Hampton Roads is the name for the southeastern region of Virginia. The region’s most notable geographic characteristic is proximity to a variety of waterways. Bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, Hampton Roads is where the James, Nansemond and Elizabeth rivers pour into the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.
Hampton Roads is the name for the southeastern region of Virginia. The region’s most notable geographic characteristic is proximity to a variety of waterways. Bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, Hampton Roads is where the James, Nansemond and Elizabeth rivers pour into the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. “Hampton Roads” is a nautical term meaning “protected anchorage” or “a safe harbor.” With the world’s largest natural harbor, Hampton Roads’ ports have played an important role in the region’s history and economy.
Hampton Roads is ranked the 31st largest Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in the United States. Recently recognized by a University of Wisconsin study as the nation’s most diverse region, the region is home to 1.6 million people and includes the cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg; and the counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Mathews, Southampton, Surry and York; and Currituck in North Carolina.
Hampton Roads is rich with cultural treasures, reflecting the artistic diversity of its communities. Throughout the year, festivals celebrate the cultural heritage of the region. History, music, drama, and art treasures can be found in the theaters and museums of Hampton Roads.
Located well within a 30 minute commute of most business and residential areas in the region, Norfolk International and Newport News / Williamsburg Airports provide air service to over 4 million passengers annually. Nine major airlines and six regional commuter airlines provide over 260 flights per day to 25 airports of which 17 are major hubs and international gateways.
A pre-eminent maritime center, the region is thoroughly entwined and proudly identified with the water, included 26 miles of Atlantic Ocean beaches, the Chesapeake Bay, and a host of picturesque rivers and inlets. Hampton Roads is blessed with environmental assets, as well, including First Landing State Park, False Cape State Park, the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and Plum Tree Island National Wildlife Refuge, to name a few.
In late 2006, the Hampton Roads Partnership, a non-profit organization representing 17 localities, all local universities and major military commands as well as leading businesses in southeastern Virginia, commenced a campaign aimed at branding land area of Hampton Roads as "America's First Region".