Virginia is for lovers — or so the saying goes. It's near impossible not to fall in love with a state that contains so much U.S. history, as many former U.S. presidents were born here and the first Thanksgiving took place here. Plus, it has charming small towns and access to both the mountains and the ocean.
Virginia forests cover over 60 percent of the state for the outdoor enthusiast, making it easy to be one with nature on the weekends. It also attracts young professionals to its many universities and top military, business and manufacturing jobs.
Four of the wealthiest counties in the U.S. are in Virginia, thanks to higher spending power. Keep on reading to get to know the best places to live in Virginia in 2022, including one of its biggest cities, Virginia Beach.
Located right at the state's northern tip, Alexandria borders the Potomac River with Washington, D.C., just across the water. Old Town Alexandria, the city's historic area, showcases Colonial-era architecture that takes you right back in time. Walk the cobblestone streets to the many museums and restaurants and learn more about George Washington's hometown.
Living in Alexandria makes it convenient for those that work in the nation's capital but enjoy a quieter, more affordable suburb. You can rent a one-bedroom for $1,952 per month on average and enjoy a stroll through Huntley Meadows Park on the weekends.
Arlington's strategic location just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., makes it an excellent option for those working in the nation's capital and one of the best places to live in Virginia. Average rents for a one-bedroom hover around $2,315 per month if you want to move to Arlington. Employers in the city mainly focus on the federal government, including the Pentagon.
While the rent prices are higher, the city's walkability and outdoor spaces like the W&OD Railroad Trail make up for it. You can also visit the Arlington National Cemetery and other wartime monuments nearby, as the city had a large part in the nation's wars.
Home to the University of Virginia, Charlottesville is more than a college town. Charlottesville has more than 40 wineries along the Monticello Wine Trail, thanks to the perfect combination of soil and climate.
If you're more of a hiker, don't miss the trails at Shenandoah National Park, right by the Blue Ridge Mountains. In Historic Court Square, you can find the town's first taverns along with the Live Arts Theatre, the art center and other museums. On average, you can find one-bedroom apartments in Charlottesville for $1,417 per month.
Located off Interstate 95, Fredericksburg is the perfect location for those commuting to either Washington, D.C., or Richmond. The preserved buildings from around the turn of the century now house restaurants, antique shops and small retail shops right in the center of town. Craft breweries and distilleries have recently opened in the area, as well.
Head to the Rappahannock River with your kayak and enjoy floating downstream when the weather is nice. Living in Fredericksburg brings a quiet, charming community, as well as convenience to your 9-to-5.
Newport News is right along the banks of James River, near the Hampton Roads harbor. The city is central to several amenities offered in Williamsburg and Virginia Beach, too — just a short drive away. The city has a rich history dating back to the Revolutionary War and the founding of Jamestown so you can tour all sorts of attractions and museums. You can also enjoy hiking, camping and more nearby at the York River State Park.
Prominent employers in the area focus on transportation, mainly railroad and aviation. You can find an apartment in Newport News for $1,155 per month on average for a one-bedroom.
Conveniently located near Virginia Beach, Norfolk has many ports that have helped make its economy one of the fastest-growing in the U.S. The suburb features several malls, a thriving performing arts center, the Virginia Opera and the critically-acclaimed Chrysler Museum of Art. Nearby, you can also see the world's largest battleship, the USS Wisconsin.
You're a hop and a skip from the beach and several state parks like False Cape State Park for hiking and boating. It's easy to find a home in Norfolk — you can rent a one-bedroom apartment for $1,451 per month on average.
One of the oldest major cities in the U.S. and one of the best places to live in Virginia, Richmond now serves as the capital of the state. Right in the middle of the city, you can enjoy a stroll through Libby Hill Park in the historic Church Hill neighborhood. This park is one of three original parks created while Virginia was a colony.
You can also walk in the Fan District and enjoy the mansions and row houses built at the end of the last century. The city is also home to six Fortune 500 companies with a growing economy. You can live in Richmond for $1,376 per month on average for a one-bedroom apartment.
Nestled in the south part of Shenandoah Valley, Roanoke is right by the beauty of the Blue Ridge mountains. The small town turns on the charm with its many festivals like the Strawberry Festival, Dickens of a Christmas and the Kite Festival. The downtown area boasts a farmer's market, several museums and a zoo.
The Historic Roanoke City Market is the oldest market in Virginia that has been continuously operating since 1882. Healthcare, transportation and banking are the primary industries in the area. You can find an apartment in Roanoke for $800 per month on average for a one-bedroom.
One of the biggest cities in the state, Virginia Beach boasts a three-mile boardwalk that's a sight as the afternoon sun sets. The beachfront area encompasses about 40 city blocks, with small restaurants, hotels and family-friendly activities. The Virginia Beach Art Center showcases local artists' works so you can grab custom items.
It's not all beach all the time. Virginia Beach also has access to some of the best schools, especially in the Bayfront neighborhood. Many large employers have headquarters in the area, including insurance and the federal government.
If that all sounds good, you can find places to live in Virginia Beach for $1,309 per month on average for a one-bedroom.
The self-proclaimed “Colonial Capital of Virginia," Williamsburg truly feels like you were back in the 18th century. The city's intentional restoration and preservation of structures and architectures are seen throughout. The Historic Triangle, a hub for several historic sites and museums, is a fun stop for landmark lovers.
Williamsburg is also home to the College of William and Mary, the second-oldest institution for higher education in the U.S.
The York River State Park offers more than 30 miles of hiking trails, kayak and mountain biking opportunities. If the colonial city charmed you and you're ready to find an apartment in Williamsburg, you can rent one for $1,705 per month on average.
The Old Dominion state has a beautiful coastline and a rich history as one of the 13 original colonies. Many nature opportunities abound thanks to the Appalachian Mountains, along with a strong economy in Virginia.
Whatever you're looking for, one of these best places to live in Virginia will match your lifestyle — from big cities to small towns. Thinking of moving to one of these cities? Check out all the apartments for rent in Virginia right here.