Why You Might Think Twice About Moving to Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a great place to live – in fact, WalletHub.com listed it as the best big city to live in 2017 based on cost of living, safety and health and education options.

But everything has its tradeoffs so here are a few cons to consider before packing your bags and heading to the beach:

The sound of freedom

What does freedom sound like, you ask? Jet noise.

Above all, Virginia Beach is a military town. Naval Air Station Oceana is infamous for its consistent and extremely loud jet noise. When you buy a home in this region it is a legal requirement that you are told what jet noise zone your home falls into in regards to the surrounding bases. That’s how loud it can be.

For a lot of people (military and civilian included) this isn’t a con. Many residents love the military culture we embody, including the “sound of freedom.” But if jet noise, base traffic and a very transient population isn’t your thing, then Virginia Beach may not be for you.

Traffic woes

If you’re moving here from a big city like Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles or the D.C. area, then our traffic won’t phase you, but you’re in the minority. Due to all the water, we have loads of bridges (which have openings) and tunnels (which seem to have an accident or breakdown inside the tube every day at rush hour) that make a commute a little more complicated. 

In addition to that, our “rush hour” is from about 6:00 am to 9:00 am and then from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm because of shift hours at the bases.  

The weather is . . . weird.

Although generally temperate and mild, the weather in Virginia Beach can change drastically in a short period of time. It is not uncommon in early winter and spring for daytime temperatures to change 20 or 30 degrees in the course of 48 hours.

The summers are quite hot and muggy. In fact, here’s what WeatherSpark.com has to say about the humidity in Virginia Beach:

The muggier period of the year lasts for 4.5 months, from May 23 to October 6, during which time the comfort level is muggy, oppressive, or miserable at least 21% of the time.”

The winters are milder, but usually have at least one dusting of snow. Basically, you’re going to feel all four seasons – sometimes in the course of one week.

Public transportation is nearly non-existent

Without getting into the politics of regional mass transit, suffice it to say, the public transportation in Hampton Roads is lacking. HRT has an extensive bus route, but because the area is so large, bus rides can take hours, and they don’t reach many populations in suburban or rural areas. The Tide light rail in Norfolk has a lot of potential, but again – there are regional politics in play that are keeping it inside Norfolk city limits at this time, which limits its usefulness.

To live here, you pretty much have to have a car and be prepared to drive – a lot. Oh, and our roads are not super bike-friendly here, so don’t rely on your cycle either.

Summertime tourists

Virginia Beach and the Outer Banks of North Carolina, which are accessed primarily through Hampton Roads, are tourist towns. In the summer the traffic to and around these areas increases dramatically. While the ocean is one of the biggest benefits of living in this area, getting there can be a pain from Memorial to Labor Day. The good news is that the actual best beach weather is in September and October, after most of the tourists have gone home.

You can get fined for swearing

So much for the “sound of freedom.”

If you do spend anytime around the Oceanfront, be sure to watch your mouth or you might get a citation for $250. Yes, Virginia Beach actually has a No Cursing Law on the books. The city implemented the law several years ago to keep the tourist area family friendly, but some people, you know, feel like it might be a blatant violation of first amendment rights.

While those of us who love this area strongly believe the pros outweigh the cons, Virginia Beach and the Hampton Roads region are not for everyone. But if you do decide to become a resident, we’re ready to welcome you to our big, bustling beach town. Before you unpack your bags, though, check out how to how to sound like a local so you can really fit in.

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Rachel Burns