you CANNOT beat joining the Coast Guard, if...
Pros: benefits, career growth, travel, sense of pride, knowing america is depending on you
Cons: not much $ at first, lack of time with family (only when stationed on a cutter)
You're willing and ready to make it your career. They are (well when I was in) at capacity. I remember sr. ranking enlisted guys I was stationed with were being forced to retire. waiting lists for A schools' ranged from 6-8 months wait for something like BM or MK, but most everything else was 12+ month wait. some lists were closed. and right before I got out even the BM and MK lists were 12+ month wait.
HOWEVER, you really cant beat the life of a coastie. Even for someone like me who LOVES to ski. The pacific northwest has a ton of units and is what? a couple hours from Whistler? New England as well has plenty of units super close to skiing. When I was stationed in Portsmouth, NH I climbed Mt. Washington like 15 times. There's even a station in Lake Tahoe and one on Lake Champlain in Burlington, VT. Good luck getting stationed there, they are highly sought after places but hey, ya never know.
There are also tons of units on the Great Lakes as well as the major US rivers and waterways. Basically anywhere there is water, there are coast guard units.
at times it sucks and you want to "get out" But many of my port calls were places like Key West, where I once slept under a porch, or San Andreas Island (look it up), Curacao, Costa Rica, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Do you get my point?
Just make sure you ask your recruiter any and every question you can possibly think of.