A part of the Southern United States, Virginia is considered one of the 10 best states in the country. The Old Dominion state is one of the top-ranking states for education, opportunity, fiscal stability, and crime and corrections! With a history dating back to the early 17th century, Virginia has come a long way to become one of the best places to live in America.
- downtown richmond, virginia.min.jpg
- person scrabbing on a piece of paper.min.jpg
- The Commonwealth of Virginia ranks at #9 in the list of best places to live in the United States, according to reports
- View of Downtown Richmond at night
Relocating to a new place is a huge step in our lives, and it requires lots of planning. No matter how well-ranked a state is, it’s important that you do thorough research in order to decide whether or not moving to Virginia is the best option for you and your family. In this comprehensive guide about moving to Virginia, we’ve compiled the main information about the Old Dominion State — in addition to information regarding the logistics of moving to Virginia!
Pros and Cons
Virginia may be considered one of the best places to live in America, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Old Dominion state is flawless. Just like every other place on the planet, there are both good and bad things about moving to Virginia. But keep in mind that these advantages and disadvantages are relative — what some may consider a con, you may see it as an advantage, and vice-versa.
- Virginia is one of the safest states in the country, with a violent crime rate of 2.0 per 1,000 residents — whereas the national average per 1,000 is 3.7.
- Virginia is a quite wealthy state — and this is reflected in the median household income, which is considerably higher than the U.S. national average.
- Bordered by six states plus the Atlantic Ocean, Virginia is located between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Coast, which means that this state is filled with beautiful landscapes, from beaches to mountains.
- Virginia is known for being a particularly militarized state. Home to over 25 military bases, this state offers plenty of opportunities in the military and it ranks in #15 in terms of employment!
- While it is not necessarily a reference when it comes to health care, the Commonwealth of Virginia is still one of the top-ranked states for health care, ranking among the 20 best in terms of health care access and public health.
- Virginia is home to world-class universities, as well as having one of the best Pre-K-12 systems in the country. The high school graduation rate in this state is higher than the national average, and over 38% of the population has a college degree.
- Politically speaking, Virginia is a well-known swing state — depending on where you live, you’ll experience a more liberal or more conservative culture. But the one Southern thing you’ll find in Virginia, for sure, is the friendly and charming people wherever you go!
- High taxes
- In the Commonwealth of Virginia, taxes are collected based on how much an individual earns. This is a pro for those who have a lower income, but it’s a con for higher-income earners because they will pay more taxes.
- Cost of
- Considering all the pros that were listed above, one can already tell that the cost of living in Virginia is higher than the national average. The median home price is higher — but the household income is also higher.
- The weather in Virginia is pretty mild, but it is not consistent: it can change drastically from one moment to another. On top of that, Virginia is also considerably humid.
- Northern Virginia is nearer to D.C., which means that there’s more traffic in this region. If you move to Northern Virginia, be ready to spend a lot of time commuting!
- Virginia is a state of many laws — and the police are always patrolling the streets. Because of that, you may want to be mindful of the instructions provided by street signs, including signs that forbid swearing in public!
- Depending on the person, nuclear power may or not be considered a bad thing. It doesn’t release greenhouse gases — but it poses a bigger threat in case a nuclear disaster happens.
- Unlike other states on the East Coast, Virginia still has a lot of room for improvement when it comes to public transportation in smaller cities. If you’re not moving to one of the major cities, you may want to save some money to buy a car.
Originally established as a colony in the early 17th century, Virginia has a rich history that is certainly worth it getting to know. In addition to that, the Old Dominion state also has quite a lot of interesting facts in terms of culture — as well as being home to several celebrities! Here are 6 fun facts about Virginia:
- Home to
- Virginia is home to 8 former presidents of the United States, placing it at #1 in the ranking of states with more presidents! Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and Woodrow Wilson are three of these presidents.
after a queen
- Virginia has a long-lasting tie to Britain — rumor has it that the Commonwealth of Virginia is named after Queen Elizabeth I, whose nickname was “The Virgin Queen”.
- The first
- Back when the English explorers first set out to discover the so-called New World, they first landed in Virginia and set up the very first British settlement in Jamestown.
- Mother of
- One of Virginia’s nicknames is “Mother of States” — this name comes from the fact that Virginia’s original area when it was still an English settlement was reduced and the portions that were removed were turned into different states, including West Virginia and Kentucky.
- Land of
- Virginia is home to several celebrities, both in entertainment and in sports. Celebrities born in the Old Dominion state include Sandra Bullock, Arthur Ashe, Ella Fitzgerald, Lawrence Taylor, and Gabby Douglas.
- According to Virginia’s official website, this state was the place where the Civil War and the American Revolution finally came to an end!
- One of the most popular inventions created in Virginia, this soda was originally developed in Marion, Virginia, a town located in the Blue Ridge Mountains!
Funny State Laws
Let’s be honest: while it is every citizen’s duty to know about the laws in their state, we rarely pay attention to that. By doing so, we miss the opportunity to not only learn about our rights as citizens but also miss the opportunity of having a good laugh at some of the absurd laws that exist in some states. If you’re curious to see which funny laws exist in Virginia, here are 5 of them:
- If you’re moving to Richmond, keep in mind that it’s illegal to flip coins to decide who’s going to pay for the coffee!
tickle any lady.
- People who tickle others can be pretty annoying — and, in Virginia, they’re also considered criminals! It’s illegal to tickle women in the Old Dominion state!
of spitting on a seagull?
- You better think twice, then! If you’re moving to Virginia, more specifically to Norfolk, it’s against the law to spit on seagulls.
trick-or-treating this year!
- Apparently, it’s illegal for children to go trick-or-treating in all of Virginia during Halloween (and also during the rest of the year).
- You can’t
drive by the same place twice.
- Moving to Virginia Beach? Then you should beforehand that it’s illegal to drive by the same shop twice if you’re driving down Atlantic Avenue!
Weather and Climate
We’ve mentioned before that things can get pretty humid in Virginia. That is because the weather in the Old Dominion state is classified as humid subtropical — which means that the summers are hot and humid (and pretty sticky!), whereas wintertime can be pretty mild or pretty cold. From December to February, Virginia experiences winter, with January being the coldest month. The climate is more pleasant from April to October, which is why more tourists visit during this period. If you move to a mountainous region, be ready to face colder winters than if you move to a coastal area in Virginia.
Virginia is located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. While it is bordered by 6 different states, it is also bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. On top of that, this state is also located between the Appalachian Mountains — which means that Virginia has a bit of every type of landscape. If you’re looking forward to living near the beach, there’s plenty of that in Virginia. Now, if you’re more interested in living near the mountains, the Blue Ridge Mountains area will be perfect for you. Here are the 5 top natural attractions you can visit in Virginia:
- Shenandoah National Park
- Assateague Island
- Natural Sand Caves
- Crabtree Falls
- Natural Tunnel
The Mid-Atlantic region of the United States is an extremely important hub for education, health care, military, and economy. There are over 30 million living in this region — over 9,5 million of them live in Virginia. However, this region of the country is also quite vulnerable in terms of natural disasters, especially because of its proximity to the ocean. Here are the main natural disasters that can affect the Commonwealth of Virginia:
- Tropical cyclones
Moving Prices from Major Cities
Let’s face the truth: the bigger the city, the greater the hassle. Living in big cities like New York or Los Angeles is not for everyone — and if you’re tired of living in a major city, moving to Virginia may be a great option. While the cities in the Old Dominion state are modern, they’re not as populous as major cities such as Chicago or Philadelphia, which is definitely a plus. If you’re moving to Virginia, here are the estimated prices of moving from 6 major cities in the U.S.:
- Moving from Philadelphia, PA to Virginia: $1782 – $2971
- Moving from Boston, MA to Virginia: $2164 – $3607
- Moving from Austin, TX to Virginia: $3405 – $5675
- Moving from Los Angeles, CA to Virginia: $4959 – $8265
- Moving from Salt Lake City, UT to Virginia: $4304 – $7173
- Moving from Phoenix, AZ to Virginia: $4449 – $7416
Is your city not listed here? You can get free moving quotes from any city in the United States by using our moving costs calculator!
Housing / Real Estate
Virginia residents have a better quality of life thanks to living in one of the best states in the country. But a higher quality of life comes at a price: the costs of living in the Old Dominion state are considerably higher than in the rest of the country — but that doesn’t seem to be true for home prices. While the national median value was as high as $295,000 in June 2020, the median home price in Virginia is currently approximately $264,000! That price may vary depending on where you decide to move, but it’s likely that you’ll find a house in Virginia for a relatively affordable price. In regards to renting, the average rent price in Virginia Beach, the most populous city in Virginia, was around $1,300 per month as of December 2020.
Price of Living
We’ve briefly mentioned the costs of living in Virginia twice, but now it’s to show you a more detailed account of how much you’ll be spending per month (and per year) after moving to Virginia. Keep in mind that these estimates are calculated based on a family of two adults and two children living in the 5 most populous counties of the Old Dominion state.
Prince William County
All the estimates shown above were calculated using the Family Budget Calculator provided by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI.org).
The population of Virginia was a little over 8,5 million people in 2019, which placed it in 12th place among the most populous states in America. Approximately 50,8% of the population is composed of women and almost 16% is composed of people over 65 years old. More than 70% of the population is Christian, 1% of them are Jewish, and approximately 18% of the population is not affiliated with any religion. In regards to race, the composition of the Virginian population is as follows:
- White (alone): 69,4%
- Black or African American (alone): 19,9%
- Hispanic or Latino: 9,8%
- Asian (alone): 6,9%
- Two or more races: 3,2%
According to reports, Virginia has the 4th best public school system in the United States as of 2019. This high-ranked performance is thanks to different factors, including high test scores in mathematics and reading, SAT (and ACT) scores, and low bullying rates. In addition to that, Virginia is also home to some of the oldest and best colleges in the country. Here’s a list of the 5 best high schools in Virginia and the 5 best colleges in Virginia.
- Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
- Langley High School
- McLean High School
- Marshall High
- Madison High
Colleges / Universities
- University of Virginia
- William & Mary
- Virginia Tech
- George Mason University
- Virginia Commonwealth University
Healthcare and Medical Institutions
On top of having private-sponsored insurance plans, Virginia also offers state-sponsored insurance programs, including Medicaid, for uninsured adults living in the Old Dominion State. In terms of public health, Virginia ranks among the 20 best states for both public health and health care access. Here are the 5 top hospitals in Virginia:
- University of Virginia Medical Center (Charlottesville, VA)
- VCU Medical Center (Richmond, VA)
- Centra Lynchburg General Hospital (Lynchburg, VA)
- Inova Fairfax Hospital (Falls Church, VA)
- Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital (Roanoke, VA)
Tourism / Attractions
Virginia is the location where the very first English settlement was established, back in 1607. This single piece of information should be enough for you to get an idea of how many things there are to see in the Old Dominion state: from history museums to breathtaking beaches, Virginia has it all! If you’re moving to Virginia, here are 5 places you can visit there!
- Chincoteague Island
- Shenandoah National Park
- Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
- Mount Vernon
- Colonial National Historic Park
Comprising a geographical area of over 42,700 square miles, the Commonwealth of Virginia is home to 95 counties and 38 independent cities. The least populated county has less than 3,000 people, where the most populated county has over 1,1 million residents. If you’re moving to Virginia, here are the top cities in the Old Dominion state:
- Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and it is home to a little over 230,000 people. This city is known mostly for its historic attractions, which include the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar.
- Virginia Beach is the most populous city in Virginia, and also one of the most popular cities in terms of tourism. Located right in front of the Atlantic Ocean, Virginia Beach is home to paradisiac beaches and several tourist attractions.
- Norfolk is often considered the urban and financial center of the Hampton Roads metro area. Bordered by the Elizabeth River and by the Chesapeake Bay, Norfolk is home to several bridges and tunnels — some of which were even included on the Guinness World Records book.
- The second-most populous city in Virginia, Chesapeake is home to more than 240,000 people. An interesting fact about this city is that it is pretty young when compared to the state of Virginia: Chesapeake was only founded in 1963!
- Due to its proximity to the federal capital, most of the population of Alexandria is composed of federal employees and U.S. military employees — in fact, the top-hiring employer in this city is the U.S. Department of Defense.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the state of Virginia is 4.9 — this number places Virginia at #17 among all 50 states. There are approximately 4,1 million currently employed in the Old Dominion state, which represents almost half of the total population. The top hiring companies in Virginia are:
- U.S. Army
- Dollar Tree
- Hilton Worldwide Holdings
- DXC Technology
- General Dynamics
If you’re moving to Virginia and will need to find a job, you can check the Virginia Workforce Connection to search for opportunities.
Virginia has the 10th highest median income in the United States at approximately $72,500 per household. The economy of Virginia relies on different sources of income, mainly tobacco plantations, military installations, peanut farming, and tomato crops. The top industries in Virginia are:
- Food services
- Software publishing
- Fruit and vegetable manufacturing
Things to do
The Commonwealth of Virginia is a land that is rich not only in geographic aspects but also in cultural and historic terms. With a history dating back to 1607 and an extensive coastline, Virginia offers plenty of attractions that will entertain both tourists and residents! Here are the top 8 things to do in Virginia!
- If you’re into history, you can’t miss the opportunity to visit Jamestown, which was the first capital of Virginia, as well as the site where the English colonists first settled in America.
- Mount Vernon is the most visited estate in the United States — and there’s a reason for that. This historic mansion belonged to former U.S. President George Washington and his wife Martha, just a few minutes outside of D.C.
- Do you know the name of every single President of the United States since? If you want to test your knowledge, you can visit President Heads in Virginia and see if you can name the 42 president heads standing on an abandoned field!
- Over the course of history, there have been two American wars: the American Revolution and the Civil War. What do these wars have in common? They both ended in Virginian soil! Because of that, one of the things that everyone should do in Virginia is to visit a military museum.
- The Natural Bridge in Virginia is one of the most visited natural attractions in the Old Dominion state. This 90 feet-long natural bridge was once the roof of a cave, but how it came to be is still uncertain!
- It’s impossible to talk about Virginia and not mention the Shenandoah National Park. Encompassing part of the famous Blue Ridge Mountains, this national park offers plenty of adventurous activities and it is visited by over 1,2 million people every year.
- If you’re into scary attractions, the abandoned DeJarnette Sanitarium will certainly give you the time of your life. Covered in overgrown grass, this eerie former mental institution has quite a lot of history to tell within its deteriorating walls!
- We know it may sound weird that a cemetery is among the list of places to visit in Virginia, but the Arlington National Cemetery is not just any cemetery: this is the site where former President John F. Kennedy and his brothers Robert and Ted are buried!
According to historians, public transportation in the Commonwealth of Virginia was established in its early days, when the British first settled in this state. Still, current residents report that public transportation in Virginia can be quite troublesome if you don’t live in one of the major cities. If you’re moving to Virginia, here are 8 means of transportation you’ll find in the Old Dominion state:
|Hampton Roads Transit||$2.00|
|Charlottesville Area Transit||$0.75|
|WMATA (DC metro area)||$2.00 — $6.00|
|Valley Metro (Roanoke)||$1.75|
|WATA (Historic Triangle)||$1.50|
Crime and Safety
In terms of crime and safety, Virginia ranks at #9 among all fifty states. The crime rates in Virginia are lower than the national average: in 2018, it had the fourth-lowest violent crime rate in the country and the thirteenth-lowest property crime rates. Even the major cities (where crime rates are usually higher) in Virginia have low crime rates — there are 208 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, whereas the national average is 394 crimes per 100,000 people. Moving to Virginia? Here are the 5 safest cities in the Old Dominion state:
- Falls Church
Acquire a new driver’s license in Virginia
As we’ve mentioned before, relying on public transportation in Virginia can be quite tricky if you’re moving to a smaller town — hence why you should consider getting a car once you move to the Old Dominion state, in case you don’t already have one. In order to get to drive your car, you’ll need to transfer your driver’s license to Virginia. Here’s what you’ll have to do to acquire a new driver’s license in Virginia:
- Organize the
- Proof of identity
- Social Security number
- Proof of legal presence in the U.S. (if you’re a foreigner)
- Proof of residency in Virginia
- Fill in the required form (Form DL 1P).
- Set up an appointment at the nearest DMV in Virginia.
- Visit the DMV and submit your documents.
- Pass a vision test.
- Pay the driver’s license fee of $32.
- Surrender your current out-of-state license.
Road safety, highways, and routes
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, traffic crashes in the state left more than 180 people injured in 2019 alone. Most of these car accidents are preventable, considering that the main causes for road accidents in the Commonwealth of Virginia are: talking/texting on the cellphone, reaching for objects, speeding, aggressive driving, driving under the influence, and other causes. If you’re moving to Virginia, here are the main highways and routes in the Old Dominion state:
The Virginian soil has witnessed several important historical moments over the course of the years. From being home to the first British settlement to being the location where wars have come to an end, Virginia’s history is all displayed throughout the many museums scattered across the Old Dominion state. If you enjoy visiting museums, one thing is for sure: you won’t be disappointed once you move to Virginia! Here are 7 museums you can visit in Virginia:
- Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
- Historic Jamestown
- Fort Monroe’s Casemate Museum
- Military Aviation Museum
- Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
- American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
- Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
In the end, is moving to Virginia worth it?
Living in Virginia comes at a price: the cost of living in this state is slightly above the national average. However, the median household income in Virginia is also higher, which means that its citizens earn more money: at approximately $72,000 per household, Virginia’s median household income is more than $10,000 higher than the national average. In addition to that, Virginia is also one of the 10 safest states in America! While this state still has several aspects to improve, moving to Virginia is especially worth it for families with children (Virginia has the fourth-best public education system in the country), and also for federal or military employees — the Old Dominion state has over 20 military bases plus Northern Virginia is within minutes of Washington, D.C.
How to move to Virginia
- Are you moving to Virginia? We have a few tips to help you plan for this process and relocate to a new home!
- A person writing down plans on paper
After reading our comprehensive guide on moving to Virginia, you’ve probably decided whether or not you’ll move to the Old Dominion state. If you have concluded that relocating to Virginia is ideal for you, it’s time to start preparing for this journey. Are you unsure of where to start? Don’t worry! We’ve prepared 10 tips to help you move to Virginia!
- You don’t go on a vacation without planning first, do you? Well, the same goes for moving to Virginia. Planning is the key to everything — especially if you want to avoid any issues during your moving process! Our downloadable moving checklist can help you with that!
- Who doesn’t appreciate saving their hard-earned money? Soon enough you’ll find that moving can be quite a pricey process. Downsizing and getting rid of any unnecessary furniture/items is one of the ways you’ll get to save money in the process of relocating to Virginia.
- Get Moving
- Another way of saving money when you move to Virginia is to get moving quotes from different companies. You can get free moving quotes on our website!
- After you’ve got moving quotes, it’s time to choose the most logistically and financially-efficient mover to help you in the process of moving to Virginia.
- Visit Your
- Before you purchase a house in Virginia and hire a moving company, you should visit the area where you’re thinking of moving. By doing so, you’ll get to see what’s the neighborhood like, what the road quality is like, and many other dealbreaker aspects.
- Finally, it’s time to start packing your items into boxes. This process can be quite lengthy and tiresome, so you may want to set a lot of time aside to start packing.
- When you’re packing, you should create an Essentials box — a box where you’ll store all the items you’ll want to access easily once you move to Virginia.
- Step #8 is probably the most emotional one in the process of relocating to Virginia. Saying goodbye to family and friends is not easy, so make sure to set aside some tissues for when you say your farewells!
- Get Some
- You’ve planned everything, you’ve contacted a mover, you’ve picked a house, you’ve packed all of your stuff — and now it’s time for you to get some rest before the big day!
- Enjoy the
- This tip is not necessarily related to the logistics of moving to Virginia, but it can’t be left out: try to enjoy the moving process as much as you can! We know that relocating can be really tiring, but try to think of it as the next great chapter of your journey!
Moving services to help you relocate to Virginia
- Moving companies offer a broad range of services to clients who are moving to Virginia: furniture transportation, long-distance moving, moving bulky items, among others
- Men transporting a plant into a moving truck in NYC
There are plenty of details that go into moving. More than just planning your move to Virginia, you’ll probably also want to learn a bit more about the different moving services that are available in the market. Below, we’ll introduce you to 9 of the most common moving services that’ll help you relocate to Virginia!
- When we think of moving, the first thing that pops into our minds is a moving truck filled with furniture. If you’re moving your furniture to Virginia, this is the service you’ll need.
- Are you moving from a house or moving from an apartment to another place in Virginia? If that’s the case, a residential mover is what you should hire.
- Are you a piano player? There are several reasons why you may want to move a piano to Virginia: perhaps it’s too expensive to buy a new one once you get there, or maybe your piano has great sentimental value. Either way, you’ll need to ask your mover if they offer this service.
- Art and
- Art pieces and antiques are extremely fragile — and that’s why you shouldn’t trust just about any company to move your art and antiques to Virginia! There are companies that specialize in this service.
- Hot Tub
- The average price of an entry-level hot tub in the United States can be anywhere between $3000 to $7000. Moving a hot tub to Virginia, on the other hand, won’t cost you more than $1000. If you have a hot tub, it’s up to you to decide which option is best.
- Pool Table
- Following a similar process to that of moving a hot tub, moving a pool table to Virginia can be several times cheaper than buying a new one once you relocate. Pool table movers can transport your pool table safely and quickly!
- If you’re self-employed and you want to move your office to Virginia, you should contact office movers specifically, considering that not all residential movers offer this service.
- One thing that you should know is that some moving companies only work locally, that is, they don’t offer long-distance moving services. If you’re making a cross-country move to Virginia, for instance, you’ll need a long-distance mover.
- Even if you plan ahead of moving, unexpected things can happen and change all of your plans. If you end up needing to move to Virginia immediately, you can contact a last-minute mover!