The Ultimate Guide to Living in Virginia

Virginia is a beautiful state with an abundance of opportunities ripe for discovery.

From the Appalachian Trail to the Blue Ridge Mountains, coastal towns to small farming communities, Virginia has something for individuals and families of all ages and budgets.

If you’ve decided to relocate to Virginia, congratulations! You have made a great choice.

When relocating, it is important to be aware of the benefits and challenges of your new location. To make the most of your experience, you’ll need to find a community that fits your lifestyle and meets your needs. In this article we will discuss some of the advantages and drawbacks of life in Virginia. We will also explore some of the best cities in Virginia for different types of individuals and families.

In Section I, we’ll talk about some pros and cons of living in this beautiful state, as well as some fun facts about Virginia.

In Sections II through IV, we will examine some great communities for the following groups:

  1. I. Young professionals just starting out
  2. II. Families who have young kids
  3. III. Retired folks looking to spend their golden years in the warm weather

For each community within Sections II through IV, we’ve assigned a HOMEiA Score, which provides an overall assessment — based on affordability, employment, lifestyle, healthcare, education and other relevant factors — of the city’s appeal as a place to call home. Ranks have been assigned based on the HOMEiA Score(s).


I. Pros and Cons of Living in Virginia

Whether you want the countryside or the city; mountains or beaches; urban areas with easy public transportation or smaller, slower-paced communities; national parks or theme parks; Virginia has it. Whatever lifestyle you want to live can be lived to the fullest here in Virginia. Here are a few highlights of this unique state, which is known as the “Birthplace of a Nation” and the “Mother of Presidents.”


1. Whether you are looking for the country or the city; mountains or beaches; national parks or theme parks; it’s here.
2. Sharecare’s Community Well-Being Index ranks Virginia #11 out of 50 based on factors such as community, economic security, access to healthcare, financial stability, positive social interaction and purpose.
3. Virginia is unmatched in opportunities to see beauty wherever you look. Let’s talk about the beauty of Virginia.

    1. A. Water — Here in Virginia, we have many major bodies of water to enjoy: the Virginia Beach oceanfront; the Chesapeake Bay; rivers like the Potomac, Rappahannock, James, and York; and beautiful lakes such as Lake Anna, Smith Mountain Lake and Lake Drummond. There are also over 100,000 acres of wetlands in the state, including much of the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.  Each of these beautiful bodies of water can be enjoyed for special events, water sports, swimming, boating and fishing. For a unique experience, visit Virginia’s Tangier Island, located in the Chesapeake Bay. The island is distinctive, as you must take a ferry to get to it and no cars are permitted. This allows for a slow-paced island village experience.
    2. B. Mountains and valleys — The Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains form a large part of Virginia’s topography. Skyline Drive winds its way along the Blue Ridge mountain peaks for over 100 miles, giving you the opportunity to delight in the beautiful panoramas around every corner.
    3. C. Rural agricultural and urban areas — We have national parks, rural agricultural communities and bustling urban areas. Half the state lives in northern Virginia, across the river from Washington, D.C. Small towns and cities are all easily accessible and have their own strong appeal.
    4. D. Natural wonders — You don’t have to travel very far into Virginia to find intriguing natural rock formations. For the ultimate underground experience, visit Virginia’s caverns. Begin with Luray Caverns, sometimes called Geology’s Hall of Fame.

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