Virginia's official name is the Old Dominion State, which gives a glimpse into the state's rich history. But perhaps this isn't the most appealing name to people thinking about visiting or moving here. That's why 35 years ago, the tourism board came up with the slogan "Virginia is for lovers," and the saying has stuck. Whatever it is that you love—abundant natural beauty, fascinating history or just a great plac to look for apartments—Virginia has it to give.
Virginia really is a nice place to live, but don't take our word for it. Numerous publications have put Virginia on their lists of the best places in America to settle down. Virginia ranked seventh in the nation in 2004 for being the most livable state and first for being the healthiest state in the South Atlantic Region. In addition, 12 of Virginia's cities were named in Money Magazine's 2004 list of most desirable places to live in the United States.
One of the best things the state offers is a good economy and diversity of jobs. The service sector employs one-third of working people in the state. Manufacturing is a major component as well, with products including transportation equipment, electronics, chemicals, textiles, lumber and furniture. Agriculture is another important factor, with the state as a major supplier of tomatoes, tobacco, peanuts, apples, potatoes and poultry.
History is everywhere here. Major must-see destinations include George Washington's home at Mt. Vernon, Thomas Jefferson's home at Monticello and Colonial Williamsburg. Natural attractions include the Shenandoah National Park, Luray Caverns and the Blue Ridge National Parkway.
The overall cost of living is right at the national average, with some cities (like the state capital of Richmond) falling lower than the national average and others (like Alexandria, with its close proximity to Washington, D.C.) going higher.
The state's largest city with almost 500,000 residents, Virginia Beach is centrally located on the East Coast where the state of Virginia meets the Atlantic Ocean. It's a popular resort area, so it's no wonder the economy centers on tourism, although agriculture and nearby military bases are factors as well. Residents enjoy the city's beautiful beaches, boardwalk, fishing and delicious seafood. Virginia Beach is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, but luckily there are plenty of apartment rentals to accommodate all the newcomers. The median rent for apartments in the city is about $620 per month.
As capital of Virginia and an area of great American history, the city of Richmond is home to nearly 200,000 residents, who enjoy the city's unique blend of culture sophistication and Southern charm. You'll find some of Virginia's most interesting and well-preserved historic sites and neighborhoods here, as well as enough entertainment, sports, culture and natural beauty to make this a great place to live. Major attractions and points of pride include the state capitol (which was designed by Thomas Jefferson and built in 1785), the Washington Monument, St. John's Church (where Patrick Henry uttered "Give me liberty, or give me death") and the Edgar Allan Poe Shrine (the city's oldest structure, built in 1686). A wide variety of housing types are available, including downtown apartments in renovated warehouses, historic townhouses, golf courses and waterfront communities, and farms. Overall, housing costs are about 5% below the national average, and the median price for apartment rentals is $615 per month.
Virginia's proximity to the nation's capital makes D.C. a viable alternative location to look for apartments for rent. The Metro and the extensive subway system make D.C. an easy place to get around it, and the district's historical and cultural options are many. If Virginia seems too suburban for your tastes, explore apartments for rent in trendier, more urban areas like Georgetown, Adams Morgan and Dupont circle. This varied city features eclectic neighborhood and lots of options when it comes to apartments; most rental prices start in the $600 range and quickly escalate to the thousands.