Military Housing and the Best Places to Live Near the Pentagon, Fort Belvoir and Quantico
Northern Virginia and Washington, DC are home to thousands of military personnel stationed at the Pentagon, Fort Belvoir, and Marine Corps Base Quantico. So where are the best places to live?
Northern Virginia and Washington, DC are frequently rated among the best places to live in the United States, with a wide range of housing options and real estate, several good school districts, abundant cultural and learning opportunities, and beaches and mountains just a short drive away. The quality of life is high, the economy is strong and chances are that you’ll love living in Northern Virginia or Washington, DC.
Particularly if you’ve never lived in Northern Virginia or Washington, DC before, we strongly recommend talking to a real estate professional who has worked with military families in the area. Whether you’re going to be stationed at the Pentagon, Fort Belvoir, or Quantico, a knowledgeable real estate professional (along with advice from your fellow military members who live here) will help you choose the best neighborhood for you and your family.
There’s really only one drawback to living here: traffic. The DC metro area has been rated among the worst areas in the country for traffic congestion on our roads and highways. That means when you’re choosing where to live near the Pentagon, Fort Belvoir or Quantico, your commute definitely should be a factor in your decision. But there is a silver lining: With trains, buses and carpooling, you have plenty of options for commuting in and around Washington, DC that don’t include sitting in your car.
Best Places to Live Near the Pentagon
The Pentagon is located in northeastern Arlington, Virginia. Just a few miles southwest of Washington, DC, there are a number of great neighborhoods near the Pentagon from urban-feeling to suburban, apartments and condos to single-family homes. There is no military housing at the Pentagon, so anyone with orders to the Pentagon will be living in the surrounding communities.
Often, members of our military and civilian employees stationed at the Pentagon live near the complex in Arlington, Alexandria, or Falls Church. It is not uncommon to find military communities in Fairfax County (including living in Springfield, Burke or Lorton). Arlington’s proximity to Washington, DC means a higher cost of living, particularly for real estate, but a great real estate agent with experience in military moves to Northern Virginia can make a huge difference.
If you’re looking for convenience, living in Arlington itself is perfect when you’re stationed at the Pentagon. If you’re looking for a more urban environment with apartments and condos in high-rise buildings, great restaurants and close to Washington, DC, we might recommend Crystal City or Rosslyn, both in Arlington, Virginia. Directly east of the Pentagon itself is Pentagon City, a suburban neighborhood that includes apartments, condos and single family homes, great restaurants, convenient shopping and more. Just south and east are more suburban-feeling neighborhoods such as Arlington Ridge, or the planned residential-and-retail community of Potomac Yard and Potomac Greens.
With a Metro rail station at the Pentagon and several express buses, commuting to the facility is easy. Parking is available but limited at the Pentagon itself, but there are several private parking garages in the area you can pay to use on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
Be prepared: The cost of living near Washington, DC is about 145% more than average in the United States, so your real estate dollars may not go as far in this area as they would somewhere else. That’s another reason why working with a qualified, experienced realtor who can help you navigate the market and VA loans is key to a successful relocation to Northern Virginia.
Best Places to Live Near Fort Belvoir
Located in southeastern Fairfax County about 25 miles south of Washington, DC along the Potomac River, Fort Belvoir is even larger in personnel than the Pentagon.
Housing at Fort Belvoir for military personnel and their families is available, but there is a lengthy waiting list. Many people moving to the area live near Fort Belvoir in Lorton, Newington, Springfield, Burke and Woodbridge.
Fort Belvoir is surrounded by Mount Vernon to the east, Lorton to the west and Newington to the north. All three neighborhoods have their own personalities and are in Fairfax County.
Mount Vernon is home to the historic George Washington estate and many large and beautiful homes overlooking the Potomac River and the Mount Vernon trail. Lorton is a suburban community of condos, townhomes, single family homes and more and is home to a number of new construction developments.
Newington and nearby Springfield are great locations for commuters to both Fort Belvoir and Washington, DC, with easy access to highways, Metro and Virginia Railway Express and buses. Most people drive to Fort Belvoir, and traffic in and around the Fort Belvoir access points can be heavy, particularly during rush hours. Springfield features the newly developed Springfield Town Center — a shopping and entertainment center with significant additional residential and office development planned for the coming decade. Fairfax County Public Schools, several parks and trails and a wide range of housing make Fort Belvoir a great place to be stationed.
Best Places to Live Near Quantico
Located about 40 miles south of Washington, DC, the town of Quantico is located next to Marine Corps Base Quantico in Stafford County, Virginia. Base housing is primarily reserved for military personnel attending school (Marine Corps University, Expeditionary Warfare School or the Command and Staff College) at Quantico, and there is a long waiting list for military housing at Quantico for permanent personnel.
It’s likely that if you are stationed at Quantico, you will be looking for off-base housing. Quantico itself is a small town of about 500 people, and many people stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico live in Stafford or Fredericksburg (about 10 miles further south). Both areas feature the conveniences of suburban life and amenities like golf courses, parks, marinas and more for outdoor enthusiasts, plus easy access to I-95. Both areas are also great for history buffs, with multiple Civil War battlefields and historic properties. It’s a great area for nature lovers, too, with multiple campgrounds, hikes and easy access to boating and water activities along the Potomac River.
If you think you may be stationed at the Pentagon upon your exit from Quantico, you might consider living in the Woodbridge area or elsewhere in eastern Prince William County, situated about midway between Quantico and the Pentagon.
The cost of living near Quantico is less than it is closer to Washington, DC — good news for those who would like a little bit more house for their money.
No matter where you’re going to be stationed in Northern Virginia, you’ll find yourself in a strong military community with great neighborhoods and plenty to do and explore once you arrive.
Welcome to Northern Virginia — we’re excited to help you find the best places to live near the Pentagon, Fort Belvoir and Quantico.