What's it like to live in Virginia Beach, VA?


Profile written by local expert:

Victoria Skylar Valenti

Despite Virginia Beach's resort city status, the friendly residents and relaxed atmosphere found here have swayed many to take up a permanent residence in Virginia's largest metro area. The glorious ocean views, beautiful waterfront homes and award-winning restaurants make this vacation destination a place worthy of being calling home.

The job market in the Hampton Roads region, which encompasses Virginia Beach and nearby Norfolk and Newport News, offers some niche opportunities in both the civilian and government sectors that make moving to the area attractive, from defense contractor positions to hotelier jobs. 

With the largest concentration of military personnel outside of the Pentagon, military presence is part of everyday life at the beach, with events like the Oceana Air Show and the Patriotic Festival celebrating the armed forces. However, jet noise can be loud and takes some time to adjust to, so if you are going to be living in a particularly noisy area, be prepared.

Rankings

U.S. News analyzed 150 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Virginia Beach, Virginia is ranked:

#99 in Best Places to Live

#46 in Best Places to Retire

6.3

Overall

Scorecard

Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
    7.6
  • Value
    5.5
  • Job Market
    6.8
  • Quality of Life
    6.3
  • Net Migration
    5.5

Read how we rank places

Virginia Beach, VA Quick Stats

  • 1,722,001

    Metro Population

  • $48,450

    Average Annual Salary

  • 68.2° / 52.0°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 35.9

    Median Age

  • $225,025

    Median Home Price

  • 46.5 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 3.1%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $1,154

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 24.4 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What is there to do in Virginia Beach, VA?

With its impressive over 38-mile coastline, Virginia Beach provides residents a choice of clean and easily accessible family- and pet-friendly beaches.

The Hampton Roads area also boasts cultural attractions such as the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art and the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. Shoppers visit the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, as well as The Shops at Hilltop, Town Center of Virginia Beach and Lynnhaven Mall.

In general, residents here are outdoorsy and enjoy horseback riding, fishing, kayaking, waterskiing and stand-up paddleboarding during almost any season. Sporting events like the East Coast Surfing Championships and North American Sand Soccer Championships bring the community together and shine a national spotlight on the area. Nature and sports enthusiasts enjoy dozens of hiking, cycling and jogging trails, while skateboarders and BMX bike riders have access to multiple skate parks.

Find out more about what there is to see and do in Virginia Beach, VA.

What's the cost of living in Virginia Beach, VA?

The overall cost of living in and around Virginia Beach is close to the national average. Groceries and transportation costs run below what the average American pays, while utilities, health care, housing and other miscellaneous goods and services run higher than in other major metro areas. 

Looking for financial advice? Find a local financial advisor in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Value Index

Index Score: 5.5 /10

How we calculate this.


Virginia Beach offers a lower value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs 2019


Virginia Beach
$225,025

USA
$232,933

Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Virginia Beach, VA.

What's the weather like in Virginia Beach, VA?

Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Newport News have a mild coastal climate, but they still experience all four seasons. Since Virginia Beach is located along the coast, sea breezes help keep the city cool during the summer. Hurricane season, which runs from June through November, can bring tropical storms that can produce gale-force winds and cause flooding in low-lying areas.

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)

42.4°F


Winter

58.1°F


Spring

77.6°F


Summer

62.4°F


Fall

Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

3.4 in


Winter

3.7 in


Spring

5.5 in


Summer

4.8 in


Fall

Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Virginia Beach, VA?

Hampton Roads residents can reach quite a few places on bike or by foot. Still, most residents rely on their cars to get around, and traffic in the area's tunnels and on the Interstate 64 and 664 corridors isn't uncommon.  

Hampton Roads Transit offers a variety of mass transit options including buses, ferries and trolleys to major points of interest in the area. VB Wave is a hybrid-electric trolley system that makes daily (seasonal) shuttle runs along Atlantic Avenue in Virginia Beach.

The Norfolk International Airport and the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport offer daily flights to destinations around the country. Amtrak and Greyhound both service the area as well.

Commuting in Virginia Beach, VA

Means of Transportation
Driving
90%
Above national average

Bicycling
0%
Equal to national average

Walking
3%
Equal to national average

Public Transit
2%
Below national average
Average Commute Time

24.4 minutes

2.2 minutes less than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Virginia Beach, VA?

Although Virginia Beach and the Hampton Roads area once had one of the highest percentages of millennials of any metro area in the country, people of any age group will feel at home in this friendly city. The area's low levels of crime, desirable weather and lower-than-average tax rates also make the region attractive for retirees.

The Virginia Beach metro area is home to nine major military installations, and a fair portion of the population consists of active-duty military, retirees, dependents and civilian military employees.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown


About the same number of single people in Virginia Beach as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.