Known as Neptune City, Virginia Beach is part of the greater Hampton Roads metropolitan area. While Virginia Beach’s population is slightly under 450,000, the metropolitan area’s is 1.6 million. Facing the Atlantic Ocean and a beach city in every way, it’s ninth on Forbes’ America’s Top 20 Healthiest Cities and third on its Top 10 Most Conservative Cities. 

The Hampton Roads area has a strong military presence. With access to the Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay, James River and Elizabeth River, Norfolk Naval Station is the largest naval base in the world. Other military facilities include the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Naval Air Station Oceana, Joint Base Langley-Eustis and NASA’s Langley Research Center. Thanks to the aircraft carriers, this is an area of tunnels rather than bridges, with the Monitor-Merrimack Memorial and Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnels spanning Hampton Roads and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel’s three bridge spans and two tunnels connecting Virginia Beach to the Eastern Shore. With the military facilities come some large defense contractors, such as Lockheed Martin and SAIC – Science Applications International Corporation. Forbes also listed Virginia Beach as one of the best cities for manufacturing jobs; AMSEC, LLC, shipbuilding and repair is here along with STIHL Incorporated’s North American headquarters. GEICO General Insurance Company and Amerigroup are also major employers.

The Resort City is boating and beach heaven, and while other cities in the metro area have access to plenty of water, Virginia Beach holds rugged ocean surf and wide beach. Outdoor activities include windsurfing and kayaking, biking, a skate park, a water park and whale-watching tours. For those who can forgo the beach, the area has no fewer than 25 golf courses; hundreds of hotels and resorts; Lynnhaven Mall, one of the East Coast’s largest shopping malls; specialty shopping centers, boutiques and antique shops; and the Boardwalk, with its souvenir and specialty shops full of tchotchkes. Virginia Beach also has the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center and several museums, from aviation to lighthouses to contemporary art. Historic Williamsburg is less than 30 minutes away.

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