By Carla Olivo, USMC Spouse
So you are PCSingto Langley AFB or Fort Eustis. Great, here’s what military families need to know about Hampton Roads! The area, often called “military-centric” is the birthplace of Colonial America and has the largest concentration of military installations of any metro area in the world. Nearly a fourth of the nation’s active-duty military personnel are stationed here. All five military services’ operating forces are here, as well as several major command headquarters.
Here is what you need to know before relocating to this unique region. Get ready to enjoy this experience full of history and culture!
Where is Langley AFB in Virginia?
Hampton Roads is one of the seven major cities that comprise the Hampton Roads metropolitan area on the southeastern end of the Virginia Peninsula. The Virginia Beach–Norfolk–Hampton-Newport News area has a population of over 1.7 million, making it the 37th-largest metropolitan area in the U. S. The region includes Newport News, Hampton, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake.
In addition to the large military presence, Hampton Roads is known for its ice-free harbor, shipyards, coal piers, and miles of waterfront property and beaches. The body of water known as Hampton Roads is one of the world’s largest natural harbors.
Moving to JBLE
Located in Newport News and Hampton Roads, Joint Base Langley-Eustis (JBLE) is comprised of two groups that provide installation support to more than 9,000 military and civilian personnel including Headquarters Air Combat Command and three operational wings. Although JBLE is a joint base, it is not contiguous. There are 17 miles of interstate between the two installations. Langley AFB is located in Hampton while Ft. Eustis is in Newport News. JBLE serves a large population made up of over 145,000 active duty, guard and reserve, family members, civilians, contractors, and retirees.
Langley AFB Housing
There are many options for housing at Langley AFB. Five communities encompass 1,430 new, renovated, and historic single family, duplex, fourplex and sixplex homes. Property features include playgrounds, tennis courts and basketball half-court. To see additional photos of base housing at Langley AFB, plus reviews of all the on-base housing neighborhoods at Langley, click here.
Living Off Base near Langley AFB
There are many great neighborhoods within a 10-15 minute drive from Langley. Your BAH for Langley AFB may help you rent or buy a home in nearby cities including Yorktown, Williamsburg, Hampton, Newport News and Poquoson. Want to know if it is a good time to buy a house in the Hampton Roads area? Our Real Estate experts weigh in, telling you whether it is a buyer or a seller’s market in Virginia. If you work with a PCSgrades reviewed realtor, you’ll find there is a rental or mortgage to fit every BAH in Hampton Roads.
Langley AFB Schools
There are no DOD schools at Langley, but there are two school systems serving the base. Military kids at Langley AFB attend Hampton City Schools, with 36 schools and approximately 23,000 students. One elementary, one middle school, and one high school serve as primary feeder schools
Bethel Manor residents attend York County Schools, with 19 schools and approximately 13,000 students. Two elementary, two middle and two high schools, serve Bethel Manor, depending on your location.
Fort Eustis Housing
Military family housing at Fort Eustis is privatized and run by Balfour Beatty Communities. If you choose to live on post at Fort Eustis, there are more than 950 homes in nine neighborhoods available to all ranks. Community features include playgrounds, tot lots, a spray park, basketball and volleyball courts, a fitness center, multi-purpose room, television, and computer center. You can see a list of on-base neighborhoods, along with grades and reviews from military families at PCSgrades.com.
On Base Amenities
Property features in Langley Base Family Housing include newly constructed shoppettes, state-of-the-art fitness facilities, splash park, indoor and outdoor pools, bowling alley, camping facility, dry cleaners, movie theater, shooting range, veterinary clinic, and 18-hole golf course.
You can use your BAH for Fort Eustis to rent or buy a home near the base. Some of the nearby areas for off-post housing include lower York County, Dare, Yorktown, Grafton, and Poquoson. If you work with a PCSgrades ‘A-Graded’ Realtor, you’ll find there is a rental or mortgage to fit every BAH.
Ft. Eustis Schools
Military children at Fort Eustis attend Newport News Public Schools. While the Elementary school is on post, Middle and High School are off post.
BAH for Fort Eustis & Langley AFB
The median sales price for homes in Newport News is $175,000. Virginia general sales tax is 4% higher than the national average and the Virginia state income tax is 10% lower than the national average. So, depending on where you are PCSing from will determine if the cost of living seems reasonable to you. Moving to Hampton Roads from the Washington D. C. area might mean the cost living seems very reasonable to you. If you’re moving from Altus AFB in Oklahoma, not so much. You can calculate your BAH for Hampton Roads, then read our Housing Report from PCSGrades rated Realtors, to decide if this is the right time and place for you to buy a home.
Fort Eustis – Langley AFB Weather
Springtime brings thunderstorms that produce gusty winds, hail, and occasionally, tornadoes. Temperatures rise to an average 57.5 degrees during March, April, and May. Summers are often described as hot and humid while the fall brings welcome relief with temps in the mid 60’s. Snowfall over the winter months averages 7.1 inches each year with the average temperature in the mid-forties. The weather at Fort Eustis and Langley AFB doesn’t put a damper on the fun things to do in the area. Rain or shine, we’ll help you plan your bucket list for Hampton Roads.
What to know about Hampton Roads
Driving around the area is sometimes complicated by all the water which means bridges and tunnels. The Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel built in 1957 was the first bridge-tunnel complex in the world, to be followed by the area’s much longer Chesapeake Bay Bridge–Tunnel six years later. The prevalence of bridge-tunnels in the area is due to the number of shipbuilding and naval bases in the area. Region-specific information and tools to help you make the most of your commute can be found at VDOT.
There are two public transport ferries to include a passenger ferry operated on the Elizabeth River between Norfolk and Portsmouth. The Jamestown Ferry is an automobile ferry system on the James River connecting Jamestown in James City County with Scotland in Surry County.
Amtrak’s Northeast Regional trains service Newport News, Norfolk, and Williamsburg. There are two main airports in the region: the Norfolk International Airport n Norfolk and the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport in Newport News.
What to eat near Hampton Roads, Virginia
Seafood is popular in the coastal areas. Blue crabs are prepared in many ways such as crab cakes, crab imperial, soft-shelled in season, or simply plain crab meat that is picked from its shell and dipped in melted butter. Barbecue in Virginia is mostly pork with a vinegar-based sauce which is similar to barbeque in North Carolina. Smithfield ham, sometimes called Virginia ham, is a type of country ham which is only produced in the town of Smithfield.
There are over 230 wineries in the state of Virginia including several wineries on the Lower Peninsula. Read why one Air Force spouse loves being stationed here.
Things to do near Hampton Roads and Newport News
Hampton Roads has extensive natural areas, including 26 miles of Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay beaches, wildlife refuges, scenic rivers, state parks, and botanical gardens. Check out 7 Unique Things to Do in Hampton Roads.
Newport News Park
A favorite destination for campers who love the great outdoors is 8,000+ acres featuring forests, 30 miles of hiking trails, a 5-mile mountain bike trail, a 5.3-mile bikeway, and two fresh-water reservoirs. Also, there are with bike rentals available, along with boat, canoe and paddle boat rentals. The park has a 180-site campground, playground, aeromodeller’s flying field, freshwater fishing and golf, archery range, picnic shelter, arboretum, and two stages.
The Nolan Trail
This trail is often referred to as an urban oasis. The trail is a 5-mile loop around Lake Maury, with 14 bridges, several overlooks, and benches to rest on every half mile or so. It has been a popular strolling and jogging route for more than 25 years.
Virginia Living Museum
This museum is a combination aquarium, zoo, botanical garden and science center, showcasing animals and plants native to Virginia. Additionally, visitors experience animals native to Virginia in habitats, discovery centers, and interactive exhibits.
Located in historic Yorktown is a 3-acre beachfront featuring a fishing pier with no entry fee, no requirement for a fishing license and a 10-acre grass picnic area. Rentals include kayaks, paddle boards, and bikes. Shower facilities are open all summer. A hundred weddings a year happen at scenic Yorktown Beach. Also, next to the beach is Riverwalk Landing, a mile-long shopping and entertainment area. Tall ships, traditional sailing ships with the huge masts from countries around the world, are often seen sailing on the York River.
The Yorktown Battlefield is site of the last major battle of the American Revolutionary War. Park Rangers lead guided walking tours of the battlefield and the 18th-century town. You can also drive through the battlefield and visit the Moore House, scene of surrender negotiations; and Surrender Field, among other sites.
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Carla Olivo has garnered numerous TV industry awards including the Associated Press award for Spot News Reporting, and Documentary Reporting. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired USMC Lt. Colonel and their two children.