- There is a lot to do within a short distance of Fort Hood
- Central Texas is one of the most robust and fastest growing areas in the country
- The cost of living is amazing, meaning you can get a lot from your home and time here
It’s PCS season in Fort Hood, meaning there are going to be a lot of folks in the Killeen area new to the area, and maybe even new to Texas.
As with any PCS move, Soldiers, spouses, and families are probably keen to learn what they are getting into. Army posts don’t always have the best reputation. And while Fort Hood has nothing on Hawaii for beach lovers, Fort Carson for mountaineers, or Germany for Europhiles, it has a lot more to offer locals than may initially meet the eye. Here are the reasons you are going to love living in Fort Hood.
The Center of Texas
I’ll write more on this at the end of the post, but Fort Hood is pretty much right in the middle of Texas. This is awesome because it means just about everything Texas has to offer is within a reasonable distance (reasonable, that is, for a state that is 660 miles wide and 790 miles tall). The “Texas Triangle” metro area, forming a triangle between Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, one of the fastest growing metro areas in America, and Fort Hood is right in the center. Texas’s five largest cities are all within a three-hour drive from Killeen, meaning there is never an excuse for a boring weekend.
No Income Taxes
Texas property taxes are somewhat high. But the benefit is no income taxes!
Sure, to take advantage, you need to become a “driver’s license Texan” if you aren’t already. But who doesn’t want to be a Texan? Communists, maybe. One requirement before your state income taxes are waived is that you learn the Texas State Anthem.
There are numerous opportunities for higher learning nearby, including Central Texas College and Texas A&M Central Texas in Killeen. Mary Hardin Baylor is nearby in Belton, TX. And Baylor University and UT Austin are an hour’s drive. Those are some great options for all varieties of career goals and budgets.
No Cold Weather (Mostly)
Texas is hot 8 months out of the year. 2 months it is tolerable. And its 2-month winter swings between warm and suddenly freezing every other day. I’ve never lived anywhere cold, but I am told this is an improvement over the colder Army destinations.
Traffic is Manageable
Some duty stations have very poor reputations for their traffic, especially during PT hours, with cars stacking up at the gates. Fort Hood is not immune to slower traffic, but the area has invested heavily in infrastructure, expanding Highway 190 (now I-14) to six lanes. Ongoing road projects will only to continue.
The one exception at the moment is the Temple / Belton area, where ongoing work on I-35 is a hassle, and 317 regularly clogs up at peak hours.
Fort Hood area housing is very affordable. The cost of living as a whole is very affordable, meaning you can get a lot of home for your money if you choose to live off post. If you budget wisely, you can have money to spare for savings or weekend entertainment.
Tex Mex and BBQ
I personally am easy to please with some Taco Bell or Rudys. But for those with a more discerning palate, Texas is the place to be for Tex-Mex and BBQ aficionados. Central Texas BBQ, in particular, is superior to all others, having been the destination of many German immigrants and their own meat-centric cuisine. Some favorite local destinations include Big Hoss BBQ and El Taco Jalisco.
Stuff To Do Within a 1 Hour Drive
- Vives Les Artes Theater
- Sky Dive Temple
- Topsey Exotic Ranch
- Stillhouse Hollow Lake
- Lions Club Waterpark
- Temple Railroad Museum
- Summer Fun Waterpark
- Boulders Rock Climbing
- Mayborn Planetarium
- Magnolia Markets
- Dr. Pepper Museum
- Texas Ranger Museum
- Mayborn Museum
- Heart o’ Texas Fair
- Cameron Park Zoo
- Waco Mammoth Site
Stuff To Do Within a 3 Hour Drive
Dallas / Fort Worth
Stuff To Do For 4-Day Weekends
Here are a couple ideas 5-10 hours away.
Fort Hood is one of the better posts available to Army families. In fact, many military members end up retiring to the area due to the affordable cost of living, low taxes, growing job market, and central location. And if you’re thinking about sticking around the area for a while, consider buying a home instead of renting! I’m a local real estate agent who would be happy to help you find your perfect Central Texas home!