Keep Abilene Boring: A Guide to Dyess Air Force Base


Yes, that is the unofficial slogan for this West Texas town, population 115,930. 

By the time we finally move this summer, we will have lived here for a total of 6, count them, SIX years! Join the Air Force, they said! See the world, they said! Needless to say, I think I can now offer a pretty comprehensive guide to being stationed at Dyess Air Force Base. 

Abilene, Texas: In a Nutshell

Abilene sits on Interstate 20 about halfway between the Dallas/Fort Worth area and Midland, Texas. If you’re driving on I-20 and pass through Abilene, you’re actually missing the vast majority of the city as most of it lies within a loop created south of the interstate. Abilene is home to three faith based universities. There are two major school districts as well as three private school options for your kiddos. The base itself, Dyess, sits in the far southwest area of Abilene in an even smaller town called Tye. Dyess is home to the B1-B Lancer as well as the C-130 Hercules, among the various other Air Force subsidiaries. If jet noise isn’t your thing, you might consider not living on base.


Abilene has a small mall, a decent Target, a Sam’s Club, and of course, H-E-B! You can easily get everything you need right here. But in case Abilene doesn’t have everything on your wish list, you’re only a two and a half hour drive from Dallas/Fort Worth, a three hour drive from Austin, and a four hour drive to San Antonio. Weekend getaways to some fantastic parts of Texas can be easily done. 

Things to do: Adults

I’ll never forget the first time we moved to Abilene back in 2008. We were 24-year-old newlyweds with no kids. There was exactly one dance hall and maybe two bars, all of which closed at midnight. The restaurants mostly consist of your typical chain restaurants. Abuelo’s was “the best” restaurant, and I never had the nerve to tell the locals that it was not in fact an Abilene “original.” Side note though, Taco Bueno IS an Abilene original. The more you know. Fast-forward a decade and the city has really come along with new and exciting local restaurants, wine bars, and breweries. While you can still find your share of good hole in the wall Tex-Mex and great Texas BBQ, here’s a list of our local favorites:

Abilene also has a great Food Truck scene, complete with a Food Truck Park that can make for a lovely Saturday afternoon.

Things to Do: Kids

No matter how young or old your children are, I believe there is something for everyone here! There are many parks, three splash pads, and several area lakes for boating/fishing. Almost every major attraction in this city offers a military discount! Here is a list of some of our family favorites:

While these lists don’t completely encompass all that Abilene, Texas, has to offer, I hope that you feel a little less nervous about moving here if you or your spouse receives orders to Dyess AFB! All joking aside about how long we have lived here, we will certainly miss the Texas hospitality, good country music, and all the Tex-Mex our bellies can handle. Oh, and H-E-B. All Texans miss H-E-B.

In the words of our favorite Texas country music artist (and Abilene resident) Aaron Watson, “Everybody dreams about what we’ve found. A big love in a small town.”

This mural was painted in downtown Abilene by a fellow military spouse, Calina Johnson.