I like Hampton, Virginia. When I retired from the Navy, many of my friends assumed that I was going to pack up and move back to Florida. The problem with that is, I’ve lived in Hampton longer than I lived in Jacksonville. My friends are here, my family is here, and most of all, I have come to realize that this little old town is a great place to live! Why do I love it so much?
I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, just a stone’s throw from St. Augustine Florida, a town that claims to be the oldest continuously occupied European city in the United States. Hampton holds a title as well, one that easily holds its own. We are the oldest continuously occupied English-speaking city in the US. The history in Hampton goes all the way back to 1607 and has seen explorers from Captain John Smith and Christopher Newport, to modern explorers, astronauts John Glenn and Virgil “Gus” Grissom. We’ve got it to the moon and back! Home to Ft. Monroe, Ft. Wool, and Old Point Comfort, as well as Langley Research Center, and Langley Air Force Base, Hampton has seen engagement in everything from before the American Revolution to Operation Enduring Freedom. Be sure to check out one of Hampton’s many historical museums!
Sports, music, bars, paintball, escape rooms, you name it, we’ve got it! Are you a Rolling Stones fan? That live album “Hampton Coliseum (Live 1981)” was recorded right here in our town! Are you into comics? Every year in October, the Hampton Roads Convention Center holds Hampton Comicon! If brewpubs are your thing, we’ve got Bull Island downtown, Oozlefinch Craft Brewery on Ft. Monroe, St. George Brewery near Langley, and we’re looking forward to The Vanguard Brewpub opening soon! If local music is your thing, be sure to catch the Downtown Hampton Waterfront Music Series, and see all your local favorites!
Hampton loves to throw a party, and we love throwing them right downtown! We’ve got Blackbeard’s Pirate Festival in June, the Holly Days Parade in December, and all through the summer there are Downtown Hampton Summer Block Parties, we know how to have a great time! If you’re into art, don’t forget to check out the Blue Skies Gallery to see work from more than 75 different artists! Great food and live music are a staple of Queen Street in Downtown Hampton, and of course, you can’t miss the Virginia Air and Space Center, right on the waterfront! If you get downtown early enough, you might even get to stop by our favorite hometown gourmet doughnut place, Glazed Doughnuts!
Whether you like to play or watch, Hampton is the place to be if you are into sports! The city sponsors many youth league sports organizations, including baseball, basketball, cheerleading, football, and soccer, as well as adult slow pitch softball leagues. Runners can delight in the race schedule in Hampton, there are plenty of 5K races and everyone’s favorite Crawlin Crab Half Marathon and 5K race. Be sure to get your miles in on the trails at Sandy Bottom Nature Park or with a trot around Ft. Monroe. Maybe you’re more into watching than participating, so head on down to War Memorial Park and watch the Peninsula Pilots summer league baseball team, or enjoy a night at the races with Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway!
When folks from out of town think about beaches in our area, they all think about Virginia Beach. That’s all well and good if you like the crowded beach boardwalk scene, but if you just want a lazy day on the beach, you can’t do better than we have here. Everyone’s favorite beach is Buckroe Beach with its big parking lots and festive atmosphere. They hold many events at the Buckroe pavilion, including Arts in the Park, the Groovin’ by the Bay Summer Concert Series, and the Life’s a Beach Triathlon. Buckroe isn’t the only beach in Hampton though, as many local residents enjoy putting their toes in the sand at Ft. Monroe, or even taking the long walk to Grandview State Park. In Hampton, you get to enjoy the beach bum lifestyle without all the traffic!
By no means has this been an exhaustive list of things to see and do in Hampton. I haven’t even touched the great places to eat, any of the boat shows, car shows, or the shopping in Hampton. I could keep writing about venues like the BMX track hidden at the back of Gosnold Hope Park, or the wonderful little shops in Phoebus. Instead, I’ll leave you with this link to Expedia’s 15 Under the Radar Cities You Need to Visit, then I’ll let you go explore this great town before everyone else discovers what a jewel we are! Go have some fun!