DUPONT - STELIACOOM - UNIVERSITY PLACE
The cities of Dupont, Steliacoom and University Place are right across the I-5 from Lewis Main and right next to Lewis North. They are all near the water and are fairly small communities. These areas, especially Dupont are some of the nicest housing you can get in the vicinity of JBLM, but also some of the most expensive. Dupont has some of the lowest crime in the area due to an incredible police department who regularly patrols. Dupont is mostly housing with some commercial property. This can be a negative if you want all the shopping you need within a few minutes of where you live, but this also means there are less areas for “undesirables” to hang around. They have several banks, restaurants and small shops along with a general store and a small grocery store. Most shop at the commissary or travel to Lakewood for grocery shopping. You’d have to travel to Lacey or Tacoma for major shopping. Dupont is home to mostly senior enlisted, officers and retirees, however there are some lower enlisted families who are willing to pay the price or are able to find a great deal. Its school district is one of the most sought after, deemed probably the best district in the vicinity of JBLM. Steliacoom shares a school district with Dupont and is just north of the city.
LACEY - OLYMPIA - TUMWATER
The cities of Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater are clumped together south of base off the I-5. Lacey is the most common and is the closest to base. The City of Lacey is a small city (20-30 minutes from JBLM) with all the shopping and restaurants you’ll need. It has very nice and affordable homes for all ranks and great schools. The only major complaint we have had with the school district is their ability to take care of the needs of children on IEPs. The city of Olympia is the state capital and has some very beautiful areas, it is 20-40 minutes from base and sits like a horseshoe around the city of Lacey. We recommend staying away from downtown Olympia for housing. The city of Tumwater sits just south of Olympia and is very similar to Lacey, but is a little smaller and farther from JBLM.
RAINIER - ROY - YELM
The cities of Rainier, Roy & Yelm are 30-40 minutes south of base. Residing here is small town living at its best. It’s quieter in the country and typically has less crime than in the city. This is where you would get the most house and yard for your money. There’s even some neighborhoods that are zoned for livestock. There’s a Walmart in Yelm and a few shops/restaurants in Yelm and the surrounding areas. Roy is just northeast of Yelm and Rainier is 5 miles south. You’re 15-20 minutes in either direction to Lacey and Puyallup for major shopping.
The city of Puyallup is 20-40 minutes from JBLM on the McChord side – more convenient for those stationed at McChord. It is similar to the Lacey area, but is a much larger area. With that comes some really nice areas, but also some areas to stay away from. The schools here are deemed good to great and the South Hill area is considered one of the nicest parts of Puyallup. If lots of shopping and restaurants nearby is important to you, Puyallup might be the way to go. It also has easy access to Tacoma and Seattle if you commute or frequent these areas. There are some heavy traffic areas in Puyallup, so driving the commute before picking a house might be worth your time. Some describe liking Puyallup because there are less military here than say Lacey, Yelm and the Dupont areas.
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