The largest city in Virginia, the community of Virginia Beach is located on the state’s eastern coast, at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. It encompasses 249 square miles of land and 29 square miles of water bordered by 38 miles of beaches. It has been known as a resort area since the late 19th century, and this industry led to rapid growth and an eventual merger with Princess Anne County in 1963 to form the modern Virginia Beach. Although Virginia Beach is still a prominent tourist spot, it offers a variety of attractions and activities for all ages and interests.
The most notable feature is the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, which spans three miles of coastline and features everything from souvenir shops, restaurants and hotels to a bike path, an amusement park, night clubs, and oceanfront stages. Virginia Beach Town Center is the newest downtown area, covering 17 city blocks with upscale retail stores, luxury living condominiums, boutiques, cafes and high-end merchandise. Additional shopping can be found at the Lynnhaven Mall and the Shops at Hilltop.
The Norwegian Lady memorial is an interesting piece of local history. This statue on the boardwalk is a bronze replica of the figurehead of a Norwegian ship known as Dictator, which was shipwrecked off the coast in 1891. The statue and an identical one in the Norwegian town of Moss, the ship’s home port, commemorate the wreck and the local citizens’ efforts to rescue the survivors. History buffs will also appreciate the Adam Thoroughgood House, one of several landmark homes, and the Cape Henry Lighthouse, one of the oldest and the tallest lighthouses in the country. Local museums include the Military Aviation Museum, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, and the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. Visitors can also tour Naval Air Station Oceania and its Aviation Historical Park.
Outdoor activities include hiking, biking, skating, or canoeing in one of the many waterways, channels, bays, and lagoons. Golfers can spend a few hours on the fairways and greens of well-regarded courses like Virginia Beach National Golf Club or Red Wing Lake. Mount Trashmore Park includes 165 acres of environmentally-reclaimed land with two lakes, two playgrounds, picnic shelters, and a skate park with a vert ramp. Nature lovers are able to kayak with dolphins in the ocean or watch wild horses at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park. Located at the heart of the city, the Virginia Beach Sportsplex holds regional soccer tournaments, concerts, and other community events.
A mixture of architectural styles and properties are found in Virginia Beach, from lots with ample acreage, waterfront properties, condominiums, and single-family homes to vacation and luxury homes. Virginia Beach was the first city in Virginia to earn the distinction of “A Certified Crime Prevention Community,” and contains 19 Fire Stations, of which 12 share facilities with Rescue Squads. It also has the second-largest school system in the state, the Virginia Beach City Public Schools, which includes highly ranked schools like Princess Anne High School and its International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. Local options for higher education include Atlantic University, Regent University, and a branch campus of Virginia Tech.
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