best beaches near Washington D.C.

14 Best Beaches near Washington D.C.

The area around Washington D.C. has many interesting tourist attractions. If you are planning a beach vacation, we’ll tell you the best beaches near Washington D.C.

1. Sandy Point

best beaches near Washington D.C.

It takes only a little over an hour’s drive from Washington, D.C. to reach Sandy Point, State Park. It is one of the best beaches near Washington D.C. Sandy Point State Park is located on the northwestern shore of Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.  The park has one mile of sandy beach from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

If you visit there, you can enjoy your time by swimming,  water sports, fishing, finding a hiking trail, and renting a boat. During the summer season, lifeguards are here to help you. Not only that, if you like to spend a night here campsites are available here. Park amenities include a supply shop that offers everything from beach basics and fishing supplies and a bathhouse with restrooms and showers.  You can reserve picnic shelters and pavilions for large groups as well.

2. Colonial Beach

best beaches near Washington D.C.

Colonial Beach is one of the best beaches near Washington D.C. It takes an hour and 45 minutes from Washington, D.C. to reach there. The beach is located on the shores of the Potomac River opposite Monroe Bay and it is the second longest in America. The beach has a boardwalk and it allows easy travel to the various amenities along the shore. The beach has restrooms, changing rooms, a spray-off station, an access path for wheelchairs, a beach shop, and a waterside restaurant that offers outdoor seating by a fire pit and live entertainment.

You can easily find boat and water sports rentals here. Also, you can enjoy sightseeing,  dinner cruises, and charter fishing trips. Bike tours are also available on the beach. You can book them from the Ferry Landing Pier ( Fisherman’s Pier). If you like to spend a night in Colonial Beach, you can enjoy local festivities held on Town Commons such as the Potomac River Festival, Market Days, Bluemont Concerts, family movie nights, and the Boardwalk Arts & Crafts Festival. From October through March ( the off-season) leashed dogs with well-behaved humans can go to the beach.

3. Ocean City Beach

best beaches near Washington D.C.

Ocean City Beach is one of the best beaches near Washington D.C. You can easily find many seaside attractions and activities at Ocean City Beach. The three-mile Boardwalk is lined with many of the city’s restaurants, shops, and diversions. Trimper’s Rides and Amusements are the most popular places along the boardwalk. You can enjoy the beach doing water sports, sunbathing, and swimming. Not only that, there are plenty of off-beach activities available here such as mini golf, the Jolly Roger Amusement Park, and the bizarre world of Ripley’s Believe it or Not.

Ocean City is popular for fishing as well. Ocean City hosts a major fishing tournament named the White Marlin Open since 1974. The tournament is held every year in mid-August and lasts one week. Thousands of contestants participate in the tournament which involves millions of dollars in prize money for the best catches in several categories. President Franklin Roosevelt nicknamed this beach the “White Marlin Capital of the World” after spending a day there.

4. Rehoboth Beach

Rehoboth Beach

If you visit Rehoboth Beach,  you can enjoy both day and overnight beach getaways.  Because the beach offers its nostalgic boardwalk and plentiful activities. It will take two and a half hours from Washington to reach there. The Boardwalk is full of restaurants, sweet shops, and souvenir shops. Also, it is home to the Funland amusement park and Beach Arcade. Funland offers many games and rides, such as a carousel, classic bumper cars, some thrill rides for the more adventurous kids, and spinning teacups.

You can easily find plentiful carnival-style food vendors in and around the park.  Also, Rehoboth is home to many galleries and high-end boutiques. The beach is open to the public and it offers free entrance. As well as, provides lifeguards during the summer season, and basic amenities, including restrooms and showers. You can find several large hotels and restaurants near the beach.

5. Lewes Beach

Lewes Beach

Lewes Beach is located on Delaware Bay adjacent to Cape Henlopen State Park and it is one of the best beaches near Washington D.C. It takes about two and a half hours from D.C. to reach Lewes Beach. This beach is an ideal place for families with younger swimmers. Lewes Beach offers well-maintained amenities, including a bathhouse and affordable parking. Further, it provides lifeguards during the summer season. You can easily find a good ice cream shop and some small stores within walking distance of the beach.  Also, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from.

6. Brownie’s Beach

Brownie's Beach

Chesapeake Beach is located 45 miles from Washington, D.C. It takes about an hour to reach the town of Chesapeake Beach from Washington D.C. This is an ideal place to bring the kids on a hot summer day and one of the best beaches near Washington D.C. The beach is located within Bay Front Park and it is perfect for little ones. You can also visit the Chesapeake Beach Municipal Water Park.  It is a family-friendly water park and features a lazy river, waterslide, splash zones, multiple pools, cabana rentals, swimming lessons, and plenty of food options.

You don’t have permission to fish at Bay Front Park. But several local companies offer group fishing trips and fishing charters. There is a public boat ramp as well. They offer other plenty of local activities such as the Chesapeake Beach Railway Trail and the Chesapeake Beach Heritage trail. The Railway Trail features osprey platforms and naturalist exhibits along the way. You can also visit the Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum.

7. Bethany Beach

Bethany Beach

It takes about three hours in normal traffic to reach Bethany Beach. The wide wooden walkway that stretches a half-mile along the shore is the best part of Bethany Beach. There are plenty of quality food vendors and shops selling cold treats and typical seaside fare. You can buy any beach supplies, from sunscreen to surfboards from the Bethany Surf Shop. You can also rent equipment that you want in Bethany Beach. There is a bike rental shop and Jet Ski rentals on the beach. Also, there is a mini-golf. 

8. Assateague Island  Seashore

Assateague Island  Seashore

Wild horses live on Assateague Island for hundreds of years. If you visit there, you can see horses taking a seaside walk along the water’s edge. It’s a common view on the island. It will take a 2.5-hour drive from the city to reach the island. The beach faces the Atlantic along the edge of this narrow 37-mile barrier island has good waves and plentiful space. Therefore many tourists visit here for surfing. Sea kayaking is also popular on the island.

This is also a great place for bird-watching, camping, and exploring the trails. You can find beautiful views from atop the 1867 Assateague Lighthouse. Assateague State Park is one of the most attractive places on Assateague Island.  If you have an idea to visit Ocean City,  you can reach the park within a quick 25-minute drive.

9. Dewey Beach

Dewey Beach

 Dewey Beach is located just south of Rehoboth Beach. It is one of the best beaches near Washington D.C. The beach is popular for its special events and entertainment such as live music on the beach every night during the summer and annual music festivals.  Fiddler’s Festival and the Elvis Festival are just a few popular annual music festivals hosted on the beach. It hosts concerts by top-tier artists as well.

There are plenty of other activities you can participate such as seaside yoga and a variety of educational programs for all ages. There are many many restaurants and boutiques located in the town. All of the located within the walking distance. You have the opportunity to rent any water sports equipment from paddleboards and kayaks to pontoon boats and Jet Skis.

10. Cunningham Falls

Cunningham Falls

It will take just around an hour and a quarter drive from D.C. to reach there. Cunningham Falls is one of the best beaches near Washington D.C. If you are looking for a freshwater beach, this is the ideal place for you. The beach itself is located on the shores of a small lake. As well as it offers basic amenities, such as toilets and grill stations. You can enjoy swimming and take hiking trails in Catoctin Mountain that lead to some great views and some of Maryland’s largest waterfalls. If you like to spend a night, camping is available on the site.

11. Hammerman Beach

Hammerman Beach

Hammerman Beach is one of the best beaches near Washington D.C. It is located within Maryland’s Gunpowder Falls State Park.  The park is also home to several impressive waterfalls.  Hammerman beach sits on the shores of the large  Gunpowder River. If you visit there, you will see a pavilion with a concessions stand that offers hot dogs, burgers, snacks, beverages, and last-minute beach needs.

You can rent a canoe and kayak here. Also, there are some playgrounds.  You can take horseback riding trails and hiking trails as well. Tourists can enjoy fishing from the shore. There is an area to launch kayaks and other non-motorized crafts as well. If you have an idea to visit here,  get here early as possible. Because parking facilities are limited in the area.

12. Point Lookout Park

Point Lookout Park

The point lookout national park is located at the southern end of the peninsula.  It will take about two hours drive from D.C.  to reach there. This is one of the best beaches near Washington D.C. The beach is open through the summer season and offers a picnic area, grills, a large pavilion, and a playground. There are also shower facilities and toilets.

You can buy any supplies, from snacks and cold treats to bait and camping supplies from the park’s store.  Also, canoe rentals and boating supplies are available here. You can also visit the Civil War Museum and Marshland Nature center.  The Civil War Museum explains the site’s former use as a prison camp for Confederate soldiers.

13. Breezy Point Beach

Breezy Point Beach has located in Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay. It is one of the best beaches near Washington D.C.  It will take over an hour from Washington, D.C. to reach the beach. It has a swimming area that is protected by netting and a good playground. Therefore the beach is especially popular among families with younger children.

On summer weekends, the beach is filled with visitors. The beach offers basic amenities like picnic tables and grills. If you like to spend a night here, there are campsites available that accommodate both RVs and tents. If you have an idea to visit here,  get here early as possible. Because there is a limit to the number of tourists allowed in the park.

  • Visit: 5300 Breezy Point Road, Maryland

14. Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach

It will take about four hours with normal traffic from Washington D.C. to reach Virginia Beach. Even though it is a popular destination for weekend beach getaways. This lively seaside resort town is one of the best beaches near Washington D.C. You can find plenty of activities and attractions here. As well as the town is home to many excellent seafood restaurants and good hotels. The three-mile boardwalk is the center of beach activity and is home to many interesting shops and candy stores.  The beach hosts many special events throughout the year such as live music events in the summer and sandcastle contests. 

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Frequently Asked Questions 

Are there any excellent beaches in Washington?

Beautiful Washington beaches provide you with a wide range of exciting recreational activities, like whale watching, fishing, boating,  kite flying, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, gathering around a bonfire, and many others.

Where can you find a beach in Washington, DC?

Sandy Point State Park, the nearest beach to Washington, D.C., is located at the western end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Around a million people visit it annually, making it a favorite swimming spot for DMV residents.

Which beach is most close to Washington, DC?

The closest beach to Washington, DC area is Sandy Point, State Park. The park, which is on the west side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, offers recreational activities like swimming, fishing, crabbing, boating, and windsurfing.

How far is a beach from Washington, D.C.?

The distance of Chesapeake Beach to Washington, D.C., only 45 miles away, makes it a popular beach destination for city residents.

How do Washington’s beaches look?

Some beaches provide traditional sand activities like kite flying and constructing sandcastles. Washington’s beaches provide a variety of activities, such as sea stack admiring and tide pool exploration. And because most beaches in Washington face west, they all have beautiful sunsets at the end of the day.

In Washington, how warm is the ocean?

The ocean in Seattle is often the warmest of these sites, with an average temperature of 56 °F (13 °C) from mid-July to mid-September. Neah Bay has somewhat cooler water in the summer and fall because it is more exposed to the open Pacific than the other locations.