16 Best Beaches In and Near Northern Virginia

Northern Virginia is located close to the Potomac River. There are a few beaches in Northern Virginia, particularly in some of the great parks in the area.

Mason Neck State Park and Aquia Landing Park are two great Northern Virginia beach destinations to enjoy close by.

Northern Virginia is also close to many excellent beaches along the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean that you can easily visit within just a few hour’s drive!

Many of these beaches are located in nearby Maryland and Delaware. In fact, these beaches are much easier and quicker to reach than Virginia Beach, which can take as much as four hours to get to from Northern Virginia (and it can take even longer with traffic!)

Below, you can find out more about all of the best Virginia beaches, plus the best beaches in and near Northern Virginia!

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Map of Beaches In and Near Northern Virginia


Beach with sunglasses, like one of the best beaches in Northern Virginia.

What to Bring On Your Next Beach Vacation!
1. Sunscreen – Click here to purchase!
2. Water shoes – 
Click here to purchase!
3. Bathing suit – 
Click here to purchase!
4. Hat – 
Click here to purchase!
5. Sunglasses – 
Click here to purchase!
6. Waterproof case for phone – 
Click here to purchase!
7. Waterproof bag 
– Click here to purchase!
8. Off Deep Woods Insect Repellant – Click here to purchase!

Beaches in Northern Virginia

1. Mason Neck State Park

Where to Stay:
Hilton Garden Inn Woodbridge
(Click to Book)

Mason Neck State Park definitely ranks as one of the best beaches in Northern Virginia! It is located right in Northern Virginia, in Lorton, VA.

The Beach at Mason Neck Park - one of the best beaches in Northern Virginia.

The park is 1,814 acres and is surrounded by water on three sides. Pohick Bay, Belmont Bay, and the Potomac River are located around it. That means there are lots of water activities in the park!

At Mason Neck you can go kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. The park also offers guided canoe trips of Kane’s Creek and Belmont Bay.

There are picnic areas and a playground to help make Mason Neck a great summer destination. The park also has six miles of unpaved hiking trails and three miles of paved multi-use trails for hiking and bicycling.

My favorite trail in the park is Bayview Trail, which travels near the coast and has several access points to one of the beaches.

The trail also goes through a large wetland area where you’re likely to spot some turtles swimming in the water!

Eagle Spur Trail is another great trail that travels through the woods and leads to a secluded Observation Deck where you can look out onto Kane’s Creek.

Keep an eye out for the wide variety of wildlife that call the park home, including deer, turtles, bald eagles, herons, and more.


2. Aquia Landing Park

Where to Stay:
Holiday Inn Express Quantico – Stafford
(Click to Book)

Aquia Landing Park is another great beach destination located just a little south of Fairfax County in Stafford, VA. It is located 42 miles south of Fairfax and can be reached in a little over an hour (without traffic).

The beach at Aquia Landing Park - one of the best beaches in Northern Virginia.

The park is located on Aquia Creek and the Potomac River. It is a great spot for swimming, kayaking, and fishing.

There are about 6 distinct swimming beaches in the park, which means there’s plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the sun and waves.

There are also numerous covered picnic shelters at the park.

Aquia Landing Park is surrounded by marshes and is home to a number of different birds, including waterfowl, terns, and gulls.


Beaches Near Northern Virginia

3. Sandy Point State Park

Where to Stay:
Graduate Annapolis
(Click to Book)

Sandy Point State Park is located in Maryland, but it is only 61 miles from Northern Virginia, which makes it a great public beach destination. It is located off of the Chesapeake Bay.

One of the stunning features of the park is that it features views of the impressive Chesapeake Bay Bridge that spans the Chesapeake Bay.

Sandy Point State Park has plenty of activities for the whole family. You can go swimming, sailing, fishing, or enjoy a picnic. There is also a playground for kids.

Maryland is famous for its crabs, and so of course, crabbing is one of the activities you can take part in at the park.

Sandy Point has a concession stand where you can grab a bite. You can also use one of the grills to cook up a great summer meal with friends and family!


4. Breezy Point Beach & Campground

Where to Stay:
Anchored Inn at Hidden Harbor
(Click to Book)

Breezy Point Beach & Campground is also located in Maryland, and it is also only about 60 miles from Northern Virginia.

As you can guess from the name, Breezy Point features both a beach and a campground site. You can go swimming, fishing, kayaking, or paddleboarding in the Chesapeake Bay. You can also set up a tent go camping on the beach.

Learn all about my favorite family tents and stargazing tents!

The beach has concession stands and picnic areas.

Breezy Point Beach & Campground is a popular beach destination in the summer months, and will often reach full capacity. You can call ahead to check the status of the beach before you head out, particularly on holidays and holiday weekends.


5. Colonial Beach

Where to Stay:
Colonial Beach Plaza Bed & Breakfast
(Click to Book)

Colonial Beach has the distinction of being one of the closest beaches to Northern Virginia. It is only 77 miles from Fairfax County.

Palm Trees, sand, and water at Colonial Beach, VA

The beach is located along the Potomac River. It is two miles long, which makes it the second-longest beach in the whole state!

Colonial Beach has a number of great water activities, including kayaking, paddle boarding, and fishing. You can also take a stroll along the boardwalk, and grab a meal at one of the nearby restaurants or food trucks.

Colonial Beach features several beaches including:

  • North Beach: Perfect for a quieter beach vacation
  • Downtown Boardwalk Beach: Where to go for water sports rentals, restaurants, food trucks, and shopping.
  • Irving Avenue Beach: A residential area with Bed & Breakfasts and Vacation Rentals.
  • Castlewood Beach: Home to a Dog Park and Castlewood Park with a playground, picnic tables, and benches.
  • The Pointe: Where you can find the Dockside Restaurant & Tiki Bar.

Some additional restaurants at Colonial Beach include Colonial Beach Brewing Co, High Tides on the Potomac, and Julie’s Coffeehouse.


Beach and water, like one of the best beaches in Northern Virginia

6. Rehoboth Beach

Where to Stay:
Boardwalk Plaza Hotel
(Click to Book)
* * *
Brighton Suites Hotel
(Click to Book)

Rehoboth Beach in Delaware is definitely more of a drive. It is about 145 miles from Northern Virginia, which means it will take about 3 hours (or more with traffic) to reach.

The beach is well worth the trip though. It is the largest beach in Delaware and one of the best and most popular beaches in the mid-Atlantic.

The centerpiece of Rehoboth is its iconic boardwalk. It stretches a mile long and is lined with shops and restaurants for your to explore.

Popular beach activities include surfing, dolphin watching, and pontoon boat excursions.

Rehoboth has a wide range of activities for the whole family. You can find miniature golf, arcades, and an amusement park. Kids will also have a great time at Jungle Jim’s River Safari Water Park, which has a lazy river and bumper boats.

You can also rent a bike and ride along the Junction Breakwater Trail, which leads to nearby Lewes Park (further down on this list!)

There are plenty of places to eat too. Definitely stop by for some famous saltwater taffy. For dinner, you can have a great meal at Bluecoast Seafood Grill and the Cultured Pearl.

What to Bring On Your Next Beach Vacation!
1. Sunscreen – Click here to purchase!
2. Water shoes – 
Click here to purchase!
3. Bathing suit – 
Click here to purchase!
4. Hat – 
Click here to purchase!
5. Sunglasses – 
Click here to purchase!
6. Waterproof case for phone – 
Click here to purchase!
7. Waterproof bag 
– Click here to purchase!
8. Off Deep Woods Insect Repellant – Click here to purchase!

7. Bethany Beach

Where to Stay:
Bethany Beach Ocean Suites Residence Inn by Marriott
(Click to Book)

Bethany Beach is another popular beach spot in Delaware. It is south of Rehoboth along the Delaware coast, and it is about a 3-hour drive (without traffic) from Northern Virginia.

Bethany Beach tends to be a little quieter than Rehoboth. You can stroll along the boardwalk and visit many of the cute boutique shops and restaurants.

Bethany Beach also features miniature golf, as well as the Bethany Beach Nature Center.


8. Lewes Beach

Where to Stay:
Hyatt House Lewes Rehoboth Beach
(Click to Book)

Lewes Beach is located north of Rehoboth Beach in Delaware. It is about 143 miles from Northern Virginia and takes about 3 hours (without traffic) to visit.

It is a great beach destination that tends to be a lot quieter than nearby Rehoboth. This makes it a perfect relaxing beach getaway.

Lewes Beach has many cute boutiques like the Cape Artists Gallery (featuring local artists), biblion (featuring rare and used books), and Sand n Stone ( a nature gift shop).

Another major attraction nearby is Cape Henlopen State Park. The park has everything you need for a perfect beach vacation: excellent beaches for swimming and sunbathing, a bathhouse, food concessions, a picnic pavilion, an 18-hole disc golf course, basketball courts, trails, and the World War II Observation Tower.

Lewes is also home to many historic homes, sites, and museums, including the Ryves Holt House (the oldest standing house in Delaware), the Zwaanendael Museum (commemorating the first Dutch settlers in Delaware), and The Lewes Maritime Museum at the Cannonball House.


9. Ocean City, MD

Where to Stay:
Holiday Inn & Suites Ocean City
(Click to Book)
* * *
Cambria Hotel Ocean City – Bayfront
(Click to Book)

Ocean City, MD is one of the top beach spots in the mid-Atlantic. It is located on the Atlantic Ocean coast of Maryland, just south of the Delaware border.

It is about 170 miles from Northern Virginia, and tasks about 3 hours (without traffic) to visit.

One of the main attractions in Ocean City is the 3-mile boardwalk, which is great for bicycling, running, and walking.

Beyond the beach, Ocean City has a great art scene with live music performances at the Performing Arts Center, and art exhibits at The Ocean City Center for the Arts. 

You can even visit nearby Assateague Island National Seashore, which features the famous wild ponies. The island is only 9 miles south of Ocean City, which makes it an easy destination on your next Ocean City vacation.

Northside Park is another popular spot. It is 58 acres in size and has a wide range of amenities, including baseball fields, a soccer field, a fishing lagoon, concession stands, several playgrounds, a picnic area, two piers, a gazebo, walking paths, and much more.


Ocean and sunset

10. Huntington Beach

Where to Stay:
Hyatt Place Hampton Convention Center
(Click to Book)

Huntington Beach is located in Newport News, which makes it a bit of an easier drive than Virginia Beach. It is about 168 miles from Northern Virginia and can be reached in about 2 hrs and 45 minutes (without traffic).

The beach is part of Huntington Park and has beach access along the James River. You can chill at the beach, go paddleboarding, or go fishing off of the James River Fishing Pier.

The park is 60 acres and has a lot of great amenities for the whole family, including food concessions, an immense 13,000-square-foot playground, a public boat ramp, a Rose Garden, tennis courts, and more.

The park is also home to the Virginia War Museum, which has artifacts dating back to the Revolutionary War.


11. Buckroe Beach

Where to Stay:
Hyatt Place Hampton Convention Center
(Click to Book)

Buckroe Beach is located in Hampton, VA, which is a little closer to Northern Virginia than Virginia Beach. It is about 174 miles from Northern Virginia and can be reached in about 3 hours (without traffic).

The beach is smaller than many of the major Virginia Beach destinations, but it can be reached easier and quicker, avoiding some of the (major!) Virginia Beach traffic, particularly on popular weekends and holidays in the summer.

There is free parking at the beach, which is another great plus!

There are plenty of great attractions at Buckroe Beach too, including places to rent jet skis, flyboards, kayaks, paddleboards, and beach cruisers.

When visiting Hampton, check out my favorite breweries in town!

The beach has fabulous views of the Chesapeake Bay. There is also a nearby playground and picnic area as well.


12. Sandbridge Beach

Where to Stay:
Coastal Hotel & Suites Virginia Beach – Oceanfront
(Click to Book)

Sandbridge Beach is a great beach destination in Virginia Beach. It is about 211 miles from Northern Virginia and takes about 3-4 hours (without traffic) to visit.

Sandbridge tends to be quieter than other beaches in Virginia Beach. It has no shortage of great water activities though. You can go surfing, fishing, kayaking, standup paddleboarding, or just swimming and sunbathing!

For nature lovers, you’ll definitely want to check out False Cape State Park. The secluded park has over 15 miles of trails. The park has a variety of unique landscapes, such as sand dunes, salt marshes, and woodlands.

False Cape State Park is also home to 300 species of songbirds, including a snow geese population of over 10,000, shorebirds and ducks, otters, deer, red foxes, loggerhead turtles, bald eagles, feral pigs, wild horses, and reptiles.

For the super adventurous, you can park your car at Little Island Park and hike about 5 to 9 miles to a tent-only camping site on a remote beach.

Learn all about my favorite family tents and stargazing tents!

You can also visit Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The immense 8,000-acre freshwater refuge has sand dunes, beaches, maritime forests, freshwater marshes, and ponds. You can explore all of the wildlife that the park has to offer by bike or by foot along the trails, boardwalk, and beach within the refuge.


13. Croatan Beach

Where to Stay:
Coastal Hotel & Suites Virginia Beach – Oceanfront
(Click to Book)

Croatan Beach is also located in Virginia Beach. It is about 203 miles from Northern Virginia and takes about 3-4 hours (without traffic) to visit.

The beach is about three-quarters of a mile in length and it is a popular surfing spot. There are two designated surfing areas at Rudee Inlet and Camp Pendleton.

Despite its popularity among local surfers and surf camps, the beach is also a great place for sunbathing or swimming.


14. Chesapeake Beach

Where to Stay:
Delta Hotels by Marriott Virginia Beach Bayfront Suites
(Click to Book)

Chesapeake Beach (also called Chic’s Beach) is also located in Virginia Beach. It is about 192 miles from Northern Virginia and takes about 3-4 hours (without traffic) to visit.

The beach is a popular destination among locals. It has gentle waters along the Chesapeake Bay and quieter beach spots.

You can explore the area by boat. You can also go fishing or paddleboarding in the calm waters. Dolphins are also frequently spotted in the area.

Chic’s beach is also the perfect spot to watch the sunset over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.


15. Cape Charles Beach

Where to Stay:
The Northampton Hotel
(Click to Book)
* * *
Key Lime Cottage
(Click to Book)

Cape Charles Beach is located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. It is 223 miles from Northern Virginia and can take about 4 hours to reach (without traffic.) The beach is just 10 miles north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

Though it’s a long drive from Northern Virginia, Cape Charles is well worth the visit. It has very calm shallow waters, which makes it a great destination for all ages.

There are plenty of outdoor activities in Cape Charles. You can go kayaking, sailing, jet skiing, standup paddleboarding, kiteboarding, golfing, and fishing.

The historic town is on the national registry of historic places. There are also numerous art galleries and boutiques to visit.


16. Chincoteague Beach

Where to Stay:
Hampton Inn & Suites Chincoteague – Waterfront
(Click to Book)
* * *
Comfort Suites Chincoteague Island Bayfront Resort
(Click to Book)

Chincoteague Beach is about 196 miles from Northern Virginia and takes about 3 to 4 hours to visit (without traffic).

The beach is located near Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge where you can see the famous wild Chincoteague ponies!

Chincoteague features beautiful sandy beaches that are great spots for swimming, beachcombing, and viewing wildlife. You can also take a bike ride or go on a hike for even more opportunities to explore this gorgeous area.

Learn all about the best Chincoteague Boat Tours for the best ways to see the famous Chincoteague Wild Ponies!

FAQs

Are there any beaches in Northern Virginia?

Yes, there are a few beaches in Northern Virginia, including Aquia Landing Park and Mason Neck State Park.

What are the prettiest beaches in Virginia?

The prettiest beaches in Virginia include Virginia Beach, Westmoreland State Park, Colonial Beach, and Cape Charles.


Conclusion: 16 Best Beaches In and Near Northern Virginia

There are a handful of great beaches in Northern Virginia, and a large number of beaches near Northern Virginia, particularly in Maryland and Delaware.

This means there are plenty of options for the perfect beach getaway this summer!


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