15 Things to Know About Living in Virginia Beach

Thinking of living in Virginia Beach? Neptune City is one of the best beach towns in America and one of the best big cities to live in thanks to its stunning coastal beauty, family-friendly attractions, and ever-growing job market. Here are 15 things to know about living in VA Beach!

Seek Affordable Living in Neptune City

It’s no coincidence that many young professionals, families, and retirees have made their home in Virginia Beach—making it more than just a popular coastal travel destination! Not only do residents benefit from its booming economy and low unemployment rate, but VA Beach also boasts the lowest real estate tax rate in the Hampton Roads region. Plus, with the median home price in Virginia Beach sitting at $287,400 and an average monthly rent of $1,380, the city’s affordability helps make it one of the best places to live on the East Coast!

Find Great Jobs in Virginia Beach

If you’re considering moving to Virginia Beach, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to find a great job! The unemployment rate in Virginia Beach is nearly 2% lower than the national average at 2.8%, and the average income is higher than both state and national averages. Major industries in the area include advanced manufacturing, defense, tourism, and maritime and logistics. Additionally, those furthering their career in the U.S. military can find opportunities for employment at the Joint Expeditionary Base-Little Creek-Fort Story, the headquarters of the Navy Exchange Service Command, and more. Or if you work in healthcare, you can seek fulfilling work at nonprofits like LifeNet Health, or explore opportunities at top-rated Sentara Health—with hospitals in the area like Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital and Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

Earn Your Degree in Neptune City

Those interested in pursuing higher education have a number of local colleges and universities to choose from in VB! Enroll in popular programs like psychology, social science, or environmental studies at Virginia Wesleyan University—where you can cheer on the Marlins at various sporting events. If you’re in search of transfer-friendly or military-friendly schools, find that—plus 150 areas of study at Regent University. Choose from a range of programs such as aerospace physiology, space operations, or space physics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Enroll in classes to expand your knowledge about nursing, counseling and psychology, or business and technology at South University, Virginia Beach. Or join a sports team, study at the interactive library, and more when you find the major that suits your interests at Bryant & Stratton College.

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Discover Local Virginia Beach 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. First Landing State Park—one of the city’s many notable historical sites—was named for this early expedition, and visitors can camp, swim, observe native wildlife, and engage with the long history of indigenous tribes first-hand today. But learning about VB’s history doesn’t stop there! Connect with the past by climbing to the top of the Cape Henry Lighthouse—the nation’s first federally-funded public works project—for a bird’s-eye view of Chesapeake Bay. Learn more about how nautical features have shaped Virginia Beach’s legacy and explore maritime exhibits at the Surf & Rescue Museum. Or pay a visit to the first high school for African Americans in Virginia Beach and listen to stories of community, family, and more at the Princess Anne Country Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum.

Honor Virginia Beach’s Proud Military Ties

The U.S. military has been a dominant influence in Virginia for decades, thanks to numerous military bases and facilities. Want to explore Virginia Beach’s expansive military ties? Browse one of the largest private collections of World War I and World War II-era aircraft at the Military Aviation Museum. Buy tickets to see the famous Oceana Air Show at the Naval Air Station Oceana. Or experience the museum’s aircraft in motion by scheduling a plane ride over the city. In addition to its storied military past, Virginia Beach prides itself on being home to Fort Story—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

Due to the state’s “Goldilocks climate“, the weather in Virginia Beach is pleasantly moderate year-round. No matter the season, nature lovers will find plenty of places to explore in Virginia Beach! Grab your beach towel and spend an afternoon laying out at the beautifully secluded Sandbridge Beach. Rollerblade along the beachfront, surf the waves, or relax under the sun in the heart of the city at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. Admire diverse flora and fauna, and get a close look at dozens of species that call Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge home. Compete in the world’s largest amateur beach soccer festival, or watch from the sidelines at the North American Sand Soccer Championships (NASSC). Or shred at the skate park, take your kids to the playground, or go for a jog at the 165-acre Mount Trashmore Park.

Cruise the Many Bike Routes in Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach and its surrounding natural areas are a true cyclist’s paradise. The city boasts more than 300 miles of bike-friendly paths, many of which start or run through major parks. Find over 15 miles of trails at False Cape State Park alone, with False Cape Interior Trail, Marsh Ridge Trail, and Maple Leaf Trail. Travel along the Osmanthus Trail, Bald Cypress Trail, Cape Henry Trail, and other pathways at First Landing State Park. If self-guided bike tours are more up your alley, try the themed Bikes, Brews & Art Tour or Bikes, Brews & History Tour to discover interesting Virginia Beach hotspots at your own pace. Plus, with the abundance of pedestrian walkways, you’ll always have an easy, fun, and eco-friendly way to get around the city!

Bring Fido Along on Your Adventures

Your four-legged friend will feel right at home in Virginia Beach! 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 of the city’s pet-friendliness. See what has locals buzzing about the craft brews at Wasserhund Brewing Company, which features a pet-friendly patio and several pup-themed pints. For dining at dog-friendly restaurants, you can enjoy dishes like Pasta Prima Vera, Seafood Jambalaya, or the Fish of the Day with your pup on the outdoor patio at Abbey Road Pub & Restaurant. Enjoy Yappy Hour drinks and events like Music Bingo while your dog plays in the year-round dog park at Pups and Pints. Or bring your canine companion to enjoy live music, food trucks, and more at the annual Woofstock Music Festival.

Stroll Along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk

Considered one of the top VA Beach attractions, the Virginia Beach Boardwalk is brimming with art, restaurants, shops, museums, and so 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. Bring out your fishing pole and see what you can reel in on the famed Virginia Beach Fishing Pier. Build sandcastles with the family, try out the sway boat, and enjoy the fully accessible playground at Grommet Island Park. Get your heart pumping on thrill rides, hop on a go-kart, and admire the waterfront from 100 feet in the air on the Ferris wheel at Atlantic Fun Park. Or experience the sights and sounds of the Virginia coast atop a horse on guided tours with Virginia Beach Horseback!

Get Involved in Waterfront Activities

There are plenty of watersports and maritime activities in Virginia Beach to enjoy! 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 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 a big one. Compete for the biggest catch at the annual Mid-Atlantic Rockfish Shootout. Looking to get into watersports instead? Rent some gear and get a few pointers from the experts at one of VB’s many rental shops, and then hit the waves for surfing, canoeing, and more. For a guided experience, book a Kayak Dolphin Tour with GoKayak!. Take the family out and parasail up to 1000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean with Pirate Parasail. Or cheer on the pros at VB sporting events like the annual East Coast Surfing Championships and Neptune’s Atlantic Regatta.

Celebrate at Annual Virginia Beach Festivals

There’s an abundance of fun festivals in Virginia Beach to look forward to. Catch insightful talks from keynote speakers, try your hand in a birding challenge, and engage with live animals at the annual Winter Wildlife Festival. Watch artists compete for first place at the International Sand Sculpting Championship, check out the Grand Parade, and more at the beloved Virginia Beach Neptune Festival. Enjoy fresh roasted, raw, or fried oysters with a chilled craft beer at the Oyster Roast, Orange Crush, & Craft Beer Festival—which takes place in the Virginia Beach Convention Center. Jam out on the oceanfront to top acts like Dashboard Confessional and 311 at the Oceanfront Concert Series every summer. Raise money for charity, play games, enjoy live music, and support over 40 local brewers—while they battle for the top spot at the 757 Battle of the Beers. Or bundle up to join in on the holiday cheer while you watch the procession of lighted floats, giant balloons, fire trucks, and more at the Holiday Parade at the Beach.

Get Inspired at the ViBe Creative District

You don’t have to attend a festival to enjoy good times and great art in Virginia Beach! The ViBe Creative District is a lively cultural hub all year round, with endless things to do and discover. Before exploring some of the best art in the city, start your day with a delicious farm-to-table breakfast of Cornmeal Waffles, Biscuit Egg Benedict, or Farm Grit Bowl at Commune—one of VB’s top local eateries. Attend the annual Virginia MOCA Boardwalk Art Show, take classes based on current exhibitions, or marvel at the rotating art collections at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. If you want to take art home with you, there are also several locally-owned shops in the district to explore. Have a smaller purchase in mind? Browse for a new handcrafted leather bag, wallet, and more at North End Bag Company. Or set up an appointment to buy one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces at Hardy’s The Art of Jewelry.

Savor Virginia Beach Seafood

If you love seafood, you can find plenty of fantastic Virginia Beach seafood restaurants to treat your tastebuds! Dig into a Crab Cake Sandwich, Beach Burger, or fresh-caught Seafood Platter at Calypso Bar & Grill. Order Hush Puppies, a Southwest Blackened Tuna Salad, or one of the signature Steamer Bags at Chix on the Beach. Devour Little Neck Clams, Fennel Pollen Spiced Sea Scallops, or Pan Roasted Atlantic Halibut at Terrapin Restaurant. Feast on Oysters Rockefeller, Hatteras Clam Chowder, Big Sam’s Famous Gulf Shrimp, or Fresh East Coast Oysters at the one-and-only Big Sam’s Raw Bar, a Virginia Beach favorite. Stop by and fill up on the Steamed Snow Crab Legs, Whole Atlantic Lobster, or Classic Shrimp Cocktail at Catch 31. Searching for a more formal dining experience? Indulge in Seaside Scallops, Tempura Fried Shrimp, or the Signature Broiled Lump Crab Cakes at Blue Seafood & Spirits!

Treat Yourself to Delicious Local Fare

If you aren’t a fan of seafood, don’t worry—Virginia Beach boasts all kinds of tasty cuisine. Start your day off with Candied Pecan French Toast Bites, Cinnabon Pecan Waffles, or Buttermilk Pancakes at Bay Local Eatery. Have brunch in VA Beach and order JJ’s Eggs Benedict, Hippy Breakfast Burrito, or an Orange Zest Ham Biscuit at The Bee & The Biscuit. Spice lovers will want to order the Loaded Chopped Cheese Fries, Jerk Shrimp, or Caribbean Fried Cauliflower at Carib Shack, a Guy-Fieri-approved Caribbean eatery with something for everyone. Make a reservation to enjoy dishes such as the Beef Wellington, Lobster Thermidor, and Short Rib Risotto at Steinhilber’s. Savor a Bourbon Bone-In Pork Chop, Garlic & Herb Chicken, or Kielbasa & Chicken Mac & Cheese at Firebrew. Or stop by and feast on a Krabby Patty, The Classic Burger, or the unique PB&J Burger at Repeal Bourbon & Burgers.

Check Out Nightlife in VA Beach

Living in Virginia Beach means there will always be somewhere to go and something to do–especially after sundown! No VB night out would be complete without trying Virginia Beach’s signature cocktail, the Orange Crush. Though Waterman’s Surfside Grille claims to be the Orange Crush’s originator, almost every bar in the city has its own version of this Virginia Beach classic. But drinks aren’t the only thing you can enjoy after dark in Neptune City! Attend events like Clash of the Comics or check out side-splitting standup acts at the VA Beach Funny Bone. Want a budget-friendly night on the town? Don’t miss Ynot Wednesdays, a free annual summer concert series featuring acts of all genres. Partake in a drink of your choice while you enjoy a Brisket BLT, Smoked Chicken Club, or Chips & Salsa at Lynnhaven Pub. Sip a Cabana Crusher to go with Carolina Steamed Shrimp, Turp’s Surf & Turf, or Rudee’s Crabcake Dinner at Rudee’s Restaurant & Cabana Bar. Or if a wild weekend is more your style, hit the bar for a round of Lemon Drop Crushes and then hit the dance floor at Peabody’s Nightclub.

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Moving to Virginia Beach? Extra Space Storage has self storage facilities throughout the VB area to help your move go smoothly. Find a storage unit near you!

About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.

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