Whether you’re PCSing (Permanent Change of Station) or just swinging by Jacksonville for a short tour, there are some ways to make sure you’re fully experiencing this anything-but-typical (and fantastic) military town.
If this is your first military move, you should know some stuff:
- Nobody cares about your things like you care about your things. If the military is moving you, pack your most valuable items yourself so that no matter how clumsy your movers are, your fine china will be ok. Also, be nice to your movers while they’re packing up your stuff—having a sandwich or cup of coffee for them might not seem like a big deal, but it is a good way to make sure that they’re handling your valuables with care.
- If you move yourself, the amount you get paid for your move is based on the weight of your stuff. Make sure you measure your empty moving van or trailer accurately, to make sure you’re getting reimbursed for the right amount of work that you’re putting in.
- Contact your new city’s utility companies ahead of time (and here are Jacksonville's). Depending on how busy your utility company is, it might take a week or even two for them to have an appointment available to turn on your cable, or water, or electricity. The sooner you contact them, the more likely you are to get hooked up right when you move in.
Get to Know Your New Home
Look for information on your new homestead online, but also check out the offline resources available as well, especially if you’re active duty. Talk to the transition specialists at your current post to see what resources they have available, and use them.
One of the biggest things that makes Jacksonville different from most military towns is the huge number of outdoor activities available. From National Forests to a huge number of beaches (including a great beach option on post), the coastal life sets living here apart from other bases.
Get to Know Lejeune's MCCS
As a Marine family, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune has a whole department that can help you. It's called Marine Corps Community Services, and they put on regular community events, rent recreational gear like boats and blow-up bouncy houses for kids' birthday parties, and can even help you find a job. Most MCCS services are also available to non-Marine military service members.
Look for Civilian Resources
Your best source of research materials is likely to be from civilian sources. Livability.com is a great place to start, as this is our entire mission: Helping you find and move to the best places to live. You can also get some great information on review sites, like Yelp or TripAdvisor.com. While it's famous for restaurant reviews, Yelp also lets users rate other businesses as well, like automotive repair or alterations shops. For information on area businesses (or on starting one of your own), the local Chamber of Commerce is also a great place to look.
Branch Out Quickly
Your experience in any given town is going to depend on your social connections. When you're moving to a new town, the sooner you can make some local friends, the better your experience is going to be there. Joining group activities like church groups or sports leagues (the City of Jacksonville runs sports and rec programs for kids in baseball, softball, basketball, tennis and volleyball) are great ways to expand your social circle. And make sure your spouse gets the chance to meet other military spouses too.