What better way to vacation during COVID-19 than by reconnecting with the great outdoors? Well, it just so happens that Virginia Beach ranks among the best U.S. cities for public parks and walkability! In fact, a recent study conducted by CommercialCafe ranked our city third-best in the nation for its wealth of green space.

For the rankings, the researchers analyzed data on U.S. cities with at least 300,000 residents. Data points included walkability, parkland ratios, and investment, as well as Air Quality Index (AQI) values for each city. Virginia Beach earned the third-highest overall score, ranking just ahead of Albuquerque, N.M., and Jacksonville, Fla., and following Washington, D.C.

Our “Atlantic coast gem” — as the article refers to it — fared quite well in a few aspects. In particular:  

  • The local park system incorporates more than 33,000 acres of recreational facilities and parks. Public park land alone comes out to nearly 62 acres per 1,000 residents — among the highest ratios in the country — which makes Virginia Beach a relatively roomy destination for fans of quality outdoor space with easy city access.
  • Nearly 18% of the total city area is dedicated to urban green space, making its ratio one of the 10 best nationwide. Specifically, the city is home to more than 290 parks and facilities, each with its own unique character, amenities, and offerings of spaces and activities.
  • The greater Virginia Beach region boasts some of the cleanest air in the nation. Last year, its median value was 40 on the AQI. That means that the city consistently stays within the “green” interval, which indicates that there is little to no pollution or concern for health. 


For more information on the report methodology and how the city fared across all other factors, read the full article on top U.S. cities for public parks.