This area guide originally appeared on PCSgrades.
Moving to Fort Jackson in South Carolina? This area guide by PCSgrades gets you started on everything you need to know about the area.
Fort Jackson sits in the center of South Carolina, within the State Capital of Columbia. It’s home to beautiful rivers and just a couple of hours’ drive from the loveliest beaches the south has to offer. Folly Beach, Kiawah Island, and Isle of Palms seem to be the most recommended for vacationing. Fort Jackson is home to the United States Army Training Center, the Army’s most active training station. This post trains 50 percent of all soldiers and 60 percent of the women who enter the Army each year. As the base motto says, “Victory Starts Here.”
Fort Jackson is also home to 165th Infantry Brigade, 193rd Infantry Brigade, as well as, the Drill Sergeant Academy to name a few. If you’ve been stationed here, it’s very likely you or your spouse will be spending a lot of time “on the trail,” in other words as a Drill Instructor to the trainees.
Off Base Neighborhoods
While Fort Jackson housing has many amenities, there is also the option of living off post. Nearby Forest Acres, Blythewood, Elgin are the top neighborhood choices. Each area has a variety of housing. Whether you are looking for a single-family home, a duplex/condo, love the historic district it can all be found in SC!
Get free, objective reviews from our community on base housing to help make the decision to live on base or off.
On Base Housing
Installation housing on Fort Jackson is divided into three major neighborhoods managed by Balfour Beatty, in both single-family and duplex layouts. Pierce Terrace for enlisted active duty personnel, has 2 to 4 bedroom floor plans. Mabry Manor and Howie Village for officers has floor plans ranging from 3 to 4 bedrooms.
There are two elementary schools on post-run by DDESS for students Pre-K through 6th grade. Seventh and eighth grade students living on post will attend Dent Middle School. On-post high school students will attend Richland Northeast. The majority of military families living off-post are in areas served by Richland District 1 or 2.
There is also Open Enrollment each spring when you can apply to send your child to a school outside of the neighborhood zones.
Cost of Living and BAH
Fort Jackson BAH matches the low cost of living in South Carolina. You will have options to rent or buy in the local area using your BAH. Fort Jackson BAH ranges from $1,065 to $1,842 for enlisted. BAH at Fort Jackson begins at $1,278 for O1 without dependents and goes up to $2,229 for O7 with dependents.
Your Fort Jackson BAH should go pretty far at this southern duty station. According to Trulia.com, the median sales price for homes in Columbia is $154,900 based on 1,227 home sales in the last four months. The median rent per month for apartments is $1,195. Rental prices are at a premium so many prefer to purchase a home.
Fort Jackson weather and South Carolina in general really means there are only two seasons: summer and a very mild autumn. Meaning it doesn’t typically get too cold, and very rarely snows. The heat can be intense, largely due to the humidity in the air. There is never a lack of sun or rain, of course coming from places like the Pacific Northwest, you gain a certain appreciation for it.
Hurricane season in the Atlantic begins in June and goes through November. Preparedness is key and it is important to have plans in place in the event of an emergency. Fort Jackson’s Red Cross has plenty of information at your disposal and is always ready and willing to assist. You do get the occasional torrential storms, which can lead to flooding of the Congaree River, the Saluda River, and the Broad River.
Fort Jackson has some great amenities to include the Exchange, Fort Jackson Commissary, several pools, a small water park, and a theater among other things.
There are lots of local events like the ever-popular State Fair, Food Tours and Farmers Markets that highlight and celebrate the diversity of the south. Some local annual favorites are St. Pats in Five Points in March, the Columbia International Festival in April, and the Jubilee: Festival of Black History & Culture.
The overall warm temperatures of the area make it easy to enjoy the beauty of the nearby beaches. Parks like the Harbison State Forest, Sesquicentennial State Park, and Saluda Shoals Park are also favorites.
Food and Drink
Southern favorites include fried green tomatoes, grits, shrimp and grits, strawberries in the spring, fresh peaches in the summer, and just about anything made with fresh seafood!