About Virginia Beach, Virginia
Virginia Beach is located in the mid-Atlantic region of the Southeastern corner of Virginia on the ocean. The Chesapeake Bay is to the North, with the Atlantic Ocean to the East of the city. Spanning approximately 497 square miles, Virginia Beach is the easternmost part of Hampton Roads, which encompasses 6 other cities – Norfolk, Chesapeake, Newport News, Hampton, Portsmouth and Suffolk. As the 42nd largest city in the United States, Virginia Beach is the most populated city in Virginia, approximating 440,415 people.
Virginia Beach has the longest pleasure beach in the world, as noted by The Guinness Book of Records. For this reason, it is known as a resort city welcoming an abundance of tourists each year. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, named one of the seven engineering wonders of the modern world, links Virginia Beach with the state's Eastern Shore. It also cuts 95 miles of travel between the city and some northern states. The area doesn't experience climatic extremes, but rather four moderate seasons. Virginia Beach has an annual average of 45 inches of rainfall with a snowfall of 8.9 inches.
Native Americans first inhabited the city of Virginia Beach thousands of years before English colonists settled there. The Chesepians occupied Norfolk, Portsmouth and Chesapeake as well. In December of 1606, Captain Christopher Newport set sail along with 105 other men to establish what is now Virginia. Four months later, in April of 1607, the voyagers landed at Cape Henry in Virginia Beach. They soon moved inland, to an area now known as “First Landing.” British merchant ships started using Cape Henry, where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, as a pathway to the new world.
In 1880, a clubhouse was built at the oceanfront, thus marking Virginia Beach's history as a resort town. Soon after, The Princess Anne Hotel was built, which occupied two oceanfront blocks. This vacation spot had a casino, pools, and disco halls along with beach access. With the addition of a railroad from Norfolk to Virginia Beach and the completion of Virginia Beach Boulevard, travel to the oceanfront became much easier. After that, the famous Cavalier Hotel and boardwalk were constructed in 1920, and the city has since seen tremendous growth as a beach town.
Virginia Beach has a plethora of area attractions that reach beyond the oceanfront. From various outdoor activities to prime shopping spots — there's something for everyone. The city is home to over 4,000 acres of state parks. This includes: neighborhood, community and district parks with playgrounds, picnic shelters, skate parks and ball fields. Ocean Breeze Water Park is also a summer favorite for children and adults. The shopping scene in Virginia Beach ranges from quant souvenir oceanfront shops to large malls and upscale boutiques. The city's history is rich and there are many landmarks and museums in the area to visit such as the Adam Thoroughgood House and the Cape Henry Lighthouse.
The oceanfront in itself hosts many events annually with its famous 3-mile boardwalk. The East Coast Surfing Championships as well as the North American Sand Soccer Championship bring people from across the nation to Virginia Beach. In addition, the Neptune Festival is a local favorite along with “McDonald's lights at the beach” during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. In the evening, the oceanfront has a lively nightlife, with bars and dance clubs for college students and adults.
Virginia Beach's public school system is the largest in the state, with nearly 70,000 students enrolled in grades K-12. This includes 56 elementary schools, 14 middle schools, 11 high schools, and a number of secondary and post-secondary specialty centers. Each of the 80 plus schools is fully accredited in the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL), which is rarely achieved by such a large school division. The city also has many independent, private schools including: Hampton Roads Academy, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic School and Parish, The Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, Cape Henry Collegiate Schools, Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School, Baylake Pines School, and Virginia Beach Friends School.
Both Regent University and Atlantic University are located in Virginia Beach. Regent offers graduate and undergraduate degrees, while Atlantic focuses solely on graduate education. Tidewater Community College, a large junior college, has its main campus in the city and Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia both have satellite Virginia Beach campuses. In addition, Virginia Wesleyan College sits on the border of Virginia Beach and Norfolk.