As of 2014, the three largest cities in Virginia based on population are Virginia Beach (population 447,021), Norfolk (population 245,782) and Chesapeake (population 228,417). The capital city of Richmond is Virginia's fourth largest city, with a population of 210,309. The largest city in Virginia based on area is Suffolk, which is 429.1 square miles and has a population of 85,181.
All three of Virginia's largest cities are located in the southeastern region of the state, along the Chesapeake Bay. They are part of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, with Norfolk as the urban core. Virginia Beach is approximately 15 miles east of Norfolk.
Virginia Beach comprises several well-maintained and free beaches, with lifeguards on staff during the summer months. Attractions include a boardwalk that stretches for 3 miles along the shore, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center and Ocean Breeze Waterpark. Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is an 8,000-acre home to a variety of animal life. Residents can also enjoy several state parks and free festivals.
Norfolk is the location of Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval station in the world. Several museums are located in Norfolk, such as the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, Nauticus, the National Maritime Center and the USS Wisconsin. Norfolk is also home to four city beaches.