Great Dismal Swamp Refuge - Paddle to the Border

A Journey Through Chesapeake, VA: Where History Meets Nature

Settling into the Hampton Roads area? Whether you are moving here, starting school, or looking for a vacation spot, Chesapeake, VA, stands out for those on the hunt for a destination that offers both recreation and relaxation. Chesapeake checks all the boxes for a fun and entertaining family friendly community. Let Ocean Storage show you why we love our neighborhood!

Table of Contents

I. Living & Working in Chesapeake

II. Attractions: Family Fun, History & Outdoor Adventure 

III. Dining Out on the Town

Life in Chesapeake, Virginia

With its prime location along the Chesapeake Bay, mild climate, and array of amenities, Chesapeake offers an enviable lifestyle for residents. This independent city has seen rapid growth in recent decades and has become quite an attractive place to settle down and live in Virginia. Chesapeake has a population around 250,000, making it the second-most populous city in the state. Professionals in fields like military, manufacturing, and healthcare are drawn to Chesapeake. The cost of living is lower than neighboring Norfolk or Virginia Beach.

Get to Know the Neighborhoods

Chesapeake boasts over 120 neighborhoods, each with its own character. Families flock to South Norfolk with its parks and activities. Young professionals gravitate toward Downtown Chesapeake’s loft apartments and entertainment. Waterfront communities like River Walk and Great Bridge offer access to the bay along with shops and eateries. The Deep Creek area caters to golf and outdoor lovers with Lakeside Country Club’s courses and access to the Dismal Swamp. With farms, marinas, and historic sites, rural pockets like Battlefield still embrace Chesapeake’s heritage. New neighborhoods are always popping up too, so there is no .

No matter which area you pick, Chesapeake makes it easy to enjoy the regional climate and cuisine. Spend weekends boating, fishing, or strolling waterside trails. Indulge in fresh oysters, crab, and seafood straight from the bay. Chesapeake truly has something for every lifestyle and interest to appreciate.

Education & Employment

Chesapeake offers top-rated schools and stable employment across multiple industries. The Chesapeake Public Schools system serves more than 39,000 students across nearly 50 schools. From elementary to high school, schools employ rigorous curriculums aligned with state standards. Many schools have earned Governor’s Awards for Educational Excellence. Beyond K-12, Tidewater Community College provides higher education with associates degrees and career certificates at several area campuses.

The economic landscape provides diverse employment opportunities anchored by major companies. With headquarters right in Chesapeake, Dollar Tree employs more than 1,200 local residents across corporate roles from IT to logistics. Other major employers include Cox Communications, Chesapeake Regional Medical Center, and GEICO’s regional headquarters. Jobs can be found in fields like healthcare, retail, technology, defense and manufacturing. The city’s strategic location and business-friendly tax structure continue attracting new enterprises as well.

Get Involved in the Community

From festivals to canine competitions, Chesapeake celebrates its local culture all year long. Annual events like the Chesapeake Jubilee bring families together for carnival rides, food vendors, crafts, and fireworks by the waterfront. Each October, the Chesapeake Wine Festival invites residents to sample from over a dozen Virginia wineries.

The Chesapeake Virginia Dog Fanciers Association All Breeds Dog Show highlights local traditions and passions. Going strong for over 20 years, the competitive yet friendly event draws canine lovers from across the region to admire and showcase their precious pups. Through events big and small, Chesapeake continues cherishing its unique identity.

Must-Visit Attractions in Chesapeake

At the crossroads of city convenience and natural beauty, Chesapeake is a top Mid-Atlantic destination for those who appreciate the great outdoors. The city beautifully captures the spirit of Virginia, boasting an array of nature areas and recreational spots. From serene wetlands to expansive green spaces, Chesapeake feels like home for nature lovers and adventurers alike.

Spanning more than 112,000 acres, the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge stands as a testament to nature’s raw beauty and is home to diverse fauna like bobcats, more than 200 bird species, and more. Visitors can hike miles of trails and observe ecosystems ranging from forested wetlands to freshwater lakes. Keep an eye out for exciting community happenings in the refuge. Paddle to the Border is an annual event that takes place along Chesapeake’s scenic waterways. Held in early spring, this kayaking adventure challenges paddlers to journey 7.5 miles along the Dismal Swamp Canal to the Virginia-North Carolina border. For more opportunities for adventure, visit Oak Grove Lake Park, which provides 65 acres of picturesque landscapes including fishing spots, walking trails perfect for strolling or biking, and playgrounds where kids can spend hours burning off energy. Visitors can rent boats and paddle along the peaceful lake.

The Chesapeake Arboretum offers a living testament to the city’s commitment to preserving nature. Featuring walking trails amid themed gardens like an Asian garden, an herb garden, and a child-friendly squash garden. The Arboretum provides an oasis of blossoms, benches, and scenic vistas.

Looking to hit the links while on vacation? Chesapeake Golf Club offers sprawling greens and challenges for all skill levels across two pristine 18-hole courses. The semi-private club features beautiful scenery and amenities like a pro shop, driving range, and restaurant.

Let History Take You Back in Time

And you cannot visit the Chesapeake area without diving into a little history. History truly comes alive at Battlefield & Waterways Park & Visitor Center, which commemorates the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Great Bridge, considered a major turning point toward independence. Tour the Battlefield Visitor Center to immerse yourself in 1775-era Chesapeake and learn about our nation’s formative war first-hand. Another site to check out is the Gilmerton Bridge. This vertical lift bridge spanning the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River dates back to 1938 yet still operates successfully today, rising and lowering to allow ship passage.

Embark on a Culinary Journey: Chesapeake’s Food Scene

Chesapeake offers no shortage of spots to indulge in the region’s famous blue crabs, oysters, fish, and more. From casual counters to upscale eateries, you’ll find the bay’s bounty prepared every way imaginable. Dig into the freshest catches at these bucket list restaurants:

  1. Surf Rider Western Branch: Surf Rider Restaurant serves up delightfully greasy, generously portioned platters of crispy fried fish, shrimp, oysters, and crab cakes in a casual setting. Enjoy the Seafood Surf Rider medley for a taste of their greatest hits.
  2. Wickers Crab Pot: At Wickers Crab Pot, feast on fried bites or deluxe seafood platters. Whether you are stopping in for the lunch special or you are looking for a nice dinner meal, you have plenty of options to choose from.
  3. Lockside Restaurant: Steps from the waterfront, Lockside Restaurant provides an upscale yet laidback ambiance for feasting on fish tacos, brunch bites, and juicy burgers.
  4. The Butcher’s Son: Looking for some turf to break up all the surf? The Butcher’s Son is a casual American eatery celebrated for its hand-cut steaks, hearty sandwiches, and extensive bourbon collection.
  5. Amber Lantern Restaurant: Amber Lantern Restaurant offers elegant Asian fusion cuisine with sushi, hibachi entrees, and specialty cocktails at reasonable prices in a sleek, modern setting.
  6. Off the Hook Seafood Restaurant: In the Great Bridge area, Off the Hook Seafood Restaurant is a laidback local favorite that boasts a raw bar, as well as prime cut meats and seafood classics.
  7. Black Pelican Seafood Co.: Black Pelican Seafood Co. dishes out crab cakes, scallops, catfish, and so many more fresh catches in a charming nautical-themed space.

Settle Into Chesapeake with Ocean Storage: Secure, Reliable, Convenient

We love our Chesapeake home, and it is easy to see why. As you tackle plans to move to the area, contact Ocean Storage to simplify your experience. With its state-of-the-art facilities, Ocean Storage is not just another spot for self storage; it’s a promise of safety, reliability, and superior service. See how our two Chesapeake storage locations can support you through your move!

Recognizing the diverse needs of our tenants, Ocean Storage prioritizes the security of your belongings with its temperature-controlled storage options. Such features are essential in maintaining the integrity of sensitive items, ensuring they remain unaffected by the ever-fluctuating Virginia weather. Whether you’re downsizing, relocating, or merely decluttering, Ocean Storage in Chesapeake is ready to offer you the space and security your possessions deserve. Find the perfect self-storage unit online with Ocean Storage and ensure your belongings get the premium care they need!

Browse & Rent with Ease

If you are ready to secure your storage space today, check out our available storage units on our website. We offer resources—like our storage calculator and ultimate list of self storage tips—to guide you toward the ideal storage space for the items you are looking to store.

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Check Out Our Chesapeake Locations!

Volvo Parkway · South Battlefield Boulevard

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Katie Mest

About the Author: Katie Mest is an SEO Specialist at Storage Asset Management in York, PA. She specializes in writing about the self storage industry, including storage tips and helpful resources. Outside of work, Katie enjoys camping, hiking, and exploring the outdoors with her newly adopted Greyhound rescue, Titan.