MacDill Happenings

Things to Do in and around MacDill AFB

Cypress Point Park Tampa’s Hidden Beach

July 26, 2014 By: maclaura Category: children, Communities, Things to do

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Tampa Bay has some of the best beaches in the country and most are within a 45-minute drive from MacDill AFB.  But there is a hidden gem of a beach in Tampa that is just minutes away from Westshore Plaza Mall and Tampa International Airport.

If you travel to the end of Cypress Blvd. you will be surprised to find Cypress Point Park. Now when you get to the end of the street don’t stop at the business park, but continue on following the signs that lead you to the park. My husband and I recently read an article in the Tampa Bay Times about this hidden gem.


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On a Sunday morning after dropping our daughter at the airport we made a quick stop. I was very surprised at how nice the park is.  The beach area is small but if you need something to do with the kids this would be the perfect quick beach trip. The beach area is not as big as the beach on MacDill AFB but it was very pretty and had a great view. If your kids are into airplanes then they will love it, the flight path of the Tampa International Airport is right over head. The park included several pavilions that you can rent for parties etc.. they included tables and grills. The park also had nice bathroom facilities that my husband said were very clean. In fact a cleaning crew was arriving when we left. For the kids the park had an amazing playground. You could also play volleyball and extreme Frisbee. According to the parks website you can also use the .90 mile asphalt trail and hike the .44 mile nature trail.  You can also use the canoe launch to go kayaking and canoeing in the bay.  If you live in the MacDill AFB area and just don’t want to make the hike out to Clearwater or St Petersburg this is a perfect alternative. I think it would be a lovely spot to have a sunset picnic. Also if you work in the area I think it would be a great place to eat your lunch and take a walk. Better yet you may want to rent or buy a home in the area.

Have you visited  Cypress Point Park? If so leave us a comment or you can post pictures and comments on our Facebook page.

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Things to do in Tampa for the Weekend

July 24, 2014 By: maclaura Category: Communities, Dining, Events, Things to do


Looks like the weather should cooperate this weekend, so you take advantage of all the things going on this weekend in the Tampa Bay area. There are always things to do outside like going to the beach or to Busch Gardens and things to do inside like visiting one of the many museums!

    • Today at 5:30pm at the MacDill AFB movie theater “The Lego Movie” will be shown.  It’s free to attend and you can bring your own snacks.  Just make sure you clean up after yourselves.
    • The red hot Tampa Bay Rays are back in town and take on the Boston Red Sox for a 3-game series starting on Friday at the Trop.  The first pitch will be thrown at 7:10pm with David Price scheduled to start!
    • Check out the beach during Flip Flop Fourth Friday at Madeira Beach.  Starting at 5pm, Madeira Way will be full of music, fun, food and vendors!  Plus you will get a great view of the sunset!
    • On Saturday, the Tampa Bay Rays open up the Trop for invite local youth ages 12 to 17 to Tropicana Field to participate in a morning of exercise and fun. This event runs from 10am to noon.  There is a limited number of spaces available, so make sure you call  727-825-3306 to reserve a spot.
    • Also on Saturday at the Trop, from 10:30am to noon, join DJ Kitty and the Ray team to celebrate National Dance Day.
    • On Sunday, the historic Tampa Theatre will show the comedy classic “Blazing Saddles”  at 3pm.

We hope you enjoy your weekend and please share any ideas you have on fun things to do this weekend with us! You can share here in our comments section or on our Facebook page. You can also send us a tweet @MacDill Happenin.

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Food Trucks on MacDill AFB

July 23, 2014 By: maclaura Category: Dining


If you work or live on MacDill AFB, then grabbing a quick lunch might be a challenge at times. But things have changed with the addition of several food trucks on the base.  The base has  the usual food court items at the Exchange and the Surfs Edge club is always an option. If you wanted to travel a bit grabbing lunch at SeaScapes on the beach or the Fairways Grill at the Bay Palms Golf Course is also an option. But there are those days when you just want something different. Well, the Base has added Food Trucks to its dining options.

The first option you have is the Slow & Low Barbeque truck. You can find Slow & Low under the big oak at Florida Keys Ave and Administration Rd. For $8.00 you get to choose a choice of meat and two sides. They have brisket, chicken and pork and your sides include Mac & Cheese, Slaw, Potato Salad, Beans and more. They also serve beverages.

The Wicked Wiches trucks are another option for your food truck cravings. You can visit the original Wicked ‘Wiches at the parking lot near Centcom. This location offers up salads, sandwiches, rice and pasta bowls. Wicked’ Wiches 2 serves up burgers, sandwiches, tacos and Cantina bowls and is located next to Slow & Low Barbeque on Florida Keys Ave.

So if you are tired of dashing through the drive-thru at Burger King or grabbing a sandwich at Subway these fun food trucks may be the answer. If you have a favorite food truck in the Tampa Bay area let us know here in the comments section or on our Facebook page. You can also send us a tweet @MacDill Happenin .

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Tips To Help You Stay Sane On A Roadtrip With Kids

July 22, 2014 By: maclaura Category: children, Things to do, Uncategorized

road-trip courtesyof myclubs worldmarksp

Summer time bring many reasons for a road trip. Maybe you are just going on vacation or if you are a Military family maybe you are PCS’ing to your new duty station. What ever the reason traveling in the car with kids can make you lose  your mind! Here are some great ideas to keep everyone happy in the car.

  • Plan ahead! Plan your route. Look for interesting places to stop along the way. Take your kids personalities in to consideration. Are they “morning people”? Do they sleep well in the car?
  • Bring activities such as a felt activity board lots of ideas on Pinterest. For the little traveler, new interactive books are a great idea. Crayons, washable markers and coloring books are also a fun activity. You can even print out coloring pages at I think bubbles are a great bribe. Not for in the car, but to use at rest stops!!
  • Games are a must. How about license plate bingo or” I spy with my little eye”. Another great game to do with older children is ask a family member to Google a town or landmark you have passed and have them share some facts on that subject with you.
  • Make a map of your route. Make several copies and laminate the map, let everyone use a dry erase board to track your route. Use the map as a treasure map with a reward at every stop. Maybe bubbles!
  • Enjoy the family time. Sing songs, look at the scenery, share what you see in the clouds. How often do you have the chance to just talk with out all of those electronic distractions.
  • Speaking of electronic distractions bringing a portable DVD player or laptop along is also a great distraction. Hand held electronic games and tablets are also great sources for entertainment.  Maybe a game of pop the bubble?!
  • Snacks!! So important for everyone in the car. Have family members create their own trail mix before you leave. Let them decorate the zip-lock bag or container so they know it is theirs. Pretzels, goldfish, raisins, marshmallows and M&M’s make a great start. Another great snack would be those pureed fruits and vegetables that come in pouches. My teenagers even like those. Water and clear juices should also be included.
  • Must have items. A first aid kit that includes any medications that may be needed on the trip. Zip lock bags, paper towels and wet wipes. Another great item would be plastic cups these come in handy when distributing snacks , crayons etc… A box of garbage bags is also a must.

You planned your route, printed out your maps, picked your activities, packed your snacks and are ready to hit the road! Remember to drive safely and enjoy the moment. Blow some bubbles!

I am sure many of you have great kid friendly travel tips you would like to share. Please share them in our comments section or on our Facebook page.

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Tenant Screening- Should You Do It?

July 21, 2014 By: maclaura Category: Uncategorized

Tenant Screening

Tenant Screening



As a Landlord should you screen all of your tenants? I think for most of us the answer would be yes. My spouse and I have rented homes from other Military families and they have waved the screening process because of our rank etc… But I have heard horror stories from landlords that took their tenants information on the application as truthful and ended up in some nasty legal situations. At times the tenant screening process can seem invasive and expensive. The process though is almost a must.

In a recent blog article posted by Karina writes about a great company that makes tenant screening easy and inexpensive. TransUnion Smartmove is a great resource for both the landlord and the renter. No personal information such as social security numbers is shared. And the best part is the cost. for $25.00 you get can screen your potential tenant . The screening includes a criminal background check and a credit score for $5.00 more you can get a full credit report.  You as the landlord would decide who would pay the fee. We used this process when PCSing from overseas and allowed us to be able to move into our home days after our arrival Stateside.

This is just one of the great resources you will find on the site. The site offers information on buying, selling  and renting a home. Their is also a great offering of articles on how to decorate, how to stage or how to improve the curb appeal of your home. Just recently the site shared an article on the pros and cons of  using an ARM when financing a new home.

If you are a landlord and you have information on screening tenants please share it here and on our Facebook page. Also if you have a home listed with here in the MacDill AFB area please leave me a comment I would love to feature your home in one of my blog posts. Send us a tweet if you enjoyed this post! @MacDillHappenin.

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Three Things You Should Know About Your PCS Moves

July 19, 2014 By: maclaura Category: News

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If your getting ready to make a PCS move, then are few things you should know about especially if this is your first military move! Whether you are a veteran of making PCS moves or making your first PCS moves, it’s always good to know what to expect.

  • MOVERS: The first thing to do is find out information at  This website is the location of the Defense Personal Property System (DPS) which is an internet-based system to manage DoD household goods moves.  You can find if you are eligible to self-counsel and submit your moving application online, instead of traveling to a Transportation Office (TO).  Eligible will vary depending on the Service.
  • MONEY:  This is always an important topic!  You can take a look at Frequently Asked Questions at the Defense Travel Management Office website.  Basically you can expect a set amount of per diem and lodging for a set amount of travel time.  If you spend more than the set amount of per diem and lodging, then you will not be reimbursed for the extra money you spend.
  • HOUSING: You can sign up for on-base housing or you can find a home off of the base.  The base housing office can help you with on-base and off-base housing.  If you are interested in off-base housing, take a look at the MilitaryByOwner website to get idea of types, locations and prices.

Moving can be a fun time!  Enjoy the new adventures that will be coming your way!

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Weekend Fun Near MacDill AFB

July 17, 2014 By: maclaura Category: children, Events, Things to do


snooty piniterest

It is almost the weekend! Summer just started but their is already talk of going back to school.  With that in mind everyone needs to get out and enjoy the weekend. Here are a sample of some the great things going on around the MacDill AFB/ Tampa Bay area.

  • Florida Mueseum of Photographic Arts is hosting “Hot Art Cool Crowd” from 5:30-8:00 p.m. on Thursday July 17th. The event will feature works from the Macdonald Training Center. Proceeds from all art sales will benefit artists of the MacDonald Training Center.


  • The Tampa Bay Home Show will be taking place July 18th until July 19th. The show will take place at Tropicana Field. You can visit the show Friday 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. and the on Sunday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Admission and parking are free!


  • Are you a sneaker collector? If so check out the Sole Fest on July 19th form 12 p.m. until 5 p.m. at the Tampa Convention Center. The event will have sneaker raffles, live music, sneaker art and an opportunity for you to buy , sell or trade your favorite pair of sneakers. Admission is $10.00.


  • Active Duty Military can visit a Blue Star Museum for no cost this summer. Here in Tampa you can either visit the Natural History Museum or MOSI. Admission is free to any active duty service member and up to five family members for more information on the program go to BSF .


  • Here is a birthday party you don’t see every day! Snooty the Manatee is turning 66. Snooty is the mascot for the South Florida Museum located in  Bradenton. The party will take place from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.  Snooty and the museum use the birthday celebration as a way to promote wildlife awareness. The event will feature free cookies, children’s activities, face painting and a display of birthday cards made for Snooty. At noon Snooty will get his birthday cake and everyone will be encouraged to sing Happy Birthday! If you have not visited the South Florida Museum you should it is a hidden treat in Bradenton.


Looks like a great weekend with lots of fun and unique things to do. If  looking for a new home to buy or rent is on your agenda take a look at HOMES for some ideas.

If you know of any fun events in the area that I might have missed please leave a comment or post a note on the Facebook page.

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What’s Happening at MacDill AFB this week?

July 16, 2014 By: maclaura Category: children, Events, News, Things to do

 MacDill pic courtesyofAJtrips blogspot

Since the name of this blog is “MacDill Happenings”  I thought I would share some events  happenings on Macdill in the next week. For those of you with kids you will notice quite a few back to school events. So lets see what fun events we can attend in the next couple of days on MacDill.

  •  For those looking for a job or to soon be transitioning to the civilian sector you may want to check out the Job Fair on July 18th. It will take place at the Surf’s Edge Club from 11:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m. Bring your resume and dress for success.
  • Free movie night is July 18th and the movie this week is Wall-E. The movie starts at 5:30 and is FREE. You can bring your own snacks and beverages but please clean up after yourselves.
  • If you are a vocalist, then you need to be at the Surf’s Edge Club on July 18 for the Air Mobility Icon competition. The event starts at 5:00 p.m. and you can register at Good Luck!!
  • The MacDill AFB Youth Center will be hosting a Teen Dance on Friday July 18th at 7:00 p.m. For more information call 828-7956. The dance is open to kids 13-18 years of age.
  • School physicals will be administered on July 26th at the Base Clinic. If you are on Tricare Prime or a Coalition child you can attend from 9:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Children must have a parent present and ID cards will be checked. If you are new to MacDill, bring a copy of your orders. Call 828-CARE for an appointment. Food trucks and a coffee truck will be present.
  • A Back to School Fair is also being held on July 26th at the clinic. This event will include free giveaways including school supplies. For more information call 828-0145. The event is being held from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
  • Another back to school event that is not being held on base but should be fun will take place at the George M Steinbrenner stadium in Tampa. The first 600 kids aged 14 and under to attend the game will receive a backpack loaded with school supplies. The gates open at 6:00 p.m. and the game will begin at 7:00 p.m. If you have not watched a Tampa Yankees game this is a great opportunity.

Lots of great MacDill AFB happenings coming up. Make sure you mark them on your calendar. If you have a great event you would like to share please leave a comment here on the blog or send a Facebook message. You can also send us a Tweet to @MacDill Happenin.


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8 Tips To Keep Your Home Cool In The Summer

July 15, 2014 By: maclaura Category: Self Improvement





The Florida heat has hit the MacDill AFB area. When the days are hitting in the high 90′s and the humidity is sky high most of us elect to stay indoors. But how do you keep your house cool and not get a huge energy bill? Here are 8 great tips on keeping your home comfortable during the summer.

  • Keep blinds and drapes closed on South and West facing windows during the day.
  • Keep your thermostat set between 70 degrees and 75 while in the home turn the thermostat to 80 degrees while not home. We keep ours at around 75 and it is quite comfortable.
  • Use a programmable thermostat. Set it to change the temperature during the night hours and when you are not home.
  • Make sure your home is properly insulated and that all of the weather stripping and caulking are good shape.
  • Have your air conditioner serviced. Also, shade your outside compressor make sure you do not block the airflow. Change your air conditioning filters every month during the summer.
  • Don’t use appliances during the warm hours of the day. Use your microwave or grill to cook. Hang your laundry out to dry. Turn off appliances such as computers.
  • If you have ceiling fans make sure you have changed them to the summer setting. The air should be blowing in a downward breeze.
  • Some long term investments to consider include buying insulated windows, window tinting, installing awnings and lastly consider strategically planting trees and shrubs that will provide shade to your light facing windows.

These are some great ideas for keeping your home cool. My idea of having a “cool” summer home would be to have a water front home with a natural breeze for air conditioning. What tips do you use to keep your home cool? Please share any tips or comments you might have below.

Also, don’t forget to like us on Facebook and send us Tweet.

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Does Your Home Contain Radon?

July 14, 2014 By: maclaura Category: News

Radon House Courtesy of the EPA

Does your home contain Radon? A question many of us ask when buying or renting a home. This can also be of concern to those living in Military privatized housing located on Military installations.

What is Radon? It is an odorless, colorless gas that is produced by the radioactive breakdown of naturally occurring radium found naturally in soil. Radon enters our homes through small cracks and openings found in our foundations. Once the gas seeps in to a home it is then trapped. The levels in a home can be much higher than outside. We here in Florida tend to keep our homes sealed up tight to keep the air conditioning in which can keep these gases from circulating outside.

Why is Radon a concern? Radon is considered a Class A carcinogen and the second leading cause of lung cancer. Luckily, Hillsborough County is considered to be in the moderate potential level for Radon. This means the average screening level is  between 2 and 4 pCi/L a reading over 4 is considered dangerous. The State of Florida has aggressive policies regarding the testing and removal of Radon.

Here are some ways to make sure your the levels of Radon in your home are at a safe level;

  • You can buy a home from a builder that is certified to build Radon resistant homes.
  • You can require a Radon test be done as part of a home inspection when buying a home or ask for one to be done by your landlord.( Note the VA highly recommends you have a Radon inspection done.)
  • Purchase a home test kit. Most of the home builder stores including Lowes and Home Depot will have these. (Don’t forget  your Military discount at Lowes and Home Depot!)
  • If you do have high levels, make sure you use EPA approved techniques to improve the levels.
  • If you are living in base housing, you may also want to purchase a kit or ask the Privatized housing manager when the homes were last tested. Their have been several Military bases where radon was found to be at high levels including Kadena AFB. In all the instance’s I have read about the Military was quick to make changes to improve the levels.
  • Read our staff writer Karina’s latest article on Radon.

As mentioned earlier Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can cause some serious health issues if not addressed. If your home has not had a Radon inspection recently, then please use the resources in this article to  test your home. Our resource page is packed full of information and resources to help keep your home healthy and safe.

I hope this article will not panic you but make you aware of Radon here in the MacDill AFB area. If you have had an experience with Radon in a home you have bought or rented please share any advice or tips you may have on solving the problem. You can also share with us on our Facebook page or send us a Tweet to @MacDill Happenin.

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