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Home Ipsnews Living in Virginia Beach 101: All You Need To Know

Living in Virginia Beach 101: All You Need To Know

by Busines Newswire
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Virginia Beach offers a unique blend of coastal charm, vibrant community life, and a plethora of amenities that make it a sought-after destination for residents and visitors alike. As a city that boasts an impressive array of public and private schools, state-of-the-art healthcare facilities, and a significant military presence, living in Virginia Beach provides an enriching environment for individuals and families.

The appeal of Virginia Beach is undeniable, with its beautiful beaches, rich history, and dynamic cultural scene.

Education System

Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) demonstrates a robust commitment to education, emphasizing a future-ready approach for all students and aiming to close achievement and opportunity gaps.

The district boasts a comprehensive array of schools including numerous high schools such as Bayside, Cox, and First Colonial, alongside specialty centers like the Advanced Technology Center and the Technical & Career Education Center. Recent developments include naming Dr. Donald Robertson Jr. as superintendent, recognizing his long tenure and diverse roles within the district, from math teacher to acting superintendent.

Additionally, VBCPS is celebrating academic achievements such as high rankings for Kingston Elementary and Old Donation School by U.S. News & World Report, and maintaining a high on-time graduation rate of 95.3% for the 2023 cohort year, which outperforms Virginia’s rate.

The Virginia Department of Education provides detailed statistics and reports on the educational landscape, including data on school accreditation, student demographics, and program participation.

For instance, in the 2022-2023 academic year, there’s been a notable enrollment in Advanced Placement courses and an increase in students taking AP tests, reflecting the district’s commitment to high academic standards.

Additionally, the postsecondary enrollment data shows a significant percentage of students advancing to higher education within 16 months of graduating high school. Such metrics underscore the effectiveness of VBCPS’s educational programs and its focus on preparing students for future success.

Healthcare Facilities

Virginia Beach is home to several reputable healthcare facilities, each offering a range of services to meet the community’s needs. Sentara Independence is a notable provider, delivering quality outpatient services including an ambulance-accessible emergency room supported by board-certified physicians, advanced imaging, and physical therapy.

This facility, equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment and staffed by highly skilled professionals, represents an extension of the services available at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital, underscoring the comprehensive care options available within the city.

Additionally, the Virginia Beach Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center provides another essential healthcare service in the region, specializing in both short and long-term care. Established in 1977, it is located just a few miles from major hospitals like Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital, serving the coastal community and surrounding areas.

The center prides itself on its modern facilities, including a state-of-the-art rehabilitation gym and a team of highly experienced staff and therapists. With over 175 years of combined experience, the therapy team is committed to delivering successful outcomes, highlighting the facility’s dedication to patient success and recovery.

Military Presence

Virginia Beach boasts a significant military presence, particularly noted for the Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana and the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. NAS Oceana is the sole East Coast Master Jet Base and is pivotal in training and deploying strike fighter squadrons, such as the F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets.

This base alone supports nearly 220,000 flight training operations annually, underlining its critical role in naval aviation training and operations. Additionally, the base is the headquarters for the Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic, further emphasizing its importance within the Navy’s organizational structure.

In a broader scope, Hampton Roads, encompassing Virginia Beach, is renowned for its substantial military installations, with a total of 15, including the world’s largest naval base, Naval Station Norfolk. This region is home to over 80,000 active-duty military personnel, highlighting one of the largest concentrations of armed forces in the United States.

The military’s integration into this area extends beyond the bases themselves, influencing local economies, communities, and the overall way of life. The sheer scale of these installations and the number of personnel stationed there reflect the strategic importance of Virginia Beach and the surrounding Hampton Roads area in national defense and security.

Beaches and Outdoor Recreation

The city’s beaches and outdoor recreation opportunities are among its most attractive features. From the bustling Oceanfront at Virginia Beach to the serene Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, there’s an abundance of natural beauty to explore. The area is perfect for beach lovers and those passionate about outdoor activities, offering over 100 miles of bike-friendly paths and various water sports options.

Safety and Crime Rate

Virginia Beach’s crime rates offer a mixed picture, with some areas of safety and others of concern. Overall, Virginia Beach’s crime rate is higher than the national average, with a 1 in 59 chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime.

Despite this, when compared to other communities of similar size, Virginia Beach emerges as safer than most. Specifically, the violent crime rate in Virginia Beach is significantly below the national average, making it less common to encounter violent crimes such as assault, rape, murder, and armed robbery in the area.

The property crime rate, however, suggests an above-average likelihood of becoming a victim of crimes like motor vehicle theft, arson, larceny, and burglary.

The perception of safety in Virginia Beach varies significantly across different parts of the city, with certain areas deemed safer than others. According to CrimeGrade.org, the city receives a D- grade for overall safety, indicating that the rate of crime is much higher than in the average US city.

The safest areas tend to be in the northern part of Virginia Beach, while the northeast neighborhoods see higher crime rates. Factors contributing to crime include economic conditions, population density, and housing costs, with Virginia Beach experiencing lower poverty rates and higher median home prices compared to national averages.

These factors, coupled with the city’s high population density, play a significant role in shaping the local crime landscape.

Cost of Living

Virginia Beach’s cost of living is slightly above both the national and Virginia state averages, reflecting its status as a desirable coastal city with a range of amenities and lifestyle options. The BestPlaces Cost of Living Score for Virginia Beach is 104.8, indicating that expenses here are approximately 4.8% higher than the U.S. average, yet slightly more affordable by 0.6% than the Virginia average.

Specifically, housing costs in Virginia Beach are noted to be a significant factor, with the average home price at $370,800, which is higher than both the national and state averages. Moreover, the average rent for a two-bedroom unit is $1,590 per month, surpassing both the national and Virginia averages, indicating a higher demand for living spaces within the city.

Analyzing different categories, groceries in Virginia Beach are 0.5% higher than the national average, suggesting modestly higher food expenses. However, healthcare costs are 4.4% lower than the national average, offering some financial relief in medical expenses.

Utilities stand 4.8% higher than the national average, reflecting the influence of geographical location and state regulations on such costs.

These variances highlight the importance of considering individual lifestyle needs and preferences when assessing the overall cost of living.

The city’s broader economic factors, including a median income for homeowners at around $94,183, further influence these living costs, with recommended budgeting strategies suggesting a maximum of 28% of gross income to be spent on housing-related expenses.

Cultural and Historical Attractions

Virginia Beach, steeped in history and cultural richness, offers a plethora of attractions for history enthusiasts and cultural aficionados alike. The city marks the first landing of English settlers in America, which can be explored at First Landing State Park, and houses the historic Cape Henry Lighthouse, a beacon for navigating the region’s storied past.

The Adam Thoroughgood House invites visitors to delve into the domestic life of one of Virginia’s earliest settlers, offering a tangible connection to the 17th century. Additionally, the area’s rich military history is commemorated at the Navy SEAL Monument, located on the scenic Virginia Beach Boardwalk, paying homage to the valor of the SEALs and their pivotal role in American history.

The City of Virginia Beach’s Cultural Affairs Department actively engages both residents and visitors with a diverse array of arts, heritage, and cultural experiences, aiming to connect and strengthen communities.

Their efforts include public art installations, historic museums, and cultural community organizations, showcasing the city’s commitment to nurturing and reflecting its cultural diversity.

The vibrant ViBe Creative District stands as a testament to this commitment, offering an eclectic mix of music, paintings, sculptures, and festivals. The city’s cultural landscape is further enriched by initiatives like the VBGIGs Global Music Series, offering free concerts featuring global music, and various grant opportunities that support local artists and cultural projects. These efforts not only celebrate Virginia Beach’s rich historical tapestry and artistic vibrancy but also contribute significantly to the local economy and community well-being.

Outdoor Activities and Sports

Virginia Beach is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, offering a wide range of activities that cater to different interests and fitness levels.

From the extensive trails at First Landing State Park, which spans seven distinct ecosystems, to the challenging terrains of False Cape State Park, adventurers can enjoy hiking, biking, and exploring the natural beauty of these areas.

First Landing State Park is particularly noted for its scenic hike through enchanting cypress swamps, while False Cape State Park is celebrated for its untouched natural landscapes, offering a more secluded experience.

For those seeking a mix of adventure and cultural experiences, Virginia Beach does not disappoint. The Adventure Park at the Virginia Aquarium is perfect for families and individuals looking for zip-lining and ropes courses among the trees, catering to all fitness levels.

Additionally, the Creative ViBE District showcases Virginia Beach’s commitment to local art and culture with outdoor murals, sculptures, and sidewalk art, providing not only an opportunity for outdoor exploration but also a chance to engage with the local art scene.

Whether you’re into rigorous outdoor activities, enjoying serene nature, or exploring cultural attractions, Virginia Beach offers a myriad of options to ensure a memorable experience. From the natural beauty of its parks and trails to the vibrant displays in the Creative ViBE District, there’s something for everyone to enjoy outdoors in Virginia Beach.

Community and Lifestyle

Virginia Beach offers a rich tapestry of community life and a lifestyle that caters to both residents and visitors looking for a blend of outdoor adventures, cultural richness, and a relaxed coastal living atmosphere.

With its comfortable climate, affordable housing, and diverse districts, Virginia Beach stands out as a prime location for those seeking a balanced and vibrant living experience. The city’s moderate climate ensures enjoyable outdoor activities throughout the year, while the housing market presents affordable options compared to other beach towns, making it an attractive place for newcomers.

The median home price is around $262,000 and a median monthly rent of $1,258 highlights the city’s affordability.

The community spirit in Virginia Beach is further enriched by its unique districts, each offering distinct experiences and local flavors. The ViBe Creative District, for example, serves as a hub for local creatives, showcasing a range of artwork, from murals to handmade crafts, fostering a vibrant arts scene.

Meanwhile, areas like Pungo offer a serene escape into rural charm and agricultural heritage, providing a stark contrast to the bustling Oceanfront district, which is known for its lively boardwalk, entertainment, and dining options. Such diversity ensures that residents and visitors alike can find their niche, whether they’re drawn to the tranquility of nature, the thrill of outdoor activities, or the vibrancy of local arts and culture.

These elements combine to create a dynamic community where the coastal lifestyle is celebrated, and a wide array of interests can be pursued, from enjoying the sandy beaches and participating in water sports to engaging in cultural festivals and exploring historical sites.

The result is a city that not only caters to a variety of lifestyles but also fosters a sense of belonging and community among those who choose to call it home.

Pros and Cons of Living in Virginia Beach

Living in Virginia Beach offers a blend of coastal charm, a vibrant lifestyle, and diverse opportunities, making it an appealing choice for many. However, like any city, it has its share of pros and cons that potential residents should consider.


Educational Excellence: Virginia Beach is lauded for its strong educational system, boasting some of the best school districts in the state. This ensures access to quality education for children, setting a solid foundation for their future.

Economic Opportunities: The city’s economy is robust, thanks to a mix of military presence, tourism, and a growing tech sector. This economic diversity provides residents with numerous job opportunities across various fields.

Outdoor and Cultural Life: With its beautiful beaches, parks, and historical sites, Virginia Beach offers plenty of outdoor recreation and cultural attractions. Residents can enjoy a wide range of activities, from water sports to exploring museums and participating in local festivals.


Hurricanes and Coastal Risks: Being on the Atlantic coast, Virginia Beach is susceptible to hurricanes and tropical storms. While the community is well-prepared, the potential for property damage and evacuations adds a layer of risk to coastal living.

Traffic and Transportation Challenges: The city faces traffic congestion, especially during rush hours and tourist seasons. The public transportation options are limited, which can make commuting and getting around more time-consuming.

Cost of Living and Taxes: The cost of living in Virginia Beach is slightly higher than the national average. While the city offers a good quality of life, residents may find housing, utilities, and taxes to be pricier compared to other places.

Retirement in Virginia Beach

Choosing to retire in Virginia Beach is an attractive option for many, particularly because of its beautiful natural surroundings, advantageous tax benefits, and exceptional healthcare facilities.

This coastal city is not only renowned for its breathtaking beaches but also for a wide range of activities suited for retirees, including outdoor adventures like hiking and golfing, as well as rich cultural events and opportunities for historical discovery.

The region’s subtropical climate ensures warm summers and mild winters, providing an ideal setting for those looking to enjoy the outdoors all year round. Additionally, Virginia’s tax policies offer substantial advantages to retirees, such as exemptions on Social Security benefits and deductions on retirement income, further bolstering the financial benefits of relocating here.

Many people contemplating this significant lifestyle change opt to hire a moving company in Virginia Beach to facilitate a smooth transition to Virginia Beach. Engaging professional movers offers the peace of mind that comes with knowing your belongings will be handled with care and efficiency, allowing you to focus on settling into your new environment and enjoying the retirement you’ve envisioned.

However, it’s wise to consider some potential drawbacks before deciding to retire in Virginia Beach. The city’s popularity as a tourist destination means that it can get crowded, particularly during peak seasons, which might detract from the tranquility some retirees seek.

Furthermore, traffic congestion and the limited availability of public transportation options could pose mobility challenges. The city’s strategic military significance also means that jet noise is a common occurrence, which may be bothersome to some residents. Lastly, while Virginia Beach is largely shielded from the severe impacts of hurricanes, the region does face annual storm threats, requiring residents to be prepared and vigilant.

Weather and Climate

Virginia Beach’s climate and weather patterns offer a diverse and generally pleasant experience throughout the year, with conditions that cater to a wide range of outdoor and recreational activities. The city experiences a subtropical climate characterized by hot summers and mild winters. During the summer months, temperatures can soar into the mid-90s (Fahrenheit), but the high humidity levels might make it feel even warmer, though sea breezes often provide relief on the hottest days. Winters, on the other hand, are relatively mild and short, with temperatures rarely falling below freezing.

Snowfall is infrequent, averaging around 6 inches per year, and the city enjoys an ample amount of sunshine, with approximately 213 sunny days annually. Precipitation is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, ensuring the region’s lushness and supporting a variety of natural landscapes.

The weather varies significantly across the seasons, offering distinct experiences. For instance, July marks the peak of summer with its highest temperatures, while August continues the trend of warm weather, making the ocean temperatures particularly inviting for swimming.

As the year progresses into fall, September and October witness a gradual cooldown, providing an ideal climate for enjoying the outdoors without the intensity of summer heat. By November, the weather takes a definitive turn towards cooler temperatures, setting the stage for the mild winters Virginia Beach is known for.

This climate variety supports an array of activities, from beach outings and water sports in the warmer months to enjoying the natural beauty and outdoor events in cooler temperatures.

Final Thoughts

Virginia Beach stands out as a beloved summertime destination, cherished by families and couples alike for its vast array of activities, from exploring historical sites and museums to enjoying its famed sandy beaches and amusement parks.

The city’s vibrant boardwalk, rich with hotels, restaurants, and entertainment options, alongside iconic attractions like the King Neptune statue, the Virginia Beach Surf and Rescue Museum, and the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, offers a comprehensive blend of cultural, recreational, and leisure pursuits.

Furthermore, the Creative ViBe District showcases the area’s artistic flair through an array of public murals and art installations, enhancing the city’s scenic and cultural landscape.

The essence of Virginia Beach is not just confined to its picturesque shores and historical sites; it extends into thrilling water-based adventures and a diverse culinary scene that celebrates the best of coastal cuisine.

From paddleboarding in serene waters to the thrill of jet skiing and parasailing, the options for aquatic excitement are boundless.

Culinary enthusiasts can delve into local flavors at numerous seafood restaurants along the boardwalk or sample gourmet street food for a more casual dining experience. The boardwalk itself, a bustling promenade filled with shops and entertainment, along with the serene beauty of sunset views from beachfront bars and restaurants, encapsulates the unique charm of Virginia Beach. This coastal city promises an idyllic retreat, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in its natural beauty, vibrant community, and wide-ranging activities tailored to every preference.

In conclusion, living in Virginia Beach provides a high-quality life with access to beautiful beaches, excellent educational and healthcare facilities, and a strong job market.

The city’s military presence adds to its character and economy, offering a unique blend of history, culture, and community. Despite its challenges, such as the cost of living and hurricane risks, Virginia Beach remains a desirable place to live for individuals and families alike.