Virginia has been one of the most historically and culturally important states in the country since settlers first reached its shores in the early 1600s. Unfortunately, while the area has always been a destination for history buffs and nature lovers, the state has suffered through years of real estate downturns. However, in recent years the state has begun to see a surge in appreciation, with many of its small waterfront towns becoming the ideal location for invested prospective buyers. Here are ten of the top communities you need to watch so that you can find the perfect piece of waterfront property today.
If you’re looking for a remote community that can offer you every small-town charm imaginable, Tangier Island will be the perfect place for you. This one-of-a-kind community can only be reached by boat or small airplane, adding to the romanticism and isolation of the town. While most residents have their own boats to get back and forth to mainland Virginia, ferries run out of Reedville or Onancock.
While the town comes with numerous quirks and idiosyncracies, perhaps the most instantly apparent to newcomers will be the distinct dialect spoken by locals. Considered by many linguistic experts to be the closest thing to what original colonial settlers would have spoken, you might find yourself questioning whether you’re still in the U.S. as you make your way through town.
Neighbors living on Tangier Island are incredibly close-knit and look out for one another’s well-being day in and day out. They take great pride in their heritage and are dedicated to the preservation of their way of life. However, they are also exceptionally welcoming and strive to make sure everyone who makes their way to the island feels like they’re part of the community.
Originally founded in 1680, the small town of Onancock has played an important role in Virginia’s history. It was even once visited by John Smith, who called the land “the gem of the Eastern Shore.” Since then, it has acted as a busy port town, with numerous boats traveling between Baltimore and Norfolk stopping here to rest, turning this into one of the most prosperous small towns in the area.
Nowadays, the community is filled with beautiful Victorian-style homes and one-of-a-kind boutiques that add to the town’s charismatic personality. Residents living here enjoy having access to a wide array of outdoor recreational activities, including cycling, kayaking, or sitting on the shore and watching boats come and go through the harbor. The town also has the historic Roseland Movie Theater and an array of delicious local restaurants, including the Blarney Stone Pub, Davinci’s Italian Kitchen, and Mallards at the Wharf, the town’s only waterfront dining.
Originally the home of various Algonquin tribes, Reedville was established by colonial settlers in 1648. As a fishing village, the community even has a museum dedicated to preserving the rich fishing history of the state and showcasing the role this community played in its development. Nowadays, residents have access to numerous sport fishing charters, and the town even hosts the annual Reedville Fishing Derby every May.
The streets of this picturesque small-town are filled with beautiful Victorian-style homes and more prominent waterfront properties with pristine landscaping. The town church is widely recognized as the best-preserved church from the Colonial era, remaining virtually untouched since it was originally built in 1745. The community itself is the very definition of supportive and caring. Most all residents gather together to celebrate the 4th of July and numerous other holidays throughout the year.
One of the most densely populated waterfront towns in Virginia, Alexandria is the ideal location for homeowners looking for the beauty that comes from owning a home on the water without having to give up any of the conveniences that come from an urban setting. The cobblestone streets in this stunning historic town are lined with trees and colorful, federal-style townhomes that have many residents feeling like they’ve wandered back into a colonial village. The city is filled with every modern luxury, including world-class restaurants, beautiful parks, art galleries, cultural centers, and exceptional entertainment venues.
Of course, residents do pay for this high-class lifestyle. The average home value is well over half a million dollars, and the cost of living in the area is twice what it is in the rest of the state. That being said, the community values the tranquility, peace, and opulence they’ve been afforded and makes every effort to maintain this style of living year after year.
If you’re looking to live in a scenic beach town, look no further than Cape Charles. Originally a railroad and ferry town established in 1884, Cape Charles has turned itself into one of Virginia’s most desirable locations. With pristine beaches only an hour outside of Norfolk, this small community has attracted the young professional crowd for years.
Cape Charles residents love living the outdoor lifestyle. The Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge is just a few minutes outside of town, and many residents find themselves visiting on the weekends for hiking and birdwatching. The city is full of unique boutiques and eateries such as Brown Dog Ice Cream and The Oyster Farm. While the town is relatively quiet throughout the year, its world-class beaches bring out an abundance of tourists in the summer seasons from all across the state.
Once the capital of the Powhatan Confederacy, this small town has been at the center of Virginia History for hundreds of years. Filled with important historic sites and stunning archeological finds, Gloucester is an absolute paradise for history buffs from around the country.
Originally the home of George Washington’s grandfather, homes in Gloucester vary between single-family colonial estates to newer 1970s builds. The average home value in the area is in the mid $200,000, which is relatively in line with values in most of the state. However, residents in this area can take advantage of numerous conveniences, including an hour commute to Richmond, beautiful parks and walking trails, and the annual Daffodil Festival.
If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind experience that will allow you to have a deeper connection with the beauty of the natural world around you, then Chincoteague Island is the perfect location for you. This community is renowned for its proximity to Assateague, home of the wild Chincoteague ponies, which legend has it are descended from the horses aboard a sunken Spanish galleon off the eastern coast.
The community itself is full of rich history, a dedication to environmental preservation, and an unbelievable unity between neighbors who genuinely care about one another, pulling together to make this vibrant and charming community come to life.
The island is full of a wide variety of different style homes, including:
- Mid-century Modern
No matter what your personal taste, you can rest assured this island will have a property you’ll love.
Home to the world’s largest Naval Base, Norfolk itself is a rich and vibrant 400-year-old community that has played a vital role in this county’s history, which it continues to embrace to this day. With a bustling business district, Norfolk has been attracting a younger professional crowd, with many of the residents in the area working white-collar jobs, focusing on their careers, and starting families.
The town itself has a wide variety of housing styles, with the average home value coming in at low to mid $200,000. There are numerous things for residents to do right in the community, including numerous museums, historic sites, and entertainment venues. Norfolk is also renowned for its delectable dining scene with popular restaurants such as Saltine, Luce, and The Grilled Cheese Bistro that serves some of the best sandwiches in the state.
Wachapreague is the very definition of a small town, with only around 200 full-time residents and acres upon acres of undisturbed wetlands. You’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time when you stroll through the streets of this Victorian-era town. Almost all of the homes in the community were built in the early 1800s, and the town has made sure to preserve this historic sensibility year after year.
Outdoor outings are exceptionally popular with residents who enjoy living a more active lifestyle. Popular recreational activities include biking, kayaking, cycling, birdwatching, and fishing.
Consistently voted as one of the top ten towns in all Virginia, Hampton is a great place to raise a family or retire. Fort Monroe stands as one of the town’s most beloved landmarks, and this is a town that takes pride in its rich historical past and makes plans to build itself a prosperous future. Schools in this area are often voted to be some of the best in the state. Local families can take advantage of numerous educational activity centers, including the Virginia Air and Space Science Center and the Sandy Bottom Nature Park.
The town’s lively history and dedication to the education of its children have made the community especially popular with young professionals, many of who take advantage of the proximity to Richmond.
Virginia has become one of the hottest states on the east coast for waterfront real estate. If you’re considering investing in any of these or other waterfront towns in the area, contact our experts today, and we’ll be happy to help you find the home of your dreams.