horses playing at the beach

Did you know that there are more than five beaches within a 3-hour radius of DC? We all know how hot DC summers are, so plan a few summer getaways to one of our local beaches.

You don’t have to fly to Mexico to go surfing; check out Virginia Beach instead. Grab your reef-friendly sunscreen and explore our beautiful Atlantic coastline!

Map of Beaches Near DC

Gorgeous Beaches Near Washington DC

Assateague Island National Seashore

wild horses roaming on a beach near picnic tables
Mrs. Gemstone

Known for its wild ponies, this island is between Maryland and Virginia. It’s the perfect weekend getaway with friends or family. It’s my favorite beach near me and I think you’ll feel the same.

You can book a boat cruise or explore the island through a kayak tour. Bicycles are available for rent. Make sure to bring your binoculars so that you can go birding. You’ll bound to see herons, egrets, and pelicans.

Distance from DC: 110 miles

Aquia Landing Park

Aquia Landing Park is one of Northern Virginia’s top secrets. In fact, my neighbors may hate that I’m including it on this list. It’s the perfect low-key beach for families looking for a nearby escape or solo travelers hoping to read a good book in the sun.

The water is shallow and calm, and there are even a few BBQ pits and picnic tables nearby. If the kids tire of the beach, there’s a fun park behind the parking lot. I was happy to see a handicap-accessible bathroom as well.

Pro Tip: Although this beach is quiet during the week, it’s best to get there early during the weekend as parking is limited.

Distance from Washington DC: 51 miles

green and yellow Kids playground

Colonial Beach

Colonial Beach is the perfect beach getaway. It’s located on the Potomac, so its waters are pretty calm. It’s very kid-friendly, with lots of nearby restaurants. It’s also a great place to go fishing and crabbing.

Distance from DC: 65 miles

Sandy Point State Park : Easy Beach Day Trip From DC

beach visitors at Sandy Point Beach, a beach near DC

I was pleasantly surprised at Sandy Point State Park. Located at the western end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, Sandy Point State Park is not only super close to D.C. but also a quick drive from Baltimore. With over a million visitors annually, it’s a great spot for swimming, sailing, or kayaking. In addition to enjoying the water, families can hike the nearby Corcoran Woods forest preserve or launch small boats by its pier.

It’s also a great place for picnics and BBQs. Get there early to set up your beach tent or secure a spot under one of the numerous trees in the area. There are public bathrooms, including a wheelchair-accessible one. Unlike other beaches, there’s also a lifeguard on duty.

If you want to fly your drone, it is only permittable before Memorial Day and after Labor Day.

There are many parking spots, but it can get busy during the summer. Bring a trolley to transport your beach supplies to the waterfront.

And don’t forget to wear water shoes as there are lots of pebbles that can cause some discomfort.

Distance from DC: 37 miles

Virginia Beach: Most Popular Beach Near Me

Virginia Beach pier during the day
Credit: Slightly Crewed

Virginia Beach is great if you don’t go during college spring break. Stretching 35 miles along the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach is beloved for its boardwalk dotted with crab shacks and local shops. It’s a long drive to Virginia Beach so I recommend staying a few days.

If you want an adrenaline rush, consider surfing, paddle boarding, parasailing, or kayaking with dolphins.

Distance from DC: 209 miles

Ocean City Beach:

The first time I went to Ocean City was with my college boyfriend and his friends. We had an amazing time walking the boardwalk and exploring all the small vintage shops. Morning walks on the beach are forever etched into my mind.

Parking is limited, so I recommend getting to the beach early or considering carpooling. My favorite restaurants are Ocho Rios Jerk and Tings, Barn 34, and Barracuda’s Bar and Grill. You can also find lots of buffets with unlimited seafood. Because of it’s distance, I recommend staying for the weekend. There are lots of hotels in the area but they book up fast during the holidays and summer break.

Distance from DC: 140 miles

Point Lookout Swimming Beach

a man fishing at Point Lookout State Park
Maryland GovPics

Point Lookout Swimming Beach is one of those hidden gems that some locals don’t even know about. It’s located between the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay.

It’s filled with history. It was home to early Maryland settlers and was used as a prison for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. The park also features a 19th-century lighthouse that has been used by the Navy and park officials. Today it offers stunning views of the Potomac River.

Distance from DC: 32 miles

North Beach and Bayfront Beach: Near Maryland & DC

Chesapeake Bay features two popular beach towns: Bayfront Park and North Beach. These beaches are only less than an hour from DC so it’s the perfect quick getaway. Bayfront Park is known for its scenic cliffs and gorgeous spring flowers. North Beach is best for fishing and romantic walks on the boardwalk. I recommend going during sunrise or sunset for the best photos.

Distance from DC: 36 miles


Is there a Beach in Washington DC or Just Near DC?

No there aren’t any beaches directly in DC but there are a few in driving distance.

How far is Myrtle Beach from Washington DC?

Myrtle Beach is 7.5 hours away from Washington DC. In traffic, it can take a bit longer. It’s just a fun road trip or quick flight away.

How far is DC from Virginia Beach?

The car ride from DC to Virginia Beach is about 4 hours during non-peak traffic.

How far is DC from Ocean City, MD?

The car ride from DC to Ocean City, Maryland, is about 3 hours during non-peak traffic.

How to Get to Rehoboth Beach From DC?

The easiest way to get to Rehoboth Beach from DC is by driving. If you don’t have access to a car then you can take the Amtrak to  Wilmington, Delaware and then take the bus to Rehoboth. The Greyhound and Flixbus also go to Wilmington.

Is there a Beach in Baltimore?

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  1. I lived in DC for many years but never took the time to see many of these nearby beaches. It makes me wish I had taken better advantage! I’m especially mad I missed Assateague Island. It looks wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing.