Base Survival Guide Series: MCAS Yuma

Base Survival Guide Series: MCAS Yuma


This Base Survival Guide on MCAS Yuma is brought to you by my friends J (she wants to stay anonymous), Cally Basner, and ME! Some of the photos are courtesy of my super talented friend Kayla from Sonder Photo & Film. J's husband is a Marine Corps pilot with about 17 years of service. They've been married 8 years and have 2 beautiful children. Her involvement in the military community has varied from base to base, but she's always tried to help where needed by volunteering her time with the squadron or serving on the board of military spouse clubs. Cally is also a Marine Corps spouse. Her husband has been in since 2019 and just re-enlisted for 4 more years. They're from Tennessee but have been in Arizona almost 4 years. They have two little girls and two dogs. Cally is a Realtor and an Arbonne Consultant, so she works from home with her girls! I've been a Marine Corps wife for almost 9 years now (together for 10) and my last two babies were born at MCAS Yuma. I have a passion for helping the military community, especially the EOD community, and always try to volunteer where I can!


What's the weather like at this base?

Hot in summer, and beautiful in the winter.

There's about 2 months of really pretty weather in the fall/winter. The rest of the year, especially summer is HOT. I'm talking like opening the oven door hot. The first summer is pretty rough, but you start to get used to it.

It's always sunny! We have over 320 days of sunshine per year and only average 3 inches of rain per year. Summers can be brutally hot, with the hottest months coming in somewhere between 1150º-120º. Everyone that doesn’t live here says it’s a dry heat but let me tell you, 120º is 120º, and it can be brutal! Winters are great though, I think I’ve only pulled out a jacket for maybe 3 weeks per year.


What's your favorite time of year there?

Fall and winter! The weather is beautiful and there's a ton to do outdoors between the various festivals, harvest season, and the holidays.
Winter hands down! The weather is crisp and beautiful. It can even get pretty chilly at night.
November-March has the best weather and the city seems to come to life! There are outdoor activities happening all the time while the weather is cool.


What's your favorite thing about living at this duty station? 

The community. It’s a small area in the middle of the desert, so everyone really relies on each other and great friendships are formed.

I loved how small the base was. Everything is so close and you can walk to the PX from base housing (if it's not 120º outside). I also loved the community, and because you're on an island in the desert, you get really close to your neighbors and fellow Marine Corps wives. Also, having come from 29 Palms before Yuma, I loved all the shopping and restaurant options. 

Two things— The Vertical Church and being 2.5 hours from the beach. San Diego is a great escape from the heat in the summer.


What's your least favorite thing about living at this duty station?

The summer with little ones. It’s too hot to be outside for any length of time, but it’s equally difficult to keep your little ones cooped up inside. There aren’t a ton of indoor options for little kids in town either. You really have to find your community and not be shy about organizing play dates.

The heat was definitely not a favorite of mine. I also didn't love the fact that you're 3 hours from any major city, there's not much to do in town. There's also quite a big drug problem out in town and some pretty sketchy areas (as there are outside most military bases).

There aren’t many family/kid-friendly things to do.


Is there anything you wish you knew about this duty station before your PCS there?

I’ve heard living on base in Yuma is great, but a lot of the military families also live in the Foothills.

I wish I would have known just how loud the jets and planes are when they fly over base housing, definitely had to get used to that with babies. But after a while you just don't even notice them! I also wish I knew that there wasn't a Naval Hospital on base. There's only a tiny base clinic and pharmacy.

The lack of kid-friendly things and the quality of healthcare in the area.


What amenities are on base? And what are they like? For example: Is the commissary large or small? Well stocked? Pool on base? Parks? How many? Etc.

The base is VERY tiny. 

• There's a bowling alley (Sunset Lanes and Grill) and theatre (Sunset Cinema) than can be fun for kids when it's super hot outside.

• The commissary is tiny, but usually had what we needed. They also take requests, so if there's something you would like them to carry you can request it. 

• The PX is pretty small as well, there isn't a huge home selection. They did have the basics though. Very limited kids section.

• The PX has a small food court with Benito’s Pizza (I recommend staying away from this one), Subway, L&L Hawaiian BBQ, Dunkin', Desert Perk Coffee and on the outside of the PX is a drive through Carl's Jr.

• There are a few neighborhood parks, Meyer's field also has a track and soccer field.

• The post office on base is small, but they are super friendly and always helpful. There is a civilian USPS side as well as a military side.

• Near the flight line is the Memorial Sports Complex which has basketball courts, volley ball courts and an outdoor hockey arena. There's also a covered pavilion there that's great for having outdoor birthday parties and sometimes base or unit events. 

• The base CDC is pretty large, just make sure to get on the list ASAP if you plan to use it.

• Venture Recreation & Rental is a great place to rent equipment or RVs for weekend adventures.

• There are a few Marine Marts throughout base, as well as a gas station. 

• The auto skills center is a great place to get work done on your vehicle for a reasonable price. That's also where you can sign up to have your RV/trailer stored on base. 

• Next to and across from the Memorial Sports Complex are a few more fields and the Soccer Arena. Raible Field and Hunt Field are both used often for kickball games. Atwell Field is an open grassy area, often used for soccer. The Soccer Arena is usually where Marines PT, but my kids loved playing and running around there when it was empty.

• The library is small, but has a section for kiddos. They also have computers available for use. 

 There are two base pools. One is near the commissary (Oasis Pool) and the other is in base housing. There's also a splash pad.

 The vet clinic on base is small, and has weird days and hours.

 The chapel on base it a decent size and they have several different services to choose from.

 The dog park on base is small, and not very impressive. We chose not to use it to avoid the possibility of our dogs getting sick.

 The fitness center is open to military and their dependents. There's also a CrossFit center behind the gym.

 The Inn of the Corps is the only military hotel on base and is a great resource if you need somewhere to stay while waiting for housing.

 There's an education center on base that's a great resource if you're in school. I took many of my college exams there for free! They were alway so accommodating and helpful.


What tips or hacks would you give a  military spouse who just PCSed to that base?

It might be hard putting yourself out there, but try to make new friends. Attend spouse events and try to build your community, because it’s so nice to have one when you’re so far away from everything else.

If you have kids, get a library card and take them to the story times! I'd also say to enjoy your time there. Your mindset will make or break your experience. It's so easy to find the negatives, but try to focus on what's good and build a supportive community! 

Don’t be afraid to live on base— we worried about feeling like we couldn’t get away but it’s actually very quiet in base housing and very family oriented. Plug in somewhere locally. The Vertical Church is a great church and is very close to the base. They have a ton of small groups so it’s easy to get connected.


Do you live on or off base? What is/was your experience like?

We’ve always lived off base. The first time we lived in the Foothills and loved it because we were so close to so many friends. This time we live off Avenue C in “the city,” which makes us a little farther from most of the people we know but we’re a lot closer to all the fun stuff to do in town. We also have more variety out here.

We lived on base all the way up until the last 8 months of being stationed there and it was great! We loved living on base. Our house was in the perfect location, right by the pool and the park. We had friends that lived close by, anywhere from as close as next door to a 7 minute walk away. When we moved off base we moved to a RV resort into a RV that we renovated and it was a fun experience!

Off for 2.5 years and now on for 1 year Good experience with both— electricity can get pretty pricey in the summer (our highest was $605 but I was 9 months pregnant and blasting the a/c all summer).


For on base housing:

Liberty Housing took over for Lincoln Military Housing. There are a few different styles of houses from more apartment looking homes, to single unattached homes. The neighborhoods are broken into their street names, not actual neighborhood names. 

Wheat Loop: This is where we lived and we loved it! They are townhome style houses with 4 units in each building. Typically this housing goes up to E-5. 

Monegan Loop and De La Garza Loop: These are the older apartment style homes with anywhere from 4-7 units attached. Typically this is for the lower ranking enlisted.

Keith Ave: Is similar to Wheat Loop and was usually up to E-6 or so.

Off Vittori Ave and that area is typically staff housing and officers.

There used to be older housing by the chapel but that's been recently torn down and new housing is under construction there.

For off base housing:

The Foothills

16th Street Family Housing (this is considered base housing, but is off base about 7 miles from the front gate)


What are your favorite hang out spots on base? Why?

I didn’t visit base often, but enjoyed First Fridays at the Club.

I loved spending time at the parks on base with the kids.

Playground at the clubhouse on Vittori because it has large grassy areas on 3 sides so the kiddos can run and play.


Did you do a DITY move or military move?

Military move.
Military move. I think they are so much more convenient especially when you have animals and small kiddos.


Are there any base specific traditions that take place? What is the culture like?

The air show every year is always so much fun to go to! The base culture is very small town feel. It's a very tight knit community.



Are there any base FB pages, bloggers, or accounts/websites people should follow for the base or area?

MCCS Yuma Facebook page and your squadron’s Facebook page is always a great place to start.

MCAS Yuma S/Os and Spouses FB group, MCAS Yuma on FB and IG, @yumalocal is a great IG for local things happening in Yuma.



What is your favorite coffee shop there? Why? What is your favorite order?

Cafecito. It has a beautiful outdoor area to drink your coffee and watch the kids play. They also hide dinosaurs in the bushes for the kids to find, which is adorable and keeps the kids entertained. I liked the chai latte with oat milk, but their acai bowls and avocado everything toast with goat cheese are incredible too.
Yuma also has a Dutch Bros and Starbucks, out of the two I love Dutch Bros. I usually order a Nutty Irishman Freeze. 
Kneaders is another place you can get coffee and I usually got a vanilla chai from them.
Cafecito! It’s SO cute and they have a courtyard for the cooler months.


What are your favorite spots for date night?

If you're looking for a casual date night, downtown has some great spots like Pint House and Prison Hill Brewery. If you want something fancier, JT Prime is pretty swanky, and River City Grill has incredible food. Ah-So Sushi was a favorite for us too.

Julianna’s or River City Grill!


What are your favorite restaurants? What is your go to order?

Dog Haus! They have amazing burgers. Yuma also have the classics like Applebees, Buffalo Wild Wings, In n Out, Red Lobster and so much more! Broken Yolk Cafe is my favorite for brunch! It's off of 16th street and the waffles and pancakes are great but you can't go wrong with the benedicts! Afterburner is a great place on base for breakfast near the flight line. There's also now an L&L on base in the PX.

A family favorite is angry crab. We love the seafood boil. Brewer's Restaurant and Sports Bar in the airport is also great!

A&R Grill has the best burger in town, SO many good authentic Mexican restaurants (be warned that queso is not a thing here though!)


Are there any fun things to do in the area or close to base like amusements parks etc?

Z Fun Factory and Waylon’s Water World is a cute local amusement park and water park for the kids. There’s also Wild River in Somerton that has laser tag and bowling. If you want to get out of town though, San Diego is only a few hours, and they have the zoo and safari park, Legoland, Sea world, and the beach. Phoenix is in the opposite direction, but just as far, and also has great hotels with water parks and lazy rivers.

Yuma Territorial Prison is a fun and educational experience for the whole family. You can walk around the museum and see what the prison conditions would have been like. You can also visit The Imperial Sand Dunes off of Interstate 8. They're a great spot for pictures or for people with outdoor toys like bikes and 4wheelers. The outdoor gun range is a great place to have some fun. My husband and I would go to all the time to let off some steam. There's also the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge which is great for camping. The Castle Dome Mine Museum is another fun place to explore for kids.


What are some of the things you would put on a bucket list for other military spouses coming to that base?

Float the river, hike Telegraph Pass at sunrise, enjoy all the different festivals, visit the dunes, San Diego Zoo (2.5 hours), Senators Wash swimming area and eat the amazing local Mexican food. I also think it's worth the trip to visit Tombstone!


Are there any cities you recommend for weekend getaways? Why? What did you do there?

San Diego, Phoenix, Sedona, Temecula, La Jolla, Big Bear, and Palm Springs are all within a few hours. You can visit the beach, go to amusement parks, wine tastings, hikes, camping, and so much more! There’s so much to do in all.

Williams at Christmas.


Best places or activities for kids? Why?

• Children’s Museum

• Z Fun Factory

• Waylon’s Water Park

• Wild River

• Get Air

• Barnes and Noble (they have a kids section and do read alouds)

• West Wetlands Park and Stewart Vincent Wolfe Creative Playground

• Castle Dome Mine Museum and the Yuma Prison


Any local festivals/traditions held for the holidays in that area?

• The Tamale Festival is amazing around Christmas time.
• The base does events for each season/holiday. The do pumpkin patches in fall, and Easter events, etc. 




Local Recommendations:


Nail Tech

Le Vogue

Lotus Day Spa & Salon



Lotus Day Spa & Salon



Brooke at Fawned of Hair



Lotus Day Spa & Salon Haley Helton @hayshappyhair

I make the trip to Encinitas twice a year because I’m particular about my cut and color. I see Devon at Headlines Salon. A lot of my local friends like Brooke at Fawned of Hair though.


Marsha Keechler, CNM is amazing!

Sarah Strom, CNM with Yuma Regional Medical Center

Dr. Amon with Yuma Regional Medical Center

Annette Casey, CNM with Yuma Regional Medical Center



Dr. Crawford with Yuma Regional Medical Center is great!

Iris Flores, Yuma Kids Clinic


Primary Care Doctor

Most of the providers on base or at the regional hospital were fine.


Gild Ridge Dental

Dr. Rosemary Wong

Yuma Dentistry 4 Kids

Children's Dental 

Pediatric Dentistry of Yuma



ER: Yuma Regional Medical Center, Exceptional ER off Araby has significantly less wait times.

Urgent Care: NextCare Urgent Care



Foothills Animal Hospital

The Vet Clinic on base

Dog Parks

The base has a dog park in the corner of housing.



• The base gym is open to everyone.

• There's also a small gym in the housing office for residents.

• 4th Ave


Kids Tutor/Babysitter

I recommend looking on the base Facebook page or asking trusted friends.

Rachel Grant or Alexandra Bontempo who are both found through



The CDC on base

Big Red Barn



Because MCAS Yuma is so small, there aren't any schools on base. Kids who live on base will be bussed to Palmcroft Elementary School, Woodard Junior High School (Yuma One Elementary School District), and Kofa High School (Yuma Union High School District). Kids who live in 16th Street Housing will go to Ronald Reagan Elementary School, Centennial Middle School (Crane School District) and Cibola High School (Yuma Union High School District). If you choose not to send your kids to public school you can look into Hand in Hand, Yuma Lutheran, and Yuma Catholic. There is also the option to homeschool if that's something you want to do.



Sara Glenn

Cally Basner (military spouse)

Samantha Van de Roovaart (military spouse)

Brikelle Corcoran (military spouse)


Lender— Jaxon Lodge (Apex Mortgage), Spencer Bauer (LoanSuite)

Home Inspector— Garrett Bowling (Direct Inspect)

Title— Pioneer Title Company



• Vanessa Brack

You can find her website here and her Instagram page here.

• Kayla and Cam with Sonder Photo and Film

 You can find their Instagram page here and their website here.

• Taylor Pait

You can find her Facebook here and her website here.


Grocery Stores

Commissary, Fry's, Sprouts, and Walmart.



Goldsboro Bakery

The base wives page is always a great place to look to because there are so many talented wives!

Donut Corral

JT's Cakes N Cookies


Party Rental Company

Jay's Party Shop


Shops + Boutiques

Rebel & RoveDream a Little DreamDesert OliveTea for ThreeDandy Home and Ranch, and Bare Naked Soap Co.



Delia’s across from base



Paul Bensel


Ball Dress Shop

Online is the best place to order from.



Overall I would rate this base at a... (1-10, 1 being the worst and 10 being the best)

Me: 6/10

Cally: 7/10

J: 8/10



Slideshow Yuma



If you'd like to learn more, have any questions or just want to follow my journey you can find my Instagram here. You can find Cally on Instagram here. You can also grab this in a pdf version here!
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