Virginia Beach’s Park System Ranks Eighth in the Nation

Virginia Beach earns four out of five “Park Benches” in The Trust for Public Land ParkScore® Index

Thursday, June 06, 2013

For the second consecutive year, Virginia Beach has ranked among the top 10 park systems in the United States. Earning four “park benches” on the 2013 ParkScore® Index recently released by the nonprofit Trust for Public Land (TPL), Virginia Beach has placed eighth in the nation.


ParkScore® ratings are based equally on three factors: park accessibility, which measures the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park (approximately a halfmile); park size, which is based on a city’s median park size and the percentage of total city area dedicated to public parks; and services and investment, which combines the number of playgrounds per 10,000 city residents and per capita park spending.


Virginia Beach led all cities on the playground measurements with five playgrounds per 10,000 residents, more than double the ParkScore® city average. Data compiled through the ParkScore® ratings system reflects national, state and city public parks and open spaces. The rating system does not include privately-owned neighborhood parks, playgrounds and other recreational amenities (like swimming pools) funded through homeowner association fees.


“Being ranked eighth out of the top 50 largest park systems in the nation is a great honor,” said Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation Director Michael Kalvort. “Our department garners tremendous support from our Mayor, city council, city leadership, and our volunteer commissions. This ranking reaffirms our focus on our community priorities: community access, the environment, healthy lifestyles, and stewardship. We are committed to continually improve and work towards the goals established in Envision Virginia Beach 2040, a comprehensive plan for our city’s future development.”


Taking top honors in The Trust for Public Land’s second annual ParkScore® index is Minneapolis, earning the first perfect "five park bench" rating from the nonprofit organization. Minneapolis was not rated by ParkScore® in 2012, but was included this year because the index expanded to the 50 largest cities in the United States, up from the 40 largest last year. Minneapolis is the 48th largest U.S. city, according to the Census Bureau.


For more information about Virginia Beach’s ParkScore® ranking, visit


Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation’s vision is a balanced, sustainable and value-focused system of parks, recreation and public spaces that creates a sense of community. We are accredited by CAPRA, the certifying agency of the National Recreation and Park Association. For more information, call (757) 385-1100 (TTY: 757-711 Virginia Relay), visit or sign up our email newsletters at Find us on Facebook at