It’s been said, “You cry when you get here, you cry when you leave.” 

At first sight, our desert landscape may not look like much, but there is lots to love about our unique location. At MCCS, we hope to help you embrace the desert with open arms. Here are several survival tips to help you enjoy your stay.

Thrive in the Desert


From backpacking in Joshua Tree National Park to taking a stroll around the block; thriving in the desert hinges on practicing proper desert safety. 

Pack water From taking a quick trip to the Marine Mart or hiking through Joshua Tree National Park, always pack water.

Layer up While you might be tempted to put on as little as possible on hot desert days, clothes are essential to keeping you cool. Clothes prevent sweat from  evaporating too quickly, help the body cool itself and ward off sun exposure. Keep in mind temperatures in the desert can rise above 120°F during the day and dip below 40°F at night. Your very last line of defense is your skin. Always wear sunscreen in the desert. Even in the dead of winter, the desert sun shines bright. Protect your family’s skin from harmful rays with SPF 15 or more.

Protect your children and pets Twentynine Palms is no place to keep  your pet outside. Never leave your pet or child in a hot car. Even with the windows down,  temperatures inside a vehicle can reach triple digits in a matter of minutes. 

Ward off critters Pet food, counter crumbs and damp corners are all magnets for the desert’s array of pests and predators. Constantly keep an eye on your children and pets, shake out your clothes and shoes each day and be extra careful when moving about in the dark. Don’t leave anything outside that coyotes and other critters might find appetizing.

Prepare Make sure even on the shortest trips into our desert, you have enough gas in your car, plenty of water and sunscreen.

Thrive in the Culture


The most prominent myth of this duty station is that you’re in the middle of nowhere. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. In Twentynine Palms, you are in the middle of everything. Do you crave snowcapped mountains? Big Bear and Mount San Jacinto are only a short drive away. Are you longing to lay on the cool  beach? Head over to the pristine beaches of Camp Pendleton. Maybe you just need a few hours of city lights. What better place than Palm Springs, Los Angeles, Las Vegas or San Diego, all within a three-hour drive!

Our Single Marine Program has more programs and trips than any other in the Corps. MCCS also hosts concerts and other events to keep you engaged. Be sure to visit Information Tickets & Tours, which provides a tremendous amount of information and discount tickets to places like Disneyland, San Diego Zoo and more. Or visit americanforcestravel. com for additional deals on all aspects of travel. Finally, sign up for MCCS’ Life in 29 eNewsletter that’s  delivered twice a month. It’s loaded with suggestions on what to do with your time in the desert. Visit: www.bit.ly/lifein29

Make friends and get involved MCCS has an array of workshops, and group classes that give you an outlet to exercise your hobbies. Check out the MCCS Youth Sports program if you have children. The LifeSkills program offers regular workshops to help you become a stronger individual and a L.I.N.K.S. session will give you an inside view of the Corps. 

Volunteer Do you like working with animals? Helping people? Playing with kids? Organizations both on and off base, such as the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, American Red Cross, Humane Society and Reach Out Morongo Basin need your help. Volunteering can also open doors to your dream job.

See the sites Joshua Tree National Park is only eight miles south of the base. This beautiful national treasure is worldrenowned for its rock climbing. The park covers nearly 800,000 acres and offers picturesque hiking and camping, not to mention bighorn sheep, deer, mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, the threatened desert tortoise and numerous other reptiles and birds. While you’re here, you may also want to check out the Amboy Crater, Kelso Dunes, Aerial  Tramway, Big Bear and the Mojave National Preserve’s Mitchell Caverns and Hole in the Wall. For those of you who prefer more culturally-engaging activities, check out live music at Pappy &  Harriet’s in Pioneertown, the Palm Springs Art Museum and Thursday night Villagefest, The Living Desert Wildlife and Botanical Park and Gubler Orchids, to name  a few.

Educate yourself Twentynine Palms is a great place to continue your education. The Education Center offers education counseling, testing and information to help you get started. National University, Copper Mountain College and Devry University also have offices on base where you can take evening and weekend classes.  While stationed in California, you are eligible for the state tuition rate. Stop by for details.

Get a job Getting a job on or off base is a great way to help you thrive throughout your desert stay. MCCS and the Combat Center are two of the largest employers in the Morongo Basin. An array of positions are also available in the local community for those willing to persevere in their pursuit of a job. Be sure to visit the  career Resource Office for local job listings, Microsoft Office Specialist training and help in preparing that winning resume. You can also visit mccs29palms.com  to learn about applying for available MCCS positions.

Thrive During Deployment


Military spouses survive many uncertainties. But one thing is sure; if you are married to an active duty service member, you will experience a deployment, whether it is to foreign shores or to a distant state. The best way to survive a deployment is to be prepared and stay connected.

Be prepared Being prepared means being informed and connected to valuable resources that can help during times of separation. Readiness & Deployment, Navy Marine Corps Relief Society and the Chaplains’ Religious Enrichment Development Operation (CREDO) are just a few of the many services that are here to help  spouses of deployed service members. 

Stay connected As a spouse, you too are on a mission. To be successful in that mission, you will need to stay connected with your fellow military spouses. The best way to do that is to utilize the services here aboard the Combat Center. Reach out to fellow spouses through the Family Readiness Program, L.I.N.K.S., LifeSkills  Program and Military OneSource. Navigate 29Palms.usmc-mccs.org to learn about new MCCS events and programs, and to sign up for the Life in 29 eNewsletter. It’s your  guide to what’s happening!

Use what’s available Information & Referral (Bldg. 1526) can provide information regarding maps, local attractions and helpful programs. Being new to the Combat Center and Twentynine Palms doesn’t have to be traumatic. The MCCS staff aboard the base are here to support our military men and women and their families. Whether you are looking for specific information or ideas of what to do and where to meet like-minded people, asking questions is your first step. We’ll help you find the answers. We hope you go beyond surviving your time in our beautiful desert. We’re here to help you thrive. Our mission is you! Welcome aboard.

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