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    Your PCS Move to Camp Pendleton, California

    If military life has you headed to Camp Pendleton, California, we're here to help! Come along for a quick overview of this bucket list duty station. 



    Camp Pendleton's Location

    This Marine Corps base's location runs along the West Coast from Oceanside to San Clemente. The area includes 125,000 acres of mountainous, undeveloped Southern California terrain.

    Camp Pendleton is situated 38 miles north of downtown San Diego and 82 miles south of Los Angeles. Nearby cities include Oceanside, Carlsbad, Fallbrook, Vista, San Marcos, Escondido, and San Clemente. 

    Camp Pendleton is the largest military installation in Southern California. Other nearby bases include:  

    Mission beachMission Beach in nearby San Diego. Photo by Sean Mullowney on Unsplash

    The San Diego area extends from Mexico to Orange County.  This geographically diverse area includes coastline, mountains, desert, along with downtown areas like San Diego, Chula Vista, Escondido, La Jolla, and Carlsbad. San Diego is about 20 miles north of Tijuana, Mexico, so you'll notice the Mexican influence on food and culture.  

    Camp Pendleton is quite large in land size, about the size of a large county. See the map below for reference. You'll want to know where you'll be working on base before making a housing decision (more on this below). 


    camp_pend_mapImage from USMC Life

    Camp Pendleton Housing

    Knowing where the military member will work on base is important before you start your home search, as commutes will vary widely depending on which part of the base you're assigned. See the map above for locations of base gates.

    Military housing is privatized and managed by two companies: Liberty Military Housing and Hunt Military Communities. You'll find 23 different neighborhoods across the base. 

    If you're looking to rent or buy a home near Camp Pendleton, there are many househunting options in nearby neighborhoods.

     Search by city on MilitaryByOwner:


    Life at Camp Pendleton

    OceansideOceanside, CA. Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash


    Military Family Life

    There are more than 42,000 active duty service members stationed at Camp Pendleton, along with 38,000 family members.

    For military spouses, the Southern California area is home to many companies that actively recruit and employ military spouses. There are also non-profit organizations for volunteer opportunities, local options for higher education, and numerous social groups. Try these resources to start: 


    Be prepared for a higher cost of living  in the Camp Pendleton area, and of course, regular traffic back-ups. If you love the outdoors, you'll revel in all the opportunities to enjoy the iconic Southern California sun, sand, and water. Along with beautiful area beaches, popular locations like Big Bear Lake, Hollywood, or Joshua Tree National Park make for an easy day trip. Start with these ideas for things to do!

    Then download our free San Diego resource for more information: 

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    Camp Pendleton Schools

    Camp Pendleton has five schools located on base: North Terrace, Santa Margarita, and Stuart Mesa Elementary schools located near the main gate, San Onofre located near the San Onofre Gate, and Mary Fay Pendleton Elementary School located in Camp Pendleton North. These schools are run by local school districts and are not part of the DoDEA system. Those living off base will likely fall under one of the nearby counties, San Diego, Riverside, and Orange, which have multiple school districts. 

    Connect with the MCB Camp Pendleton School Liaison Office for more information about area schools, including "school of choice" options, homeschooling, charter, and private school options. 

    There's so much more to know before your PCS move to Camp Pendleton! Visit our extensive Camp Pendleton base information page for more in-depth resources.

    Looking for a home at Camp Pendleton? Take a look at our constantly updated inventory of homes below. 

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    PCS Move to Camp Pendleton

    Jen McDonald


    Jen McDonald

    Jen McDonald is the Content Editor for MilitaryByOwner Advertising. She's a longtime writer, the author of the book You Are Not Alone: Encouragement for the Heart of a Military Spouse, the host of the Milspouse Matters podcast, and has been published in several books and numerous national publications. She was a military spouse for nearly 30 years and is the mom of four (including one son in the military). One of her happiest roles now is being a grandmother. She and her newly retired Air Force husband have been stationed all around the world from Europe to the Pacific and won’t count how many houses they’ve lived in because that would be too depressing. Her passion is encouraging young military spouses and regularly sharing about topics like military life, parenting, homeschooling...and now grandparenting! See more from Jen at her site, Jen McDonald and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram , and Pinterest.

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