MacDill Happenings

Things to do in and around MacDill AFB

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Things to do in the Tampa Bay Area

January 22, 2015 By: Laura Category: children, Communities, Events, Health, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

vacation tips courtesyofcenyt

It’s a busy weekend with a lot of things to do in the Tampa Bay area! This is the first weekend of the Gasparilla season! But besides Gasparilla, there a lot of things to do if you want stay away from the crowds. So let’s take a look of things to do other than Gasparilla events.

  • On Friday from 4pm to 8pm “Art on the House” takes place at the Tampa Museum of Art in downtown Tampa. You get to pay what you want for an admission fee.
  • The Tampa Bay Home Show will be at the Trop in St. Pete starting on Friday. You can get some ideas for those Spring home improvement projects!
  • SeaScapes Beach Club on MacDill AFB has seafood specials for dinner on Friday evening!
  • On Saturday morning in downtown St. Pete check out the Saturday Morning Market! With fresh produce including locally grown organic products, baked goods and unique arts and crafts, you will find something that piques your interest.
  • Touch a Truck in Largo on Saturday gives the kids the opportunity to climb and play on vehicles like fire trucks, dump truck, buses and military vehicles. It’s free to attend!
  • The Harbour Island Art Walk takes place near the Channelside district of Tampa on Sunday starting at noon. Take a look at the works of local artists and enjoy a stroll near the water.
  • On 3pm on Sunday, the Tampa Theatre presents Better Off Dead with John Cusack as part of their Totally Classic Movie Series.
  • End your weekend with Yoga at the Park at Curtis Hixon Park on Sunday at 5pm. Bring your yoga mat and couple friends and enjoy the great outdoors while you workout!

I hope that you enjoy the weekend.  If you know of something else to do, please share with us!

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MacDill AFB EventsThis Week!

January 17, 2015 By: Laura Category: Communities, Dining, Events, Military Life, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

MacDill AFB beach

MacDill AFB Events

When looking for something to do in the MacDill area do not forget about all of the great events that actually take place on the base.  As long as you have access to the base you can enjoy them! Those of us who don’t live on the base sometimes forget everything that goes on MacDill. Remember Monday is a Federal holiday honoring the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr, so some venues on the base will be closed or have limited operating hours. Check out the MacDill AFB events for this week.

  • On Tuesday 20 January, NASCAR drivers Tony Stewart and Kyle Larson will be on SeaScapes Beach House for a meet and greet.  Starting time is 3pm and it’s open to anyone who has access to MacDill AFB. So bring the camera and some gear to get signed for souvenirs!
  • Get the resume ready for a Career Fair at Surf’s Edge Club on Thursday 22 January.  From noon to 3pm, your prospective employer will be there to talk to you about their company and what you need to do!  If you’re transitioning or looking for a new job, this is perfect place to go.  But do your prep work, so that you are ready to promote yourself!
  • All that working out you’ve done can be put to use on Friday 23 January at the Gladiator Assault Challenge at Lewis Lake.  It’s a unit challenge so grab a group and come out at 8am for 9.6 miles of challenging obstacles and combined maneuvers.
  • The Short Fitness Center is looking for volunteers to teach yoga, Zumba and spin.  Stop by the front desk or call if you are interested in helping out.
  • If you need an ID or CAC, remember it’s all done by appointment now!

If you have an event to share on MacDill AFB or in the community, please let us know! Enjoy the week!
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Things to Do in the Tampa Bay Area

January 08, 2015 By: Laura Category: Communities, Events, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

vacation tips courtesyofcenyt

It’s a little cool outside right now, but it will warm up over the weekend!  There are plenty of thing to do in the Tampa Bay area both outside and inside.

  • The Tampa Home and Garden Show starts this Friday at the Tampa Convention Center.  So stop by get some new ideas for the home!
  • The Tampa Bay Lightning take on the Buffalo Sabres at Amalie Arena in Channelside on Friday at 7:30pm.
  • Check out Top Golf in Brandon for golfing and food in a great fun environment! It’s $20 an hour for up to 6 people to play and $40 an hour after noon.
  • On Sunday at the MacDill AFB movie theater is a free showing of “Patton” at 7pm. Anyone can attend and you can bring your own snacks!
  • As part of the Totally 80’s Classic Movie Series, Rain Man will be playing at 3pm.

Hope you enjoy the weekend!  It’s supposed to be in the low 80’s on Sunday so that may be a great day to hit the beach!

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New Year, New Home?

December 29, 2014 By: Laura Category: Communities, Military Life, PCS Move, Schools, Self Improvement No Comments →

fall cleaning courtesyof tipsbysarah

New Year’s Eve is just around the corner and as always with a new year you may be looking at making some big changes.For many we make the yearly resolution list to do such things as lose weight, save money and become more organized.The new year may mean a new home for many.Will it be a New Year, New Home for you? For our military families in the MacDill AFB area PCS orders may be coming and for others we may just want a new place to call home. I was reading on a wives social media page that some are looking at the rise of the BAH rates in the Tampa area as a reason to look for a new rental or buy a home. One of the challenges of moving in the New Year is finding the perfect home.

When looking for a new home we first need to decide what resources we will use and where we want to live. If you have received PCS orders or if you are staying in the area the internet is a great resource to use. Of course my favorite site is . We have used MilitaryByOwner on more than a few occasions and it was especially helpful when we moved back from Guam. Did you know that along with listings of homes for sale and rent you can also find the links to base housing? Depending on your preferences base housing may be the right fit for you during this move. You can also find Realtors , mortgage lenders and property managers advertising on the base page. You can also use such sites as Zillow, AHRN, Trulia, and

Another consideration in moving is deciding what features you will want in your home. If you are staying in the MacDill AFB area you may want features like a pool and screened in lanai. If you are moving up to say the Virginia area you may want a walkout basement. Make a list of the features you would like and prioritize the features you are not willing to go without.

Lastly, but very important is the decision on what neighborhood you would like to live in. This is usually decided by how much your BAH will allow you to spend along with school districts, safety and commute times to work. The article”Newcomer Information for The MacDill AFB Area” shares information on school districts, lodging and base information for our local area. The site Military Town Advisor is a helpful resource when PCS’ing to a new base. Using social media is also a great source for picking a neighborhood but you should still do your own research to make your final decisions. It also recommended when choosing a home to Google the address to see if the home has any “history”.

If finding a new home is part of your New Year’s resolutions I wish you good luck and would love for you to share any resources or tips you will use.

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Christmas Events in Tampa on Sunday!

December 13, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Communities, Events No Comments →

YouTube Preview Image

One of the highlights for a Christmas event on Sunday is the  Tampa Theatre presentation of the holiday classic “White Christmas” on Sunday. This 1954 classic musical stars Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera-Ellen, and Rosemary Clooney. Filmed in Technicolor, White Christmas features the songs of Irving Berlin, including the title song, “White Christmas”. A successful song-and-dance team become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general. Also before the film, join everyone in singing Christmas carols along with the Mighty Wurlitzer organ. There are mini tours of the theatre before every show. So make sure that you get there early. The start time of the movie is 3pm, but doors open at 2pm. Tickets are $10 for the General Public.  Chosen by LIFE magazine as one of “America’s 21 Wonders,” Tampa Theatre is one of America’s best-preserved examples of grand movie palace architecture. Built in 1926 as one of America’s most elaborate “movie palaces”, the Tampa Theatre today is a historical treasure of Tampa. Inside the Tampa, audiences are transported to a lavish, romantic Mediterranean courtyard replete with old world statuary, flowers, and gargoyles. Tampa Theatre was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and is a member of the League of Historic American Theatres.

The “Santa Speedo Run” takes place in Ybor City at 1pm. This 1-mile run benefits Brighter Seasons for Children with an entry fee of $35.

Winter Wonderland at the Lowry Park Zoo starts at 6:30pm. Check out Santa and his reindeer along with the million Christmas lights on display. Admission is $15.

Let us know about other events that you plan on attending during the holidays!

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Take a Visit or Make Move to Jacksonville!

November 15, 2014 By: Laura Category: Communities, News No Comments →


If you are looking for something different to do over the holidays or maybe you are looking for a mini vacation idea then a drive up to Jacksonville might be the answer. Or maybe you have orders to PCS to the Jacksonville area. Our family has spent Thanksgiving in Jacksonville numerous times with our daughter when she was attending Jacksonville University. The drive up and over to Jacksonville will take you about 3 hours and 22 minutes from Tampa. I recommend the I-4 to I-95 route.  MapQuest at times will take you up I75 and across 301 via Gainesville. On a few of our trips we planned lunch in either Orlando or St Augustine.

Jacksonville has a different feel and look than Tampa. Since Jacksonville sits on the Atlantic the beaches are a little different. The water is a little cooler and a deep blue but very beautiful. One of the best reasons to take your mini vacation is the accessibility to two Navy bases. If you’re a golfer, then both bases, NAS Jacksonville and NS Mayport, have great golf courses.  Both bases have plenty of nearby housing off base.

Downtown Jacksonville boasts 5.6 miles of beautiful riverfront, including almost 3 miles of riverwalk. The Jacksonville Landing
located on the river in downtown is a shopping and entertainment center that hosts over 350 events annually, including live music every weekend. The Riverside Arts Market is prefect place to spend a Saturday afternoon in the downtown area.

The Jacksonville Zoo is must see! Spread out on more than 93 acres, you can see more than 1,800 animals and a 1,000 exotic plants.

A visit the Jacksonville area could include a relaxing visit to Amelia Island and stop at the historic St.Augustine.

Whether it’s short visit or a PCS move, Jacksonville will have something new for you to explore and enjoy almost everyday!

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Are You New to The MacDill AFB Area?

October 22, 2014 By: Laura Category: Communities 1 Comment →

Are you new to the MacDill AFB area?

Are you new to the MacDill AFB area?

Have you recently moved to the area? Are you planning a move to the MacDill AFB or Tampa Bay area? If so here is some information that might be helpful with that move. I have shared some of this information in the Spring time when most military families tend to their PCS moves. But I have noticed on some of the social media sites I follow that not only are military families moving to the area but so are civilian families.

This area has a lot of exciting things going on that are bringing more people to the area. The city of Tampa is making sure the port of Tampa stays one of the busiest ports in the country.  The Channelside area is looking at some great expansion ideas and Amazon is here with its new distribution center in Ruskin. Top that off with great weather and easy access to the rest of Florida this makes a great choice whether it is because of PCS orders, job transfer or retirement.

Here is some great information about the area and please share this with friends or family who may be moving here or thinking of moving here.

  • MacDill AFB along with Tampa is located on the beautiful Tampa Bay and the base sits right at the tip of the Interbay Peninsula. The entire area is full of great vistas.
  • Housing. For military personnel you have the option of living on base or off. Check with Harbor Bay for information on base housing and for anyone military or civilian check out the resources on Here you can find homes for rent or sale but you can also find information on local Realtors and Mortgage lenders.
  • Check out all of the information under the 6th FSS MacDill AFB for newcomers to MacDill.
  • For civilians and military check out the information on the South Tampa Chamber Commerce site. Lots of business, event and volunteer information on this page. The Brandon Chamber of Commerce is also very informative.
  • Hillsborough County Schools. Great information if you will have children attending school here. Make sure you read up on the school of choice information when looking at schools. We have some great traditional, magnet and charter schools. For military children their is a school liaison on base that can help with school questions.

This is information I found helpful when I moved to the area. If you have any information that you think I should add please share it with me here in the blog comments section below or share it with me on Facebook. I look forwarded to reading your comments and adding them to my list for future articles!

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Thinking of Buying A Home in The Tampa Area?

October 20, 2014 By: Laura Category: Communities No Comments →

Tenant Screening

Is purchasing a home near MacDill AFB a scary idea? Have you been thinking of purchasing a home here in the Tampa Bay, but are worried about the economic conditions in the area? These questions came to mind when I was recently reading an article by BankRate  stating that Florida still has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. According to their statistics Florida ranked 10th with South Carolina ranking 1st for the month of September. The article “4 Reasons We Fear Home Buying” on the blog also made me want to ask these questions.

The Tampa Bay area looks to be recovering. New restaurants are popping up everywhere. New businesses are coming to the area. Amazon recently opened its distribution center in Ruskin along with a new distribution center already opened in Lakeland ,and a new USAA building is going up along the Selmon Expressway. But the most interesting transformation in the area is the amount of homes being built in the Riverview area. While driving south on 301 in the Riverview area you can find new homes being built by Lennar, KB homes, Taylor Morrison and Ryland to name a few. If I was moving to the MacDill AFB area this would definitely be an area I would look in. But would the reasons stated in Karina’s article be on my mind? To overcome some of these fears such as am I paying too much or understanding the home buying process, you need to do your research. Here are some great ways resources;

If you are feeling a little fearful when deciding to buy a home or not then take a deep breath and sleep on it!! Do your research and you will know if the time is right for your family to purchase a home.

Please share with us your ideas on buying a home at this time. You can share here on the blog or on our Facebook page.

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The Sesame Street/USO Experience Coming to the MacDill Area

October 06, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Communities, Events No Comments →

sesame street courtesyof uso facebook

On October 25th The Sesame Street /USO Experience for Military Families will be here in the MacDill AFB area. This great event will take place at the Marine Reserve Center located at 5121 W. Gandy Blvd., Tampa. The Reserve center is on your right before you cross the Gandy Bridge going towards St Peteresburg.

Sesame Street will present three shows that day one at 10:00am then at 1:00pm and the last one at 3:30pm. The tickets are being distributed starting today October 6th by the Airman Family and Readiness Centers both on MacDill AFB and the Brandon branch. The Brandon location is located at 710 Oakfield Drve, Suite 153 and the MacDill Branch is located next to the Post Office at 8105 Condor Rd., Builidng 18. You must have a valid Military ID to receive the free tickets.n For more information on ticket requirements please contact the Airman Family and Readiness Center at 813-828-0145.

This is the sixth year the USO has partnered with Sesame Street to bring Military Families this fun interactive show. The show features Katie who was created for this tour and was first introduced to families in 2011 by the First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden. Elmo and the rest of the Sesame Street characters pitch in to help Katie make new friends and to adjust to once again living in a new town and having to make new friends. This amazing show has been viewed by more than 412,000 military children at over 144 military bases!

If you love Sesame Street and its characters as much as I do and my children did (I think even as old as they are they still love them!) then you will want to get to the AFRC and grab some tickets before they are all gone!! If you are planning to attend the show or have attended one in the place please share your experiences with us here on the blog. I would love to see your pictures posted to our Facebook page.

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Things to Do In Tampa

October 02, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Communities, Events No Comments →

thingstodo courtesyof cikaco

This should be a great weekend to get out and enjoy everything the Tampa Bay area has to offer. The chances of rain are low and better yet the temperatures will start to drop. Overnight temps on Saturday and Sunday will be in the low 60s.

  • On Friday at 7pm, Dunedin will host the free Films in the Park series with a screening of the Disney classic, Mary Poppins. Dunedin is home to several beaches, including Dunedin Causeway, Honeymoon Island, and Caladesi Island State Park, which is consistently rated among the best beaches in the world
  • On Saturday at 8am, the Tampa Bay Dragon Boat Classic will take place in the water by Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park by the Channelside District in Tampa.
  • On Sunday from 9am to 2pm, FishHawk Ranch in Lithia will host Market Day. Come out to buy farmer fresh fruits and vegetables and other great tasting goodies.
  • Looking for a pumpkin patch? Pumpkin Patches and More has a great site to point you in the right direction! The site lists many Patches in Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Manatee and Hillsborough Counties all a short drive from the MacDill area.
  • 11th Annual Pumpkin Palooza Family Fall Festival will be held in St Petersburg on Saturday October 4th from 11:00a.m. until 5:00p.m. Enjoy food, games , entertainment and shopping from over 50 craft vendors. The event is sponsored by the GFWC St Petersburg Junior Woman’s Club. Located at 6000 38th N, St Petersburg.

So many fun things to do this weekend and we might even be able to wear a Fall sweater to enjoy them!!

Please share any fun Fall events you have planned this weekend.

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