Camp Pendleton | Base Overview & Info (2022)


Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is "The West Coast's Premier Fleet Marine Force Training Base" with the responsibility of providing housing, training facilities and logistical support for the Fleet Marine Force elements and other units assigned here. In addition, the base conducts specialized schools and other such training as the Commandant of the Marine Corps may direct.

Major commands are Marine Corps Base, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Logistics Group, elements of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and many tenant units (Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, ACU-5, Naval Hospital, the Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity (MCTSSA), Weapons Field Training Battalion, Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook, and the Deployment Processing Command Reserve Support Unit - West). For more information please visit:


On March 10, 1942, the Department of the Navy announced the purchase of approximately 130,000 acres, the "Rancho Margarita y Las Flores", located between Los Angeles and San Diego. Following the purchase of the vast rancho, the new West Coast Marine Corps Base would be named Camp Joseph H. Pendleton, in honor of MGen. Joseph Henry Pendleton. Camp Pendleton was declared a "permanent" installation in October 1944, and in 1946, General Vandergrift stated that the base's future role was to be the center of all West Coast Marine activities and the home of the 1st Marine Division, with a peacetime strength of 12,500. The Corps has broadened its mission capabilities since the 1980's, as "amphibious" became "expeditionary", combining infantry, armor, supply and air power. Over the years, Camp Pendleton has demonstrated its successful training and effectiveness in the United States Marine Corps through WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, humanitarian efforts in Somalia and Haiti, and the war on terrorism worldwide. The base is separated into camps, each numbered to identified their physical location within the base.


  • More than 42,000 active duty personnel;
  • More than 38,000 military family members occupy base housing complexes. However, with a daytime population of 70,000 military and civilian personnel;
  • More than 77,000 retired military personnel reside within a 50-mile radius of Camp Pendleton with all the privileges to Base recreation facilities, commissary, exchange and medical services.

Southern California is a highly populated area that continues to grow at a very rapid pace. Camp Pendleton area is so large that it borders several cities and three counties. Camp Pendleton is directly north of the city of Oceanside, CA with a population of 176,193 people. San Diego County, which borders Camp Pendleton to the south and southeast, has a population of 3,337,685. Riverside County, which borders Camp Pendleton to the east, has a population of 2,423,266. Orange County, which borders Camp Pendleton to the north, has a population of 3,190,400. While Southern California is vastly populated, it gives our service-members options and varied opportunities of living, either be city living, beachfront living, or country living and all these opportunities offer plenty of recreational options for the service-members and their families.

Pendleton has a population of more than 42,000 active duty Marines and Sailors, with approximately 27% of family members living on base and 73% living off base.

Demographics Population
DOD Population 42,000
Family Members 38,000
Retirees 77,000
Civilian Employees 3,900
Reserve Components (USMC, Navy, Army) 23,500
(Video) Camp Pendleton | What to expect!


Camp Pendleton is located in North San Diego County, in Southern California. The base is adjacent to the City of Oceanside, a military town, by the Main Gate in the south. The City of Fallbrook borders our base to the east, right outside the Fallbrook Naval Weapons Station Gate. The City of San Clemente borders our base at the most northern part, the San Onofre area. The size of Camp Pendleton is comparable to the size of the state of Rhode Island. The cost of living is high in San Diego County. The mild climate and beautiful scenery attracts a lot of new residents and tourists to our area each year.

Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton occupies approximately 125,000 acres, with more than 17 miles of coastline, in northwestern San Diego County. Less than 20% developed, Camp Pendleton stands as an ecological buffer between the heavily urbanized areas that abut the northern and southern borders of the Base. Within Camp Pendleton, tidal estuaries, riparian corridors, coastal plains, rolling hills and canyons, and mountains that rise in elevation to 2,700 feet above sea level provide essential habitat for over 1,100 species of flora and fauna, to include 18 federally listed threatened and endangered species and a free roaming herd of bison.

A diverse array of training occurs within this natural setting to promote the combat readiness of the Marines and other military personnel who call Camp Pendleton home. Camp Pendleton is the only West Coast military installation where comprehensive air, sea, and ground assault training is routinely executed. Camp Pendleton’s environmental programs work in support of the military training mission and seek, through proper management, to protect and sustain the Marine Corps continued ability to train on lands that are vital to National defense. By complying with environmental requirements and effectively stewarding the resources in its care, Camp Pendleton can help to ensure that the training opportunities, resources, and landscapes enjoyed by today’s Marine will be available for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations.

Welcome to Southern California and Marine Corps Base Camp Joseph H. Pendleton, the site of the Corps' largest amphibious assault training facility, encompassing 17 miles of prime coastline and 125,000 acres. The Marine Locator phone number is 760-763-3989..


From San Diego International Airport
The United Service Organization (USO) is in Terminal 2 of the airport and is open 6 a.m. to midnight 365 days a year. The facility offers active-duty members, their family members and retirees referrals for shuttle service to Camp Pendleton, directions to base and hospitality services. The facility contains a television lounge and sitting area, video games, movies, Internet service, an ATM, showers, coffee and refreshments. For more information, call 619-296-3192.

From Los Angeles International Airport
The USO is across from terminals 1 and 2 at Bob Hope Hollywood USO at LAX, 203 World Way, Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90045. The facility has a television lounge, sitting area, Internet service, showers and refreshments. For more information, call 310-645-3716.

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Camp Pendleton is located about 42 miles north of the San Diego Airport, Lindberg Field and about 88 miles south of the Los Angeles International Airport, LAX. Driving directions to Camp Pendleton are fairly easy due to the base being located off of Interstate 5 (I-5), which runs up and down the entire west coast. When driving towards' Camp Pendleton on I-5, you know you are close when you enter the city of Oceanside, CA. The Camp Pendleton exit is clearly labeled and will take you directly to the front gate of the base.

At the front gate be prepared to present your DOD I.D. card and a copy of your orders to the sentry. If you are driving your POV aboard MCB Camp Pendleton, you will need a current driver license along with the vehicles' current registration document and proof of insurance for that vehicle.

Traveling from the South

If you plan on traveling from the southern part of the country, you will probably enter the San Diego area via Interstate 8 (I-8). As you enter the city via the I-8, you will want to veer right on to Interstate 15 (I-15) north. You will drive for about 6 miles before you encounter California 52 (CA-52). You will want to go west on CA-52. After about 4 miles, you will encounter Interstate 805 (I-805). Go north on I-805. After another 4 miles, you will merge with I-5 and this will take you the last 24 miles to the Camp Pendleton exit.

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Traveling from the North

Traveling from the northern part of the country, you will probably enter the North County San Diego area via Interstate I-5. As you enter the city via I-15 south, you will encounter California 78 (CA-78). Veer right on CA-78 west. You will take CA-78 about 18 miles before you run into I-5. Veer right on I-5 north. You will take I-5 north for the last 5 miles to the Camp Pendleton exit.

If you have any problems with directions, please feel free to contact our office at 760-725-5704. You can also contact the 24hr duty at the IPAC INBOUND 760-725-6271.

Train Options:

Oceanside is quickly becoming the area's major rail transportation hub. Commuter rail services connect Oceanside's Transit Center with Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego using the COASTER, Surfliner, or AMTRAK and there is commuter services to Los Angeles Union Station or Downtown San Bernardino via METROLINK. There are currently 12 stops along the Orange County: L.A. to Oceanside Line, and 14 stops along the Inland Empire - Orange County: Oceanside to Riverside Line. Both of these lines run multiple times throughout the week, and also have limited weekend run times. Oceanside Metrolink is located at: 235 So. Tremont Ave., off Mission Avenue. For more information about METROLINK call 1-800-371-5465. For information on the COASTER and NCTD call (760) 966-6500 or visit their website at For information on AMTRAK you can visit

The Amtrak also runs theOrange County: L.A. to Oceanside Line for monthly pass holders.

(Video) Virtual Tour of Camp Pendleton

Bus Options:
In addition to train routes, two separate routes provided by North County Transit District (NCTD) serve the Camp Pendleton with Flex buses from the School of Infantry to Del Mar to the Naval Hospital to Mainside to the Oceanside Transit Center and many areas in-between.

Greyhound does not go directly to the airport from Oceanside, but they do have offices in the Oceanside Transit Center and also service routes that start/end at Oceanside Transit Center. For Greyhound’s recorded schedule, call 760-722-1587. To talk to a Greyhound representative, call 1-800-231-2222.

Marine Corps Community Services recently partnered with Lyft to offer a new “Base Mode” option which is special category for individuals requesting rides into and out of the base, connecting them to drivers with access on and off the installation. To learn more about this, visit the Camp Pendleton MCCS website.

Transportation Incentive Program:

The Department of Defense Instruction 1000.27 establishes a mass transit benefit program for outside the National Capital Region. In accordance with this Instruction, the Department of the Navy (DON) has implemented the Transportation Incentive Program (TIP) for DON employees to help reduce their daily contribution to traffic congestion and air pollution, as well as expand their commuting alternatives. Effective January 1st, 2020, DON transit benefit participants are eligible for transit benefits up to $270.00 per month (parking fees are not included) for specific pre-approved commuter mass transit transportation costs not to exceed actual expenses.

TIP is designed to pay for mass transit costs incurred by personnel in their local commute from residence to permanent duty station. Participants must accurately claim an amount that reflects their actual commuting cost. Failure to do so will result in a fraudulent certification on the application and is subject to criminal prosecution. This program is a benefit, not an entitlement; thus, there is no retroactive reimbursement.

Base Transportation

Currently, there is no base sponsored transportation on this installation. North County Transit District operates various routes of public buses that serve the base and there are also the options of taxis, Lyft, and other private services or shuttles. Please visit for more information or contact the installation Information, Referral, and Relocation Specialist at (760) 725-5704 for additional information.

There are private transportation providers on base known as Liberty Shuttles, that act as transportation providers for on base movements. These are private entities and their services come at a cost. You can get more information once you arrive to your command as to the phone number for the shuttle that serves your camp or area.

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Contact Information

Directory Assistance: 1-800-253-1624


Camp Pendleton | Base Overview & Info? ›

Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton occupies approximately 125,000 acres, with more than 17 miles of coastline, in northwestern San Diego County. Less than 20% developed, Camp Pendleton stands as an ecological buffer between the heavily urbanized areas that abut the northern and southern borders of the Base.

What is Camp Pendleton known for? ›

Camp Pendleton trained the country's fighting force for the Korean and Vietnam Wars, with approximately 200,000 Marines passing through the Base on their way to the Far East. The Corps broadened its capabilities during the 1980's from "amphibious" to "expeditionary" by combining infantry, armor, supply and air power.

What do Marines do at Camp Pendleton? ›

Fleet Marine Force units use Camp Pendleton's ranges and training areas to maintain combat readiness. The Base also provides specialized schools and training as directed by the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

What branch of military is Camp Pendleton? ›

Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, the Corps' largest West Coast expeditionary training facility, encompasses more than 125,000 acres of Southern California terrain.

Is Camp Pendleton a Marine or Navy? ›

Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is the major West Coast base of the United States Marine Corps and is one of the largest Marine Corps bases in the US.

Can a civilian get on Camp Pendleton? ›

Camp Pendleton is a closed based and only persons who have official business or a sponsor on base will be granted access. Whether you're visiting Camp Pendleton for a wedding or event, for work as a contractor, for specialized training, or to visit a service member, consider staying in Oceanside as your home base.

What is the largest military base in the US? ›

Topping the list for the world's largest military base is in Fort Bragg. This is located in the United State's North Carolina. Among military enthusiasts, it is also deemed the center of the military realm. Fort Bragg is home to more than 260,000 people, of which nearly 54,000 are active troop members.

How much is base housing Camp Pendleton? ›

The zip code for Camp Pendleton is 92055. Other nearby zip codes include 92057, 92058, and 92068. 7) What is the BAH for Camp Pendleton? BAH for Camp Pendleton ranges from $2,691 for E-1 to $3,492 E-9 with dependents, and from $2,940 for O-1 to $3,960 for O-7 with dependents.

What do you need to get into Camp Pendleton? ›

Direct your visitors to report to the Camp Pendleton Visitor Center (Bldg. 20255T) to obtain a DBIDS pass/credential. Visitors processed at the Visitor Center will have their identity proofed, be subject to a criminal history check, they will be photographed and digitally fingerprinted.

How far is Camp Pendleton from the beach? ›

The distance between Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and Mission Beach is 39 miles.

Who has the strongest military in the world? ›

The United States

With a budget of $738 billion and 1,388,000 men and women in the armed forces, it boasts an awe-inspiring 6,125 nuclear weapons, 11 aircraft carriers, 68 nuclear submarines, 3,761 military aircraft, 867 attack helicopters, 6,209 tanks and 113 warships.

What is the largest military installation in the world? ›

Fort Bragg

Based in North Carolina and just west of the city of Fayetteville, Fort Bragg is not only the largest Army base in overall population, but it's also the largest military base overall, when including all five of the military branches.

Who has the biggest army in the world? ›

In 2022, China had the largest armed forces in the world by active duty military personnel, with about 2 million active soldiers. India, the United States, North Korea, and Russia rounded out the top five largest armies respectively, each with over one million active military personnel.

Can civilians visit military bases? ›

TLDR – Civilians can get on military bases if they are a spouse or dependent of a service member or sponsored by a service member. However, the policies vary from base to base. Many bases also have visitor centers that are open to the public or require a special visitor pass.

Can veterans get on Camp Pendleton? ›

Authorized Veterans and Caretakers are afforded Trusted Traveler privileges on MCB Camp Pendleton and can escort visitors.

Is Basilone Road open to the public? ›

Basilone road is now open in both directions.

How much do Marine MP make? ›

Average U.S. Marine Corps Military Police yearly pay in the United States is approximately $48,887, which is 21% above the national average.


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