About Hampton Roads

Hampton Roads is home to more than 1.7 million people. The Hampton Roads region includes the independent cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg and the counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Mathews, Southampton, Surry*, York, and Currituck (North Carolina).


The term "Hampton Roads" is a centuries-old reference that originated when the region was struggling as a British outpost 400 years ago. The word "Hampton" honors one of the founders of the Virginia Company, Henry Wriothesley - third Earl of Southampton. Signifying the safety of a port, "Roads", short for roadstead which in nautical terminology means "a place less sheltered than a harbor where ships may ride at anchor."

Hampton Roads is the birthplace of Colonial America. It is home to Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement and to Colonial Williamsburg. Its rich history, thriving maritime industry and beautiful waterfront landscapes merge with livable communities, modern technology, economic prosperity and a strong military presence to create a unique and welcoming place in which to live and conduct business.

In 1983, "Hampton Roads" became the official name for the region, unifying the Southside with the Peninsula, although the first recorded mention of "Hampton Roads" in the Virginia General Assembly was in 1755 (11 years before the founding of the United States) as the channel linking the James, Elizabeth and Nansemond Rivers with the Chesapeake Bay.