Washington DC is quite the popular vacation destination, whether for families, friends, or solo adventures. However, some people skip over this historical part of the country, because they are afraid that they cannot combine history with some time in the sun and the sand. While the answer to the question, “Is there a beach in Washington DC?”, is a resounding no, there are still quite a few beaches near DC that you can easily spend time at during your visit. You will end up driving to these best beaches nearby, but you will thoroughly enjoy every minute of the ride and your time at the beach!
Best Beaches Near DC
1. Point Lookout State Park Beach in Maryland
This Maryland Beach can be found down in the southern section of the state, over on the western side of Chesapeake Bay. This is a historic area that was used as a war prison during the Civil War, so you can enjoy a history lesson or two at the Civil War Museum and Marshland Nature Center.
You can easily camp at the on-site campground and your days will be spent swimming, boating, fishing, and hiking. This is one of the popular beaches near DC to put on your list of best beaches near Washington DC.
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2. Sandy Point State Park Beach in Maryland
This is the closest beach to Washington DC, and it is in Anne Arundel County. It will take you about an hour to reach this Maryland Beach, but that is dependent on the amount of traffic and the time of day you are driving there. A visit to this beach will have you doing a lot more than swimming too. In fact, one of your favorite activities might end up being crabbing, if you can stop windsurfing long enough to give it a try. If you are looking for beaches near DC day trip location, Sandy Point State Park Beach might meet your needs.
3. Virginia Beach in Virginia
One of the best beaches in Virginia is Virginia Beach and it is a major hotspot amongst tourists every year. This beach near DC is a major resort town and you will love the large array of things to do that include shopping, dining out, watching the entertainment, and walking along the boardwalk.
The nightlife is particularly intriguing near this beach, so you may want to extend your stay by a day or two to take it all in. You can’t really talk about best beaches near Washington DC without adding this to the list. It’s certainly on our list of Virginia beaches near DC.
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4. Leesylvania State Park Beach in Virginia
This is another Virginia Beach, but this one is within a location that is on the National Register of Historic Places. No swimming is allowed at this beach near DC, due to the rough waters. However, you can go kayaking and paddle boarding. There is also a fishing pier that is three hundred feet long and it is the perfect place to catch some bass, perch, and catfish. So, go here for some quiet time as this is one of the quietest beaches near DC as well one of the popular beaches in Virginia.
5. Ocean City Beach in Maryland
Out of all the beaches in Maryland, Ocean City Beach is the most popular. In fact, many people say it is the best beach in Maryland. This is one of the beach towns in the country that swells in population during the months of June, July, and August, because of the amount of people that show up. When you are not flying a kite, surfing, and building sandcastles, you can choose from a plethora of other activities.
A few of those activities include go karting, shopping, playing mini golf, spending time at the nearby amusement park, and playing arcade games. Add in the nearby accommodations and nightclubs and you have your own little piece of paradise not too far from the DC area. This is a beach that fit your needs for beaches near DC day trip destinations or just best beaches near DC when you’re looking for one.
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6. Lewes Beach in Delaware
This beach in Delaware is near DC and it is perfect for families with little kids. The waves are almost non-existent, which is perfect for those who do not know how to swim very well yet. Plus, since Lewes Beach is in a small beach town, you will find plenty of museums to explore in addition to the nature trails and sand dunes. This means you have plenty of options for both indoor and outdoor fun! If you are looking for the best East Coast beaches, this Delaware beach should fit your needs.
7. Rehoboth Beach in Delaware
Rehoboth Beach is one of the best and most popular beaches in Delaware and you will love all the action that takes place there. If you are looking for best beaches close to DC then you should consider this beach as top on your list.
When you are not in the water, you can have fun at the amusement park or wander down the mile-long boardwalk. If you are looking for unique adventures during your DC beach vacation, this is the beach for you, because you can test your skimboarding and catamaran sailing skills.
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8. Chincoteague Island Beach in Virginia
The tranquility over at Chincoteague Island Beach is amazing and you may never be ready to head back to the hustle and bustle of the DC area. When you are not sitting in the sand, you can take a wildlife tour, lighthouse tour, and spend time with the many birds within the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. This is one of the best beaches near DC that you want to visit when you’re visiting Washington DC or are in the East Coast area.
9. Bethany Beach in Delaware
If you are looking for a family friendly beach near DC, you must check out Bethany Beach in Delaware. This beach has quite the number of amenities and the ambiance is much more laidback than other beaches nearby.
You can easily swim in the water of this beach, but plan to stay busy with all the local attractions too. This is also one of the best beaches in Delaware and certainly, one of the closest beaches in DC.
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10. Matapeake Park Beach in Maryland
Looking for a good beach in Maryalnd and not sure where to start? One of the best beaches near Annapolis is Matapeake Park Beach and you will find it on Kent Island. The Chesapeake Bay Ferry System used to be located in this area, but it has since been turned into a beach with a clubhouse and fishing pier. The public swimming beach is dog friendly and you will want to tackle at least part of the six-mile Kent Island South Trail. There are other walking trails as well, so do not limit yourself to just one when you are tired of the sand. If you’re in the Washington D.C. area this might be one of the closest beaches near me.
11. Assateague Island National Seashore Beach in Maryland
If you are looking for Washington DC beaches that have more than sand and water, you must consider visiting Assateague Island National Seashore Beach in Maryland. There are no hotels at this beach near DC, but you can camp there since it is a national park. You may think that you will spend your time swimming in the water and relaxing on the sand.
However, I will guarantee you will be more focused on the three hundred plus wild ponies that roam free on the sandy shoreline and the rest of the island. You will want to walk around for hours, as you marvel at these beautiful creatures. So, if you are wondering “is there a beach in Washinton DC”, there are no beaches in Washington DC but you have so many beaches near DC to visit and this popular beach should make your list.
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12. Breezy Point Beach in Maryland
As you can see, there are plenty of Maryland beaches to choose from, even though there are none in the DC area! This beach on the Chesapeake Bay is open from May through October and there is plenty of space for swimming in the netted in area. The two-hundred-foot pier is perfect for a leisurely walk, but you will see many people fishing from it as well. The concession stand will come in handy if you run out of food during your visit to this beach and all kids will love the playground area when they are tired of the sand. This is one of closest beaches to Washington DC to consider visiting while in the DC area.
13. Kiptopeke State Park Beach in Virginia
This Virginia Beach is on the eastern shore of the state right on the Chesapeake Bay. The park itself has more than five hundred acres and is filled with five miles of hiking trails.
There are two beach areas within this park, but there are not any lifeguards at either of them, so it is swim at your own risk. The beach at the south end of this park is where you will want to go with your boat or to try a little crabbing for dinner.
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14. Ocean View Beach Park in Virginia
Norfolk, VA is one of the popular places to go on vacation and this beach will turn your trip into one that you will remember forever. This is a six-and-a-half-acre beachfront park that has lifeguards on duty from Memorial Day through Labor Day.You will see tons of people jogging along the shoreline early in the morning and later at night. The months of June, July, and August are the best time to visit this Virginia Beach, because there are different concerts and other local events taking place near the sand. The most popular event though is the Brews on the Bay, so if you love tasting craft beers, you will want to plan your trip carefully. This is a beach in Virginia you should visit.
15. North Beach in Maryland
Looking for the best beaches in Maryland then look no further than this beach. North Beach is only about an hour from Washington DC, so it is one of the more popular beaches amongst those who are visiting the area. There are no lifeguards on duty, but you can swim at this beach at any time of the year.
If you own a boat, you can easily dock it at one of the free boat slips for your visit. This will allow you to go out on the water whenever you wish. There is a boardwalk you can walk down, but make sure you also take the time to wander through the Bayside History Museum before you leave.
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16. Bay Front Beach in Maryland
This Maryland Beach is only an hour from Washington DC, and it is located in the small coastal town called Chesapeake Beach. This beach near DC may be small, but that doesn’t mean you won’t thoroughly enjoy yourself during your visit. If you don’t see the beach right away when you arrive, simply walk down the boardwalk and you will find it immediately. We like to think this is a hidden beach in Maryland as well as one of the most family-friendly beaches in Maryland.
17. Colonial Beach in Virginia
This beach in Virginia is only a two-hour drive from DC and you will love the little town it is located in.
While you can chill out on the beach, you can also fish from the pier, or rent a boat to take out on the water. Don’t forget to explore the town during your stay, because there is so many fascinating things to do!
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18. Hammerman Beach in Maryland
You will need to enter Gunpowder Falls State Park to spend time at Hammerman Beach in Maryland and you must arrive early if you want a spot on the sand. The reason for this is all the locals love this beach, so this is their number one choice when the weather is beautiful. You can launch a boat from this beach or rent a kayak, but most people prefer hanging out and swimming. If you’re looking for a family-friendly beach in Maryland then this should be on your list.
19. Lake Anna State Park Beach in Virginia
This beach in Virginia is a little further from DC, but it is worthy of a visit. The lake is thirteen thousand acres and is considered one of the largest lakes in the entire state. There are usually lifeguards on the beach, and you won’t need to pay the fee if there are none available during your visit.
You can venture out on a hike, but you may prefer to explore the area during a horseback riding adventure. There is a little visitor center with museum and the rangers do little tours every day. The best one will have you entering the park to search for gold! Put this top ten beaches near DC on your list of beaches to visit.
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20. Cunningham Falls State Park Beach in Maryland
You can easily reach this Maryland beach in an hour from the DC area and there is so much more to do there than sink your toes in the sand. The lake is forty-four acres, so you will have plenty of space when you are swimming, fishing, and boating. When you are not relaxing and swimming, you can hike to the nearby seventy-eight-foot-tall waterfall or conquer one of the other hiking trails. This is one of the best beaches in Maryland if you’re wondering about beaches in Maryland near DC.
21. Yorktown Beach in Virginia
This is one of the best beaches in Virginia and the town it is in is filled with incredible history. The water is calm at this beach, so it is perfect for swimming.
There is also ten acres of grass for when you want to eat without sand getting into your food. The best time to visit this beach is around the Fourth of July, because that is when the town puts on a massive festival with fireworks, music, and ringing of a Liberty Bell.
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22. Lake Arrowhead Beach in Virginia
You will find this Virginia Beach out in the gorgeous Shenandoah Valley, so you get a bonus during your trip to this beach near DC. The lake is on the smaller side, but the white sandy beach is very inviting. While you can swim for hours, you might also want to do some fishing and boating. There are also hiking trails you can follow, although we recommend the one that goes around the entire lake.
These are the best beaches near DC and while you will need to drive to all of them, you won’t regret a minute you are in the car. Once you arrive at any of these beaches near Washington DC, you can spend hours on the sand and in the water, while enjoying the local ambiance and amenities. If you are ready to spend some time in the sand, while soaking in history at the same time this summer, look no further than the Washington DC area. It has everything you are looking for and so much more!