Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA
Virginia Beach, the most populous city in the Commonwealth, has a major historical brag. In 1607, the first wave of English colonists landed at Cape Henry, where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. A memorial marks the “First Landing.”
The city’s waterfront location in the southeastern corner of Virginia, less than four hours’ drive from Washington, DC., defines the area of beaches, boardwalk, sand dunes and marshes. It made the Guinness Book of Records for having the longest pleasure beach in the world, and USA Today put Virginia Beach on its 2016 list of 10 Best Boardwalks, in part for its nightly summertime entertainment series. This is where the action is. The East Coast Surfing Championships and North American Sand Soccer Championship are annual events that draw swells of crowds.
Not everything revolves around the sea. Virginia Beach has more than 100 miles of bikeways and trails, 200+ parks, a sports complex, a performing arts center and the state’s only museum devoted to contemporary art. An emerging arts enclave dubbed the ViBe Creative District is attracting artists and artisans.
Tourism is the major industry of this resort destination, but the region is home to three military bases and two universities, adding diversity to the economy. Some 20 global firms have their U.S. headquarters here. Credit a cost of doing business that is below the national average.
The area saw major growth starting in the 1950s. New construction sometimes came at the expense of historic buildings, and Virginia Beach lost many vintage structures that embodied the Atlantic coastal style. In the 1980s the city took note and identified about 200 buildings, mostly bungalows, colonial revival and cottages that dated back to the turn of the 19th century and early 20th century.
Today, the real estate in Virginia Beach and its prestigious neighborhoods mix cottages and mansions. Some areas have private gated communities. Neighborhoods on the peninsula of Great Neck, including Alanton, are highly desirable for their character homes and well-regarded schools. And while not on the beach, they’re just a short ride away.