Welcome to Fort Campbell, home of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault.). Fort Campbell has the 5th largest military population in the Army. With about 30,000 active duty soldiers plus their families stationed here, the area has a lot to offer a military family. Read below to get a feel for your new duty station and visit PCSgrades.com for reviews on housing, REALTORS, and more!
WHERE IS FORT CAMPBELL
Fort Campbell, Kentucky is on the border of Tennessee and Kentucky. Clarksville, TN, Oak Grove, KY and Hopkinsville, KY are the cities that make up the off-post Fort Campbell area. Here you will find a thriving southern military town just an hour from Nashville, TN.
FORT CAMBELL HOUSING
The Fort Campbell area has a lot of options for housing. You can stay on post in one of the many neighborhoods. You can also choose to live on the Tennessee side in Clarksville, Woodlawn or closer to Nashville. In Kentucky, you can live in Oak Grove or Hopkinsville or further into the state. Read reviews and see photos for both on and off base housing at PCSgrades.com.
ON POST AMENITIES
On post you have several pools, two splash parks, two Starbucks, gyms, MWR, ACS and many different events for kids like an Easter Egg hunt and Trick or Treating. There is a big PX with a small mall and food court. There are also a variety of fast food places on post separate from the food court. You can also find a golf course, a bowling alley, a library and a movie theater. BACH or Blanchfield is the hospital on post and provides a lot of services to the military community.
On-post housing is privatized and neighborhoods are based on rank. E-1-E5, E6-E8, CW1-O3, and CW3-O5. The homes are between 2-5 bedrooms. The neighborhoods have playgrounds and areas to walk. Most of the neighborhoods are close to the PX and Commissary and allow easy access to a lot of what the post has to offer. There are four elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school. There are also many CDC locations for your child care needs.
There are a variety of neighborhoods to choose from if you would like to live off-post. Options in Tennessee include Clarksville, Woodlawn, Adams or closer to Nashville. You can also choose to live in Kentucky in Oak Grove or Hopkinsville. Since there are a lot of different areas to choose from, you should be able to find the right place to live no matter what you are looking for. Thinking about buying or renting? Find your A-graded REALTOR at PCSgrades.com and let your house hunt begin!
Clarksville is the main urban center on the Tennessee side of Fort Campbell. The population is about 142,000 and is the 5th largest city in the state situated in Montgomery County and home to Austin Peay State University. A lot of military families also live off of Tiny Town and what is called the Exit 1 area. This will put you about 5-15 minutes from post. There is a lot of traffic heading to post from this area during certain times of day. There are many different neighborhoods to choose from that will give you a great off-post living experience while still being close enough to take advantage of what Fort Campbell has to offer on a regular basis.
If you would like to be a little bit further away from post and have a little bit more land, Sango or Exit 11 would be a good option. Housing is a little bit more expensive, and you will be about 30-45 minutes from post but living in Sango can be a good choice. Living there means you are a little closer to Nashville and will be a little further removed from the main military areas of Clarksville. There is also Woodlawn, TN, with about 4,400 people, is an unincorporated part of Montgomery County. This will put you about 15-35 minutes from post and is more rural than Clarksville. If you are looking for a lot of land, Woodlawn would be a good choice.
Fort Campbell's main gates are located off of Fort Campbell Blvd and a lot of military choose to live off or near this road. There are quite a few apartments to choose from and living in this area will put you 5-10 minutes from post. Keep in mind that during high traffic times of day you might be waiting longer in traffic to get home
Oak Grove, Kentucky, with about 7,500 people is a part of Christian County, Kentucky. If you choose to live in Oak Grove, you can be closer to post, and there are many single family homes to choose from. Oak Grove is a little more rural than Clarksville and is its own city. Hopkinsville, Kentucky, with a population of about 32,000 is also in Christian County, Kentucky. Living here will put you about 20-30 minutes from post. Hopkinsville does have a community college and many stores and restaurants to choose from. You can probably find more land in the Hopkinsville area and can be a great choice to live for a lot of people.
Fort Campbell experiences all four seasons. Fall at Ft.Campbell brings cooler weather and lots of great colors. Winter can bring cold mornings and snowy days. Off-post schools will close for any amount of snow and will usually do so for at least a week sometime in January or February. On-post schools do not close as often, but they do have snow days as well. Spring is a nice relief from the cold but can also bring storms and tornadoes. Summer can be hot and humid, and by August the bugs will be loud and make their presence known.
This area is known for interesting weather, so if you like to track what is going on, you will be in for a treat. It might be 60 degrees with rain and then 85 degrees with sun the very next day.
CULTURE AND CUSTOMS
The population at Fort Campbell area is a mixture of people from the military, former military, and civilians. Many residents not currently serving are veterans or were raised by a parent who served. People tend to like to stay in the area after they get out of the Army as there is a lot to offer.
Although Clarksville is in the south, people living there are from all of the US and the world because of the military. Your neighbors both on and off post could be from all over the country but now call the Fort Campbell area home.
BBQ, fried chicken, hush puppies oh my! The regional fare is southern and savory, consisting of hearty dishes such as biscuits and gravy, corn bread, and Burgoo, a hearty stew made of meat and veggies.
If we are talking about Tennessee and Kentucky – we should mention the whiskey. Tennessee is famous for Jack Daniels and Kentucky has the whole category of bourban whiskey owned, the general area around Clarksville and Nashville is home to multiple craft distilleries, most offering tours, tastings, and the like.
There are many different things to do both on and off post at Fort Campbell. Clarksville has many events throughout the year such as Movies at the Park, Christmas on the Cumberland and Riverfest twice a year. There are city pools, a library and a variety of parks to explore.
About an hour away is Nashville, known as "The Home of Country Music", Nashville has a thriving music scene, offering much more than just country. Like any growing city, Nashville has its fair share of art galleries to visit and delicious restaurants at which to dine. This city offers the perfect day trip to explore all it has to offer and soak in Americana culture. For the kiddos it also has a zoo and an Adventure Discovery Museum.
Driving a little further out you can go to a variety of cities and locations. Here are some of the places people stationed at Fort Campbell like to go:
The Land Between the Lakes: About an hour
St. Louis, MO : 4 hours
Atlanta, GA: 4 hours
Gatlinburg, TN: 4 hours
Huntsville, AL: 4 hours
Indianapolis, IN 4 hours
Oak Grove is smaller than Clarksville but does have its charm. They have a festival every May as well as a Butterfly Festival in the fall. If you travel a little further north, you will hit the city of Hopkinsville. Here you can find some of the regular shopping and restaurants you are used to but on a smaller scale than Clarksville has.
If you head to Hopkinsville, you will find Tiebreaker, a smaller water park that is great for kids of all ages and a lot of fun in the summer.
This post was sponsored by PCSgrades.
In military life, there is really nothing more stressful than a Permanent Change of Station (PCS). Deployments are a close second, but a PCS takes the cake. Combine a PCS with a deployment and not only do you want to eat all of the proverbial cake, you want to guzzle copious amounts of wine, too. We see you. Cheers.
One company, PCSgrades, is trying to make the PCS process feel more like a three-letter acronym than a four-letter expletive. Founded by veteran Todd Ernst, PCSgrades is the epitome of the military community taking care of its own. "PCSing has an emotional connotation," said Ernst. "We use it as an adverb, adjective, a noun and even as a cuss word."
Ernst started PCSgrades in 2015 after seeing friends struggle with unethical real estate agents and being taken advantage of by moving companies who knew DoD would be a paying customer no matter how poorly the companies treated their clients - us.
Here are 4 resources PCSgrades provides that you need to make moving easier:
1. Housing reviews
Does it get any more stressful than finding out where you're going to be stationed, Googling base housing at that station and getting results from 15 years ago (if you find anything, at all)? Nope, no it doesn't.
PCSgrades is changing the game on that by having military families who live in an area provide honest, candid reviews of their housing so incoming families can benefit. With reviews of both on and off base locations, families can finally get the truth about housing, whether it has black mold or the best views in town.
2. Moving company reviews
Great, you've figured out where to live; that's half the battle. The other, larger, more complex half? Figuring out how your stuff is going to get there. Knowing someone else will be handling your personal property and driving away with it for the foreseeable future is stressful enough. But not knowing what that company's background is, well that's a whole different ball game.
PCSgrades has countless reviews of moving companies provided by military families who have used them. Let's be honest: You wouldn't try a new Chinese delivery place without looking at reviews … why should picking a moving company be any different?
3. Area guides
The giant Google machine can only get you so far in life when you're researching your new duty station. We know you're busy and you want one-stop shopping on the interwebs. What you really need is aggregate data of things like schools to attend, restaurants to try, day trips to take and neighborhoods to avoid.
Introducing Area Guides, which offer exactly that: a holistic view of where you're moving and what to do once you get there. The best part? These are written by military families who have done it, for military families who are doing it.
4. Network of realtors and resources
PCSgrades has a nationwide network of A-graded realtors who know and understand the military and veteran lifestyle. Many of the realtors are veterans or spouses themselves, which takes the empathy to a whole new level. Having a realtor who gets the pressures of PCSing and the challenges of a military move is key to finding the right home for your family.
"I have friends who are hundreds of thousands of dollars upside down after bad home choices," Ernst said. "Housing choices can be pretty limited. Our moves are way more expensive than the typical civilian move." This is why Ernst created a way to alleviate the pain points for military families through PCSgrades.
In addition to a network of realtors, PCSgrades partners with "HomeScout," which allows you to search up-to-date home listings nationwide. Simply create an account with PCSgrades and the realty world is your oyster.
Whether you're looking for a new neighborhood, trying to find a vetted realtor, need a PCS checklist (let's be honest, is it on your radar to look at the expiration date of your military ID card two months before you PCS? Yeah, we know the truth; download the checklists here), or you're just wanting to know more about where you're heading, PCSgrades is making moving easier for every military family. Pay it forward by leaving reviews and be sure to take advantage of their excellent resources, today.
This post sponsored by PCSgrades.
Yeah! You got orders to (insert foreign country overseas)! You can already picture your kids in the international school, speaking with cute little accents and wearing local garments. Adorbs. You've got your housing picked out, adventures planned and passport photos taken. You're ready for your epic move ... except for that 13 hour plane ride. Have you wrapped your head around that yet? Before you grab for a paper bag and start hyperventilating, use our travel hacks to help make the emotional turbulence you're experiencing a little lighter.
We've all said it: "We'll drive. It won't be that bad." We picture the adventure, the memories, the nostalgia of car trips when we were younger.
But if we're really being honest with ourselves, think back to those car trips. Someone was crying. Someone was puking. Someone was whining. That person very well may have been your poor mother. True story, my mom once got out and walked along the highway when all six of us kids wouldn't stop fighting. A long car trip can be daunting, but with our tips and tricks they don't need to be.
WE ALL HAVE OUR SHARE OF HORROR STORIES WHEN IT COMES TO MILITARY MOVING!
Name the most disgusting item erroneously packed by your movers… for me it was used coffee grounds and of course, trash. For others, I've heard everything from wet towels to dirty diapers. I've caught movers raiding my fridge, lounging on my mattress in my front yard, and throwing out items that they've broken. Raise your hand (or have a drink) if you ever had packers show up late (or not at all). Ever had packers get into a shouting match among themselves as they were packing your china? Or have you caught your movers throwing boxes down the stairs to the basement? That would be me!
With each military move, there are "lessons learned". For instance, I won't go into great detail but let's just say after watching one packer go directly from using the restroom back to packing my kitchen without washing his hands, we now use gigantic ziplock bags to "pre-pack" all my kitchen utensils. A packers' bare flesh has never again touched one of my kitchen utensils.
My family's last military move was by far the shortest, only 1½ miles up the road. We were moving from a rental to a home we purchased. It was by far the worst in terms of damage and overall angst. I think because we were only "moving up the road" the pack job left a lot to be desired. I found one box of dishes which had not one piece of wrapping paper! Instead two throw pillows from my family room were used as a buffer! Amazingly, nothing was broken! Go figure!
When I heard glass shatter in the moving truck, I asked one of the guys what shattered.
There are any number of reasons why in a given situation renting might be better than buying or vice versa. For military families, it might make more sense to buy at one duty station and then rent at the next. Up for consideration with each PCS is whether to buy or rent, to stay on-base or off. In making these decisions, there are numerous pros and cons to consider.
PROS TO BUYING
- Purchasing the right home can be a great financial investment that can grow in value over time.
- Tax deductions such as mortgage interest and property taxes can greatly reduce your overall income tax burden if you itemize.
- Being a homeowner can give you pride of ownership and a sense of stability, rare in the military life which can seem nomadic at times.
- A mortgage payment that is lower than your BAH can result in a boost to your savings.
- You can decorate however you want! Goodbye white walls! Hello, Color!
- Anyone can stay with you at any time. So it is not a problem when your Mom or sister comes for an extended stay during a deployment or following a PCS.
- You can do (almost) whatever you want….host a late night party, plant a garden, knock a wall down!
- There are no security or pet deposits when you buy a home.
- You have the opportunity to become a landlord when military orders arrive and you have to move. Your home can become an investment property, providing a source of income which can partially or totally offset your mortgage, taxes, and insurance payments.