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Hampton Roads

Hampton Roads is the name for both the body of water and the Norfolk-Virginia Beach metropolitan area which surrounds it in southeastern Virginia. Hampton Roads is famous for its year-round ice-free harbor, for United States Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, NASA, Marines, and Army facilities, shipyards, coal piers, and hundreds of miles of waterfront property and beaches, all of which contribute to the diversity and stability of the region’s economy.

One of the world’s biggest natural harbors 

The water area known as Hampton Roads is one of the world’s biggest natural harbors and incorporates the mouths of the Elizabeth River and James River emptying into the Chesapeake Bay near its mouth and leading to the Atlantic Ocean.

The longest pleasure beach in the world

Virginia Beach on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay is the largest city in the Hampton Roads area. It is the most populous city in Virginia and the 41st largest city in the United States, with a population of nearly half a million people.

Virginia Beach is the easternmost city of Hampton Roads, which is known as “America’s First Region”. It also includes the cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, as well as other smaller cities, counties and towns.

Virginia Beach is a resort city with miles of beaches and hundreds of hotels, motels, and restaurants along its oceanfront. Every year the city hosts the East Coast Surfing Championships as well as the North American Sand Soccer Championship, a beach soccer tournament. It is also home to several state parks, several long-protected beach areas, three military bases, a number of large corporations, two universities, and numerous historic sites. Near the point where the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean meet, Cape Henry was the site of the first landing of the English colonists, who eventually settled in Jamestown, on April 26, 1607.

Virginia Beach is 200 miles south of Washington DC (which can take between 4 and 7 hours, depending on traffic), close to the state of North Carolina. It is a very flat area with many waterways travelling through it, this can make navigation tricky and when you first arrive a Sat Nav is a must.  Norfolk International Airport (ORF) serves the area well for flights to many US hubs and for European flights you will have to transit through one of these.

Record breakers

The city is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having the longest pleasure beach in the world. It is located at the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (23 miles long and featured in Mission Impossible III) the longest bridge-tunnel complex in the world.