Virginia is known for its fascinating topography and rich U.S. history. It has a unique combination of east coast beaches and stunning mountain ranges making it an exciting place to call home and to build your future Virginia home.
If you aren’t sure where to start in Virginia’s many great cities, here are our top five!
Housing cost to income ratio: 3.92%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.22%
Violent crime index: 18.1
Nonviolent crime index: 35.3
Cost of living index: 82.9
Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lynchburg’s beautiful scenery is just one of the many reasons why locals love to call this city home. The yearly climate, which averages about 42 inches of rain, 14 inches of snow, and 218 sunny days per year, provides the perfect conditions for Lynchburg’s biggest attractions. You can hike the Appalachian Trail, bike the picturesque Blue Ridge Parkway, enjoy the water at James River, or shop for seasonal produce at the year-round farmers market. Lynchburg’s network of major highways, interstates, and Amtrak allow residents to make quick trips to Philadelphia and New York. And they are only hours away from cities like Washington D.C. and Charlotte. Four school districts and two hospitals serve Lynchburg’s welcoming, family-friendly communities.
Housing cost to income ratio: 4.41%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.21%
Violent crime index: 22.7
Nonviolent crime index: 59.6
Cost of living index: 84.1
You can’t miss Virginia’s 88-foot Roanoke Star perched high in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Roanoke prides itself on the accessibility to the great outdoors and has been rated one of the top mountain bike destinations on the planet. Residents can easily access the Appalachian Trails and over 70 parks where they can walk, hike, camp, and climb year-round. Roanoker residents experience each of the four seasons and experience an average of 42 inches of rain, 15 inches of snow, and 211 sunny days per year. Given its unique location, Roanoke is within a day’s drive from two-thirds of the U.S., opening the possibilities for schools, shopping, and attractions for residents. For those who prefer to stay within the city, there are four hospitals, seven school districts, and around 20 colleges and universities within a 60-mile radius. This, paired with the expansive public art collection, year-round live entertainments, and welcoming communities makes Roanoke a great place to call home.
3. Norfolk-Newport News
Housing cost to income ratio: 5.04%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.54%
Violent crime index: 24.5
Nonviolent crime index: 55.5
Cost of living index: 91.8
Norfolk and Newport News are part of the metropolitan region known as Hampton Roads. Located on the southeast coast of Virginia, where the James River meets the Chesapeake Bay, this area is well known for its outdoor water activities like fishing, sailing, paddle boarding, and swimming. Norfolk and Newport News are two of the most populated cities in Virginia and are major tourist attractions. Surrounding cities like Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake all provide the same amenities without the hustle and bustle of the big cities. These amenities include 11 hospitals, five school districts, lively downtown strips, and year-round events and festivals. You’ll be glad to know the Hampton Road transit system provides access to these attractions and more. This coastal area gets about 47 inches of rain, five inches of snow, and has 215 sunny days annually, making the climate perfect for enjoying all Norfolk and Newport News have to offer.
Housing cost to income ratio: 1.91%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 2.00%
Violent crime index: 30.3
Nonviolent crime index: 58.9
Cost of living index: 71.5
Right along the Virginia – North Carolina border, Danville is known for its beautiful rolling countryside and small-town charm. This city is moderately liberal and prides itself on being geared toward families of all ages. Danville’s yearly average of 45 inches of rain, five inches of snow, and 221 sunny days makes it easy to get out and enjoy the nationally recognized parks and trails that dot the city. Families can also take advantage of the city farmers market every Saturday from May to October, and Wednesday in the summer. Danville is served by two school districts with more than 20 campuses of varying grade levels. Residents have a short commute to two colleges or universities. There are16 hospitals in the area for any medical needs. This city is quickly becoming a hub for culture and art appreciation. Whether it’s a museum, an art gallery, a theater performance, or a live concert by any of the many musicians who stop in Danville, you will never be at a loss for entertainment in its growing River District.
Housing cost to income ratio: 5.53%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 2.21%
Violent crime index: 35.7
Nonviolent crime index: 43.8
Cost of living index: 89.5
Harrisonburg is the heart of Shenandoah Valley. The welcoming atmosphere, diverse neighborhoods, strong liberal beliefs, and the emphasis on community involvement are some of the reasons this city is known as The Friendly City. On average, Harrisonburg receives about 40 inches of rain, 24 inches of snow, and has 178 sunny days a year, giving outdoor lovers a great climate to enjoy all the parks and trails. Harrisonburg loves its bicyclists and holds annual events to celebrate its biking residents; it has even been named a Bronze Level Biking Center by the International Mountain Biking Association. Harrisonburg has one school district with multiple campuses around town and two colleges in the area. Students can attend one of 59 colleges and universities that lie within 100 miles of the city. There are nine hospitals in the area, so residents are never far from medical attention. Downtown Harrisonburg hosts a variety of shops and museums, and the Culinary District offers an array of restaurants ranging from fine rooftop dining to food truck parks.
This list was compiled using statistics for cost of living, average housing costs, average childcare costs, and crime indices.
Jessi Gonzalez writes on the topics of home-buying, home decor, and home-ownership for New Home Source. She has a degree from Coastal Bend College and is currently enrolled in the English degree program at Texas A&M Corpus Christi.