Living in Virginia Beach
Despite Virginia Beach’s resort city status, the coastal town’s friendly residents and relaxed atmosphere have swayed many to take up a permanent residence in Virginia’s largest metro area. The glorious ocean views, beautiful waterfront homes and award-winning restaurants make this vacation destination a place worthy of being calling home.
The job market in Virginia Beach and nearby Norfolk and Newport News offers some niche opportunities in both the civilian and government sectors that make moving to the city attractive, from defense contractor positions to hotelier jobs. Plus, Virginia Beach’s economy is stronger than average, which makes it an attractive place for those looking to start a new career.
With several air force and naval bases located in the area, military presence is part of everyday life at the beach, with events like the Oceana Air Show and the Virginia Beach Patriotic Festival celebrating the armed forces. However, jet noise can be loud and takes some time to adjust to, so if you are going to be living in a particular noisy area, be prepared.
Facts About Virginia Beach
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The overall cost of living in Virginia Beach falls in line with the national average. Groceries and transportation costs run below what the average American pays, while utilities, health care, housing and other miscellaneous goods and services run higher than in other major metro areas. However, while some industries (such as production and manufacturing) offer above-average salaries, Virginia Beach residents make less than the average American, though median salaries here are higher than the national median.
Virginia Beach encompasses 56 public elementary, middle and high schools. Virginia Beach also has 150 private schools. Eight high schools are recognized on U.S. News & World Report’s Best High Schools rankings.
Virginia Beach is also home to seven colleges and/or universities, two of which earned places on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges rankings.
Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Newport News have a mild coastal climate, but still experience all four seasons. Summers can get quite warm, with temperatures that climb into the 90s, but since Virginia Beach is located along the coast, sea breezes help keep the city cool. Hurricane season, which runs from June through November, can bring tropical storms that can produce gale-force winds and cause flooding in low-lying areas. Winter is typically mild, with occasional snow and heavy rains severe enough to merit closing schools, government facilities and roads.
Virginia Beach residents can reach quite a few places on bike or by foot. Still, most residents rely on their cars to get around, and traffic in the area’s tunnels and on the Interstate 64 and 664 corridors isn’t uncommon.
Hampton Roads Transit offers a wide variety of mass transit options including buses, ferries, trolleys and other shuttle services to almost all of the major points of interest. VB Wave is an affordable hybrid-electric trolley system that makes daily (seasonal) shuttle runs along Atlantic Avenue.
Virginia Beach is also just 25 minutes from Norfolk International Airport and about an hour from the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport. Amtrak and Greyhound both service the area as well.
Although the Virginia Beach area has one of the highest percentages of millennials of any metro area in the country, people of any age group will feel at home in this friendly city. Families make up nearly 70 percent of the households in Virginia Beach. The city’s low levels of crime, desirable weather and lower-than-average tax rates also make the area attractive for retirees, as those 65 and older make up roughly 12 percent of the population.
The Virginia Beach metro area is home to four major military facilities, and a fair percentage of the population is active-duty military, retirees, dependents and civilian military employees.
When it comes to politics, registered Democrats make up the majority of the population at nearly 43 percent. The majority of Virginia Beach residents do not identify with a particular religion, but Evangelical Protestants and Catholics make up the largest portion of those who do.
With its impressive over 38-mile coastline, Virginia Beach provides residents a choice of three clean and easily accessible family- and pet-friendly beaches.
The area also boasts cultural attractions such as the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art and the Virginia Aquarium. Shoppers visit the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, as well as The Shops at Hilltop, Town Center and Lynnhaven Mall.
In general, Virginia Beach residents are outdoorsy and enjoy horseback riding, fishing, kayaking, waterskiing and stand-up paddleboarding during almost any season. Sporting events like the East Coast Surfing Championship and North American Sand Soccer Championship bring the community together and shine a national spotlight on the area. Nature and sports enthusiasts enjoy dozens of hiking, cycling and jogging trails, while skateboarders and BMX bike riders have access to three skate parks.