Chesapeake Fast Facts
Start a conversation about Chesapeake with these quick introductions to some of the city's history, waterways, wildlife and natural experiences.
- Chesapeake welcomes visitors year-round with easy drive access for two-thirds of the nation’s population.
- Outfitted with more than 4,300 rooms across 46 hotels, the city can accommodate families, sports teams, military reunions, and large groups with comfortable and modern lodging options.
- It is the second-most-populous city in the Commonwealth, home to 252,000 residents. Similarly, it also is home to the East Coast’s largest population of black bear who make their home in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.
- Chesapeake contains more miles of deepwater canals than any other city in the country and welcomes 10,000+ boats per year as they traverse the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway between Florida and Maine.
- George Washington surveyed the Dismal Swamp Canal in 1763, making it the oldest operating artificial waterway in America. The 22-mile waterway was dug by hand over a twelve-year period and is listed on the National Historic Register.
- The Great Dismal Swamp has been a source of both freedom and inspiration. It was a north-south route for runaway slaves as part of the Underground Railroad, and novelists Harriet Beecher Stowe and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow tapped their visit experiences to source characters for their novels. Edgar Allen Poe also is reported to have penned parts of his famous poem “The Raven” while traveling the canal.
- The Battle of Great Bridge, a decisive victory in the Revolutionary War that ended Britain’s rule in Virginia, is celebrated with an annual re-enactment in December and all year long at the new Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways Museum.
- The city’s prime wildlife viewing opportunities are featured on the South Chesapeake Loop of the Virginia Bird and Wildlife Trail.
- Part of the Coastal Virginia region, Chesapeake also is the perfect vacation hub to enjoy day trips to neighboring Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and the Historic Triangle.