15 Best Beaches Near Washington, D.C.

The nation’s capital is renowned for its neoclassical architecture, world-class museums, and dynamic arts scene.

Nonetheless, Washington, DC, has many more attractions outside the White House and the Capitol.

Many beautiful ocean and lake beaches are within driving distance of the nation’s capital.

The region is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the United States’ eastern half.

Are you prepared to plunge in?

The finest beaches close to the nation’s capital are detailed here.

  1. Sandy Point State Park — Maryland

Sandy Point is a state park at the far western end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

The closest beach to the nation’s capital, it can be reached in under one hour and forty-eight minutes.

Why We Recommend This Beach

This state park is famous for its swimming beach, although it is hardly a tropical, white sand paradise.

The Chesapeake Bay is known for its refreshingly mild waters, ideal for a brief swim.

On the other hand, you can choose to relax on the beach and soak up the sun while taking in the stunning panorama of Bay Bridge.

Expert Tip

In addition to swimming, the park also offers fishing, boating, and crabbing opportunities.

Fantastic walking paths can be found there as well.

  1. Virginia Beach — Virginia

Washington, D.C., is 3 and 17 minutes away from Virginia Beach.

This city has an abundance of beautiful beaches ideal for day trips from the capital.

Why We Recommend This Beach

The Virginia Beach Oceanfront is the city’s most popular beach destination.

You may swim, surf, and sunbathe on the beach.

However, nearby Atlantic Avenue has plenty of opportunities for entertainment, including live music, street performances, and shopping.

Expert Tip

North End Beach in Virginia Beach or First Landing State Park is good options if you’re looking for a less crowded and quieter beach experience.

  1. Bethany Beach — Delaware

Bethany Beach is located close to the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian River, and the Rehoboth River.

It’s a 2-hour, 35-minute drive from the nation’s capital.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Be sure to stop at Bethany Beach if you want peace and relaxation by the water.

The expansive beachfront with pure white sand will beckon you to take lengthy, relaxing strolls.

Enjoy the ocean breeze and unwind to the soothing sounds of the water.

And what happens if you grow tired?

Nearby, you’ll find a promenade lined with interesting boutiques.

Expert Tip

From late September until about the middle of May, you can bring your dog to Bethany Beach.

Make an effort to bring your pets along whenever possible.

  1. Cape May — New Jersey

Cape May is a beautiful city that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay.

The trip from Washington, D.C., to this location takes roughly 3 hours and 28 minutes.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Cape May boasts some of the finest beaches in the vicinity of the nation’s capital, including the finest swimming beach.

Almost all the city’s beaches have guards on duty to keep people safe.

It’s a breeze to wade through the waves, which range from mild to brisk.

Expert Tip

Kayaking and surfing are permitted in Cape May, but only under certain circumstances.

In the waterways, kayaking is permitted so long as you stay out of the designated swimming area.

However, surfing is restricted to specific beaches.

  1. Assateague Island National Seashore — Maryland

The Maryland island of Assateague is a long barrier island.

From Washington, DC, you may reach its nearly 800-acre park in roughly 2 hours and 43 minutes.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Assateague Island National Seashore is ideal for beach vacations near Washington, D.C.

Swimming, fishing, and crabbing are not the only activities available here.

You can hike along paved and unpaved pathways, bike around the island, and kayak through the salt marshes.

Expert Tip

Many wild horses call Assateague Island National Seashore their home.

One-of-a-kind experiences include photographing them or riding one along the beach.

  1. Chesapeake Beach — Virginia

The drive time from Washington, DC, to Chesapeake Beach, also known as Chic’s Beach, is around 3 hours and 13 minutes.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Virginia Beach has many beaches to choose from, including Chic’s Beach.

It views the Chesapeake Bay from its two kilometers of sandy shoreline.

Water sports such as swimming, kiteboarding, and paddleboarding are available.

Expert Tip

Chic’s Beach is dog-friendly at specific periods of the year. Consequently, if you have any pets, you should bring them along (as long as you keep them on a leash).

  1. Rehoboth Beach — Delaware

The city of Rehoboth Beach sits on the Atlantic coast.

You can go to Washington, DC, in around 2 hours and 29 minutes.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Visit Rehoboth Beach on the coast for enjoyable weekend beach getaways from Washington, D.C.

Its beaches are typically so pristine and welcoming that you will want to spend the entire day playing in the sand.

It also boasts beautiful blue swimming waters.

Expert Tip

The mile-long boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach is another popular attraction.

Take a stroll along this strip and stop at some interesting stores and eateries.

  1. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge — Virginia

Chincoteague Island is located about three hours and eight minutes from Washington, D.C., just off the shores of Maryland and Virginia.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Even while swimming isn’t the major attraction of the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge’s lovely beaches, there are still intriguing things to do here.

You and the whole family can go fishing, crabbing, and clamming with the right gear.

The search for shells is a fun way to kill time.

Expert Tip

Want to get out and about more but prefer to do so on or near the water?

You might ride horseback along the shoreline, boat in the nearby seas, or kayaking and paddleboarding in the water.

  1. Point Lookout — Maryland

Point Lookout is a state park situated at the extremity of a peninsula between the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay.

Capital distance is around 1 hour and 38 minutes.

Although there are no beaches in Washington, D.C., Point Lookout is the closest location with a beach.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Fans of the past can take in the scenic shoreline of Point Lookout and discover more about the camp’s history on a stroll.

After a day at the beach and water activities, you can visit the museum located within the park.

Expert Tip

While you’re in the area, stop to see the Point Lookout Lighthouse.

Even though the lighthouse itself is generally closed, visitors can still take in the scenery.

  1. Dewey Beach — Delaware

Just under two hours and twenty-eight minutes will get you from the nation’s capital to Dewey Beach in Delaware, located a little distance south of Rehoboth Beach.

Why We Recommend This Beach

You should visit Dewey Beach if you like the beach and the nightlife.

The nightlife along this stretch of Delaware coast is legendary, making it ideal for the party animal in you.

Benefit from the ambiance, which includes sumptuous fare, tasty drinks, and pulsating live performances.

Expert Tip

Go to Dewey Beach before it gets too dark if you can.

If you’re looking for a place to see a spectacular sunset, look no further.

  1. Colonial Beach — Virginia

One hour and 27 minutes are how long it takes to drive from Washington, DC, to Colonial Beach.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Colonial Beach is a terrific option when looking for the most child-friendly beach in the neighborhood.

They can appreciate the vast expanse of sand and the mild waves that are perfect for wading with their younger siblings.

Moreover, the location on the banks of the Potomac River ensures that there are plenty of breathtaking vistas to be had.

Expert Tip

The Town Pier is close to Colonial Beach.

Come over here if you and the kids need a vacation from the beach or want to try something new.

  1. Ocean City — Maryland

You can reach the resort town of Ocean City from the nation’s capital in two hours and forty-six minutes.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Water activities abound in a city like this one, which is bordered on three sides by water.

You can enjoy swimming, surfing, kayaking, and canoeing along the 10 miles of sandy beachfront in Ocean City.

Even jet skis and catamarans are available for rent.

Expert Tip

Trimper’s Rides, located near the south end of the boardwalk, is a great place to have a good time and meet new people.

Here, you may ride theme park attractions that are certain to get your heart racing and adrenaline pumping.

  1. Lewes — Delaware

Lewes Beach can be reached from Washington, DC, in about 2.5 hours, located on the coast of Delaware.

Why We Recommend This Beach

The miles and miles of gorgeous beaches at Cape Henlopen State Park are a significant draw for visitors to Lewes.

In addition, the coastal waves are mild, making it an excellent spot for little swimmers.

Expert Tip

You can find parking near Lewes Beach, but you’ll need to get there early.

It’s too late if you arrive at around 11 a.m.

If you don’t mind a little hike, you can park just on the other side of the bridge.

  1. North Beach — Maryland

When traveling by automobile, North Beach in Maryland is the second closest beach to Washington, D.C., around 50 minutes away.

Why We Recommend This Beach

North Beach is an excellent option if you’re seeking a local coastline.

It offers both a sandy beach and an accessible boardwalk.

You could spend the day swimming, floating on inner tubes, paddleboarding, or kayaking.

Expert Tip

Bring your pets with you on a trip to the beach if you’re going to be sightseeing.

The boardwalk welcomes leashed canine visitors.

They are unable to access the shore for whatever reason.

  1. Gunpowder Falls State Park — Maryland

It will take an hour and eight minutes to drive to Gunpowder Falls State Park from the nation’s capital.

Approximately 15 square miles, from Baltimore County to Harford County.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Inside Gunpowder Falls State Park is one of the most excellent beaches close to Washington, D.C.

Hammerman Area is where you’ll discover the Middle River’s swimming beach.

In addition to swimming, you may enjoy picnics while your children play on the playgrounds.

Expert Tip

Hereford Area is a great place to go fishing or canoeing while you’re in town.

The Central Area is great for outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, and even horseback riding.

You might also visit Dundee Creek Marina (also in Middle River) to do boating, fishing, or archery.