Children sitting on a bench at an aquarium

Duty Station Bucket List

The new duty station is a place full of adventures just waiting to be had. I personally would venture to say this is true, even about the most hated destinations.

There are some duty stations that no one wants to go to for various reasons. Whether that place is overseas or just two states away, we each have a place we don’t want to go. Next thing we know, we find ourselves calling that dreaded place our new home. You know what? You can turn that so-called negative into a positive by creating a duty station bucket list. Wondering what that is or what difference that can make? Honestly, it can make a world of difference.

What is a duty station bucket list?

A duty station bucket list is a list of things available to do at your new place of residence. Things that interest you and your family. You can fill it with attractions, festivals, destinations and things that you would like to do in general. For my family, San Diego was the last place that I wanted us to go. It just didn’t feel like it was the place for our family. Truth be told if it wasn’t for this bucket list, I would honestly still feel that way. We are out here doing our best to live up to the saying, “living our best life.”

How to start a duty station bucket list

Google is and will forever always be my number one go-to. Social media groups are a close runner-up. My search history is full of “Fun things to do in (insert destination),” “family fun (insert destination),” or “best date ideas (insert destination).” On the off chance (let’s be real with the military, there is always a chance) that the military stations you in the middle of nowhere; that opens up a world of travel opportunities for you. For example, traveling to different European countries is easier on the pocketbook when already in Europe. It is easier to go to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, from Virginia than it is from, let’s say, California.

Bucket list must-haves

Of course, your bucket list will be tailored to you and your family’s interests. Hopefully, some of the next suggestions fit many different styles.

  1. The big-ticket tourist items. Our number one staple item included seeing San Diego from a tourist’s point of view. Even though we get to be here for three years, we have no intention of coming back. (Well maybe a girl’s trip with my tribe one day!)
  2. The local favorites. Favorite things like the different festivals, fairs and must eats are what fill my family’s weekends. For example, on Mother’s Day, we go to what’s called Gator by the Bay; in June we go to the county fair; and in April we go to the Carlsbad Flower Fields. The list can honestly go on and on.
  3. The state attractions. For my family, California has so many different destinations. Destinations like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, the Redwoods, Big Bear Lake, etc.
  4. The different travel staples. These, for example, include things like Washington, D.C., being just a few hour’s drive from Norfolk, Virginia; the Grand Canyon being less than two hours away from San Diego, California; and Jackson, Mississippi, just a few hours from New Orleans, Louisiana.

Father and children dressed in costumes

The duty station bucket list will fill your weeks, months and years with fun. Fun you otherwise may not have ever had. Who wouldn’t take advantage of adventures on the military dime? P.S. Don’t worry about pausing the adventures during deployments or long stents away from home. One thing I learned is that no matter how much we wish time stood still, it doesn’t. Our other halves wouldn’t want it to. Sprinkle in the trips to the different parks, splash pads, self-care days, trips to the beach and other things that can be a “you” or an “us” thing. Stalk the MWR pages and local community pages, and enjoy the free or reduced military rate activities. Enjoy quality time together and make memories as you tackle your duty station bucket list.

Written By Tanecia Favors
Navy Spouse

Tanecia, while new to the Blog Brigade family, isn’t new to military spouse life. She has been married to her Navy spouse for 8 years.

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  • Yvonne PR says:

    Good information. Great ideas for family fun.

  • Beautifully said, Tanecia. My favorite saying is “grow where you’re planted”. You can thrive from anywhere in the world, some areas are a little more challenging than others but, a duty station bucket list is a great way to find the good all around the world. Thanks for sharing.

  • Social Media Admins says:

    Thank you for your kind words, Michelle!