City Spotlight: Virginia Beach, Virginia

by Cassandra McCullersSeptember 11, 2017

If you’re are looking for a fun, vibrant city with beautiful summers and mild winters, Virginia Beach, Virginia might be just what you are looking for! This wonderful resort city includes a famous three-mile boardwalk that stretches along the oceanfront, offering easy access to a fabulous array of shops, restaurants, museums and attractions. The city also sits near the meeting point between the saltwater Atlantic Ocean and freshwater Chesapeake Bay, creating a unique ecosystem for turtles, fish and rays.

Weather and Climate

Virginia Beach has a humid climate, with cold winters that often have light snowfall and hot summers. Spring and summer are the wettest seasons. The city’s average high temperature in the summer is 87.4°F in July, and the average low temperature in the winter is 32.7°F in January. Virginia Beach usually gets around 3.0 to 5.8 inches of snow and 37 to over 50 inches of rain every year, depending on where in the city you are.

Activities

Whether you are planning a quick weekend getaway, or looking for that dream home in which to raise a family for years to come, Virginia Beach is a truly special destination. Be sure to check out these attractions:
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  • Hands-on Exhibits: The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center is an impressive aquarium and marine science museum that features over 800,000 gallons of animal habitats and includes a stunning array of hands-on exhibits, a touch-pool, and a beautiful nature path that explores the area’s marshlands.They also have an eco-friendly zip line that offers a fun and unique aerial adventure.
  • Freshwater Parks:
    • The Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is an 8,000-acre freshwater park that sits between the Atlantic Ocean and Back Bay.
    • The Refuge’s barrier islands are must-go popular destinations for naturalists. They features, large sand dunes, maritime forests, freshwater marshes, ocean beaches, and habitats for wintering wildfowl.

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  • Public Parks: The city’s highest point is the iconic Mount Trashmore which is a whimsical 165-acre public park created above an abandoned landfill. It includes fifteen different picnic shelters, a massive handicap-accessible “Kid’s Cove” playground area, a basketball court, and four volleyball areas.
  • Festivals: There are so many festivals that take place in Virginia Beach. There is one for everyone, depending on what peaks your interest. Below are just a few of many.
    • Neptune Festival- known for its truly amazing sand sculptures and displays and is held during the Neptune Festival Boardwalk Weekend at the end of September.
    • Coastal Wine Festival- Where are the wine lovers unite! This festival is held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center in January. Besides plenty of wine, it also offers seminars, competitions, and a whole lot of grape stomping!
    • Arts Festival- All genres of arts (ex. musicians, dance, and comedy) are celebrated during this time at all of the top cities of the Hampton Roads.
  • Sporting Events: Every year, Virginia Beach hosts the East Coast Surfing Championships and North American Sand Soccer Championship, drawing thousands of visitors from across the globe. While most of the region’s spectator sports are located in neighboring Norfolk, VA, Virginia Beach has its share of local sports teams and amateur opportunities for sporting fun. The Virginia Beach Sportsplex, a soccer stadium that can host up to 17,000 visitors, serves as the training grounds for a variety of regional teams and programs.

Culture

As the biggest city in the state and one of our nation’s premier tourist destinations, Virginia Beach has an impressive array of opportunities for culture, art, music and history available in the area. From breath-taking modern installations to exhibitions of ancient culture and historical artifacts, Virginia Beach offers something for everyone in the family.
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  • The Virginia Beach Amphitheatre: is a 20,000-seat outdoor concert venue that features a rich variety of performances and charity events. Families can sit in the provided seating, or bring their blankets and lawn chairs, sit back and enjoy the show.
  • The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA): MOCA’s studio school offers classes for both adults and children in drawing, painting, ceramics, digital photography, mixed media, and fine crafts. Each year, MOCA hosts an internationally renowned Boardwalk Art Show showcasing nearly 300 artists work from 20th to 35th street along the oceanfront.
  • Historic Sites: Although Virginia Beach has certainly grown into a key destination in modern times, it has actually played a vital role in the history of our country and local populations. The city has eighteen sites on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Adam Thoroughgood House, the Francis Land House, the Cape Henry Lights, and Pembroke Manor.

Schools

Virginia Beach spends a fairly average amount on schools – $11,759 per student per year, compared to the national average of $12,383. There are 17.5 students per teacher across all schools, close to the national average of 16.8. Of course, the city’s schools vary in quality, and they have plenty of nationally acclaimed elementary, middle, and high schools.

Economy

Virginia Beach’s unemployment rate is 3.8%, lower than the national rate of 5.2%. Also, the average income per person is $32,477, higher than the national average of $28,555. This is balanced out by a slightly higher cost of living, especially in housing. Virginia Beach’s cost of living is rather reasonable when compared to other similarly sized cities – about 10% above average. The economy is moderately strong, with future job growth over the next ten years projected at 35.64%.

Crime

Virginia Beach has a crime rate lower than the national average and an especially low rate for a major city. Virginia Beach’s property crime rate is slightly lower than the national average, and its violent crime rate is less than half the national average, though crime rates do vary by neighborhood. As with any town popular with tourists, visitors must be careful with their belongings and purses when in a public setting.

Transportation

The Newtown Road stop of the light rail
The Newtown Road stop of the light rail

Virginia Beach has an average commute time of a bit under 28 minutes, versus the national average of 26 minutes. The city is on the Virginia Beach-Norfolk Expressway, a 12-mile extension of I-264. Residents and visitors alike are served by the Hampton Road Transit company, which includes 19 different routes providing access to the area’s military bases, residential neighborhoods, business districts and oceanfront locations.

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About The Author
Cassandra McCullers
Cassandra is a writer with a background in engineering, enjoying the rural life in the Virginian Appalachians. When not working, she enjoys writing fiction, running a blog, camping, working in the garden, and tending to her flock of chickens! In addition to writing, she has a passion for art and graphic design. Her interests include disaster preparedness, homesteading, landscaping, cooking with natural ingredients, history, and animal husbandry.

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