Camp Pendleton Relocation Information
Aerial view of Camp Pendleton via Camp Pendleton Facebook
Welcome to Camp Pendleton! This Marine Corps Base is a "bucket list" duty station and encompasses 125,000 acres of mountainous, undeveloped Southern California terrain running along the West Coast from Oceanside to San Clemente. Your first thoughts will probably be of beach, sun, and great weather. While that’s a large part of life in the area, you’ll have other questions, too: where to live, what to do, military spouse employment, schools, and more. Read on for more information for your military family’s move to the Camp Pendleton area!
With multiple bases located in the area, the neighborhoods surrounding Camp Pendleton are filled with military members and their families. Still, the local culture is thriving and is part of what makes this duty station so well loved. The Southern California area is booming with culture and attractions, drawing tourists in from all over the world. Whether it’s a major theme park like Disneyland, the San Diego Zoo, or an event like an air show, there’s something for everyone.
Moving to Camp Pendleton? Download your free ebook about the San Diego area below!
The area considered “San Diego” extends along the California coast from Mexico to Orange county and includes mountain ranges, national and state parks, desert, and popular areas like downtown San Diego, Chula Vista, La Jolla, Escondido, and Carlsbad. San Diego is only 20 miles north of Tijuana, Mexico, and you’ll immediately notice the Mexican influence on culture, music, food, and activities.
If you love the outdoors, you’ll feel right at home with plenty of opportunities for surfing and other water sports or even just a walk along the beach. Be prepared for a higher cost of living than you may be used to, as well as dealing with regular traffic snarls. Explore the area with day trips to locations like Big Bear Lake, Hollywood, or Joshua Tree National Park.
Camp Pendleton itself is quite large--over 125,000 acres. It's the size of a large county and extends from North County San Diego to Orange County. See the maps below for more perspective. Military members should take note where exactly on base they'll be working before making housing decisions. For instance, if you're working in San Onofre, you probably won't choose to live in Fallbrook. (The good news is, you can search for homes by location easily here on MilitaryByOwner!)
from USMC Life
Frequently Asked Questions About Camp Pendleton
1) How many gates does Camp Pendleton have?
There isn't just one access point for Camp Pendleton. There are six!
- Main Gate — 24 hours
- San Luis Rey — 24 hours
- Del Mar — 6 am to 8 pm
- Las Pulgas — 24 hours
- San Onofre — 24 hours
- Cristianitos — 5 am to midnight
2) Are there schools on Camp Pendleton?
There are five schools located on base, but they are not DOD schools and belong to two separate school districts. North Terrace, Santa Margarita, and Stuart Mesa Elementary schools are located near the main gate. San Onofre is located near the San Onofre Gate, and Mary Fay Pendleton Elementary School is located in Camp Pendleton North.
3) What county is Camp Pendleton in?
Camp Pendleton is in San Diego County, which is over 4,500 square miles. It extends from the Mexican border north to Camp Pendleton and east past the Anza-Borrego Desert. Home to more than 3,095,313 residents, it ranks as the fifth most populous county in the country, and number two in California.
4) How big is Camp Pendleton?
Camp Pendleton is over 125,000 acres and makes up 17 miles of southern California coastline. It’s such a large stretch of uninhabited land that you’ll actually find a handful of interesting wildlife. The most common? Snakes and coyotes. They make the most frequent appearances, but if you’re lucky (or unlucky, depending on how to want to look at it) you might see a bobcat, mountain lion, and bison on occasion.
5) How many military members are stationed at Camp Pendleton?
There are more than 42,000 active duty service members stationed at Camp Pendleton. Add to that nearly 38,000 family members living on base, civilian employees, retirees, and reservists and you'll find about 70,000 daytime population at Camp Pendleton.
Image via Samantha Alegre from Pixabay
Base Location and Information
With multiple bases located in the area, the neighborhoods surrounding Camp Pendleton are filled with military members and their families. Still, the local culture is thriving and is part of what makes this duty station so well loved.
Approximately 38 miles north of downtown San Diego and 82 miles south of Los Angeles, Camp Pendleton encompasses over 17 miles of shoreline along southern California's coast. Nearby cities include Oceanside, Carlsbad, Fallbrook, Vista, San Marcos, Escondido, and San Clemente.
The city of Oceanside lies right at the southern boundary of the base followed by Carlsbad, CA at around 6 miles distance. The city of Fallbrook lies on the eastern boundary of the base with Temecula, and Murietta, CA to the northeast within close proximity.
Though it might be the largest in the area, Camp Pendleton isn’t the only military installation in Southern California. Just south in San Diego County are seven other duty stations.
The Inns of the Corps handles on base lodging for military families heading to Camp Pendleton. The Pacific View Lodge and the Ward Lodge offer standard guest rooms, suites, and kitchenettes helping create a home during transition. There are also beach cottages available for reservation.
- The Pacific Views Lodge: (760) 763-7805
- Ward Lodge: (760) 725-5304
Camp Pendleton Housing
Because of its sheer size, knowing where the service member will report for duty is essential before starting the house hunting process. Even living on the opposite side of base from work can result in a long commute.
Military housing is privatized and managed by two companies, depending on the district: Lincoln Military Housing and Hunt Military Communities. Together, they offer 23 different neighborhoods across the base.
- Lincoln Military Housing Camp Pendleton (760) 712-3788 (includes San Onofre, Stuart Mesa, Del Mar, Mesa, and Mountain)
- Hunt Military Communities Camp Pendleton (888) 273-9024 (DeLuz Family Housing is in the DeLuz district which includes Oceanside, CA)
Be sure to check with the Camp Pendleton Family Housing office for details: (760) 725-5995.
Camp Pendleton Off-Base Housing
View homes for sale and houses for rent near Camp Pendleton: Camp Pendleton Homes
A view of Oceanside, California near Camp Pendleton. Image via tgormanbrown on Wikimedia Commons.
Area Weather and Climate
Photo via Cheyenne Knowles on Unsplash
Though the weather fluctuates throughout the year, this area doesn’t observe four distinct seasons. Though it’ll feel chilly during the winter months, it’s never too cold to go outside — maybe trade a swimsuit for a jacket that day. The weather in Southern California is mild throughout the whole year, but you’ll find that the geography greatly affects the temperatures. The breeze and marine layer make it cooler by the water and warmer in the mountains and desert. You’ll also find that temperatures fluctuate up to 30 degrees daily in the desert areas. It might start out 45 degrees in the morning and rise to 75 degrees by late afternoon.
The biggest concern this region faces is wildfires. Wildfire season is typically in the fall, when the winds pick up and the winter rain hasn’t wet the earth left dry from summer. And don’t be surprised to feel an earthquake or two as well. Thousands occur every year. And while some cause damage, you’ll hardly feel most of them.
Learn more about California wildfires (how to prepare, prevent them, and recover from them) at readyforwildfire.org.
Camp Pendleton Area Schools
Because of the size of Camp Pendleton and the numerous access points, military families stationed at this base are spread across three different counties: San Diego, Riverside, and Orange.
San Diego County:
- Oceanside Unified School District
- Carlsbad Unified School District
- Fallbrook Union
- Bonsall Unified
Photo via San Diego County Office of Education
Photo via ArcGIS
- Capistrano Unified School District
Photo via Ron for Homes
Support for Military & Families
Military families and spouses benefit from endless opportunity at Camp Pendleton. With many resources available to support furthering education, getting outside to explore, and navigating military life, this duty station gears a lot of energy toward the families stationed here. The Southern California area boasts a large number of companies that employ military spouses. And the job hunt looks favorable: the unemployment rate in October 2019 was down to 3.9%.
There are a great variety of non-profit organizations you can volunteer with, as well as many MyCAA approved institutions to further your education, as well as social groups to get involved with the community.
Some helpful links:
More Camp Pendleton Area Information
199 Nautilus Street