How You Know You’re a Virginia Beach Local

Virginia Beach Local Murals

What makes you a Virginia Beach local? Read on to find out!

With a beautiful boardwalk on the Atlantic and hundreds of hotels, restaurants, and activities, Virginia Beach is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Virginia. Not only that but it’s also situated on the Chesapeake Bay, which means beautiful summer sunsets and incredible, fresh seafood. With the Lynnhaven River winding and weaning through picturesque neighborhoods, it’s no wonder that it’s one of Virginia’s most popular cities for families to settle. Its prime location lends itself to a day drive to Washington D.C., Richmond, Norfolk, Sandbridge, Hatteras, and the Outer Banks.

When picturing the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, many may think of the statue of King Neptune, Something in the Water Music Festival, food and art festivals and events, and the East Coast Surfing Championship.

However, for those of us who were raised here, what are some unique quirks that characterize the locals?

You Know You’re a Virginia Beach Local When…

You don’t have “seasonal” clothes. The temperature may rise/drop 35 degrees overnight. Any time in spring or fall is fair game for blistering heat or frigid cold. We get that “false spring” pretty hard anywhere from February to mid-March. Maybe we should all be investing in those convertible pants that you can detach into shorts? That was a joke. Don’t do that. If you do, I hear NoVa is a wonderful place to live.

You can’t remember the last time you went sledding. Our entire city shuts down when there’s a 1/4 inch of snow. So, our “snow days” are often characterized by desperately wanting to go outside and enjoy the barely-32 degree weather while we have a day off from work or school. When you think of snow day activities, sledding is a staple. One problem: flat. Everywhere is flat. Sadly, there are two forbidden fruits that Virginia Beach locals can never taste: sledding down Mount Trashmore and the historic Cavalier‘s front lawn. Don’t ever try, you’ll immediately get in trouble. But we can dream, oh…we can dream.

Virginia Beach Local Driving

You do everything you can to avoid that Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel. When I would drive from Newport News to Virginia Beach in college my friend, Clare, used to jokingly say, “don’t forget to slow down in the tunnel!” It’s a phenomenon that drives us nuts. Maybe the concept of an underwater tunnel prompts people to drive more cautiously, and therefore, slow down. I’d like to use this platform to make one statement, though: FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING THAT’S GOOD, PLEASE GO THE SPEED LIMIT IN THE HRBT.

You know Hilltop around rush hour is a no-no. It’s like the Shadowlands in the Lion King. “You must never go there, Simba.”It’s normal to drive 55 on the highway. Don’t even go there with us. We’ve seen how slow you drive through that bridge-tunnel.

Growing Up as Virginia Beach Local

Some Virginia Beach local kid with a fantastic haircut back in 2000. No idea who she could be.

You’ve probably got at least one room in your house with a nautical theme going on. Do we even like a nautical theme? Nobody’s really sure. It’s just seemed like the right thing to do at the time.“What accent? I don’t have an accent!” This is a highly debated topic. There used to be a very distinctly “Tidewater accent” that can only be described as coastal. It’s southern, but not. All I can say is you’ll know it when you hear it. You can also tell the locals from the non-locals from how they say one word: Norfolk.

You can no longer hear jet noise…or much else. I wish I had a dollar for every “I heart jet noise” bumper sticker in Virginia Beach. We used to try to talk over it, but at some point, everyone realized it’s okay to just stand there and stare at each other while we wait 10 seconds for it to pass. We’re all mildly amused by the non-locals who look around half-panicked as they think the deafening jets may be a sign of the end times.

“Kayaking on the Chesapeake Bay” by Tom Schultheis

Half the people you know are military. It was difficult when your friends moved away pretty frequently. On the bright side, it means a bustling melting pot of culture, a healthy dose of patriotism and pride in our armed forces, and the NAS Oceana Airshow!

Your social status as a neighborhood kid was strongly associated with your beach cruiser.  We all remember the Christmas we begged for the shiny, new beach cruiser that was probably too big for us, and certainly too expensive. But how else would the neighbor kids know who was the most chill, beachy, sun-kissed, top dog at the neighborhood pool?

photo by Tom Schultheis

The Local’s Beach Life

Sand is just your aura. Food can have sand in it. The bed can have sand in it. That’s fine. Don’t really notice anymore. Also, our washing machines and shower drains have seen better days. We can get a little lazy when it comes to de-sanding before use.

You can spot the tourist from a mile away. You can’t help but snicker at the people who bring their goggles to the ocean. Guys, you can’t see anything. It’s dark and murky. This is the southeastern Atlantic ocean. Y’all are cute though.

You were skeptical about the “healing powers” of saltwater, and then you experienced it. I’m no medical professional. I can’t explain it. However, in my experience, saltwater occasionally has the power to heal certain minor maladies. I’ve discussed this with many people, and there is a consensus. Something’s in the water.

You know there are two things that hit different after a long day at the beach: A 7-11 Slurpee and a big sandwich from Taste. Or just any kind of big sandwich and salty potato chips. Bonus points if you put the chips on the sandwich.

virginia beach local

Virginia Beach Local Culture

Something in the Water is this mixture of sheer excitement, pride in your city, and fear of tourists that you can’t explain. You’ll see us at the festival, for sure. However, we’ve all considered registering an account on Airbnb and allowing strangers in our home for a large sum of cash to pay for our tickets.

The Vibe District is where you take your friends from out of town so they think you’re the cool, hip city. Listen, we’ll never be Richmond, but we’re not trying to be. A new generation of entrepreneurs and pioneers Virginia Beach has really taken an area that used to have a less-than-favorable reputation and turned it into a creative collective of food, coffee, local goods, art, and culture that’s unique to Virginia Beach and its community. We’re here for it.

What Makes You a Virginia Beach Local?

Is it the damp, salty hair? Your flip flop tan? Your strong opinion on which surf shop is superior? No matter what your experience was growing up in Virginia Beach, our love for our beautiful, historic city is the common thread that weaves us together. Our diversity as a city is what makes us unique, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Check out our VB Basics Channel for the local’s scoop on fun, interesting info on activities and restaurants to check out in Virginia Beach.

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