Virginia Beach: Wikis


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Virginia Beach
—  City  —
Virginia Beach Oceanfront


Location in Virginia.
Virginia Beach is located in the USA
Virginia Beach
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 36°50′04″N 76°05′6.72″W / 36.83444°N 76.0852°W / 36.83444; -76.0852
Country United States
State Virginia
 - Mayor Will Sessoms
 - City 497.3 sq mi (1,288.1 km2)
 - Land 248.3 sq mi (643.1 km2)
 - Water 249.0 sq mi (645.0 km2)
Elevation 10 ft (6 m)
Population (2008 Census Estimate)
 - City 433,746
 Density 1,712.8/sq mi (661.3/km2)
 Urban 1,212,000
 Metro 1,795,015
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Area code(s) 757
FIPS code 51-82000[1]
GNIS feature ID 1500261[2]

Virginia Beach is an independent city located in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area of Virginia, on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Although Fairfax County is the most populous jurisdiction, Virginia Beach is the most populous city in Virginia and the 42nd largest city in the United States, with an estimated population of 440,415 in 2008.[3] Its median household income in 2007 was $61,234.

Virginia Beach is the easternmost of the Seven Cities of Hampton Roads that make up the core of the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSA. This area, known as "America's First Region", also includes the independent cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, as well as other smaller cities, counties and towns of Hampton Roads.

Virginia Beach is a resort city with miles of beaches and hundreds of hotels, motels, and restaurants along its oceanfront. Every year the city hosts the East Coast Surfing Championships as well as the North American Sand Soccer Championship, a beach soccer tournament. It is also home to several state parks, several long-protected beach areas, three military bases, a number of large corporations, two universities, and numerous historic sites. Near the point where the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean meet, Cape Henry was the site of the first landing of the English colonists, who eventually settled in Jamestown, on April 26, 1607.

The city is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having the longest pleasure beach in the world. It is located at the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, the longest bridge-tunnel complex in the world.[4]



A Chesepian Home

Chesepians were the first inhabitants of the area now known as South Hampton Roads in Virginia about which anything is known.[5] They occupied an area which is now the independent cities of Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.[6]

Cape Henry from the air, facing ESE

In 1607, after a voyage of 144 days, three ships headed by Captain Christopher Newport carrying 105 men and boys made their first landfall in the New World where the Atlantic Ocean meets the southern mouth of the Chesapeake Bay in the northeastern part of the city. They named it Cape Henry, after Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of King James I of England. However, these English colonists of the Virginia Company of London left the area, as they were under orders to seek a site further inland which would be more sheltered from ships of competing European countries. They created their first permanent settlement at Jamestown.[7]

Adam Thoroughgood (1604–1640) of King's Lynn, Norfolk, England is one of the earliest Englishmen to settle in the area which became Virginia Beach. At the age of 18, he became an indentured servant to pay for passage to the Virginia Colony. He earned his freedom and became a leading citizen of the area. In 1629, he was elected to the House of Burgesses for Elizabeth Cittie [sic], one of four "citties" (or incorporations) which were subdivided areas established in 1619.[8]

In 1634, the Colony was divided into the original eight shires of Virginia, soon renamed as counties. Thoroughgood is credited with using the name of his home in England when helping name "New Norfolk County" in 1637. The following year, New Norfolk County was split into Upper Norfolk County (soon renamed Nansemond County) and Lower Norfolk County. Thoroughgood's choice of residence after 1634 was along the Lynnhaven River, also named for his home in England. Lower Norfolk County was quite large, and stretched all the way from the Atlantic Ocean west past the Elizabeth River, encompassing the entire area now within the modern cities of Portsmouth, Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach.[8]

In 1691, Lower Norfolk County was divided to form Norfolk County and Princess Anne County. Princess Anne, the easternmost county in South Hampton Roads, extended northward from the North Carolina border to Cape Henry at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, and included all of the area fronting the Atlantic Ocean. Princess Anne County was to last from 1691 to 1963, over 250 years.[9]

Princess Anne County (1691-1963), now extinct, with Virginia Beach from 1895 Virginia map

The small resort area of Virginia Beach grew in Princess Anne County, beginning in the late 19th century, particularly after the 1888 arrival of rail service and electricity and the opening of the original Princess Anne Hotel at the oceanfront near the tiny community of Seatack. In 1891, guests at the new hotel watched the wreck and rescue efforts of the United States Life-Saving Service for the Norwegian bark Dictator. The ship's figurehead, which washed up on the beach several days later, was erected as a modest monument to the victims and rescuers along the oceanfront for more than 50 years, and later became the inspiration for the current matching Norwegian Lady Monuments in Virginia Beach and Moss, Norway, sculpted by Ørnulf Bast.[10]

Although the resort was initially dependent upon railroad and electric trolley service, the completion of Virginia Beach Boulevard in 1922, which extended from Norfolk to the oceanfront, opened the way for automobiles, buses, trucks, and passenger rail service, the latter of which was eventually discontinued. The growing resort of Virginia Beach became an incorporated town in 1906. Over the next 45 years, Virginia Beach continued to grow in popularity as a seasonal vacation spot, and casinos gave way to amusement parks and family-oriented attractions. In 1927 The Cavalier Hotel opened and became a popular vacation spot. Virginia Beach became politically independent of Princess Anne County as an independent city in 1952, although the numerous ties between Virginia Beach and Princess Anne remained. In 1963, after approval by referendum of the voters of the City of Virginia Beach and Princess Anne County, and with the approval of the Virginia General Assembly, the two political subdivisions were consolidated as a new, much larger independent city, retaining the better-known name of the Virginia Beach resort.[11]

Real estate, defense, and tourism are major sectors of the Virginia Beach economy, but the city has begun to run out of clear land available for new construction above the Green Line, an urban growth boundary dividing the urban northern and rural southern sections of the city.[12]

As such, while Virginia Beach does not have a redevelopment authority, local public and private groups have maintained a vested interest in real-estate redevelopment, resulting in a number of joint public-private projects such as commercial parks. Examples of this are the Virginia Beach Convention Center, the Oceanfront Hilton Hotel, and the Virginia Beach Town Center. Using tax increment financing through creation of special tax districts and street and infrastructure construction, the City was able to assist in financing the projects making them a reality. The Town Center opened in 2003 and still has construction taking place, while the Convention Center opened in 2005.[13][14]

The Alan B. Shepard Civic Center ("The Dome"), a significant building in the city's history, was constructed in 1958,[15] was dedicated to the career of former Virginia Beach resident and astronaut Alan Shepard,[16] and was the first geodesic dome building constructed in the continental United States — based on the design work of Buckminster Fuller. The building was razed in 1994[15] to make room for a municipal parking lot and potential future development.

Infill and development of residential neighborhoods has placed a number of operating constraints on Naval Air Station Oceana, a major fighter jet base for the U.S. Navy. While the airbase currently enjoys wide support from Virginia Beach at large, the Pentagon Base Realignment and Closure commission has proposed closure of Oceana within the next decade.[17]

Geography and climate

Image of the Chesapeake Bay shore.

Virginia Beach is located at 36°50′4″N 76°5′13″W / 36.83444°N 76.08694°W / 36.83444; -76.08694 (Virginia Beach)Coordinates: 36°50′4″N 76°5′13″W / 36.83444°N 76.08694°W / 36.83444; -76.08694 (Virginia Beach).[18]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 497.3 square miles (1,288 km2). 248.3 square miles (643 km2) of it is land and 249.0 square miles (645 km2) of it (50.07%) is water. The average elevation is 12 feet (3.7 m) above sea level. A major portion of the city drains to the Chesapeake Bay by way of the Lynnhaven River and its tributaries.

The city is located at the southeastern corner of Virginia in the Hampton Roads area bordering the Atlantic Ocean. The Hampton Roads Metropolitan Statistical Area (officially known as the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSA) is the 34th largest in the United States, with a total population of 1,576,370. The area includes the Virginia cities of Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Williamsburg, and the counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Mathews, Surry, and York, as well as the North Carolina county of Currituck. While Virginia Beach is the most populated city within the MSA, it actually currently functions more as a suburb. The city of Norfolk is recognized as the central business district, while the Virginia Beach oceanside resort district and Williamsburg are primarily centers of tourism.



Virginia Beach from space

When the modern city of Virginia Beach was created in 1963, by the consolidation of the 253 square miles (660 km2) Princess Anne County with the 2 square miles (5.2 km2) City of Virginia Beach, the newly larger city was divided into seven boroughs: Bayside, Blackwater, Kempsville, Lynnhaven, Princess Anne, Pungo, and Virginia Beach.

Virginia Beach has many distinctive communities and neighborhoods within its boundaries, including: Acredale,Chesapeake Beach, Brigadoon, Great Neck, Kings Grant, Alanton, Green Run, Buckner Farms, Bayside, Blackwater, Brighton on the Bay, College Park, Glenwood, Croatan Beach, Church Point, Greenwich, the North End, Kempsville, Landstown, London Bridge, Lynnhaven, Little Neck, Middle Plantation, Munden, Oceana, Ocean Lakes, Ocean Park, Pembroke Manor, Pembroke Meadows,Indian Lakes, Pembroke Shores, Hilltop, Pine Meadows, Princess Anne, Pungo, Indian River Plantation, Salem, Sandbridge, Seatack, Shadowlawn, Thalia, Thalia Shores, Thoroughgood, Witchduck Point and the Oceanfront.[19]


The climate of Virginia Beach is humid subtropical, due to the moderating effect of the ocean. Winters are very mild, and snowfall is rare. Summers are hot and humid with warm evenings. The mean annual temperature is 73 °F (23 °C), with an average annual snowfall of 2.5 inches (64 mm) and an average annual rainfall of 45 inches (1,100 mm). The wettest seasons are the spring and summer, although rainfall is fairly constant all year round. The highest recorded temperature was 103 °F (39 °C) in August 1957, and the lowest recorded temperature was 4 °F (−16 °C) in January 1985.[20][21]

Additionally, the geographic location of the city, with respect to the principal storm tracks, is especially favorable, as it is south of the average path of storms originating in the higher latitudes, and north of the usual tracks of hurricanes and other major tropical storms.With the exception of Hurricane Isabel in 2003[22]

Climate data for Norfolk, Virginia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 48
Average low °F (°C) 32
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.93
Snowfall inches (mm) 2.6
Source: The Weather Channel [23] July 28, 2008
Source #2: [24] January 2010


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1790 7,793
1850 7,669
1900 11,192
1910 11,526 3.0%
1920 13,626 18.2%
1930 16,282 19.5%
1940 19,984 22.7%
1950 42,277 111.6%
1960 84,215 99.2%
1970 172,106 104.4%
1980 262,199 52.3%
1990 393,069 49.9%
2000 425,257 8.2%
Est. 2008 433,746 [25] 2.0%
Population 1790 - 1990[26]
Age distribution in Virginia Beach

At the 2005-2007 American Community Survey Estimates the city's population was 73.0% White (67.1% non-Hispanic White alone), 21.0% Black or African American, 1.0% American Indian and Alaska Native, 6.5% Asian, 0.3% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 1.7% from some other race and 3.2% from two or more races. 5.4% were Hispanic or Latino of any race. [3]

As of the census of 2000,[1] there were 425,257 people, 154,455 households, and 110,898 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,712.7 people per square mile (661.3/km²). There were 162,277 housing units at an average density of 653.6/sq mi (252.3/km²).

The racial makeup of the city was: 78% White (72.46% non-Hispanic white), 12% African American, 0.38% Native American, 4.91% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 1.51% from other races, and 2.75% from two or more races. 4.18% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 154,455 households out of which 38.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.7% were married couples living together, 12.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.2% were non-families. 20.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.14.

The age distribution was 27.5% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 34.3% from 25 to 44, 19.8% from 45 to 64, and 8.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 98.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $48,705, and the median income for a family was $53,242. Virginia Beach had the 5th highest median family income among large cities in 2003.[27] Males had a median income of $33,756 versus $25,979 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,365. About 5.1% of families and 6.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.6% of those under age 18 and 4.7% of those age 65 or over.

The city of Virginia Beach has crime that is considerably low compared to the other cities of the Hampton Roads, Newport News, Virginia, Norfolk, Virginia, Portsmouth, Virginia, have above the national average crime rates while Virginia Beach remains low. In 1999 Virginia Beach experienced 12 murders giving the city a murder rate of 2.7 per 100,000 people. For 2007, Virginia Beach had 16 murders giving the city a murder rate of 3.7 per 100,000 people. The National Average is 6.9. The city’s total crime index rate for 2007 was 221.2. The United States average is 320.9 per 100,000 people.[28] According to the Congressional Quarterly Press '2008 City Crime Rankings: Crime in Metropolitan America, Virginia Beach, Virginia ranks as the 311th most dangerous city larger than 75,000 inhabitants. The rankings include 385 cities based upon all forms of violent crime.[29]

Violent crimes per 100,000 citizens
Crime Virginia Beach (2009) National Average
Murder 3.7 6.9
Rape 20.2 32.2
Robbery 127.3 195.4
Assault 98.6 340.1
Burglary 495.2 814.5
Automobile Theft 134.4 526.5

The city was also named the safest US city in 2004. { }


Tourism at the beach boosts Virginia Beach's economy

Virginia Beach is best known for its tourism but the military and agribusiness sectors contribute to the City's economy. The City's economy also contains a large retail component. Major companies headquartered in Virginia Beach include Lillian Vernon and Stihl (North American headquarters). Other major employers include GEICO, Amerigroup, and Navy Exchange Service Command.[30]

Tourism produces a large share of Virginia Beach's economy. With an estimated $857 million spent in tourism related industries, 14,900 jobs cater to 2.75 million visitors. City coffers benefit as visitors provide $73 million in revenue. Virginia Beach opened a Convention Center in 2005 which caters to large group meetings and events. Hotels not only line the Oceanfront but also cluster around Virginia Beach Town Center and other parts of the City. Restaurants and entertainment industries also directly benefit from Virginia Beach's tourism.[30]

Virginia Beach has a large agribusiness sector which produces $80 million for the city economy. One hundred-seventy-two farms exist in Virginia Beach, mostly below the greenline in the southern portion of the City. Farmers are able to sell their goods and products at the City's Farmer's Market.[31][32]

A VF-41 F-4J over NAS Oceana in the late 1960s

Virginia Beach is home to several United States Military bases. These include the United States Navy's NAS Oceana and FTC Dam Neck, and the United States Army's Fort Story located at Cape Henry. Additionally, NAB Little Creek is located mostly within the city of Virginia Beach but carries a Norfolk address.[33]

NAS Oceana is the largest employer in Virginia Beach; it was decreed by the 2005 BRAC Commission that NAS Oceana must close unless the city of Virginia Beach condemns houses in areas designated as "Accident Potential Zones." This action has never been the position of the United States Navy; indeed, the Navy had not recommended NAS Oceana to the BRAC Commission for potential closure. The issue of closure of NAS Oceana remains unresolved as of May, 2008<DISPUTED - see>


Both NAS Oceana and FTC Dam Neck are considered to be the largest of their respective kind in the world. Furthermore, located in nearby Norfolk is the central hub of the United States Navy's Atlantic Fleet, Norfolk Navy Base.[34]


Adam Thoroughgood House, before 1957 restoration

Virginia Beach is most often associated with the larger American South. People who have grown up in the Hampton Roads area have a unique Tidewater accent which sounds different from a stereotypical Southern accent. Vowels have a longer pronunciation than in a regular Southern accent.[35]

The city is home to several points of interest in the historical, scientific, and performing arts areas, and has become a popular tourist destination in recent years. The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center (formerly the Virginia Marine Science Museum) is a popular aquarium near the oceanfront that features the 300,000-gallon Norfolk Canyon Aquarium, containing sand tiger, nurse and brown sharks, as well as sting rays and other large open-ocean dwellers. There is also a 70,000-gallon sea turtle aquarium, sea turtle hatchling laboratory, hands-on ocean exploration exhibits, jellyfish and octopus aquariums, and even a life-size model of a humpback whale. Other features include the Owls Creek salt marsh and a nature trail.[36]

The Verizon Wireless Virginia Beach Amphitheather features a wide variety of popular shows and concerts, ranging from Kenny Chesney to Taylor Swift to Coldplay to Ozzfest. The Sandler Center, a 1200-seat performing arts theatre, opened in the Virginia Beach Town Center in November, 2007.[37]

Two lighthouses at Cape Henry

Virginia Beach is home to many sites of historical importance, and has 18 sites on the National Register of Historic Places. Such sites include the Adam Thoroughgood House (one of the oldest surviving colonial homes in Virginia), the Francis Land House (a 200-year-old plantation), the Cape Henry Lights and nearby Cape Henry Light Station (a second tower), Bayville Farm, DeWitt Cottage, Ferry Farm Plantation, Dr. John Miller-Masury House, Adam Keeling House, Old Donation Church, Pembroke Manor, Pleasant Hall, Shirley Hall (Devereaux House), Thomas Murray House, U.S. Coast Guard Station (Seatack), Upper Wolfsnare, Weblin House, and Wishart Boush House, and Wolfsnare.[38]

The Edgar Cayce Hospital for Research and Enlightenment was established in Virginia Beach in 1928 with 60 beds. Cayce was a psychic from Kentucky who claimed healing abilities and made prophesies. Cayce is known as the father of the "New Age" movement of the 1960s. Cayce resided in Virginia Beach until he died on January 3, 1945. His followers are still active in Virginia Beach. The 67th street facility features a large private library of books on psychic matters, and is open to the public. The traditional beach-architecture headquarters building features massage therapy by appointment. Atlantic University was opened by Cayce in 1930; it closed two years later but was re-opened in 1985. Atlantic University was originally intended for study of Cayce's readings and research on spiritual subjects.[39]

The city's largest festival, the Neptune Festival, attracts 500,000 visitors to the Oceanfront and 350,000 visitors to the air show at NAS Oceana. Celebrating the city's heritage link with Norway, events are held in September in the Oceanfront and Town Center areas.[40] Every August, the American Music Festival provides festival attendees with live music performed on stages all over the Oceanfront, including the beach on Fifth Street. The festival ends with the Rock and Roll Half Marathon.[41]


Virginia Beach has no major league professional sports teams or spectator sports. Since Norfolk contains the central business district of Hampton Roads, most of the major spectator sports are located there. While the Hampton Roads area has been recently considered as a viable prospect for major-league professional sports, and regional leaders have attempted to obtain Major League Baseball, NBA and NHL franchises in the recent past, no team has yet relocated to the area.[42]

There are two soccer teams, the Hampton Roads Piranhas, a men's team in the USL Premier Development League, and a women's team by the same name in the W-League. The Piranhas play at the main stadium of the Virginia Wesleyan College. The Virginia Beach Sportsplex contains the central training site for the U.S. women's national field hockey team.[43]

The city is also home to the East Coast Surfing Championships, an annual contest of more than 100 of the world's top professional surfers and an estimated 400 amateur surfers. This is North America's oldest surfing contest, and features combined cash prizes of $40,000.[44]

There are also eleven golf courses open to the public in the city, as well as four country club layouts and 36 military holes at NAS Oceana's Aeropines course. Among the best-known public courses are Hell's Point Golf Club and Virginia Beach National, the latter of which hosts the Virginia Beach Open, a Nationwide Tour event, each April.[45]

The North American Sand Soccer Championship is held once a year at the beach. The tournament includes the Pro/Am competition, which brings teams from all over the world to compete in the tournament.[46]

Virginia Beach is host to a Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon each year on Labor Day weekend in conjunction with the American Music Festival. It is one of the largest Half Marathons in the world. The final 3 miles (4.8 km) are on the boardwalk.[47]

Parks and recreation

Virginia Beach is home to 208 city parks, encompassing over 4,000 acres (16 km2), including neighborhood parks, community parks, district parks, and other open spaces. Each park is unique and offers something for everyone, from wide open spaces to playgrounds, picnic shelters, and ballfields.[48]

A wedding party lines up for photographs in front of a giant Neptune statue on the boardwalk

Mount Trashmore Park is clearly visible from I-264 when traveling to the oceanfront. The park is 165 acres (668,000 m²). The hill is 60 ft (18 m) high and over 800 ft (240 m) long, and was created by compacting layers of solid waste and clean soil. When it opened in 1973, Mt. Trashmore was the first park in the world to be created from a waste landfill.[citation needed] It is the highest point in Virginia Beach. The name is a play on "Mt. Rushmore" and was coined as a nickname by city residents watching its construction.[citation needed] The park also features two lakes: Lake Windsor and Lake Trashmore. Lake Trashmore is stocked with fish, but is unsanitary to fish in. Residents can also take advantage of a skate park.[49]

Another major park in the city is Great Neck Park, a 70 acre (283,000 m²) park located in the Lynnhaven District. Facilities include five large group shelters, mini-shelters, family picnic tables and grills, three playgrounds, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, vending machines, walking trails, four baseball fields, as well as a gazebo located at the end of a scenic walkway overlooking the Lynnhaven River.[50]

People enjoying a rental quadracycle (called a surrey) on the Boardwalk

The Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1938, is an 8,000-acre (32 km2) fresh water refuge that borders the Atlantic Ocean on the east and Back Bay on the west. The barrier islands feature large sand dunes, maritime forests, fresh water marshes, ponds, ocean beach, and large impoundments for wintering wildfowl. It is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.[51]

First Landing State Park and False Cape State Park are both located in coastal areas within the city's corporate limits as well. Both offer camping facilities, cabins, and outdoor recreation activities in addition to nature and history tours.[52][53]

Munden Point is a park located in the deep southern end of the city, which is known for being rural.[54]

Additionally, the famous three-mile (5 km) boardwalk at the oceanfront is often packed with fascinating entertainment, outdoor cafes, concerts and people. Made of concrete, the boardwalk links forty hotels and other attractions and has a bike path.[55]

Naval Aviation Monument Park was formally dedicated on May 6, 2006, by the Hampton Roads Squadron of the Naval Aviation Foundation Association. Planned since 1997 in partnership with the City of Virginia Beach, the park features heroic-scale statuary and reliefs to tell the history of Naval Aviation.[56]


No bad behavior sign along Atlantic Avenue

Virginia Beach was chartered as a municipal corporation by the General Assembly of Virginia on January 1, 1963. The city currently operates under the council-manager form of government.[57] The city does not fall under the jurisdiction of a county government, due to state law. Rather, it functions as an independent city and operates as a political subdivision of the state.

The city's legislative body consists of an 11 member city council. The city manager is appointed by the council and acts as the chief executive officer. Through his staff, he implements policies established by the council.[58]

Members of the city council normally serve four-year terms and are elected on a staggered basis in non-partisan elections. Beginning in 2008, general elections are held the first Tuesday in November in even-numbered years. In previous years, elections were held the first Tuesday in May in even-numbered years. All registered voters are eligible to vote for all council members. Three council members and the mayor serve on an "at large" basis with no district residency requirement. All others are required to reside in their respective district constituencies: Bayside, Beach, Centerville, Kempsville, Lynnhaven, Princess Anne, and Rose Hall.[57]

The mayor is elected to a four-year term through direct election. The mayor presides over council meetings, and serves as the ceremonial head and spokesperson of the city. A vice mayor is also elected by the city council at the first meeting following a council election.[58]

In addition to the city council, residents elect members of the school board of the city's public school district, Virginia Beach City Public Schools. The board consists of 11 members and is headed by a chairman. In addition to formulating local educational policy, the board appoints a Superintendent of Schools. School board elections are held concurrently and in the same manner as city council elections, with four at-large seats and seven seats with district residency requirements. The chairman and vice chairman are elected by the members of the board, and may be either at-large or district members.

Citizens of Virginia Beach also elect five constitutional officers, and candidates for these offices are permitted to run with an affiliated political party. Three of these offices deal substantially with public safety and justice: the Sheriff, Commonwealth's Attorney, and the Clerk of the Circuit Court. The two other offices are concerned with fiscal policy: the City Treasurer and the Commissioner of the Revenue.

Virginia Beach has a Housing and Neighborhood Preservation division which aims to promote healthy neighborhoods and allow access to affordable housing. This division provides assistance to area neighborhoods including federal and state resources, support for neighborhood groups, training seminars, code enforcement assistance, and youth activities. The City police also offer resources and networking for the neighborhoods.[59][60]


The current building of Frank W. Cox High School

According to the U.S. Census, 28.1% of the population over twenty-five (vs. a national average of 24%) hold a bachelor's degree or higher, and 90.4% (vs. 80% nationally) have a high school diploma or equivalent.

The city of Virginia Beach is home to Virginia Beach City Public Schools, one of the largest school systems in the state and among the 50 largest school divisions in the United States (based on student enrollment). Virginia Beach City Public Schools currently serves 69,735 students, and includes 56 elementary schools, 14 middle schools, 11 high schools which include Landstown, Princess Anne, Cox, Tallwood, Salem, First Colonial, Kellam, Green Run, Kempsville, Bayside, and Ocean Lakes High Schools as well as a number of secondary/post-secondary specialty schools and centers such as the Advanced Technology Center (ATC), which provides excellent courses for those trying to gain a place in the technology field. Ocean Lakes maintains a rigorous math and science academy, while Bayside houses a health sciences academy. Salem High school houses the Visual and Performing Arts Academy, preparing students for jobs in the Fine and Performing Arts. Landstown High School contains a Technology Academy, which helps prepare students for jobs in Business Marketing, Information Technology, and/or Engineering. First Colonial High School is home to the Legal Studies Academy, with courses such as Forensic Science, Intro to Law, and Legal Research and Writing, preparing students for jobs in the law field. Tallwood High School has recently founded a world studies academy, and Princess Anne, the oldest high school in the city, is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme school. Specialized courses are offered at all these academies, even though they occasionally overlap courses offered at other specialized centers, such as Landstown and the ATC — less than 1-mile (1.6 km) away.[61]

There are also a number of private, independent schools in the city, including Norfolk Academy, Hampton Roads Academy, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic School and Parish, The Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, Cape Henry Collegiate School, Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School (formerly Norfolk Catholic), Baylake Pines School, and Virginia Beach Friends School.[62]

Association for Research and Enlightenment

Virginia Beach is home to two universities: Regent University, a private university founded by Christian Evangelist and Leader Pat Robertson which has historically focused on graduate education but has recently established an undergraduate program as well.[63] Atlantic University, associated with the Edgar Cayce organization, the Association for Research and Enlightenment (ARE), offers M.A. degrees in Transpersonal Studies, with many New Age subjects thanks to its Edgar Cayce link.[39] Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University are in nearby Norfolk and both the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech operate satellite campuses in Virginia Beach.[64][65][66][67] Tidewater Community College, a major junior college, also has its largest campus located in the city.[68] Virginia Wesleyan College, a private liberal arts college, is located on the border with Norfolk with the physical address of the school being in Norfolk, but the majority of the campus being in Virginia Beach.[69] ECPI College of Technology main campus is located here as well. Additional institutions of higher education are located in other communities of greater Hampton Roads.[70]

The Virginia Beach Public Library System provides free access to accurate and current information and materials to all individuals, and promotes reading as a critical life skill. The library supports the educational and leisure needs of Virginia Beach citizens with a system of area libraries, a Central Library, a Bookmobile, a virtual library, the South Rosemont Youth Library, the Wahab Public law Library, the Municipal Reference Library and the Special Services for the Blind and Visually Handicapped. The Library has a collection of more than 1,000,000 items including special subject collections.[71]


Virginia Beach's daily newspaper is the Virginian-Pilot. Alternative papers include the Port Folio Weekly and the New Journal and Guide. The Hampton Roads Business Journal focuses on local business news.[72]

Virginia Wesleyan College publishes its own newspaper, The Marlin Chronicle.[72] Hampton Roads Magazine serves as a bi-monthly regional magazine for Virginia Beach and the Hampton Roads area.[73] Virginia Beach is served by a variety of radio stations on the AM and FM dials, with towers located around the Hampton Roads area.[74]

Virginia Beach is also served by several television stations. The Hampton Roads designated market area (DMA) is the 42nd largest in the U.S. with 712,790 homes (0.64% of the total U.S.).[75] The major network television affiliates are WTKR-TV 3 (CBS), WAVY 10 (NBC), WVEC-TV 13 (ABC), WGNT 27 (CW), WTVZ 33 (MyNetworkTV), WVBT 43 (Fox), and WPXV 49 (ION Television). The Public Broadcasting Service station is WHRO-TV 15. Virginia Beach residents also can receive independent stations, such as WSKY broadcasting on channel 4 from the Outer Banks of North Carolina and WGBS broadcasting on channel 7 from Hampton. Virginia Beach is served by Cox Cable which provides LNC 5, a local 24-hour cable news network. DirecTV and Dish Network are also popular as an alternative to cable television in Virginia Beach.

Virginia Beach serves as the headquarters for the Christian Broadcasting Network, located adjacent to Regent University. CBN's most notable program, The 700 Club originates from the Virginia Beach studios.[76] In 2008, Virginia Beach became the home to the Reel Dreams Film Festival.

Several films have been made in or near the city: Deep Impact (1998) in this film after the comet plunges in to the ocean near a sign is shown saying Virginia Beaches, however, the scene was filmed on State Route 234 near Manassas, Virginia, and there is no such sign, 195 miles (314 km) northwest. Psycho Kickboxer (1997), Hearts in Atlantis (2001), Call This a Cry for Help (2007)[77], Judges (2005), The Killing Kind (2004), Moving (2002), Navy SEALs (1990), The Satan Killer (1993) and Too Young the Hero (1988; TV film). Mission Impossible 3 (2006) was filmed at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, which is connected to Virginia Beach.[76]

Jay Sanchez created the first Filipino American Television program in Virginia Beach. This show was broadcasted on the Public Broadcasting Service. The events that were featured often took place at the Philippine Cultural Center on Baxter Road. The 2008- 2009 Lock-in event hosted by the Filipino American Cultural Society, FACS, of Salem High School Featured. During this event the leaders of the organization and a few Salem Alumni spent the night meeting and educating the current students on Filipino-American History. The president, Mary Anne Matel, and former Alumni, Jennel Baltazar, were interviewed and reported about the experience that FACS provides it's students with. The Fil-Am television program has also interviewed successful filipino americans of Virginia Beach to help inspire productivity within the area.



A Hampton Roads Transit bus travels northbound on Pacific Avenue in Virginia Beach.

Virginia Beach is primarily served by the Norfolk International Airport (IATA: ORFICAO: KORFFAA LID: ORF), which is now the region's major commercial airport. The airport is located near Chesapeake Bay, along the city limits straddling neighboring Norfolk.[78] Seven airlines provide nonstop services to twenty five destinations. ORF had 3,703,664 passengers take off or land at its facility and 68,778,934 pounds of cargo were processed through its facilities.[79] Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport also provides commercial air service for the Hampton Roads area.[80] The Chesapeake Regional Airport provides general aviation services and is located five miles (8 km) outside the city limits.[81]

Virginia Beach is served by Amtrak through the Newport News station, via connecting buses. The line runs west along the Virginia Peninsula to Richmond and points beyond. A high speed rail connection at Richmond to both the Northeast Corridor and the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor are also under study.[82]

Greyhound/Trailways provides service from a central bus terminal in adjacent Norfolk. The Greyhound station in Virginia Beach is located on Laskin Road, about a mile west of the oceanfront. Bus services to New York City via the Chinatown bus, Today's Bus, is located on Newtown Road.[83]

The city is connected to I-64 via I-264, which runs from the oceanfront, intersects with I-64 on the east side of Norfolk, and continues through downtown Norfolk and Portsmouth until rejoining I-64 at the terminus of both roads in Chesapeake where Interstate 664 completes the loop which forms the Hampton Roads Beltway. Travelers to and from Virginia Beach can access the Hampton Roads Beltway in either direction from I-264 in Norfolk to use a choice of the two bridge-tunnel facilities to cross Hampton Roads to reach the Peninsula, Williamsburg, Richmond and points north. Other major roads include Virginia Beach Boulevard (U.S. Route 58), Shore Drive (U.S. Route 60), which connects to Atlantic Avenue at the oceanfront, Northampton Blvd (U.S. Route 13), Princess Anne Road (State Route 165), Indian River Road (former State Route 603), Lynnhaven Parkway, Independence Boulevard, General Booth Boulevard, and Nimmo Parkway. Streets in the oceanfront hotel and entertainment district are arranged in a fairly regular, grid like pattern, with Atlantic Avenue parallel to the shoreline, then Pacific Avenue, and Arctic Avenue going further inland.

The city is also connected to Virginia's Eastern Shore region via the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT), which is the longest bridge-tunnel complex in the world and known as one of the Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World. The CBBT, a tolled facility carries U.S. Route 13.[84]

Transportation within the city, as well as with other Seven Cities of Hampton Roads is served by a regional bus service, Hampton Roads Transit.[85] An extension of The Tide light rail system from Norfolk to the oceanfront is currently being studied.[86]


Water and sewer services are provided by the City's Department of Utilities. Virginia Beach receives its electricity from Dominion Virginia Power which has local sources including the Chesapeake Energy Center (a gas power plant), coal-fired plants in Chesapeake and Southampton County, and the Surry Nuclear Power Plant. Norfolk headquartered Virginia Natural Gas, a subsidiary of AGL Resources, distributes natural gas to the City from storage plants in James City County and Chesapeake.

Virginia Beach receives its water from Lake Gaston. The Virginia Tidewater area has grown faster than the local freshwater supply. The river water has always been salty, and fresh groundwater is no longer available in most areas. Currently, water for the Tidewater area is pumped from Lake Gaston, which straddles the Virginia-North Carolina border along with the Blackwater and Nottoway rivers. The pipeline is 76 miles (122 km) long and 60 inches (1,500 mm) in diameter. Much of its follows the former right-of-way of an abandoned portion of the Virginian Railway.[87] It is capable of pumping 60 million gallons of water per day(60MGD), Norfolk and Chesapeake are partners in the project.[88]

The City provides wastewater services for residents and transports wastewater to the regional Hampton Roads Sanitation District treatment plants.[89]


Because of the prominence of the Portsmouth Naval Hospital and V.A. Hospital in Hampton, Virginia Beach has had a strong role in medicine.[citation needed] Virginia Beach is served by Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital, Sentara Bayside Hospital, and by the newly created Sentara Princess Anne Medical Campus. Sentara Leigh Hospital is just across the city line in Norfolk.[90]

Sister cities

Virginia Beach has three Sister Cities:[91]

See also


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ U.S. Census Bureau, 2005 Population Estimates, Census 2000, 1990 Census:
  4. ^ Jones, Melissa, Superlatives USA: The Largest, Smallest, Longest, Shortest, and Wackiest: [1]
  5. ^ "Virginia Beach History Timeline". Princess Anne County/Virginia Beach Historical Society. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  6. ^ "Cape Henry Memorial". U.S. National Park System. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  7. ^ Moon, Shep. "400 Years of Change". Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  8. ^ a b "The Origins of Norfolk's Name". Norfolk Historical Society. Retrieved 2007-10-09. 
  9. ^ "Norfolk Becomes a Borough". Norfolk Historical Society. Retrieved 2007-10-09. 
  10. ^ Foss, William O., The Norwegian Lady and the Wreck of the Dictator. Virginia Beach, Virginia: Noreg Books, 2002. ISBN 0-9721989-0-3
  11. ^ "Virginia Beach History". Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  12. ^ "VIRGINIA BEACH'S GREEN LINE: SHOULD THE LINE HOLD?". Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  13. ^ "Town Center". City of Virginia Beach. Retrieved 2007-03-08. 
  14. ^ Barbara L. Brewer. "Phase I of Virginia Beach Convention Center Set to Open in June". Meetingsnet. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  15. ^ a b "Va. Beach getting serious again about Dome site development". Hampton, Bill Reed, November 14, 2007. 
  17. ^ a b "Beach council tightens rules on building around Oceana". Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 2007-03-08. 
  18. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  19. ^ Virginia Beach Neighborhood History [2]. Retrieved on March 20, 2008.
  20. ^ Climate information from NOAA.
  21. ^ Maximum and minimum temperatures from Yahoo! Weather
  22. ^ Information from NOAA.
  23. ^ "Seasonal Temperature and Precipitation Information". Retrieved July 28, 2008. 
  24. ^ "Historical Weather for Norfolk, Virginia, United States". Weatherbase. Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  25. ^ Data for Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States Census Bureau. Accessed October 9, 2007.
  26. ^ Gibson, Campbell. Population of the 100 Largest Cities and Other Urban Places in the United States:1790 to 1990, United States Census Bureau, June 1998. Accessed June 12, 2007.
  27. ^ Median Family Income (In 2003 Inflation-adjusted Dollars)
  28. ^
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  30. ^ a b "Economic Profile". Virginia Beach Economic Development Community. Retrieved 2007-03-08. 
  31. ^ "Agribusiness". Virginia Beach Economic Development Community. Retrieved 2007-03-08. 
  32. ^ "Farmers Market". City of Virginia Beach. Retrieved 2007-03-08. 
  33. ^ "Economic Profile — Military". Virginia Beach Economic Development Community. Retrieved 2007-03-08. 
  34. ^ Worldwide Space A Handbook: ISBN 1-881341-13-5.
  35. ^ "Virginia’s Many Voices". Fairfax County Public Library. Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  36. ^ Aquarium & Marine Science Center|accessdate=2008-03-18
  37. ^ Center for the Performing Arts|accessdate=2008-03-18
  38. ^ Register of Historic Places - Virginia Beach|accessdate=2008-03-18
  39. ^ a b "Atlantic University". Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  40. ^ The Neptune Festival
  41. ^ Verizon Wireless American Music Festival
  42. ^ "Big-league sports not on the horizon for Norfolk". Virginian Pilot. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  43. ^ "Hampton Roads Piranhas". Hampton Roads Piranhas. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  44. ^ "ECSC". ECSC. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  45. ^ "Virginia Beach Golf Courses". Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  46. ^ "North American Sand Soccer Championship". Hampton Roads Soccer Council. Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  47. ^ "Rock and Roll Half Marathon". Elite Racing. Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  48. ^ Virginia Beach Parks, Virginia Beach Department of Parks and Recreation,, retrieved 2007-10-05 
  49. ^ Mt. Trashmore Park, Virginia Beach Department of Parks and Recreation,, retrieved 2007-10-05 
  50. ^ Great Neck Park, Virginia Beach Department of Parks and Recreation,, retrieved 2008-03-20 
  51. ^ Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge,, retrieved 2008-03-20 
  52. ^ First Landing State Park, First Landing State Park,, retrieved 2008-03-20 
  53. ^ False Cape State Park, False Cape State Park,, retrieved 2008-03-20 
  54. ^ Munden Point, Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail,, retrieved 2008-03-20 
  55. ^ Boardwalk,,, retrieved 2008-03-20 
  56. ^ Naval Aviation Monument Park. Alexandria, Virginia.: Naval Aviation Foundation, Wings of Gold, quarterly, Summer-Fall, 2006, page 58.
  57. ^ a b "Virginia Beach City Manager: Form of Government". Virginia Beach City Manager. 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  58. ^ a b "Virginia Beach City Council: About Us". Virginia Beach City Council. 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  59. ^ "Housing and Neighborhood Preservation". City of Virginia Beach. 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  60. ^ "Landlord, Managers, Police Network". City of Virginia Beach. 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  61. ^ "Virginia Beach City Public Schools: About Us". Virginia Beach City Public Schools. 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  62. ^ "State Recognized Accredited Schools". Virginia Council for Private Education. 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  63. ^ "About Regent University". Regent University. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  64. ^ "About Norfolk State". Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  65. ^ "About Old Dominion". Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  66. ^ "VT Hampton Roads Center". Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  67. ^ "UVa. Hampton Roads Center". Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  68. ^ "Tidewater Community College". Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  69. ^ "About Virginia Wesleyan". Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  70. ^ "About ECPI". Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  71. ^ Virginia Beach Public Library|accessdate=2008-06-18
  72. ^ "Hampton Roads Magazine". Hampton Roads Magazine. Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  73. ^ Holmes, Gary. "Nielsen Reports 1.1% increase in U.S. Television Households for the 2006-2007 Season." Nielsen Media Research. September 23, 2006. Retrieved on September 28, 2007.
  74. ^ a b "Titles with locations including Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA." IMDB. Retrieved on March 7, 2008.
  75. ^,%20Virginia,%20USA&&heading=18;with+locations+including;Virginia%20Beach,%20Virginia,%20USA
  76. ^ "Norfolk International Airport Mission and History". Norfolk International Airport. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  77. ^ "Norfolk International Airport Statistics" (PDF). Norfolk International Airport. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  78. ^ "Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport". Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  79. ^ "Chesapeake Regional Airport". Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  80. ^ "Southeast High Speed Rail". Southeast High Speed Rail. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  81. ^ "Today's Bus". Today's Bus. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  82. ^ "Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Facts". Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Commission. Retrieved 2006-11-23. 
  83. ^ Hampton Roads Transit
  84. ^ [
  85. ^ VA Places, Gaston Pipeline
  86. ^ VA Beach Government, Department of Public Utilities
  87. ^ "Hampton Roads Sanitation District". Hampton Roads Sanitation District. Retrieved 2008-03-08. 
  88. ^ "Virginia Hospitals and Medical Centers". The Agape Center. Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  89. ^ Sister Cities designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI). Retrieved June 6, 2006.

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Virginia Beach [1] is resort city in southeast Virginia on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.


Virginia Beach offers the classic beach vacation, and maintains a long-standing reputation as a family-friendly oceanfront resort. Visitors are greeted by a 300-foot wide beach lined by Virginia Beach’s three-mile concrete oceanfront Boardwalk. The resort offers a mild climate year-round. Itineraries include lazy days on the beach, the state parks and Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge beckon, hiking, kayaking, and biking adventures. Fishing, golfing, whale watching, dolphin watching, historic landmarks, and exciting attractions and popular events are part of the Beach experience.

Get in

By plane

Virginia Beach is served by Norfolk International Airport in neighboring Norfolk, which is just west of the border between the two cities.

By car

If you are coming from the Delmarva Peninsula, or anywhere northeast of it, the fastest way to drive to Virginia Beach is down Delmarva Peninsula, onto U.S. Route 13, and across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

If you are coming from anywhere northwest or west of the area, the fastest way is along Interstate 64.

Coming from the south or southwest, it is easiest to take Interstate 85 or 95 to US 58.

By train

While Virginia Beach has no train station, nearby Newport News has at least two daily trains both to and from Boston. Amtrak provides a connecting shuttle bus to Virginia Beach.

Get around

Virginia Beach shares a common trait with many American cities in that it is nearly impossible to get around without a car.

For getting around by bus use the Hampton Roads Transit Website,[2]. It uses google maps to plan public transit trips. Bus fare is $1.50 per ride.

If you are staying at the Oceanfront, there are a few ways to get around the beach area, including the trolley and bus system operated by Hampton Roads Transit. If you want to explore other areas in Hampton Roads, the best way is to rent a car.

  • First Landing Cross marks the point where English settlers landed in 1607.
  • The Cape Henry Lighthouse on Chesapeake Bay was the first lighthouse built by the federal government, completed in 1792. Once you reach the summit, enjoy a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay – the same view once seen by ship watchers more than 200 years ago. Located on the Fort Story military base, the original Cape Henry Lighthouse is open to the public. Across the dune line, you’ll find the new Cape Henry Lighthouse. Built in 1881, it’s the tallest iron-encased lighthouse in the country, and is operated by the U.S. Coast Guard. Adjacent to the lighthouses, visitors also can tour the Cape Henry Memorial Park which includes a replica of the First Landing Cross, planted by the first settlers to give thanks for a safe voyage after arriving on shore in 1607. Note: Access to military bases may be restricted for public tours and a valid picture ID is required.
  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, 717 General Booth Boulevard, 757-385-FISH, [3]. The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is the state’s largest and one of the most-visited aquariums in the nation. It is an authority on the state’s various aquatic and marine environments and features more than 700,000 gallons of aquariums and live animal habitats, more than 300 hands-on exhibits and the IMAX® 3D Theater. A one-third mile-long nature trail connects the two Pavilions that make up this “must sea” museum, and an outdoor aviary offers an up-close glimpse of the marsh birds seen along Virginia Beach’s shore.
  • Mount Trashmore, [4]. World-renowned Mount Trashmore Park is 165 acres, 60 feet high, over 800 feet long, and was created by compacting layers of solid waste and clean soil. Recognized for its environmental feat, Mount Trashmore Park features the Water Wise demonstration garden that boasts xeriscaping where you can learn how to create a beautiful garden with minimal water requirements. The park features two lakes and its facilities include four large and 11 small picnic shelters, skate park, playground areas, a basketball court, four volleyball areas, parking, vending machines and restrooms. Mount Trashmore Park also has a walking trail that measures approximately 1.45 miles.
  • The Old Coast Guard Station, 24th Street. Housed in a 1903 former U.S. Life Saving Station, this quaint, oceanfront museum is chock-full of rescue equipment used by turn-of-the-century surf men to save shipwrecked crews from a watery grave. Learn about shipwrecks that occurred just off the Virginia Beach coast and the history of life-saving service from World War II to the present day.
  • Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum, 1113 Atlantic Ave, (757) 437-8432, [5]. Located in the historically registered DeWitt cottage built in 1895, the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum displays art and artifacts documenting migratory wildfowl that pass through Eastern Virginia. Exhibits of wildfowl and shorebird carvings trace the evolution of this unique American art form. Enjoy on-site wood-carving demonstrations, interactive computer programs, decoys dating from historic times to present day and a collection of exhibits covering the history of Virginia Beach.
  • Association for Research and Enlightenment, [6]. Visitors from around the world gather at the Association for Research and Enlightenment at 67th Street and Atlantic Avenue to attend workshops, conferences and lectures based on the works of Edgar Cayce, one of the most documented clairvoyants of the 20th century. As a young man, Cayce found that by placing himself in a self-induced trance, he could answer questions or give accurate information on any topic. Today, physicians are finding Cayce's “readings” to be on the cutting edge of many health-care concerns, particularly the mind-body relationship to health and healing. Founded in 1931, his Virginia Beach headquarters houses 14,000 readings (on everything from medicine to world affairs)and one of the most extensive metaphysical libraries in the world. Guided tours that include films,lectures, meditation classes and ESP demonstrations are offered daily, as well as a full menu of health services including massage, facials and reflexology.
  • State Parks and National Wildlife Refuge, [7]. Virginia Beach is home to some of the world’s most pristine natural environments, with more than 18,000 acres of state parks and national wildlife refuges. First Landing State Park, [8]the most-visited state park in Virginia, contains 2,700 acres of protected salt marsh habitat, bay and dune maritime forests and freshwater ponds. You will find a campground, miles of hiking and biking trails and both cultural and natural history interpretive displays. A registered Natural Landmark, it fronts the Chesapeake Bay. Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, an 8,500-acre plot is made up of barrier islands, dunes, freshwater marshes, maritime forests, ponds and ocean beaches. Sharing a border is the 4,321-acre False Cape State Park, featuring six miles of unspoiled beaches in an ocean-to-freshwater bay habitat. Both Back Bay and False Cape are home to wild horses, feral pigs, loggerhead turtles, American bald eagles and a large variety of migratory birds and endangered species, making the comprehensive area a true Virginia jewel. Additionally, the 2,907-acre North Landing River Natural Area Preserve, owned and operated by the Nature Conservancy, is one of the largest and most significant nature preserves in the state.
  • Virginia Beach Farmers Market, 3640 Dam Neck Rd, 757-427-4395. Experience the rural side of Virginia Beach at the Farmers Market, a country-style, open-air market that features fresh, locally grown produce, dairy products, organic groceries, a meat market, home and garden gifts, jams and jellies, and a restaurant. It is open year-round and special events are held each month.
  • Ocean Breeze Waterpark, 849 General Booth Blvd, 757-422-4444, [9]. Inside the 19-acre park, visitors will find brilliant, colorful water slides and tubes for all-day excitement, featuring a million-gallon Runaway Bay wave pool and 13 water slides. Shoot the rushing Rocky River Rapids on an inner tube or soar down the Maui-Wowie speed slide.
  • Virginia Beach Convention Center, [10]. The resort city is becoming a year-round meeting destination. Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) manages the Convention Center, which hosts regional and national trade shows, conventions, sports tournaments and special events, and sponsors some of the city's major festivals and special events.
  • Golfing, [11]. With eight public courses in Virginia Beach and 20 in the surrounding region, players will experience intriguing, challenging greens for all handicaps, from beginner to novice to pro. With designs by Arnold Palmer, Rees Jones, Pete Dye, George Cobb, Gene Bates and others, golfers will find miles of bent Bermuda grasses, hardwood forests, and challenging layouts. Year-round affordable golf package opportunities are offered. The resort city's mild weather permits play almost year-round.
  • Surfing. The surf in Virginia Beach is sometimes small but usually rideable. In August, more than 100 of the world's top professional surfers and an estimated 400 amateur surfers come for North America's oldest surfing contest, the East Coast Surfing Championships. One of the best surf spots is at the beach called Croatan, off of General Booth Blvd. Visitors can also experience surfing with former professional champions who offer surf camps for people of all ages. The various outfitters, including Quicksilver and Billabong Surf camps, offer individual instruction, 2-hour classes, 1-day, 3-day and 5-day camps.

Unfortunately, Virginia Beach local surfers are notoriously unfriendly, especially if you are not local. A word of advice is to arrive at the beach early or stay later to avoid the big crowds, angry old men, and have a chance of catching a wave without getting threatened.

  • Virginia Beach Amphitheater, [12]. Beautiful outdoor concert venue with a 20,000 seating capacity books the biggest names in music. Sit under the stars on the lawn.
  • Kayaking and Canoeing. Virginia Beach’s 121 navigable miles of waterways, channels, bays and lagoons are perfect for kayak and canoe enthusiasts. Explore the multitude of coves and inlets on a guided tour of coastal Virginia, or experience kayaking alongside bottlenose dolphins in the ocean. Virginia Beach’s creeks and rivers are also perfect for canoeing – venture into Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge or state parks such as False Cape and First Landing.
  • Running. The resort city hosts several professional and amateur races, like Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon, that draws more than 20,000 athletes. The Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon features musical talent along every mile for both participants and spectators to enjoy. Virginia Beach also hosts the Shamrock Sportsfest Marathon, Half Marathon and 8K - another event where records have been shattered.
  • Fishing. With the food-rich Chesapeake Bay meeting the Atlantic Ocean, Virginia Beach and its neighboring waters are home to a multitude of freshwater, brackish and saltwater fishing opportunities. Croaker, spot, flounder, striped bass, tautog, sea bass, trout, bluefish, skipjack, cobia, mahi-mahi, spanish and king mackerel, puppy and red drum, yellowfin and bluefin tuna, marlin, amberjack and wahoo are abundant at various times of the year. Tow your boat and choose from several different put-in locations or opt for a company that specializes in half-day or full-day private charters. Group party boats are also available at Rudee Inlet and on Shore Drive. If you choose to stay near shore, cast a line from one of the four piers. Try your hand at one of Virginia Beach’s annual fishing tournaments, including the Striped Bass World Championship or Waterman’s Rockfish Shoot-out. Freshwater and saltwater fishing licenses are required.
  • Dolphin and Whale Watching. Humpback and fin whales journey to the food-rich mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and warmer waters of the Atlantic Ocean for their annual retreat. From December until March, Virginia Beach offers visitors the rare opportunity to spot these magnificent creatures up close on a whale watching boat tour conducted by Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. Whale watching vacation packages are available. Every year, bottlenose dolphins migrate off the Virginia Beach coast during the spring, summer and fall. Several outdoor outfitters offer dolphin-watching boat trips and kayaking excursions, where the dolphins often frolic on the waves just several feet from the kayaks.
  • Birding. The Seashore-to-Cypress Loop, part of the initial Coastal Phase of the statewide Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail, was officially opened October 4, 2002 by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. It traverses the city of Virginia Beach and extends into the neighboring city of Norfolk. The Seashore-to-Cypress loop contains 12 viewing sites teeming with flocks of migrant shorebirds, songbirds and raptors, winter wetlands filled with waterfowl and whales swimming offshore and summer swarms of dolphins, butterflies and dragonflies. Popular stops include the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel, First Landing State Park, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, False Cape State Park and the Virginia Aquarium.


The city is home to Lynnhaven Mall and Hilltop Shopping Center. Approximately five minutes from the oceanfront, the Hilltop area contains several smaller shopping centers with national brand stores and smaller boutiques. Virginia Beach’s newest downtown area, Town Center, spans 17 city blocks and provides a mix of upscale retail, luxury residential, and an array of cafes and restaurants, along with business-class and deluxe hotels. Blue Taxi Clothing Company, Blanc and STAC are three locally-owned boutiques in Town Center with designer clothes and high-end merchandise.

  • Atlantic Avenue at the oceanfront has dozens of souvenir stores. Some sell inexpensive goods. Along Atlantic Avenue, visitors will find a number of quaint boutiques and souvenir shops offering a variety of selections. There are some pretty good stores in the Ocean 31 area by the HIlton hotel at 31st Street.
  • Baker's Crust, 704 Hilltop North Shopping Center, +1 757 422-6703, [13]

Perfect place to have nice lunch with speciality coffees and crepes for dessert. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sunday-Thursday: 8AM-8:30PM Friday-Saturday: 8AM-9PM.

  • Timbuktu Restaurant, 3107 Atlantic Ave, +1 757 491-1800, [14]. Oceanfront dining that offers up menu items such as seafood, steaks, chicken, pasta, salads and unique daily specials. Breakfast 7AM-11AM, lunch 11AM-3PM, dinner 3PM-10PM; seven days a week.
  • Croaker's, 3629 Shore Drive, +1 757 363-2490. Daily 5PM-10PM. Jimmy Buffett would feel right at home in this seafood haven. A bit weathered on the outside, this relatively small restaurant serves up a wide variety of fish and crustacean delights that draw the locals like groupers to a pinfish. Excellent!
  • Gringo's Taqueria (Gringo's), 612 Norfolk Ave Virginia Beach, VA 23451 (Corner of Cypress and Norfolk Ave), (757) 961-2987, [15]. Open Tue-Sat 11AM-9PM. Local hole in the wall will ruin all other Mexican food for you. Great fish tacos; voted Best of the Beach. Chef Jen Cavey is an alumnus of the San Francisco Culinary Academy and whips up nightly chalkboard specials. Be warned, when they're gone, they're gone, so get there early. Friendly staff provides great service. $5-$25.  edit


Catch 31 at the Hilton at 31st Street is a popular new hangout for young professionals and tourists alike. There is an indoor and outdoor bar, with fire pits outside. Bands often play at the adjacent park.

Red Star Tavern at Town Center is another popular hangout spot for locals. It is usually crowded on weekends, and has a great bar menu. Town Center usually is pretty vibrant at night, in general. Other popular spots include Gordon Biersch, Sonoma Wine Bar and Guadalajara.

  • Luck Oyster Seafood Grill, 2165 General Booth Blvd (Bldg #154), (757) 430-9600, [16]. 11Am to 11PM. Oysters and wings, can't get much better than this! They offer wonderful prices on oysters, clams and chicken wings during their Happy Hour. Make sure that you try the corn bread and pretzel bread. The restaurant has a nice nautical theme. Lots of big screens in the bar for the sport nut! Great people! Great place! Confortable.  edit
  • Three Amigo's, 1920 Centerville Tpke, Virginia Beach, VA, (757) 818-9579. Three Amigos Mexican Restaurant is a clean well run Mexican bar an grille with excellent service. It stays packed with locals. $5-10.  edit
  • Captain George's Seafood, 1956 Laskin Rd, (757) 428-3494, [17]. Opens at: M-F 4PM, Sat 3:30PM, Sun Noon. Seats 1000 guests. Serving its world-famous "all-you-can-eat" seafood buffet with over 70 items including fresh broiled fish, steamed shrimp, prime cut beef and delicious desserts. The "Port" and "Starboard" Lounges each have 35 foot in diameter, 7 foot vertical rise stained glass domes. US $20-$30.  edit
  • ...DON'T Go to "The Edge" Bar on Atlantic it's TERRIBLE! The little place was filled with drunken underage little girls dancing like hoes, acting rowdy and obnoxious, while bumping into the other customers and starting fights. The owner KNEW these under-agers personally, and was on their side after they assaulted a customer coming out the filthy ladies room AND THEN, had the bouncer ask the person who was assaulted by his underage girlfriends to leave. There are letters of complaint going out to county and state officials, as well as the liquor licensing agency. Shady shady shady!
  • Red Roof Inn, 196 Ballard Ct., +1 757 490-0225. [18]. Easy access to I-64 and I-264 which are the primary travel hubs for the region. Outdoor pool and one pet is allowed. US $50-$95.
  • Angie's Guest Cottage, 302 24th Street, +1 757 491-1830. [19]. Angie's guest cottage is the only hostel in Virginia Beach, and offers cheap beds and great location. US $17-$21.
  • TownePlace Suites by Marriott Virginia Beach, 5757 Cleveland Street, 757-490-9367, [20]. TownePlace Suites Virginia Beach/Norfolk is located centrally within the Virginia Beach Business District. This Virginia Beach hotel is near the Oceanfront and located just 6 miles from Downtown Norfolk and 5 miles from Norfolk International Airport ORF.   edit
  • Marriott Courtyard Virginia Beach Norfolk, 5700 Greenwich Road, 757-490-2002, [21]. The Marriott Courtyard Virginia Beach/Norfolk is located inside the Central Business District of Virginia Beach. This Marriott hotel is located just 6 miles from downtown Norfolk and 5 miles from Norfolk International Airport (ORF).  edit
  • Holiday Inn Express Virginia Beach, 2607 Atlantic Avenue,•Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451, [22]. Formerly the Holiday Inn Surfside, newly renovated hotel located in the center of the Virginia Beach resort area, all rooms include a complimentary continental breakfast and have a private balcony with a full oceanfront view of the beach and boardwalk.  edit
  • Holiday Inn Oceanside, 21st Street and Atlantic Avenue, (757) 491-1500, [23]. 150 rooms offering oceanfront view of the beach  edit
  • Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort Virginia Beach, 39th Street & Atlantic Avenue, 757-428-1711, [24]. Offering over 9,000 square feet of meeting space  edit
  • Hilton Garden Inn Virginia Beach Town Center, 252 Town Center Drive, 757.326.6200, [25].   edit
  • Days Inn Oceanfront, 3107 Atlantic Ave, +1 757 428-7233, [26]. 121 rooms all feature a view of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Ramada Virginia Beach, 615 Atlantic Avenue, +1 757-425-7800, [27].
  • Ramada Limited Atlantic Avenue, 3108 Atlantic Ave., +1 757-425-7730, [28].
  • Wingate by Wyndham Norfolk, 5800 Burton Station Road, [29]. Wingate by Wyndham Norfolk is an ideal hotel for vacation or business travel in Virginia Beach, VA, only four miles from Norfolk International Airport and miles of beautiful Virginia beaches.  edit
  • SpringHill Suites Virginia Beach Oceanfront, 901 Atlantic Avenue, 1-757-417-3982, [30]. Located on Virginia Beach Boardwalk, each suite with private balcony and ocean front views.  edit
  • Residence Inn Virginia Beach Oceanfront, 3217 Atlantic Ave, 757-425-1141, [31]. 72 suites each with full kitchens and direct beach access.  edit
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites Virginia Beach Oceanfront, 1901 Atlantic Avenue, [32]. Va. Beach accommodations with 90 rooms & 24 suites with ocean views.   edit
  • Courtyard Virginia Beach Oceanfront/South, 2501 Atlantic Ave, [33]. Indoor pool and hot tub available on site.  edit
  • Courtyard Virginia Beach Oceanfront/North 37th Street, 3737 Atlantic Ave, 757-437-0098, [34]. 160 Virginia Beach hotel rooms with ocean views from private balconies   edit
  • Turtle Cay Resort, 600 Atlantic Ave. Beautiful Resort one-half block from the beach. The style and architecture resemble the beach charm and atmosphere that visitors come to the beach for. US $69-299.00
  • Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront, 3100 Atlantic Ave, 1-757-213-3001 [35]. 21-story hotel sets a new standard of elegance for Virginia Beach hotels.
  • Barclay Cottage Bed and Breakfast, 400 16th Street, 1-757-422-1956, [36] This award winning Victorian B&B located in an historic neighborhood with only a 2 minute walk to the beach is a romantic alternative to high-rise lodging.
  • The Westin Virginia Beach Town Center, 4535 Commerce St, (757) 557-0550, [37]. Virginia Beach hotel with service and sophistication to spare; Can accommodate an intimate gathering for 20, or a festive gala for 500. Located in the heart of a new "main street" development, bustling with business, retail, and dining options.  edit
  • Sheraton Oceanfront Hotel, 3501 Atlantic Avenue, (757) 425-9000, [38]. Sheraton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel offers a relaxing atmosphere, right in the middle of all VA Beach has to offer. Direct beach access, indoor/outdoor pools and upscale dining.  edit
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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