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On the hunt for a home

An exploration of neighborhoods surrounding JBLM

PNW neighborhoods provide a plethora of charm and even some peek-a-boo views. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

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Finding the right home can be quite the journey. Whether you're a new transplant to Joint Base Lewis-McChord or have been stationed here for some time, if you're looking to settle down in the South Sound, or at least find the neighborhood that is the perfect fit for your lifestyle and family, you've got a plethora of options. The area's landscape boasts a diverse collection of communities. Here are a few.

The most obvious option is the city of Lakewood ( Likely the most convenient for the sake of the commute, Lakewood is the definition of melting pot. Bustling veins of commerce and connection are found on the likes of Steilacoom Boulevard and Bridgeport Way, where you'll find a diverse mix of businesses throughout rather than petite pocket districts. You'll find both movie and production theaters, shopping and a variety of dining options right in your backyard. Tucked just a block or two away are secluded neighborhoods and gems like Fort Steilacoom Park and Oakbrook Golf Course.

Bordering the east side of JBLM is the "Roy Y." This area refers to where State Routes 7 and 507 intersect, making a Y shape. This intersection, deep in Spanaway, takes you down a scenic drive to the town of Roy ( and continues through Spanaway toward Mount Rainier. It's a high-commute area for residents and military alike. Along the four-lane highway, you'll come across a variety of vehicle repair shops and car lots, corporate dining options and big-box retailers such as Walmart. The surrounding residential areas in Roy and Yelm are best when looking for a bit of the "country life." They offer rural bedroom suburbs, creature comforts within an arm's reach and accessible veins to commute. Bonus: exquisite views of the majestic Mt. Rainier.

The Parkland-Spanaway area ( is found on the south side of Pacific Avenue and houses all kinds of "stuff."  I say stuff because there is really a diverse mishmash of services available in the area. There are several walkable neighborhood gems, like those that surround the Pacific Lutheran University campus, but most of the area is a high-traffic hub lined with restaurants, bars, banks, car lots and veterinary clinics. That said, there are plenty of neighborhoods tucked away. It's another good option for those looking to minimize their commute.

University Place ( and Fircrest ( both boast idyllic residential areas partnered with a bustling main strip that houses all of the creature comfort needs. This petite community shares borders with Lakewood and Tacoma and is just a windy scenic drive away from Steilacoom. State Route 16 can get a little muddy as it merges into I-5, so commute-wise it can be less than ideal, though Bridgeport Way will whisk you through town to Lakewood all the same. Though no actual university resides in University Place, the school system is top notch, making UP/Fircrest a great go-to for families with school-aged children. For those looking forward to taking some college courses, Tacoma Community College lies on the main strip. Plus, you have Chambers Bay in town, which highlights a lush golf course (site of the 2015 U.S. Open), miles of walking trails and waterfront views. The suburbs boast a scenic and park-like tranquility and charm.

Just south of Lakewood, one will find DuPont ( This is a thriving town surrounded by scenic landscape and is conveniently located near freeway access for a quick commute. Among central downtown, you'll find the basic luxuries of any good community, a fair amount of dining options and services necessary for those with families -- such as dentistry practices. This is a good thing, because DuPont is an idyllic residential community full of lovely housing and apartment communities that are perfect for military families. It offers great options in regards to park play, recreation and an ideal commute to base.

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