Virginia Beach, VA – Known to have one of the most popular boardwalks in the continental United States, there’s no shortage of yearly festivities, volunteer opportunities, concerts, conventions, and plenty of good food. So you can see why it’s such an attractive place to visit, maybe even live for a while. This isn’t a small coastal beach town either – you won’t easily find homes with sprawling yards, but what you lack in yardage you make up for in neighborhood dynamics and personality.
Instead of giving you some sort of sales pitch about the city (and yes, I say city because this ain’t a Hollywood style beach town) I’ll tell you what it’s been like for my family and I to live here.
I should start by saying that I didn’t grow up here. I moved around a lot as a kid. As in a new school every year since…1st grade? That sounds about right. NO JOKE. Born in Florida – lived in TX, UT, ID…the list is extensive and not totally relevant to this – living in Virginia has been very different. Nothing like the beach towns in Florida.
1. The Food: This town is like every start up entrepreneurs dream for restaurants. And the festivals….the festivals are amazing. There’s the Wine Festival, Pungo Strawberry Festival, Restaurant Week, Craft Beer Festival, Virginia Beer Festival, Latin Fest, and there’s always great tents set up to try the local cuisine. But it’s the small businesses near the boardwalk that are the real gem. There’s a place called “Doc Taylor’s” that is my absolute fave! They’ll serve you breakfast or lunch no matter what hour you come in, even though they’re only open until 3 p.m. and the staff is super casual and friendly. I think that’s the part I love the most…the staff not being too overbearing 🙂 Not far down the street from Doc’s is “Sunny Side Cafe and Restaurant” and they’re not known as one of the best on the boardwalk for no reason. Their omelet’s are the bomb dot com.
Pungo Strawberry Festival
2. The Festivals: Like I mentioned about about the food, there are tons of festivals. Blues at the Beach, Virginia Arts Festival, Kite Festival, Stars and Stripes Festival, Neptune Festival, Patriotic Festival, Funk-Fest, Monsters on the Beach…I could keep going but I think you get the point. Virginia Beach really knows how to entertain tourists.
3. The Concerts: The Virginia Beach Amphitheater, now called Farm Bureau Live, hosts some of the best acts around! They offer mega-tickets so you won’t miss any of the summer shows. And trust me, living here, you won’t want to. Genres from Country, Rock, and Rap all come here. We don’t get many pop stars though because the amphitheater isn’t big enough.
Luke Bryan is a regular at the amphitheater. Thank heaven ❤
4. The Casual Atmosphere: Driving around from place to place should make it clear to most visitors that the locals aren’t in a hurry to get anywhere, aside from the military personnel. VB gets a ton of sunshine to go along with the miles and miles of coast for everyone to soak up. If that isn’t relaxing enough for you, I don’t know what would be.
1. Parking: There are so many festivals, concerts, marathons, and everything else that the city hasn’t really kept up with it all by building the appropriate infrastructure to accommodate all the individuals coming to the area. Parking is always a hair-pulling, teeth shattering hassle. If you’re lucky enough you’ll find a local that will let you park in their driveway…for your first born kid. Bonus of being a local….carpooling or finding someone brave enough to bare the traffic to pick you up or drop you off. Taxis or Uber’s? No thanks, I like to see the age of 100.
2. The Population Density: This really feeds into con #1. With over 400,000 residents and the thousands of tourists that pour in every summer, the highway isn’t going to be the fastest way to get around most of the day. A single car accident will cripple the rest of traffic, 2 or more cars you’re going to want to open up a bottle of whiskey when you get home and call it quits.
Every city or town has their issues. You’ll always run in to people that are less than friendly or down right rude – but that doesn’t reflect the overall atmosphere. And sure, everywhere has their traffic problems. But of all the places I’ve lived – VB is certainly my least favorite areas to drive. The tolls, the tunnels, the bridges, NO THANKS.
Needless to say, I’ve made a few good friends here and I will miss them when I leave…and I’ll miss the food. But I’ll be glad to leave for Spain!
Does the area where you live have as many entertainment options?
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