Exploring The Best Sections of Virginia Beach, Virginia
Deciding where to live or stay in Virginia Beach is a significant decision that can impact the quality of your beachside living experience. With its expansive shoreline, diverse neighborhoods, and an array of attractions, Virginia Beach offers a unique blend of natural beauty and urban convenience. However, what is the best section to live in?
As a general rule, the southside of Virginia Beach is the best section to live in. This area offers many different activities and new housing and is generally much less crowded than other parts of the city.
However, the city has a broad spectrum of areas that cater to different preferences, whether you're seeking a serene suburban lifestyle or an energetic oceanfront vibe. Keep reading to learn more about this wonderful city.
Overview of Virginia Beach
In providing an overview of Virginia Beach for this article, the focus will be on its geographic location, climate, and economy, which are pivotal in understanding why it's an appealing destination.
Virginia Beach lies on the southeastern coast of Virginia, where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. The city is noted for its miles of beaches and the famous Virginia Beach Boardwalk. It's not just a resort city; the area also includes suburban communities, rural areas, and waterfront access in various points along the Lynnhaven River and the North Landing River as part of the Intracoastal Waterway.
The climate here is classified as humid subtropical, meaning hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. This climate is ideal for beach-goers and is a strong selling point for living in or visiting Virginia Beach. The weather allows for an extended beach season, which many residents and tourists enjoy. However, the summers can be incredibly hot, so ensure you're prepared for this.
Virginia Beach's economy is diverse, with sectors like tourism, national defense, and agribusiness playing significant roles. The presence of military bases contributes to its economic stability. Additionally, the agriculture sector in Pungo, the southern area of Virginia Beach, produces a variety of crops, especially strawberries. Tourism is bolstered by the city's beaches, events, and historic sites, fueling a significant portion of the local economy.
Neighborhoods and Living
Virginia Beach is a city that embodies coastal charm with a blend of residential communities, each offering unique living experiences. From beachside retreats to quaint suburban landscapes, I find that the diversity in neighborhoods caters to a wide range of preferences, whether one is seeking the tranquility of the ocean or the familiarity of a tight-knit community.
In the North End of Virginia Beach, you'll encounter sprawling single-family homes nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the bustling shore drive. This area's real estate stands out for its higher median home value compared to other neighborhoods due to its proximity to the water and good schools.
Sandbridge offers a serene beach community feel, notable for vacation homes and rental properties. It's perfect for those who prefer a quieter beach experience. Real estate here primarily consists of condos and single-family homes, many with stunning waterfront views. This is a great beach to visit; my family enjoys it all summer. We really enjoy the fact that it's much less crowded than the other beaches.
Moving to Chesapeake Beach, also known as Chic's Beach by locals, I observe a laid-back atmosphere with a variety of housing options from cozy cottages to modern townhouses. It's a great blend of accessibility to the Chesapeake Bay and commercial conveniences.
Little Neck is a peninsula surrounded by waterways, boasting some of the best suburban living in Virginia Beach. With its low traffic and numerous cul-de-sacs, I see why many consider this one of the best places to live. Its neighborhoods are known for their strong community ties and well-regarded schools.
Lastly, Great Neck is a prime residential area respected for its established neighborhoods, quality educational institutions, and robust community feel. Here, housing ranges expansively in style and price, accommodating diverse tastes and budgets while maintaining a reputation for being one of the best neighborhoods for those searching for a suburban lifestyle in Virginia Beach.
What is the Top Beach in Virginia Beach?
When considering the top beach in Virginia Beach, my clear choice is Sandbridge. This tranquil spot offers something quite distinct from the more bustling areas frequented by tourists. Here's why I find Sandbridge to be the standout:
- Secluded Atmosphere: Unlike the energetic boardwalk area, Sandbridge is set apart, favoring a more laid-back vibe. It's perfect for those seeking a serene retreat.
- Natural Beauty: The natural dunes and the untouched maritime environment at Sandbridge Beach create a picturesque setting that's hard to find elsewhere.
- Family-Friendly: Its gentle surf and clean shores make Sandbridge a safe and enjoyable place for families.
- Proximity to Outdoor Adventures: Sandbridge is adjacent to both Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park, offering opportunities for hiking, kayaking, and observing wildlife.
- Variety of Rentals: The availability of beachfront houses and condos provides flexibility for any traveler. Whether it's a family vacation or a longer stay, there's a property that suits almost every need.
By pointing out the attributes of Sandbridge, I don't mean to overlook the charms of other beaches in Virginia Beach. Yet, if I had to recommend one location that encapsulates the essence of a tranquil oceanfront experience, Sandbridge would be my confident recommendation for both living and staying.
Attractions and Entertainment
As I explore Virginia Beach, I find that its attractions and entertainment are centered on the oceanfront, making it a perfect holiday destination for tourists and residents alike. The city's vibrant boardwalk, fascinating aquarium, dynamic contemporary art scene, and pristine natural park settings provide a diverse experience that caters to many interests and age groups.
Virginia Beach Boardwalk
The Virginia Beach Boardwalk is a hub of activity with its 3-mile stretch along the oceanfront. Here, the gentle sounds of the beach waves meet the lively atmosphere where tourists and locals enjoy walking, biking, and rollerblading. Landmarks like the iconic Neptune Statue stand tall, offering an excellent photo opportunity while serving as a nod to the city's cultural landscape.
Among the leading attractions of Virginia Beach, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center stands out. It's a place where I discover the rich marine biodiversity with exhibits that house a stunning variety of aquatic life. Educational programs and hands-on exhibits make the aquarium a significant draw for families and marine life enthusiasts. Checking out the vibrant coral reefs and the Komodo dragons is always a highlight of my visit.
Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art introduced me to thought-provoking and cutting-edge works by living artists. Through a variety of mediums that challenge and inspire, it spotlights contemporary art in a way that's accessible to everyone. As I stroll through the exhibitions, I'm often struck by the creativity and dialogue sparked by the artwork on display.
First Landing State Park
First Landing State Park is a testament to Virginia Beach's natural beauty, where I find a peaceful escape from the busier oceanfront. This historic park, located on Chesapeake Bay, features over 20 miles of trails and a diverse ecosystem that includes dunes, marshes, and maritime forests. It's an ideal spot for hiking, picnicking, or simply soaking in the serene views.
Each of these attractions contributes to the vibrant and inviting character of Virginia Beach. Whether I am looking for entertainment, education, or a natural retreat, I find that all these experiences enrich my time in this coastal city.
Dining and Cuisine
Virginia Beach's dining scene offers an array of options that promise to satisfy any palate, from oceanfront restaurants with stunning views to local eateries serving up regional specialties. Let me guide you through the best spots for foodies in Virginia Beach.
The oceanfront at Virginia Beach is a prime spot for dining with a view. Here, I can enjoy fresh seafood while overlooking the Atlantic waves. One of the most exceptional experiences for diners is the Asian-fusion cuisine available at Orion's Roof, where the rooftop garden setting complements the handcrafted cocktails and meticulously prepared dishes, almost 200 feet in the air.
- Must-Try Oceanfront Restaurant:
- Orion's Roof: Perfect for special occasions or simply to elevate your dining experience.
Local Dining Options
Virginia Beach is home to a variety of local dining options that cater to those looking for something unique and quintessentially Virginian. One standout option is Tupelo Honey, where brunch is celebrated all day with comforting dishes like banana pudding pancakes or fried chicken and biscuits. These local spots embody the spirit and flavors of the region.
- Local Favorites:
- Tupelo Honey: Known for its all-day brunch and Southern charm.
Cafés and Bars
For a more relaxed dining environment or a place to unwind, Virginia Beach has its share of cafés and bars. Cafés such as Salty Paws Ice Cream and Bakery not only offer a friendly atmosphere but also cater to our canine friends with unique treats. Additionally, the city provides numerous bars where one can savor local brews and creative mixology, capturing the laid-back coastal vibe.
- Café Highlight:
- Salty Paws Ice Cream and Bakery: A dog-friendly café, ideal for pet owners and pet lovers alike.
I've given you a quick tour of the diverse flavors and settings that Virginia Beach has to offer. Whether it’s the upscale ambiance of oceanfront dining, the local charm of Virginia's culinary offerings, or the casual café and bar scene, there's truly something for every taste here.
Outdoor Activities and Nature
Virginia Beach isn't just a place to soak up the sun; it's a treasure trove for outdoor enthusiasts. From serene wildlife refuges to a myriad of water activities and intriguing hiking paths, there's a wealth of natural experiences to be had.
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
At Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, nature reveals its splendor through sprawling marshes and diverse habitats. I find this refuge to be a peaceful haven for families and wildlife aficionados alike. It boasts over 9,000 acres of marshes and beaches, offering stellar opportunities for bird watching and enjoying the serene ocean views.
Fishing and Boating
Fishing and boating are quintessential elements of Virginia Beach outdoor life. Whether on the pier or off a boat, the thrill of the catch is a favorite among locals and visitors. I recommend exploring the North End beaches for their calmer waters, ideal for both swimming and casting a line.
For those who prefer land-based pursuits, the hiking trails throughout Virginia Beach provide a scenic canvas for outdoor activity. I've walked the trails of First Landing State Park, where you can traverse through diverse ecosystems and spot an array of wildlife. The ocean views along the trails never fail to impress, offering a perfect blend of fitness and nature indulgence.
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Is it Better To Stay on the North or South End of Virginia Beach?
When considering where to stay in Virginia Beach, the decision often comes down to whether the North or South end suits your preferences better. My exploration into this subject has revealed a few points about each region.
In the South end, you can expect:
- Less Crowded Areas: The South end tends to be less congested, making it a prime location for those seeking tranquility on their beach trip.
- Vacation Homes: If you're looking for accommodation beyond hotels, the area is populated with pleasant vacation homes, offering a more private and homely experience.
The South end is characterized by its activity range. From the Virginia Aquarium to adventure parks, families have access to a diverse portfolio of engaging attractions.
The contrast with the North end's calmer, more peaceful beaches is notable. While both ends of the beach have their unique perks, the South end stands out for its blend of serene beach vibes and accessible leisure activities suitable for all ages.
Community and Lifestyles
In my experience, Virginia Beach offers a diverse tapestry of communities that cater to various lifestyles, whether for families seeking a nurturing environment, individuals desiring luxury living, or those looking for affordable areas. Each neighborhood has its unique charm and advantages, positioning itself as an excellent place for locals, military families, retirees, and new residents alike.
For families, the importance of a supportive community and quality schools is paramount. Neighborhoods such as Kings Grant and Middle Plantation provide a welcoming environment with access to excellent educational institutions. In addition, abundant parks and family-oriented events foster a tight-knit community feel that's ideal for raising children.
Those seeking upscale amenities and waterfront views will find Virginia Beach's luxury communities appealing. Neighborhoods like Sandbridge offer high-end homes with the allure of beachfront living, providing a perfect blend of tranquility and lavishness. It's common to find homes here featuring private docks and stunning oceanfront vistas, suiting refined tastes and lifestyles.
Finding an affordable place to live in Virginia Beach is still accessible, even in such a sought-after location. Areas like the greater Little Neck area have homes ranging in price, making it possible for more budget-conscious individuals and families to find a place to call home. This inclusivity is fundamental, as it ensures a diverse community where everyone feels welcome.
Transportation and Accessibility
When it comes to transportation and accessibility, I find that Virginia Beach offers a variety of options catering to both residents and visitors alike. The public transit system includes buses operated by the Hampton Roads Transit (HRT), making it relatively straightforward to navigate around the city. I appreciate the fact that many bus routes service the oceanfront and popular shopping districts, easing the commute for daily activities or leisure.
Parking in Virginia Beach is abundant, particularly in the Resort Area, with lots and garages offering ample spaces. Peak season can see higher demand, but there are options such as metered parking and the option to purchase temporary parking passes, making it convenient for those with their vehicles.
Regarding accommodation, visitors have access to a wide range of options from hotels with valet services to vacation rentals with private parking spaces. I've noticed that many accommodations are also tactfully positioned near major attractions and provide shuttle services, ensuring mobility is not a concern.
Accessibility is thoughtfully addressed throughout the city. Virginia Beach trails in the City of Virginia Beach plans enhance pedestrian and bicycle accessibility. Additionally, I've discovered that some beach areas offer specially designed wheelchairs, suitable for the sand and available to rent, as a testament to the city's commitment to inclusive access for all.
- Beach Access: Wheelchair-friendly ramps and beach wheelchairs available for rent.
- Bicycle Paths: Network of trails enhancing active transportation.
- Public Transit: HRT provides comprehensive bus routes throughout the city.
By focusing on inclusive design and comprehensive transit options, Virginia Beach demonstrates its dedication to making transportation and accessibility a priority for everyone.
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YOUR LOCAL REALTOR
DJ Parker is your local Realtor and guide to Hampton Roads, Virginia. As a native of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, Virginia for over 30 years, he has the local knowledge you need. He has helped clients with Real Estate throughout Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Suffolk and all of Hampton Roads Virginia.