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10 Best Beaches Near Washington, D.C.

Escape the bustling city life of Washington, D.C. by visiting one of these nearby beach destinations. Maryland, Delaware and Virginia are home to sandy shores that are within driving distance for D.C. residents. Don’t forget your sunscreen and swimsuit when you visit one of these top beaches near Washington, D.C.

Sandy Point State Park - Maryland Sandy Point State Park
Credit: Sandy Point State Park by Shackleford Photography/shutterstock.com

Sandy Point State Park - Maryland

If you’re not wanting to drive far from D.C. for a beach getaway, then the sandy shores at Sandy Point State Park is the place for you. This beach is the closest beach to D.C. on this list. Only 38 miles away from the city center, you can enjoy a day with your toes in the sand after just an hour drive. In addition to swimming and sunbathing, this state park in Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay is popular for hiking, fishing, and boating too.

Virginia Beach - Virginia Virginia Beach
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Virginia Beach - Virginia

For a longer beach getaway, D.C. locals should head to Virginia Beach, Virginia. This charming beach town has plenty to offer a wide variety of travelers, from families to college coeds. The drive is a little over four hours, but this beachfront town is well worth the visit. With a busy boardwalk, miles of sandy shore, and plenty of restaurants and bars to keep you entertained when you’re off the sand, Virginia Beach should be considered a top destination for D.C. area visitors.

Bethany Beach - Delaware Bethany Beach in Delaware
Credit: Bethany Beach in Delaware by Collins93/shutterstock.com

Bethany Beach - Delaware

Enjoy a quiet beach stay when you visit Bethany Beach, found on Fenwick Island in Delaware. Although it isn’t as busy as some of the popular beaches on this list, Bethany Beach is still home to a boardwalk, on-beach amenities, and family-friendly attractions like a waterpark and mini-golf course. This beach is ideal for D.C. families looking for a nice beach vacation area.

Rehoboth Beach - Delaware Rehoboth Beach
Credit: Rehoboth Beach by bigstock.com

Rehoboth Beach - Delaware

Another Delaware beach D.C. travelers should consider is Rehoboth Beach. This small yet bustling town livens up during the summer months. A boardwalk, amusement park and plenty of top resorts and hotels await travelers every summer season here. Weekend travelers should expect a crowded stay during the summer months. Avoid the crowds here by visiting during a weekday.

Dewey Beach - Delaware Dewey Beach
Credit: Dewey Beach by Lee Cannon via Flickr

Dewey Beach - Delaware

If you’re looking for a quieter beach experience than busy Rehoboth offers, then consider visiting nearby Dewey Beach. This Delaware beach is about a three-hour drive from D.C. However its mile-long beachfront and charming lodging options will make the long drive worth every second. Summer visitors to Dewey Beach should take advantage of the fun events and activities here, such as movies on the beach and the community bonfires on Wednesday nights.

Ocean City - Maryland Ocean City, Maryland
Credit: Ocean City, Maryland by bigstock.com

Ocean City - Maryland

Ocean City, Maryland is a three-hour drive from Washington, D.C, and a popular beach destination for D.C. residents. Many D.C. travelers make the commute to Ocean City for a day trip. However to avoid traffic and experience all this beachfront city has to offer, consider staying here for the weekend. In addition to the 10 miles of beach, you can walk along the 3-mile boardwalk, spend some time at one of the amusement parks, or stroll the shops at the outlet mall. Ocean City is known to have one of the cleanest beaches on the East Coast, so there’s no shame if you’d like to spend most of your time on the sandy shore while in Ocean City.

Chesapeake Beach - Maryland Chesapeake Beach, Maryland
Credit: Chesapeake Beach, Maryland by Mr.TinDC via Flickr

Chesapeake Beach - Maryland

The picturesque waterfront at Chesapeake Beach draws travelers from D.C. and surrounding areas. Only 45 miles from Washington, D.C., Chesapeake Beach’s closeness to the city makes it an ideal beach getaway for D.C. residents. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, both beach lovers and history buffs will enjoy visiting this beachfront town. In addition to the beach and the Railway Museum, consider visiting Chesapeake Beach Water Park, another popular attraction here.

Lewes Beach - Delaware Lewes Ferry terminal in Lewes
Credit: Lewes Ferry terminal in Lewes by bigstock.com

Lewes Beach - Delaware

This historic beach town has a number of great things to do for tourists and travelers. The calm waters at Lewes Beach are great for families. It’s also home to a public beach and picturesque shoreline at Cape Henlopen State Park. If you decide to visit the beach at Cape Henlopen State Park, consider hiking the nature trails and relaxing at one of the quiet picnic areas.

North Beach - Maryland North Beach
Credit: North Beach by Mr.TinDC via Flickr

North Beach - Maryland

Another Chesapeake Bay beach perfect for D.C. locals is North Beach, located in Calvert County, Maryland. Commonly referred to as “The Jewel of the Chesapeake,” North Beach is no stranger to tourists and out-of-towners. Visitors can rent anything from umbrellas to kayaks. North Beach keeps visitors entertained even when they aren’t on the beach here with movie nights and farmers markets during the summer months.

Assateague Island National Seashore Assateague Island National Seashore
Credit: Assateague Island National Seashore by Mrs. Gemstone via Flickr

Assateague Island National Seashore

One of the most remote yet beautiful beaches to visit from D.C. is Assateague Island National Seashore. The summer seasons draws crowds of tourists along the miles of beach, so expect lifeguards on duty during the summer months. Assateague Island is a barrier island home to not only great beaches but also wild ponies too! Camping is allowed here along with fishing and crabbing as well. Assateague Island National Seashore and the neighboring Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge make up a unique beachfront area for D.C. residents to visit.

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