Since the building of the boardwalk and the Cavalier Hotel in the late 1920s, Virginia Beach has experienced tremendous growth both as a resort and as a center of industry for the East Coast. Before World War II, the total combined population of the city and county was fewer than 20,000 people. In 1963, by annexing adjacent Princess Anne County, a small resort community became a city of 125,000 people that had grown from an original 1,600 acres to 172,800 acres. With more land for development, Virginia Beach soon surpassed Norfolk as the region’s most populated city.
With a growth rate of nearly 50 percent between 1980 and 1990, Virginia Beach became the largest city in Virginia. While this explosive growth rate slowed the following decade, Virginia Beach remains the state’s largest city. With its highly rated schools, military bases, shopping and beautiful beaches, the city remains a top choice for people to work, play and live.