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14. Virginia Beach, Va.
Population: 445,875
Pros: Diverse economy; easy beach access
Con: Saturated market for beach-related businesses

Employers in Virginia Beach benefit from low taxes, a dynamic and diverse local economy, and a strong workforce composed of graduates from area colleges such as William and Mary, as well as Navy personnel looking for part-time work. The beach community is saturated with retail stores - you can find a surf shop on just about every corner - but important business sectors also include architectural and engineering firms, building-equipment contractors, and computer designers. Nearby naval bases attract aviation-related firms and defense-related companies.

Some large organizations, such as the North American headquarters for Stihl (a major manufacturer of power tools), maintain headquarters here. With plenty of bike trails and state parks, as well as triathlon and marathon events throughout the year, residents stay healthy by taking to the outdoors. -Mina Kimes and Peter McDougall

Interactive map: Virginia Beach, Va.
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Last updated July 02 2008: 11:16 AM ET
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