:: Santa Barbara, CA - Tex
Station/Boat Location~
Marine Safety Detachment Santa Barbara

Date there~

Beautiful. Mild temps year-round, with some "June gloom" and fog in early summer. It feels like it's in the 70s here all the time. Let's put it this way: they call Santa Barbara the American Riviera. It can get a little chilly in the evenings sometimes -- a sweater or light jacket is good.

Military facilities~
Port Hueneme Naval Base is about 45 minutes away to the south. Vandenberg AFB is almost 2 hours away to the north.

There are medical providers who take Tricare, but I remember having to change primary care physicians at least twice because the doctors would decide to stop accepting it. Also, finding appropriate specialists or labs was sometimes hard because SB is relatively small. Frankly, it seemed like some doctors just didn't want to bother with Tricare because it didn't pay so well and had its hassles. Also, some doctors that did take it unfortunately weren't accepting new patients. I'm pretty sure there is medical stuff available at the base in Port Hueneme, but, again, that's a bit of a drive.

Absolutely amazing if you can get into it. There are only eight homes, so there's sometimes a waiting list. The three-bedroom, two-bath homes are on a private, gated Coast Guard street on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. The housing area also has a playground, basketball court, horseshoe pits and stunning views. La Mesa Park, which is adjacent to the housing area, is very nice.

There are plenty of grocery stores in SB, including Albertson's, Von's and Ralph's. Port Hueneme has a commissary and exchange. There's also a great gourmet/specialty store called Lazy Acres just a short walk from CG housing. Other shopping includes Paseo Nuevo Mall, La Cumbre Mall and a shopping center in Goleta. There's Macy's, Robinsons May, Linens 'n Things, Nordstrom, Home Depot, Ross Dress for Less, Sears, Circuit City, Costco. Big stores like Target, Wal-Mart or Best Buy are mostly in Ventura/Oxnard - about 30-40 minutes away. Oh, there's a small shopping strip near CG housing with an Albertsons, Rite-Aid and a pretty cool video store.

Child Care/Schools~
Don't know. We didn't have kids there, though I do know there is an elementary school across the street from housing.

Adult Schools~
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara City College (literally 100 yards away from the unit)
Also, take advantage of the awesome continuing education classes (many of them free) at SBCC's Alice Schott Center or Wake Center, where you can learn everything from Writing a Novel and Japanese Gourmet Cooking to Beginning Guitar and Jewelry-making.

Fun Activities~
The beach! The ocean! Hanging out on State Street. Concerts at the Santa Barbara Bowl. Tons of good restaurants (don't miss the excellent Rose Cafe`, just down the street from CG housing). Hiking on nearby mountain trails. Exploring the cool towns and areas around Santa Barbara, including the Danish-style village of Solvang and Santa Barbara County wine country. Annual events such as the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Fiesta/Old Spanish Days, Summer Solstice Parade, the various ethnic festivals. Santa "Barbarians" love a party, and frankly, the fun never stops.
BTW, when we were there, the YMCA offered a free membership to local Coasties and a reduced rate for dependents.

Additional Info~
You'll feel like you're on vacation here. Your friends will love visiting. Santa Barbara has the pace, laid-back feel and accessibility of a small town, but with enough culture, dining and entertainment to keep big city folks happy too. And LA is just two hours away.
A few tradeoffs to living in paradise: Finding decent employment can be tough; there just aren't many professional jobs that pay well. Cost of living is high. Finding a place on the economy can be pricey.

Homeport CA

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