Virginia Beach is an independent city located in the South Hampton Roads area in the Commonwealth of Virginia, on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The city is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the 39th largest city in the US, with a total population of 447,000. It is the third largest suburban city in the United States after Long Beach, California, and the fourth largest in North America.
Like a few other cities in the US, Virginia Beach consists of an area more traditionally defined as a county, as the southern half consists largely of rural areas, farmland and marshes.
It is one of seven cities that are together officially known as Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSA. Like the independent municipalities of Hampton, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Newport News and Chesapeake, Virginia Beach is sometimes called a suburb of Norfolk despite Virginia Beach's larger population and urban areas.
Virginia Beach is best known as a major resort, with miles of beaches and hundreds of hotels, motels, and restaurants along its oceanfront. It is also home to several state parks, several long protected beach areas, three military bases, a number of large corporations, and two universities.
The city is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having the longest pleasure beach in the world and is located at the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, the longest bridge-tunnel complex in the world.
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