The Hampton Roads area is in Southeastern Virginia, just above the North Carolina line, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. There are a number of waterways in this area, as it is at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The area is a natural port, with the rivers and bay making it easy for ships and small boats to transport goods along the inland waterways. Hence, the name “Hampton Roads” came from these same waterways. Seven Cities Virginia The area was formerly known as “Tidewater,” which is term that applies to the actual land areas. As anyone can tell you that lives around here for any amount of time, it definitely floods! The local Chambers of Commerce promoted changing the area’s name back to Hampton Roads for more cohesive marketing purposes a few decades ago, but some people still refer to this area as Tidewater. There’s even a distinctive accent in this area, called the Tidewater accent, that is currently being studied by Old Dominion University.
The waterways definitely add to the area’s appeal, but they can also cause major headaches for travelers and local area commuters. To get almost anywhere around here, you’ll have to take a bridge or a tunnel, and those bridges and tunnels are very outdated. Traffic snarls in Hampton Roads can cause delays of one to three hours, depending on the time of day. And sometimes, they appear to happen for no good reason other than heavy congestion. Four lanes of interstate traffic suddenly reduced to two lanes in a tunnel for a few miles is enough to bring things to a random halt on a good day!
The Seven Cities
The area consists of seven major cities (and some smaller counties) split into two distinctive halves. The largest area is called “The Southside” and the northern, smaller part is called “The Peninsula.” The cities are listed below:
Norfolk: This is the original “downtown” area of Hampton Roads. It also houses the world’s largest Navy base.
Virginia Beach: The largest tourist destination in the area, and probably the most populated city in Hampton Roads.
Chesapeake: The second largest city by land area in Virginia. The historical Battle of Great Bridge was fought here.
Portsmouth: The smallest (by land area) city in Hampton Roads. Also home to the historic Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
Suffolk: Thought to be the fastest growing city in Hampton Roads, Suffolk was mainly rural before serious development began in the past decade or so.
Hampton: Just across the river (and infamous Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel [HRBT]) from Norfolk, this city is home to Fort Monroe.
Newport News: Home to the Northrup Grumman Shipyard, Christopher Newport University (CNU), and The Ferguson Center for the Arts.
Other Cities and Counties
While many locals refer to this region as having seven cities, it actually has many more, which are listed below:
Yorktown/York County area: A region of the Peninsula that is also home to the historic Yorktown Battlefield. (This area is also commonly grouped together as York County, Tabb, Seaford, Poquoson)
Williamsburg: Located in the northern part of the Peninsula, this city is home to Colonial Williamsburg, Busch Gardens, Water Country, USA, and The College of William and Mary. Middle Peninsula: One of three peninsulas in the area (the other two are The Virginia Peninsula [Hampton/Newport News/York/Williamsburg] and The Northern Neck.)
Gloucester, Essex, King and Queen, King William, Matthews and Middlesex Counties are located here. Smithfield/Isle of Wight/Windsor/Surry/etc.: In the western part of the region, several counties bordering Suffolk and Chesapeake are also included in the Hampton Roads area.
The telephone area code of the Hampton Roads region is 757. Prior to 1996, the region used the 804 area code, which most of Central Virginia (including Richmond) still uses today.
Malcom McCutcheon is a Digital Media Consultant at Bossa Nova Interactive, a web design, social media and local search marketing company in Hampton Roads, VA. Whether you need Norfolk SEO services or a Virginia Beach web design company, we can help.