonio is also home to six Fortune 500 companies and the South Texas Medical Center, the only medical research and care provider in the South Texas region.

Local attractions include the SeaWorld and Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme parks. The five-time NBA champion San Antonio Spurs also call San Antonio home.

Lackland AFB Housing

Lackland Family Housing offers move in ready two-, three- and four-bedroom homes in both single-family and townhome styles in seven different neighborhoods. Balfour Beatty Communities owns the family housing and is responsible for maintaining, repairing and managing the community. Check out Lackland AFB base housing photos and reviews at PCSgrades.com.

Off Base

The median home price in the area around Lackland is $215,500.  Home appreciation is up 36% over the last five years. If you work with a PCSgrades reviewed realtor, you’ll find there is a rental or mortgage to fit every BAH.. Military families reviewing off base neighborhoods in the area recommend those looking to rent or buy start their search about 30 minutes away from base.

Schools

There are two schools located on base at Lackland: Lackland Elementary and Stacey Junior/Senior High School. Other independent school districts include Edgewood, Medina Valley, Northside, and South San Antonio. Options for high schools include the communication arts high school and the health careers high school. The Lackland AFB School Liaison Officer can be reached at 210-671-3722.

The Commute

There are more vehicles than ever on the roads surrounding San Antonio but depending on what you are used to, it may not seem all that bad. The 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.

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.

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.

River Walk

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Mitchell Lake Audubon Center

This 624-acre preserve is located on a migratory bird route and includes 7.5 miles of trails winding through wildlife habitats. Birdwatchers come from around the world to see more than 300 species—such as pelicans, egrets, roseate spoonbills, wild ducks and hawks—at this deep-water lake and surrounding brushland.

Friedrich Wilderness Park

Five miles of hiking trails through a heavily forested and hilly 232 acres includes paths for disabled hikers and access to nature study and bird watching.

Phil Hardberger Park

Phil Hardberger Park is a 311-acre former dairy farm with two sections, one accessible from Blanco Road and the other from Northwest Military Highway. Both areas feature playgrounds, walking trails, picnic tables and dog parks.

Dog Parks

There are several parks in the area especially for your four-legged family members.

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.

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.

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.

Customs and Traditions

San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo has events all year long. The Rodeo is sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) and kicks off in February.  In addition to the rodeothere is Brickfest LIVE! – a LEGO Fan Experience built to inspire, educate, and entertain with LEGO bricks. The Ultimate BMX Stunt Show Experience is an exciting show featuring one of the Best BMX Stunt Show Teams in the Nation!  Brad’s World Reptiles includes some of the most beautiful and exotic animals in the world!

Fiesta San Antonio is a 10-day annual celebration in the spring. It started in 1891 as a one-parade event as a way to honor the memory of the heroes of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto. It has evolved into one of this nation’s premier festivals with an economic impact of more than $284 million for the Alamo City.

Day Trips

Fredericksburg

Enjoy some German food in this quaint city, which is a little more than an hour away from San Antonio. In addition to its German heritage and the National Museum of the Pacific War, Fredericksburg has plenty of birding, fishing, bicycling and rock climbing opportunities.  The Fredericksburg area also boasts the second most visited wine area in the US, second only to the Sonoma wine region in California.  Visit some of the over 40 wineries in the Hill Country along the Highway 290 Wine Road outside of Fredericksburg. 

Austin

Visit the 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!

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.

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!

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.

Have you ever been stationed at Lackland AFB or in the San Antonio area? 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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