Many of the families I know were, and still are, extremely unhappy to be stationed at NAS Lemoore in California. I can definitely sympathize with families who traveled from places like Virginia Beach or Beaufort, North Carolina, and are now far away from their families. However, I truly believe there is always something to be enjoyed, explored and taken advantage of at every duty station you encounter. While Lemoore may be a small farming town, it has a fabulous Thursday night farmers market and is 2 hours away from TWO national Parks (Sequoia and Yosemite)! People travel from all over the world to visit these spots and they are practically in my backyard! The lesson is, there is something to see and enjoy wherever you go.
Start by visiting your new city's official website (it should be one of the first websites to appear when doing an internet search for your new city) or the city's chamber of commerce website. These sites are great resources for finding local (often free) events. They also include a list of parks your family can explore and list of local events (farmers markets, concerts, etc.). Also, take advantage of websites like Living Social and Groupon to search in your area for discounted activities and use Yelp and Urban Spoon to read reviews and restaurant recommendations.
Use travel sites like tripadvisor.com and look up your own town. You may find ideas, places do go and things to do you had not previously considered. Don't forget to use your MWR (Morale Welfare and Recreation) department. They will have some great information on local activities and events and often organize excursions to museums and attractions that you can join in for a discounted price.
Talk to the locals. Almost every post has a spouse Facebook page that can easily be found by a Facebook search. Here, you can poll the spouses who have lived in the area for a while about their favorite sites, places and restaurants.
Get involved. I find that people are much happier with their community after they have become an active participant in a group. Join your FRG, a church, a hobby group or a fitness class. Whatever your interests may be, find a group and this will allow you to get involved and potentially make a new friend.
Finally, try to step out of your comfort zone once a month. Visit the small Asian market on the corner, or try out a new restaurant.
One of the most unique things about our lives is our ability (and the necessity) for us to move more frequently than a civilian family. While this may be testing our patience at times, it is also a wonderful opportunity to see new places and broaden our horizons! I think we should take advantage (as much as we can) of each new duty station. How do you get to know and enjoy where you live?