• the complete guide to moving to & living in


  • Hampton Roads often referred to as "The Seven Cities", is a stunningly large area in southeastern Virginia that encompasses numerous cities and towns. If you're thinking of moving here, then this guide is for you! We'll cover everything from the different lifestyles and housing markets to schools and job opportunities. So whether you're just curious about Hampton Roads or are ready to take the plunge, read on for all the information you need.

    Living In Hampton Roads

    Living in Hampton Roads, VA, is a unique and wonderful experience. The area is steeped in history, yet modern and thriving. There are seven cities in Hampton Roads, located in the Peninsula (Hampton & Newport News) and on the Southside (Suffolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach).

    The region is known for its distinguished military presence and is home to about 1.8 million people. Each of these places has its own identity, yet they are all connected by the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, which spans nearly 4 miles, along with Monitor-Merrimac Bridge-Tunnel, and the James River Bridge. From the lively nightlife of Norfolk to the stunning coast of Virginia Beach, moving to Hampton Roads will provide you with endless options for activities and adventures.


    Thinking of Moving to Hampton Roads?


    Things to Know About Hampton Roads


    Moving to Hampton Roads for Work


    School Divisions in Hampton Roads


    Cities in Hampton Roads


    Getting Around Hampton Roads


    Attractions & Destinations in Hampton Roads

  • Thinking of Moving to Hampton Roads?

  • Where Is Hampton Roads?

    Hampton Roads is a beautiful region on the United States' East Coast. Bordering the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, the area is interwoven with stretches of rivers, including the James, Elizabeth, and York. But what some people may not know is the region encompasses two separate areas that link Hampton Roads and the Virginia Peninsula.

    The west end of the southside is called Western Tidewater (also referred to as the Historic Triangle) which boasts many historic sites in the country. The Hampton Roads region is a perfect mix of history and modernity, offering something for everyone. With its beautiful scenery and outstanding quality of life, it's no wonder Hampton Roads is one of the fastest-growing regions in the country.

  • Things to Know About Hampton Roads

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    History & Famous People

    There is no doubt that Hampton Roads residents are proud of their history. After all, the region is home to hundreds of historical sites and attractions, many of which date back to the early days of Colonial America. The harbor has always been an important part of Hampton Roads' history, serving as a key port for trade and military defense.

    Today, Hampton Roads is greatly known for being the birthplace of Colonial America and is also home to Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement, and Colonial Williamsburg, the country's largest living history museum.

    Of course, Hampton Roads is not only notable for its historical sites; it is also home to some of today's most famous residents, including Pharrell Williams, Missy Elliot, James Avery, and Wayne Newton.

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    Weather in Hampton Roads

    Hampton Roads experiences mild climates and all four seasons. The area receives about 47 inches of rainfall annually, with spring and summer being the wettest seasons. Hampton Roads also receives about 6 inches of snowfall per year and averages about 213 sunny days a year.

    Despite the moderate weather, residents of Hampton Roads can still enjoy all the activities that come with each season. From springtime blooms to autumn leaves, there is always something new to see in Hampton Roads. So whether you're a fan of sunny days or snowflakes you will be able to enjoy the outdoors all year round!

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    Amenities in Hampton Roads

    Living in Hampton Roads means having access to some of the best amenities in the country. The region is home to many top-rated schools, hospitals, and employers. It also boasts an excellent quality of life with its low cost of living and diverse range of housing options.

    There are plenty of things to do in Hampton Roads, from exploring the historical sites to enjoying the many parks and recreational activities. And of course, let's not forget the beaches! With over 35 miles of coastline, there is no shortage of places to relax in the sun.

    In addition, Hampton Roads is a popular destination for golfers, shoppers, and diners alike. Whether you're looking for a quiet place to live or an exciting place to play, Hampton Roads is sure to exceed your expectations. Further on in this blog, you will learn more about the excellent amenities and attractions in this spectacular region.

  • Moving to Hampton Roads For Work

  • Business & Jobs in Hampton Roads

    If you are considering a move to Hampton Roads for work, you'll be joining the many people who are drawn to the region by its diverse economy and endless job opportunities. The Hampton Roads area is home to the fast-growing port on the East Coast and is engineered for continued growth and development.

    Hampton Roads is widely known for its strong military presence, ice-free harbor, shipyards, coal piers, and breathtaking beaches and waterfront properties. All of which contribute immensely to the area's economy and the job market. Since Hampton Roads has seven cities within it, let's take a closer look at a few of the main employment sectors in each.

  • Economy & Job Market in Hampton, VA

    The economy in Hampton, VA is slowly picking back up after taking a hit in recent years. The unemployment rate is roughly 4.2%, with a median income of about $30,530. Despite the slow economic recovery, there are still plenty of opportunities for those looking for work in Hampton, VA.

    Some of the largest companies in Hampton, VA:

      • Measurement Specialties
      • Elizabeth River Ferry
      • City of Hampton
      • NASA Langley Research Center
      • Northrup Grumman
  • Economy & Job Market in Newport News, VA

    Situated on the Virginia Peninsula, Newport News is a wonderful place to live for those who are looking for an engaged and supportive community. The unemployment rate is about 3.7% meaning if you are looking for work in this area, you probably won't have a hard time finding it.

    Some of the largest companies in Newport News, VA:

      • Newport News Shipbuilding
      • Huntington Ingalls Industries
      • City of Newport News
      • Spectrum Comm
  • Economy & Job Market in Suffolk, VA

    Suffolk's central location on the Hampton Roads harbors gives it a strong economy that is supported by many different industries. The unemployment rate is about 2.80% which is a major improvement from past years. Some of the main industries in Suffolk, VA include manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, and construction.

    Some of the largest companies in Suffolk, VA:

      • Diatic Environmental
      • Birdsong
      • Western Tidewater CSB
      • Amazon
  • Economy & Job Market in Portsmouth, VA

    Portsmouth is a vibrant, thriving city with a diverse economy and an unemployment rate of 4.3%. The median income has been steadily increasing year after year due to the city's commitment to attracting new businesses and supporting the growth of existing ones.

    The maritime industry is a major driver of the local economy, and the city is home to many small businesses and specialty retail outlets. But something that is expected to have a significant economic benefit to the area is The Rivers Casino Portsmouth.

    This gaming and entertainment complex is scheduled to open in 2023 and is expected to create about 1,300 job opportunities. With such a strong economy and a commitment to creating jobs, it's no wonder Portsmouth is a fantastic place to live and work.

    Some of the largest companies in Portsmouth, VA:

      • Earl Industries
      • Creative Business Solutions
      • Maryview Hospital
  • Economy & Job Market in Chesapeake, VA

    Chesapeake, VA is quickly becoming known as one of the best places to start a business. The city offers a dynamic community and a strategic location, making it an ideal place for start-ups. The unemployment rate is great at 3.1% and the average salary is just over $65K. But what really sets Chesapeake apart is the outstanding amount of resources and support available to businesses.

    Some of the largest companies in Chesapeake, VA:

      • Chesapeake Regional Medical Center
      • MAP Communications
      • Dollar Tree
      • General Dynamics
  • Economy & Job Market in Norfolk, VA

    Norfolk, Virginia is proud of its many excellent industries including health care, retail trade, manufacturing, as well as its accommodation, and food services. There has been a great improvement with the unemployment rate now being about 4.0%.

    Norfolk is also home to many military bases including the Naval Station Norfolk which is the largest US Navy base in the world. Similar to Portsmouth, Norfolk is also expecting a large casino development which will be the HeadWaters Casino.

    This $500 million casino and luxury hotel is being built on the Elizabeth River and is planning to open its doors in 2024. As this project has just begun, there are not many details yet of what the economic impact will be. However, it is clear that this casino will bring in a lot of revenue and create many new jobs for the area as well.

    Some of the largest companies in Norfolk, VA:

      • Norfolk Southern Railway
      • PRA Group
      • Sentara Healthcare
      • Norfolk Southern
      • Anthem Healthcare
      • N.S.A Hampton Roads
  • Economy & Job Market in Virginia Beach, VA

    The economy in Virginia Beach is booming, and the job market is rapidly growing. The unemployment rate is low, and there are a large number of opportunities for those looking for work. The city is known for its manufacturing industry, and Gold Key l PHR is one of the largest employers in the area. With over 2,200 employees during peak season, the company provides countless jobs for residents in the area.

    In addition to manufacturing, Virginia Beach is also a popular tourist destination. The city's beaches are world-renowned, and there are plenty of hotels and restaurants that cater to visitors while contributing to the overall future of Virginia Beach.

    Some of the largest companies in Virginia Beach, VA:

      • Stihl
      • Navy Exchange
      • Gold Key l PHR
      • Amerigroup
      • Optima Healthcare
  • All in all, each of these cities within Hampton Roads comes with its own set of pros and cons just like any other area. It's important to do your research about a place before you decide to move there, but rest assured that Hampton Roads is a great place to live and you will not have a hard time finding work if that's what you're looking for.

  • School Divisions in Hampton Roads

  • Best Schools in Hampton Roads

    The Hampton Roads region of Virginia is filled with an abundance of excellent school divisions. Families who are looking for the best schools for their children will be hard-pressed to find a better place to live than Hampton Roads.

    These divisions are serving some of the most academically successful students in the state, and they are doing so with a commitment to excellence that is unmatched. Included below is a list of the school districts that are located in Hampton Roads.

      1. Chesapeake Public Schools
      2. Franklin City Public Schools
      3. Hampton City Public Schools
      4. Isle of Wight County Schools
      5. Newport News Public Schools
      1. Norfolk Public Schools
      2. Portsmouth Public Schools
      3. Suffolk City Public Schools
      4. Virginia Beach City Public Schools
      5. Southampton County Public Schools
  • Cities in Hampton Roads

      1. Suffolk
      2. Portsmouth
      3. Chesapeake
      4. Norfolk
      1. Virginia Beach
      2. Hampton
      3. Newport News
      4. Isle of Wight County
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    1. Living in Suffolk, VA

    Suffolk, VA is a charming small town located in the south Hampton Roads Region and is the hub city of Western Tidewater which also includes, Isle of Wight County and Southhampton County. The Isle of Wight County has incorporated the cities of Franklin, Smithfield, and the Town of Windsor all of which are located within its borders.

    Most people know Suffolk as the birthplace of Mr. Peanut, the well-known mascot of Planters Peanuts. With a population of around 91,000 people, Suffolk is the perfect place to live if you're looking for a slower-paced lifestyle while not being too far from the action of Hampton Roads.

    Suffolk may be a fairly secluded city but that does not take away from its many hidden gems and housing options. From slightly older homes to craftsman-style architecture, to brand new construction, Suffolk has a little bit of everything for everyone. Not to mention, with its convenient location to both Norfolk and Virginia Beach, you're never too far away from the beach or big city life.

    Some of the amenities in Suffolk, VA include:

    The area is Suffolk, VA is also renowned for its stunning golf courses including:

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    2. Living in Portsmouth, VA

    The city of Portsmouth lies on the south shore of the Elizabeth River in Hampton Roads and has a population of roughly 95,000 people. The Olde Towne Historic District is the heart of Portsmouth and is where you will find a variety of 18th and early 19th-century architecture, as well as the city's thriving arts scene.

    Portsmouth, VA also serves as the home to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard which is the largest facility that belongs to the U.S. Navy. Residents in the area not only enjoy the historic charm of their town, but also the laid-back atmosphere that Portsmouth has to offer.

    Some of the amenities in Portsmouth, VA include:

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    3. Living in Chesapeake, VA

    Looking for a suburban setting with easy access to the water and protected farmland? Chesapeake, VA is the place for you! This city is located along the Intercoastal Waterway and is home to South Chesapeake, South Norfolk, and Western Branch.

    While each of these areas has its own unique feel, they all offer a suburban lifestyle with access to quality schools and city parks. In addition, Chesapeake is filled with several waterfront homes, making it the perfect place to enjoy all the benefits of living near the water without the hustle and bustle of a larger city.

    Some of the amenities in Chesapeake, VA include:

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    4. Living in Norfolk, VA

    Norfolk, located in southeastern Virginia, is a beautiful city with a population of around 244,300 people. Bordered by several bodies of water, including the Chesapeake Bay and the Elizabeth River, Norfolk is a prime location for those who love being near the water.

    The area is rich in culture and history and is a major hub for the military, with Naval Station Norfolk being the largest naval base in the world.

    Sports enthusiasts will enjoy the many sporting events that take place in Norfolk year-round. And, of course, no visit to Norfolk would be complete without exploring the many unique craftsman-style homes, quaint bungalows, and large waterfront homes that the city is known for.

    Some of the amenities in Norfolk, VA include:

    Norfolk, VA is also home to Norfolk General Hospital which is the only Level 1 trauma center in the region with a dedicated Nighengale air ambulance. As well, the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughter is the only detached children’s hospital in Virginia and treats patients ages 0-21.

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    5. Living in Virginia Beach, VA

    There's no place quite like Virginia Beach, VA. From the stunning coastal beauty to the year-round mild climate, it's easy to see why so many people call this place home. Virginia Beach is also proud of its military ties and has excellent resources and amenities for those who serve.

    The city is filled with a variety of different types of homes, from cozy beach bungalows to luxury oceanfront estates that will differ in price depending on their location. Virginia Beach is also proud of its lively community atmosphere, thriving nightlife scene, and endless things to see and do.

    Some of the amenities in Virginia Beach, VA include:

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    6. Living in Hampton, VA

    Nestled along the coast of Chesapeake Bay, Hampton is a Virginia beach town with a long history and plenty to offer its residents. Commercially, the town is home to many businesses, including restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues.

    For those who prefer older homes, there are several classic homes located in Hampton that have been well-maintained over the years. And for those who are looking for something new, there are also many newer homes being built in the area.

    Regardless of your preference, there is sure to be a place for you in Hampton. With its beautiful location and wide array of amenities, it's no wonder living in Hampton, VA is such a popular choice.

    Some of the amenities in Hampton, VA include:

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    7. Living in Newport News, VA

    Newport News is a city located in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. With a population of around 180,000, it is the fifth-largest city in the state. Newport News is known for its tree-lined streets and its close proximity to Williamsburg.

    The city is home to a variety of single-family homes as well as apartments and townhomes each with its own style. Residents in this area enjoy the amazing scenic outdoor views as well as the shopping and dining options available.

    Some of the amenities in Newport News, VA include:

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    8. Living in Isle of Wight County, VA

    Isle of Wight County is situated along the stunning shores of Virginia's James River, in the Hampton Roads Region. The county has a population of just over 37,000 people and is known but its natural beauty.

    Smithfield, Windsor, and Franklin have incorporated cities within the Isle of Wight County and there are also several unincorporated communities. For example, Carrollton is an area within the county but not technically a city. And the same goes for Carrsville, located within Southampton County but not an actual city.

    Residents living in the Isle of Wight County have access to some of the best amenities and attractions in the Hampton Roads Region. The James River is a popular spot for fishing, boating, and swimming. There are also several golf courses in the county.

    Some of the amenities in Isle of Wight County, VA include:

  • Getting Around Hampton Roads

  • Hampton Roads Tunnels & Bridges

    Navigating through any new place can be tricky, but luckily the Hampton Roads area has several tunnels and bridges to help you get around. Interstate 64 is the main road that runs through Hampton Roads, connecting the Virginia Peninsula to the Southside. This route is probably the most direct way to get from one side of Hampton Roads to the other.

    Here are some more options available:

      • Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel (Interstate 664)
      • Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (I-64)
      • Downtown Tunnel (I-264)
      • Midtown Tunnel (Route 58)
      • James River Bridge (Routes 17,258,32)

    In addition to these major routes, Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) is the main provider of public transportation in the Hampton Roads area. HRT features a variety of different services, including buses, light rail, and ferries.

  • Attractions & Destinations in Hampton Roads

  • Things to Do in Hampton Roads

    Hampton Roads does not fall short of things to do and see. From the numerous museums and historical sites to the countless outdoor activities, this wonderful area is bursting with culture and excitement. Included below are some of the most popular attractions and destinations in all of Hampton Roads and the regions within it.

  • First Landing State Park

    Virginia's First Landing State Park is a 20-mile network of trails that offer visitors both recreational and educational opportunities. The park is situated on the Chesapeake Bay, providing water access for fishing, swimming, and boating. Alongside its natural beauty, the park also offers a variety of educational programs on topics ranging from local history to environmental stewardship.

  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

    The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is a world-class facility featuring over 8000 animals in over 800,000 gallons of salt water displays. Hundreds of species are represented, including sharks, rays, turtles, seahorses, eels, and more. Visitors can also get up close and personal with some of the Aquarium's smaller residents in the "Critter Cavern."

  • Chesapeake Arboretum

    This treasured destination was established in 1996 as a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the natural beauty of the Chesapeake Bay region. The Chesapeake Arboretum features a trail system that winds through woodlands, wetlands, and meadows, as well as a historic farmhouse and several gardens. This lovely destination is open to the public year-round, and its programs and events are designed to educate and engage visitors of all ages.

  • Norfolk Botanical Gardens

    The Norfolk Botanical Gardens are a 175-acre oasis with more than 60 themed gardens, 10,000 types of plants, and countless opportunities for exploration. This cultivated space attracts visitors from all over the world, who come to experience the diverse array of plant life on display.

  • Virginia Beach Boardwalk

    Stretching 3 miles along the oceanfront, the Virginia Beach Boardwalk is an extremely popular destination for locals and tourists alike. The wide, flat path is perfect for rollerblading, biking, or simply taking a leisurely stroll, and there are plenty of outdoor restaurants and vendors to enjoy along the way.

    In the evening, the boardwalk comes alive with people watching the sunset and enjoying the ocean breeze. Best of all, the boardwalk is free to enjoy - although visitors can rent beach chairs and umbrellas from any of the many kiosks along the path.

  • Windsor Castle Park

    Located in the Smithfield Historic District, Windsor Castle Park is a 208-acre riverside park that was once a plantation. The park features a natural playscape, walking and biking trails, and a riverfront beach. The park also has many historical landmarks, including the remains of the Windsor Castle plantation house. Today, the park is open to the public and offers a variety of recreational opportunities.

  • If you're looking for a new place to call home, you can't go wrong with Hampton Roads, Virginia. This vibrant and historic region offers things to do for people of all ages and interests. And with its convenient location and easy-to-use transportation system, getting around is a breeze.

  • Whether you're looking for a bustling city or a quiet suburban community, you'll find what you're looking for in Hampton Roads. So make the move today and discover all that this wonderful region has to offer!