Choosing Where to Live in Hampton Roads

Which Hampton Roads community is right for you? When relocating to Hampton Roads, there are many areas worthy of becoming your next home. Large cities, small towns, quaint seaside villages, new home developments and sprawling suburban areas are some of the many places new residents can choose from when moving to Hampton Roads. If the time is right to buy a home, ensure you're selecting the best location for your new abode by taking mini road trips to these fun destinations.

Hampton Roads communities at a glance:

  • Virginia Beach - The area's largest city with miles of beaches, golf course greens and an exciting Oceanfront boardwalk.
  • Suffolk - Although the town has expanded with new developments, residents still maintain local, southern charm.
  • Portsmouth - This charming Old World city houses Naval Medical Center Portsmouth and affords nice city vistas.
  • Poquoson - With sought-after schools and low crime rates, this small town ranks high with newcomers and locals alike.
  • Norfolk - A regular utopia for today's urbanites, this city is a melting pot of industries, architecture styles and cultures.
  • Newport News - Visit the Virginia Living Museum and explore the diversity in this multi-faceted city.
  • Hampton - Home of the Virginia Air & Space Center, this unassuming bayside city is chock-full of character.
  • Chesapeake - A sassy suburbanite's dream complete with country clubs, shops, fine restaurants and entertainment.
  • Williamsburg - Monuments, museums and muskets- what's not to love about a city as American as apple pie?
  • North Carolina's Currituck County - With famous beaches and Knotts Island produce, this place is for family fun in the sun.
  • York County - American history is alive and well in this home of Yorktown, the York River and the Yorktown Battlefield.
  • Surry County - Small town pride shows in Chippokes Plantation State Park, one of the country's oldest working farms.
  • Mathews County - This artsy, waterside community could be the real Cabot Cove of the South.
  • James City County - Home to theme parks, this area attracts more than tourists with its lush scenery and coveted lifestyle.
  • Isle of Wight County - Turn back the clock in this region's charming town of Smithfield and enjoy a simpler way of life. Gloucester County - Antique shops, marinas and historical sites are just part of what awaits newcomers.

Probably one of the first things to look at when relocating to Hampton Roads is where you will be working. There's no need to live next door beside employers. However, it is prudent to take the location into consideration when the time comes to buy a home. Traffic, frustration and gas all eat into both money and time budgets, so factoring in the daily commute time is key to finding the right place in Hampton Roads. For the military, many communities have bases in this region. Larger military bases include Oceana in Virginia Beach, Langley Air Force Base in Hampton and Naval Station Norfolk and Little Creek in Norfolk. For medical professionals, there are several hubs where those skills can be honed- Sentara Obici Hospital in Suffolk, Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Chesapeake Regional Medical Center and Sentara Virginia Beach General. Hampton Roads has no shortage of residential areas near military bases or medical facilities.

Relocating to Hampton Roads may mean fulfilling a lifelong dream to move to the countryside…or not. The good news is homebuyers here can have their cake and eat it too. This is where the city meets the country again and again in the most picturesque of places. When getting ready to buy a home, factor in whether not you want to be in a rural environment. Mathews County, Surry County, York County, Gloucester County, Isle of Wight County, Currituck County and even some portions of certain cities afford residents country living. If life in the city is a priority then consider Norfolk, Portsmouth, downtown Hampton or downtown Newport News. A nice mixture can be found in Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, James City County, Chesapeake and Suffolk.

Looking at which Hampton Roads community is right for you may revolve around leisure pursuits. Enthusiasts might want to live within close proximity of certain areas that offer specific recreational activities. Surfing, deep-sea fishing, beachcombing and dolphin-watching make Virginia Beach and Currituck County prime oceanfront spots. Norfolk and Hampton have great waterways for rowing crew. Boating, fishing, kayaking, windsurfing, geocaching, bicycling, horseback riding and golfing can be done in many places throughout the region. Burgeoning visual artists can find camaraderie and further instruction in Suffolk, Mathews County, York County and Williamsburg. History buffs may never tire of the endless list of things to see in places like James City County, Williamsburg, Isle of Wight County and Surry County. Relocating to Hampton Roads means doing what you love and loving where you live

Another aspect of moving to southeastern Virginia is education. Parents and future parents must check out school systems before giving the green light to buy a home. Some of the state's best schools are in Hampton Roads: now all you have to do is figure out which ones are right for your family. Chesapeake has the Hickory School System and Grassfield High, both of which have people clamoring to live in those districts. Norfolk Academy is Virginia's oldest secondary school and boasts an impressive campus and curriculum. Higher learning may also be a factor when deciding which Hampton Roads community is right for you. Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University, Eastern Virginia Medical School are Virginia Wesleyan College are in Norfolk. The College of William and Mary is in Williamsburg, Regent University is in Virginia Beach, Christopher Newport University is in Newport News and Hampton University is in Hampton.

No matter the reason you're relocating to Hampton Roads, the outcome can be the same- happiness. Research areas and narrow down choices. Take time to explore on your own and meet locals from your top picks. See what feels like your next home and you'll find which Hampton Roads community is right for you. Moving to Hampton Roads means moving up… and you'll be glad you did.