An intricate system of waterways, known as Hampton Roads, divides the Tidewater area of southeast Virginia in two. The Peninsula extends southward between the York and James Rivers and continues into the Chesapeake Bay and Hampton Roads. Across the harbor to the south is The Southside, which encompasses cities like Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Portsmouth.
Home to Naval Weapons Station Yorktown and Joint Base Langley-Eustis, the Peninsula is heavily populated with military servicemembers and their families. Air Force and Army folks are more likely to be stationed here, whereas the Southside is where most of the Navy, Coast Guard, and Marines call home. From Hampton it takes a little over an hour to drive to Richmond, Va., and roughly four hours to drive to Washington, D.C.
The Peninsula is home to a variety of residents but is still very military-heavy. Most of the Army and Air Force families reside on the Peninsula, and report to either Fort Eustis or Langley Air Force Base (technically one base, though not adjacent). Affluent locals, higher ranking service members, and dual income families tend to live in Williamsburg and Yorktown. Affordable housing can be found farther south in areas like Newport News and Hampton. Folks who value privacy and quiet look to Poquoson.
The vibe varies across the Peninsula. Williamsburg and Yorktown exude history and a classic “Americana” charm. Historic, colonial row houses on tree-lined streets and master-planned suburbs attract many military families to the northern reaches of the Peninsula. Newport News and Hampton are vibrant, busy, densely populated, and very convenient to Fort Eustis and Langley AFB. Hampton is very popular with military families because of the “bang-for-your-buck” factor. You’ll find the rural, “country” character in Poquoson —but that comes with a bit more of a commute.