Hampton, Virginia

Hampton is a large independent city situated in the US State of Virginia, spreading over 352.95 sq. km, on the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Hampton is one of the seven chief cities that make up the Hampton Roads Metropolitan Area, blessed with several miles of shoreline and breathtaking water views. Being one of the region's fastest-growing cities, Hampton is considered the nation's 204th most populous city and the state's 7th most populous city.  

Geography And Climate Of Hampton

View of Hampton, Virginia downtown waterfront district seen at sunset under colorful sky.
View of Hampton, Virginia, downtown waterfront district seen at sunset under colorful sky. 

Hampton is situated in southeastern Virginia, covering a total area of 352.95 sq. km, of which 219.67 sq. km is covered by water - representing 62.3% of the whole area, while 133.28 sq. km is occupied by land. The city of Hampton lies along the Chesapeake Bay, bordering Newport News, York, and Poquoson from the north and the northwest, and Norfolk and Portsmouth from the south, separated by the James River.

Similar to its neighboring cities, Hampton experiences a humid subtropical climate, with hot, humid summers and mildly cold winters. Along with cloudy and wet days throughout the year, the temperature generally varies from 1°C to 31°C and is rarely below -6°C or above 35°C. The weather in Hampton is at its best during May and from August until October, allowing warm-weather activities for visitors. At the same time, it must be avoided during the months of January and February when it’s too cold and most likely to snow.

Brief History Of Hampton

Old Point Comfort Lighthouse in Hampton, Virginia
Old Point Comfort Lighthouse is located on the grounds of Fort Monroe on the Chesapeake Bay in Hampton, Virginia. Editorial credit: Sherry V Smith / Shutterstock.com

Hampton was settled by the English colonists in 1610 after being inhabited by the Kecoughtan, the native Indian tribes that had been initially occupying the area for several years. The city's location around Fort Monroe - which was built for protection from the Spanish raiders, made it a military stronghold. It also served as a strategic defense of the Chesapeake Bay, making Hampton the oldest continuously settled community of English origin and the first episode of violent Indian removal - a practice that lasted for centuries. Hampton, which was named after Henry Wriothesley, the 3rd Earl of Southampton, became a part of Elizabeth city in 1620 and then was incorporated as a town in 1705. Hampton was repeatedly attacked during the American Revolution in 1781 and the War of 1812 by Blackbeard Pirates. Moreover, after becoming a city in 1849, the Confederates intended to burn the city of Hampton by the beginning of the Civil war in 1861 to prevent its capture by the Union forces to settle nearby Old Point Comfort and Fort Monroe. Eventually, Hampton recovered mainly due to the flourishing railroad that was built in 1880.

Population And Economy Of Hampton

Crowds on the Buckroe Beach during a hot summer day in Hampton, Virginia
Crowds on Buckroe Beach during a hot summer day in Hampton, Virginia. Editorial credit: Khairil Azhar Junos / Shutterstock.com

Hampton is nowadays populated by 137,148 residents, with 95.30% of them born in the United States, of which 50.54% were born in Virginia. Around 1.68 of those residents are not U.S. citizens. The majority of those not born in the United States are from Asia.

Economically speaking, Hampton harbor plays a crucial role in the Hampton Roads area's growth, both on land and in water-related activities and events. Moreover, tourism traffic and activities are considered the leading sector that feeds the city's business by generating instant revenues by creating jobs and constantly improving the city's infrastructure. On top of that, the military installations in Hampton also play a prime role where Fort Monroe used to serve as the headquarters for the U.S. Continental Army Command. In addition to this, the Langley Air Force Base and the Langley Research Center for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration are considered military staples in the city, where the first U.S. astronauts used to be trained. Talking about figures, the average annual income of a Hampton resident is $25,131, encountering a sales tax of 6% and an income tax of 5.8%.  

Top Attractions In Hampton

Fort Monroe

Aerial view of Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia
Aerial view of Fort Monroe as a container ship passes by in the Chesapeake Bay in Hampton, Virginia. Editorial credit: Kyle J Little / Shutterstock.com

Fort Monroe was built by colonial settlers as a wooden structure large enough to hold 50 men and seven mounted cannons in 1609. Named back then Fort Algernourne, the fort played a crucial role in Hampton's history as a national icon to the city, spanning the American story from the 17th to the 21st centuries, featuring Captain John Smith's journeys, freedom for the slaves of the war, and a supportive defense for the Chesapeake Bay. Fort Monroe is also home to several outdoor activities, beautiful nature trails used for walking and biking, and miles of beaches with spectacular views of the Chesapeake Bay. 

Virginia Air And Space Science Center

Located in Hampton, the birthplace of America’s space program, Virginia Air and Space Science Center presents interactive aviation exhibiting a span of 100 years of flight, more than 30 historic aircraft, unique space flight artifacts, and a hands-on space exploration gallery. Incorporated in 1987, The Center hosts the Apollo 12 Command Module and the Orion PA-1 Test Vehicle. 

Air Power Park 

Air Power Park is an outdoor, roadside museum in Hampton, Virginia
Air Power Park is an outdoor, roadside museum in Hampton, Virginia. Editorial credit: Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

Hampton also offers a bunch of museums, theatres, and monuments that narrate its old history, along with a wide selection of parks, beaches, and entertainment activities, such as the iconic Hampton Carousel, which is one of only 170 antique wooden merry-go-rounds still existing in the U.S. The Hampton Downtown waterfront features a series of dining, events, and entertainment options that suits residents and tourists alike.

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