We were stationed on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, California for three years.  Which is the official site of the movie, Top Gun. I’m sure every girl has dreamed about visiting the actual Top Gun Movie Site. What makes this even more nostalgic is they actually host movie watch for Top Gun on the Flight Deck. MCAS Miramar also hosts an Air Show every year so, if you live on base it will be a great idea to hook up a white noise system for the kids on the nights you don’t join in on the fun. 

When we got stationed at MCAS Miramar, I had to find a way to make this place home and quick because my husband was only going to only be there with me for roughly three months before he rushed off to yet another training, where he would be for the next four to six months. He did what any great spouse would do and connected me with the FRO (Family Readiness Officer) before leaving. In no time I had lots of fun activities on my calendar. There was something for everybody. While some spouses enjoyed the many family-friendly activities, I took pride in the one day a month and holidays we cooked for single marines. My involvement with the events and activities with our unit hosted by the FRO, led me to L.I.N.K.S (Lifestyle, Insights, Knowledge, and  Networking). L.I.N.K.S offers classes for spouses, marines, and even kids. They can equip you with the knowledge needed to overcome any obstacle whether it’s preparing for a deployment, getting through a deployment, resources that will be of help to you in medical or even financial crisis. Your Family Readiness Officer is also a great resource for all of these things. I started attending classes with L.I.N.K.S and soon after became an active volunteer. The people at the L.I.N.K.S house is what made the base home for me. 

 These two organizations are by far the most resourceful organizations this base has to offer. If you are PCSing to California, start budgeting and try your best to find a place that doesn’t take all your Basic Housing Allowance because it is pricey. The first thing you need to do once you arrive to MCAS Miramar is to connect with your Family Readiness officer and find the L.I.N.K.S house. I do not doubt that they will welcome you with open arms.

Now that I’ve covered the two things that will ensure that you not only survive but thrive at this duty station, let’s get to my most favorite fun activities. While the cost of living in California is expensive there is a lot of free fun. There are many awesome beaches just a short drive away. My favorite beach is La Jolla Shores. There are lots of little secret hideouts where the family can set up shop for a nice beach day. Less than four miles away from La Jolla Shores is the La Jolla Cove. Here you will find lots of barking sea lions. While it is important to respect that they are wild animals, you are free to snap photos from a safe distance. My favorite thing about the Cove is the little swimming area. It’s probably the safest snorkeling site in San Diego and even enjoyable for those who just want to hang out on the beach. La Jolla Cove is where you want to be on the night of the Blood Moon or Full Moon. The view is out of this world.

Balboa Park was my absolute favorite place to be in San Diego. I was lucky enough to live there my last year there and I got up every day to enjoy the sights. If you are a lover of museums, culture, and nature, add Balboa Park to your list of must-visit places. The Museum of Man will catch your eye right away and is even cast in blue light at night. While all of the Museums are family-friendly. The most enjoyable for kids is the San Diego Air and Space Museum. They even have a replica of Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the actual Apollo 9 Command Module spacecraft. December Nights is an Annual event in Balboa Park. There are vendors, food trucks, photos with the Grinch and the Park is decorated beautifully in Christmas Lights. The San Diego Zoo is also the largest in the world and is one of the best as they breed giant panda. I personally love the San Diego Zoo because of their awesome sustainability efforts. SeaWorld supports Military members and offers great offers. They often have their ‘Waves of Honors’ promotion where they offer free admission for military members and their families. 

The ITT office on base sells discounted tickets year round for many things. Including the San Diego County Fair, San Diego County Zoo, and SeaWorld. 

There are a lot of great things that being stationed at MCAS Miramar has to offer from the many local things to explore today trips to Los Angeles Hollywood, Vegas, and Tijuana, Mexico. If you are stationed here, you are bound to enjoy lots of free sunshine and ocean waves. It has been my favorite duty station to date.


Author Bio: Quen Finney has spent her adult-life traveling with her husband of six years, who is active duty military in the United States Marine Corps. She is an Elementary School Teacher and Mental Health Advocate. She plans to continue raising awareness of mental health while sharing her own life experiences with others through blogging.

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