Beautiful nature landscapes and a growing economy are two of the many livability advantages in Virginia. Agriculture and farming have always been a key contributor to the Virginia economy. Other key industries in Virginia are the military, government services and technology, with Virginia having the highest concentration of technology workers of any state.
For those of you with a competitive streak, Virginia hosts races of every kind – from marathons and triathlons to mud obstacle races. There’s something for everyone and no shortage of people to get out there and train with you.
- The most pleasant weather is in the spring and fall. Summer can be hot and humid, so avoid moving in the heat of the day. If you must move during summer months, wear plenty of sunscreen and keep yourself and pets hydrated
- Winters in Virginia can be icy, and snow occurs infrequently enough that even a few inches can cause major traffic tie-ups and school closings.
- Some apartment building don’t allow moves on weekends, so check to see whether there are specific days for moving in. You also may need to reserve a freight elevator or arrange access to a special delivery area behind your building.
Change your address online. To make your move from California to Virginia easier, consider changing your address online. It is easy to do, inexpensive, and will ensure that your mail arrives to your new home with you.
Cities and Metro Areas
The Mother of Presidents is known for its scenic natural landscape, as most states around the mid-Atlantic area, temperate climate, vast cultural diversity and more. Most people are moving to Northern Virginia for jobs with the government or government contractors, or to go to school in the Washington, D.C. area.
Several popular communities in Northern Virginia that are accessible to Washington, D.C. include Arlington, Alexandria, Ballston, Crystal City, Reston and Fairfax. But Virginia is more than just a satellite community for people working in Washington, D.C.
Falls Church is a historic town and is where George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate lies, as does the Arlington National Cemetery. Virginia Beach is a safe tourist town with lots to do, including a beautiful beach. Chantilly is reasonably affordable compared to many Virginia cities and is only about 25 miles from Washington D.C. Williamsburg attracts young families with its superior education and entertainment options, including tours, reenactments and other special events.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Northern Virginia is higher than in many other parts of the country, but salaries are often higher as well. Other parts of the state are less expensive, but those areas aren’t necessarily where the jobs are. Virginia has the 11th highest per-capita income in America, and it homes four of the 10 wealthiest U.S. counties: Loudoun County, Falls Church City and Fairfax County (scooped first three positions based on survey by Code Black Group), as well as Arlington County (No. 7).
Highways and Public Transport
Public Transportation in Virginia
Virginia provides many options for public transportation. If you work in or near Washington, D.C., you will quickly become very familiar with the metro system, which is how many people get to and from work. Check out the D.C. metro rail website to get a sense of the Metro network, which lines serve which areas, fares and schedules.
For an easy commute to D.C., the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) is a commuter rail service that runs from the Northern Virginia suburbs to Alexandria, Crystal City and downtown Washington, D.C., paralleling two traffic-clogged interstates: I-66 and I-95. Visit the VRE website for the locations of stations before choosing where to move.
The Washington, D.C. Beltway, also known as interstate 495, is a multi-lane, monster highway that goes through parts of Maryland and Virginia and forms a circle around Washington, D.C.. Traffic routinely slows to a crawl during the morning and evening rush hour, and even a minor accident or bad weather (including rain) makes things worse.
Air Transportation in Virginia
The main airport in Northern Virginia is Dulles International (IUD).
Other nearby airports:
Only Dulles and Baltimore handle international flights. All are also accessible by public transportation if you factor in extra time. See the links to the airport pages for more information. Depending on where you are in Washington, D.C., allow about an hour (at least) to get to any of these airports by car.
If you are moving to Virginia farther south, Norfolk International Airport is your most convenient option.
Winter is usually mild in northern and eastern regions, but there is the potential for more snow and cold in the mountains to the west. If you are moving to Virginia from the north, don’t get rid of your winter gear. Sometimes stretches of cold temperatures sink in, but spring usually arrives by the end of March.
Spring and fall are the most pleasant seasons, unless you suffer from plant-related allergies, in which case the profusion of flowering trees in the spring will be accompanied by sneezing, watery eyes and a runny nose. Summer can include stretches of hazy, hot and humid weather, but it lingers through September, when mild temperatures persist but the humidity starts to drop. Fall is usually mild to cool.
The weather in Virginia is impacted by the mountains in the west and the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean in the east. The mountains direct the effects of storms and weather fronts, and the lakes and shoreline prevent extreme temperatures.
Many public schools in Northern Virginia consistently rank among the best in the country, and most high schools offer some sort of advanced placement classes that can be used to earn college credit. The Virginia Department of Education boasts a detailed website where interested parents can see statistics about the performance of schools throughout the state. The Virginia DOE site also has information about demographics and enrollment at all Virginia’s public schools, as well as information about school nutrition, gifted programs and special education programs.
Current school rankings (elementary, middle and high schools), campus and district zoning/location maps, information and reviews are available online for parents moving to Virginia:
Many government resources for moving to Virginia can be found online at Virginia.gov. However, more detailed information is provided and managed at the county and city level. Google the county you’ll be living in when moving to Virginia for more specifics.
- To obtain a Virginia driver’s license or register your car, visit the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
- You can register to vote when you get your new driver’s license or online at the Virginia Board of Elections website.
- Find your local United States Post Office online.
- For specific details on trash and recycling services, visit the website of your new county of residence before moving to Virginia.