Fun, food, and fresh air; Need I say more? Tampa, FL. is one of the greatest cities in America. Not only because they are the current leaders in the nation’s professional sporting leagues but also because they are the smallest big city. With a population of around 400,000 people, Tampa Bay’s small-town feel is appealing to newcomers. Surrounded by water, a booming economy, and extraordinary opportunities, Tampa Bay is the place to be. 

Feel the warm sea breeze as it surrounds MacDill Airforce Base. What’s more? The base has a secluded beach, RV park, and golf course. Although it’s an Air Force base, MacDill encompasses all branches, making the duty station an option for any family. Because of that, housing space is limited. The housing waitlist can sometimes extend closer to one year. But not to fret, there are lots of beautiful areas near the base to call home. 

Photo credit Joshua Santos

What’s fun in Tampa? 

Macdill Air Force Base in Tampa is close to everywhere you want to be. Disneyworld, Sea World, Universal Studios, Legoland Florida, and the Kennedy Space Center are all within a two-hour drive from base. Want to visit Little Havana? South Beach in Miami is only a four drive away. From local sporting events to the third-largest Pirate celebration in America known as Gasparilla, boredom will never be accomplished in Tampa. If you have a passion for glorious architecture, do not depart the city without visiting the Tampa Theatre. The theatre’s vast columns and fascinating artwork will leave you in awe. If you do feel the urge to leave, do it on a cruise ship. Port Tampa is an international hub for Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean cruise lines. Cruise international waters and return refreshed and ready to take on whatever military life throws at you. 

Where’s the Food? 

Tampa is home to some of the most famous authentic eateries around. The Columbia Restaurant has a history dating back to 1905 in Ybor City. Ybor is where you’ll find local Cuban cuisine, cigars, and wild roosters. It’s an old town that has preserved its authenticity and magnificence throughout the years. Tampa has no shortages of Cheesecake Factory’s, Chili’s, Texas Roadhouses, Cracker Barrel’s, and PF Changs if you like big-name chain restaurants. If you’ve got picky eaters, no worries, McDonalds, Chick-Fil-A, Taco Bell, Panera, and Subway have got you covered. 

Photo credit: Chris Murray, Unsplash

A Breath of Fresh Air 

By now, if you haven’t realized, Tampa is where you want to live; head to the beach on an early summer evening. Watching the sunset below the horizon will take your breath away. The beaches closest to MacDill Airforce Base are Picnic Island, Davis Island, Apollo Beach, and Clearwater Beach–some of the best day trips you’ll ever experience. So whether you’re building sandcastles or catching rays, beautiful memories will be made along the shores of Tampa. 

Where to live near Tampa? 

MacDill Airforce Base is located in South Tampa. This area can be a little pricey (depending on your budget). Many military families choose to live in St. Petersburg, Riverview, Ruskin, Brandon, or Wesley Chapel. These areas have easy access to expressways that can get you on base in less than one hour. Although they are a short distance drive from the base, these locations offer considerably more square footage for your dollar than South Tampa. Are you looking for great schools for your child? MacDill is home to Tinker K8, a Hillsborough County public school with students ranging from kindergarten to 8th grade. Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties boast some of the best schools in the area. If you prefer something a little more private, they’ve got your choice of religious private schools, magnet schools, and charter schools. 

Unfortunately, MacDill Airforce base does not have a full-service hospital. With the plethora of urgent care facilities, specialty care, and some of the best regional hospitals, you won’t need one. Every base has its advantages and disadvantages. With all that Tampa offers, there is not much left to be desired. Enjoy the views, have some fun, and live your best oceanside life! 

 

Marla BautistaMarla Bautista is the author of My Thoughts Abandoned and co-author of Brave Women, Strong Faith. She is also a freelance writer, blogger, and speaker. However, her passion is helping people in need. Marla is the co-founder of the Bautista Project Inc, a nonprofit organization providing for homeless community members in Tampa, FL.