Geography of Suffolk, Virginia

By | March 30, 2024

According to citiesplustowns, Suffolk, Virginia, is a city located in the southeastern part of the state, situated in the heart of the Hampton Roads region. Known for its charm, diverse landscapes, and strategic location along major transportation routes, Suffolk offers a unique blend of urban amenities and rural beauty. In this comprehensive description, we will explore the physical features, climate, and environmental characteristics of Suffolk, providing insight into the factors that define the region’s geography.

Physical Features:

Suffolk covers an area of approximately 429 square miles (1,111 square kilometers) and is the largest city in Virginia by land area. The city is characterized by its diverse geography, which includes flat coastal plains, lush forests, and scenic waterways.

The landscape of Suffolk is shaped by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay. To the east of the city, the land gently slopes toward the coastal plain, which extends to the Atlantic Ocean. The coastal plain is characterized by its flat terrain, sandy soils, and marshy wetlands, providing habitat for a variety of plant and animal species.

To the west of Suffolk, the terrain becomes more elevated as it transitions into the Piedmont region of Virginia. The Piedmont is characterized by its rolling hills, wooded areas, and fertile soils, making it ideal for agriculture and outdoor recreation.

Suffolk is home to several rivers and creeks, including the Nansemond River, which flows through the heart of the city. The Nansemond River is a tidal estuary that provides important habitat for fish and other aquatic species, as well as opportunities for boating, fishing, and kayaking.

The city’s urban landscape is marked by a mix of residential, commercial, and industrial areas. Downtown Suffolk features buildings, shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions, while the outskirts of the city are dotted with parks, schools, and suburban neighborhoods.


Suffolk experiences a humid subtropical climate, characterized by four distinct seasons with hot, humid summers and mild, relatively dry winters.

Spring: Springtime in Suffolk brings gradually warming temperatures and increasing rainfall. Average highs range from the upper 60s to the low 70s Fahrenheit (18-22°C), while lows generally range from the mid-40s to the low 50s Fahrenheit (7-12°C). This season is marked by blooming flowers, budding trees, and the return of migratory birds, making it a pleasant time to explore the city’s outdoor attractions.

Summer: Summers in Suffolk are hot and humid, with average highs in the upper 80s to low 90s Fahrenheit (31-34°C) and lows in the mid-60s to low 70s Fahrenheit (18-23°C). Heatwaves are common during this time, with temperatures occasionally reaching into the upper 90s Fahrenheit (above 35°C). Thunderstorms are frequent, providing relief from the heat but also bringing the risk of heavy rain and lightning.

Fall: Autumn in Suffolk brings cooler temperatures and decreasing rainfall. Average highs range from the mid-70s to the low 80s Fahrenheit (24-28°C), while lows range from the mid-50s to the low 60s Fahrenheit (13-16°C). This season is popular for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and leaf-peeping, as the landscape transforms into a tapestry of reds, oranges, and yellows.

Winter: Winters in Suffolk are mild compared to other parts of the country, with average highs in the mid-40s to low 50s Fahrenheit (7-10°C) and lows in the mid-20s to low 30s Fahrenheit (-4 to 0°C). Snowfall is rare, and the region receives only a few inches of snow accumulation annually. Cold snaps are infrequent, and temperatures rarely drop below freezing for extended periods.

Environmental Characteristics:

Suffolk is home to a variety of plant and animal species, thanks to its diverse geography and climate. The region’s forests, wetlands, and riparian habitats provide habitat for a wide range of wildlife, including deer, foxes, birds of prey, and various species of songbirds.

The city’s waterways, including the Nansemond River and the Dismal Swamp Canal, offer opportunities for outdoor recreation and environmental education. These waterways provide habitat for fish and other aquatic species, as well as opportunities for fishing, boating, and kayaking.

Suffolk is committed to environmental conservation and sustainability. The city has implemented initiatives to protect natural resources, reduce energy consumption, and promote recycling and waste reduction. These efforts include green building practices, land conservation programs, and community-wide environmental education initiatives.

In recent years, Suffolk has faced environmental challenges related to urban development and population growth. Efforts to balance economic growth with environmental conservation are ongoing, with initiatives focused on smart growth, habitat restoration, and environmental monitoring.