Thinking about moving to Virginia Beach? Neptune City is one of the best beach towns in America and one of the nation’s best big cities to live in, thanks to its stunning coastal beauty, rich history, and ever-growing job market. Here are 15 things you need to know about living in VA Beach!
Start Fresh in Neptune City
It’s no coincidence that many young professionals, families, and retirees have made their home in Virginia Beach. Residents benefit from a booming economy, an unemployment rate of 3.6%, a health-conscious culture, and the lowest tax rate in the Hampton Roads region. Not to mention, it’s an affordable place to live on the East Coast—the median home price in Virginia Beach is $262,200, and the median monthly rent is $1,258. Virginia Beach is more than just a popular coastal travel destination; it’s also a safe, economically stable, and family-friendly city!
Enjoy a Comfortable Climate All Year
If you’re worried that living in VB will mean enduring sweltering sun 12 months a year, you can put those fears to bed. The weather in Virginia Beach is pleasantly moderate. Summers are warm enough for you to lay out on the beach without feeling chilly, and winters are mild and tend not to last long. Those moving to VA Beach from parts of the country where four seasons are typical will feel right at home, while people already accustomed to living on the coast will find Virginia Beach’s varied climate a welcome (but not too extreme) change of pace. The state’s “Goldilocks climate” is truly best enjoyed right in the heart of Neptune City!
Step Back in Time & Discover Local History
Officially founded in 1887 as a seaside resort, the now fittingly nicknamed “Resort City” originally served as the first landing site of 140 English settlers back in 1607, which is 13 years sooner than the pilgrims’ arrival at Plymouth Rock! North Virginia Beach’s own First Landing State Park—one of the city’s many notable historical sites—was named for this early expedition and continues to honor local heritage to this day. Visitors to the park can camp, swim, observe native wildlife, and engage with American history first-hand. Another great way to connect with the past is by climbing the Cape Henry Lighthouse—the nation’s first federally-funded public works project—for a bird’s-eye view of Chesapeake Bay. You can also learn more about how these nautical features have shaped Virginia Beach’s legacy at Surf and Rescue Museum, which connects the city’s amazing coastal history to the future.
Honor Virginia Beach’s Proud Military Ties
Speaking of local history, the U.S. military has been a dominant influence in Virginia for decades, thanks in large part to the presence of numerous military bases and facilities, including the world’s largest navel station, Naval Air Station Oceana. Want to see more of Virginia Beach’s military ties? Browse one of the largest private collections of World War I and World War II era aircraft at the Military Aviation Museum. Or experience the museum’s aircrafts in motion by scheduling a plane ride over the city. In addition to its storied military past, Virginia Beach also prides itself on being home to one of the best U.S. military bases for families, as well as being one of the best U.S. cities for veterans to live in.
Unplug & Unwind in Nature
Between salt marshes and woodlands, nature lovers will never find themselves short on places to explore in Virginia Beach! Grab your beach towel and spend an afternoon at the beautifully secluded Sandbridge Beach. If something closer to the heart of the city is what you’re after, then look no further than the Oceanfront. There, you can lay out on the sand without straying too far from the shops and restaurants of the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. And sparkling seascapes are just the beginning of Virginia Beach’s natural wonders! Get up close and personal with the dozens of species that call Back Bay National Wildlife Preserve home and see for yourself just how diverse the area’s floral and fauna truly are. Shred at the skatepark, take your kids to the playground, or go for a jog on the 165-acre, man-made Mount Trashmore. And don’t forget to check out Virginia Beach’s other trail systems. Fox Run Trail in False Cape State Park, for example, gives visitors easy access the unspoiled Virginian landscape.
Cruise the Local Bike Trails
Along with being perfect for walking and jogging, Virginia Beach and its surrounding natural areas are also a true cyclist’s paradise. The city boasts more than 100 miles of bike-friendly paths, many of which start or run through major parks. False Cape State Park alone has over 15 miles of trails, and First Landing State Park has nearly 20. And there are tons of places to bike within the metro area, too! Biking in Virginia Beach is a fun, easy, and eco-friendly way to get around. But if walking, jogging, or driving is more your speed, these options are just as convenient, thanks to the city’s abundant pedestrian walkways.
Bring Fido Along on Your Adventures
Got a four-legged friend in the family? No problem! In addition to being a great place to raise kids, Virginia Beach is also incredibly pet-friendly. Traditional activities like visiting one of the many dog parks in Virginia Beach, going for a swim in the ocean, or strolling down the Boardwalk only scratch the surface. See what has locals buzzing about the craft brews at Wasserhund Brewing Company, which features a pet-friendly patio and several pup-themed pints. As for dog-friendly dining, treat yourself to Croc’s 19th Street Bistro‘s “Dinner with Your Dog” event every Monday evening. You can even browse art supplies with Fido at your side at Jerry’s Artarama. Virginia Beach even has a number of recurring pet-themed events you can enjoy year after year. Bring your canine companion (or register for a “doggie date” with a rescue dog) and enjoy endless fun at the annual Woofstock festival. Wherever your adventures take you in Virginia Beach, you’ll find several spots where your dog can come along. Just make sure to check for potential restrictions before you break out the leash!
Soak Up Sights & Sun on the Boardwalk
Ranked among Virginia Beach’s top attractions, the Virginia Beach Boardwalk is brimming with art, restaurants, shops, museums, and much more. No visit is complete without posing for a photo with the famed King Neptune statue, but there are plenty of other must-do activities to enjoy as well. Go fishing on the famed Virginia Beach Fishing Pier and wait for something to bite. Or see the Boardwalk from above with a ride on the Atlantic Fun Park‘s 100-foot Ferris wheel. Experience the sights and sounds of the Virginia coast from atop one of Virginia Beach Horseback‘s gentle steeds. No matter how much you pack into your time there, you’ll never run out of things to do at the VA Beach Boardwalk!
Make Some Waves with Local Watersports
If you’ve had your fill of building sandcastles at Chic’s Beach or working on your tan at Croatan Beach, why not hit the waves and try your hand at some Virginia Beach watersports? You don’t have to be an athlete to wakeboard, waterski, surf, or parasail on the warm Atlantic waters. All you need to do is rent some gear and get a few pointers from experts at one of VB’s many rental shops, and then you’ll be ready to hit the waves. VB also hosts a number of professional watersport events, so if you’d rather stick to cheering on the pros, you won’t want to miss great Virginia Beach sporting events like the East Coast Surfing Championships or Neptune’s Atlantic Regatta.
Cast Your Line in Second-to-None Fishing Spots
Many maritime activities in Virginia Beach are most popular in the warmer months, but fishing is one thing you can do all year long! Fresh and saltwater fishing are both well-loved pastimes in Neptune City, with anglers throughout the state and beyond flocking to the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier and the Lake Lawson/Lake Smith Natural Area. The waters are rife with billfish, tuna, bass, and more, so check out local licensing laws, grab your tackle, and get ready to reel in the big one! And if you’re feeling competitive, don’t miss your chance to test your skill against other anglers at the Annual Mid-Atlantic Rockfish Shootout!
Celebrate at Virginia Beach’s Annual Festivals
There’s an abundance of fun festivals in Virginia Beach for locals and tourists alike to look forward to each year. The beloved Neptune Festival, in particular, always draws a crowd. Hundreds of thousands flock to the Boardwalk year after year to let loose, listen to live music, and watch artists from around the world compete in the International Sand Sculpting Championship. But the fun doesn’t end there! When fall rolls around, savor dozens of unique wines from Virginia’s leading vineyards at the Annual Fall Wine Festival. Round out the year at the annual Winter Wildlife Festival, where you can grab a seat for insightful talks from keynote speakers, attend free walk-up workshops, and engage with live animals at this unique annual celebration.
Get Inspired at the ViBe Creative District
You don’t have to be at a festival to enjoy good times and great art in Virginia Beach! The ViBe Creative District is a lively cultural hub 365 days a year. Start your day with a delicious farm-to-table breakfast at Commune—one of VB’s best local eateries—before exploring some of best art in the city. See the latest from local artists at smaller venues like BOJUart. Or marvel at larger multimedia collections at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. If you want to take a piece of the art home with you, there are also several locally-owned shops in the district. Find your home’s next statement piece among the reclaimed lumber furniture sold at Benevolent Design Co. Have a smaller purchase in mind? Browse for a new handcrafted leather bag at North End Bag Company. Whatever you’re in the mood for, you won’t have any trouble finding things to do in the ViBe Creative District!
Try Virginia Beach’s Incredible Seafood
Love seafood? Treat your tastebuds to fantastic Virginia Beach seafood spots! Dig into the fresh-caught Seafood Platter at Calypso Bar & Grill for a little taste of everything. Or drop by Chix on the Beach to try their signature Steamer Bags—a true Chesapeake Bay tradition. Of course, you can never go wrong at the one-and-only Big Sam’s Raw Bar. Grab a table at this Virginia Beach favorite and indulge in their Fresh East Coast Oysters. In the mood for a more formal dining experience? Head to Blue Seafood & Spirits. Their Signature Broiled Lump Crab Cakes are divine. The list of great seafood restaurants in Virginia Beach is virtually endless!
Treat Yourself to Delicious Local Fare
If you aren’t a fan of seafood, don’t worry—Virginia Beach is a hub for all kinds of tasty cuisine. Spice lovers will want to head straight to Carib Shack, a Guy-Fieri-approved Caribbean eatery with something for everyone. Craving steak? Make a reservation at Steinhilber’s and see why locals can’t stop raving about their New York Strip. Stop into Repeal Bourbon & Burgers to feast on “The Classic” burger for a taste of something familiar or order one of their unique items like the PB&J Burger. Virginia Beach has plenty of brunch and breakfast spots as well! Start your day off sweet with some Stuffed French Toast at The Bee & Biscuit. Or sip on Bay Mimosas while enjoying a plate of Fried Chicken & Waffles at Bay Local Eatery.
Check Out the Thriving Nightlife Scene
Living in Virginia Beach means there will always be somewhere to go and something to do–especially after sundown! Grab an Orange Crush (Virginia Beach’s signature cocktail) and hit the town! Start your Orange Crush Crawl at Waterman’s Surfside Grille—home of the original Orange Crush—then head to Rudee’s on the Inlet for the Cabana Crush. Almost every bar in the city has their own version of this Virginia Beach classic. Of course, drinks aren’t the only thing you can enjoy after dark in Neptune City. Looking to laugh? Check out the side-splitting standup acts at the Funny Bone Comedy Club. Want a budget-friendly night on the town? Don’t miss Ynot Wednesdays, a free annual summer concert series featuring acts of all genres. If a wild weekend is more your style, hit the bar for a round of Peabody’s Purple Cosmos and then hit the dance floor at Peabody’s Nightclub.
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