If you’re looking for the best Virginia beaches near D.C., then you’re in luck, because there are a number of fabulous beaches to choose from that are just an hour or less away from the nation’s capital!
As a northern Virginia native, I love getting a chance to explore some of the great beaches that the region has to offer. Some of my personal favorites are Mason Neck State Park, which is one of the closest beaches to D.C. and one of the best beaches in Northern Virginia.
Colonial Beach is another great beach option that features great restaurants and historic sites nearby. And Leesylvania State Park is a local favorite that gets very busy on summer weekends!
6 Best Virginia Beaches Near D.C.
Map of the Best Virginia Beaches Near D.C.
The following map can help you plan your next beach getaway by showing you where all of the closest beaches are located.
6 Best Virginia Beaches Near D.C.
Below are some of my favorite Virginia Beaches near Washington, D.C.
Mason Neck State Park
Distance from D.C.: 35 Minutes (without traffic), 25 Miles
Mason Neck State Park is one of the closest beaches to D.C. It’s also a bit of a hidden gem. The park itself is lovely and has hiking trails through the woods and through wetlands.
It’s also a great place for kayaking, particularly along Kane’s Creek. The park has a great location along not one but three bodies of water: the Potomac River, Occoquan Bay, and Belmont Bay.
One of my favorite ways to explore the park is to go on a short hike along the Bayview Trail. This trail will take you through picturesque wetlands where you can see turtles swimming in the water below you.
Along this trail, you’ll also find access to a wonderful quiet beach. Just step off the trail at one of several points near Belmont Bay. The beach area is not huge, but it has nice views of the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge across the water.
Mason Neck will also treat you to beautiful sunsets in the summer months. One of my favorite spots to view them is behind the Visitor Center. The area is quiet and peaceful, particularly at dusk.
Leesylvania State Park
Distance from D.C.: 36 Minutes, 30 Miles
Leesylvania State Park is another charming local favorite beach destination in northern Virginia. It’s just 30 miles from D.C.
The park has several excellent beaches along the Potomac River, plus a long pier, many picnic areas and grills, and The Breakwater Store, where you can get coffee and snacks on weekends in the summer. Fishing and boating are also popular in the park.
Leesylvania also has a number of great walking trails that skirt along the water and lead up into the surrounding woods. Definitely take time to go on the Lee’s Woods Trail. It leads up into the woods and features wonderful views of the Potomac River and nearby Neabsco Creek.
Note that the parking lot can fill up on nice summer days, particularly on the weekend. Before you head out, make sure to check out their website or call to see if they have reached capacity for the day.
Aquia Landing Park
Distance from D.C.: 1 Hour, 50 Miles
Aquia Landing Park is a popular local beach near Stafford, Va. It’s just 50 miles south of D.C. and conveniently located not far from I-95.
The park has several distinct beach areas along the Potomac River where you can sunbathe and swim in the gentle waters.
There are also several picnic areas nearby.
Nearby, you’ll find no shortage of great outdoor activities. I recommend checking out nearby Governor’s Island for a beautiful, short hike and Crow’s Nest Natural Area Preserve, which is another popular kayak spot.
Pro-tip: Finish off the day with a stop at the fabulous Potomac Point Vineyard, plus find out more of the best things to do in Stafford!
🛏️ Where to stay near Aquia Landing Park: Holiday Inn Express Quantico – Stafford, an IHG Hotel 🛏️
Distance from D.C.: 1.5 Hours, 63 Miles
Colonial Beach is one of the best Virginia beaches near D.C. It’s a great alternative to Virginia Beach, with lots to do to fill a fun summer weekend.
The beach is located along the Potomac River and has five distinct beach areas, plus a long sidewalk/boardwalk with shops and restaurants. There is also a fishing pier.
The beaches are wide and the water is calm. There are even some cute palm trees dotting the sand!
You can stay at a cute bed and breakfast like the Colonial Beach Plaza Bed & Breakfast, which is just a block from the beach. There are also several modest but nice inns right by the beach, like the Riverview Inn and River Edge Inn.
For dinner, head over to the west side of town (along Monroe Creek) and treat yourself to an excellent Mexican dinner at Los Hermanos Cantina. The west side also features the best sunsets in Colonial Beach!
One of the best parts about the Colonial Beach area is that there are a lot of other things to do, including great wineries like Monroe Bay Winery and Ingleside Vineyards. There are also several excellent historic sites, like the George Washington Birthplace Monument Park and James Monroe Birthplace Park & Museum.
Note that these sites are partially closed on Mondays, which I learned the hard way! The outside areas are still open, but the buildings and visitor center are closed.
Learn about the other best things to do in Colonial Beach!
🛏️ Where to stay near Colonial Beach: Comfort Suites Chincoteague Island Bayfront Resort 🛏️
Westmoreland State Park
Distance from D.C.: 1.5 Hours, 71 Miles
Westmoreland State Park is another hidden gem beach destination in Virginia. It’s also not far from D.C. It’s just 71 miles from the nation’s capital.
The park is located along the Potomac River and has several beach areas that are worth visiting. The most famous beach is Fossil Beach, where you might actually be able to find shark teeth fossils!
This beach is accessible by the short 0.6-mile Big Meadow Trail that leads from the Visitor Center through the woods and to the beach. The beach itself is very small, and more atmospheric rather than a place where you can really spread out and sunbathe.
The park’s best beaches are a little further north and west along the Potomac River. These beaches are long, with picnic tables and grills nearby, a fishing pier, parking, and plenty of space to lay out a beach towel or chair and enjoy the sun and gentle waves.
You can reach this beach by car (there is a parking lot by the beach.) There is also a hiking trail that will take you to the beach. Just take the Beach Trail down to the beach. Note that the trail has 152 that lead you down to the beach! (And 152 steps back up on the way back!) But the beach views at the bottom are well worth it!
Distance from D.C.: 3.5 Hours, 175 Miles
Assateague Beach is further away from D.C., but it’s a quieter escape that will bring you closer to nature. It’s also home to the wild ponies, which makes it an even more magical beach escape!
The beach is located on Assateague Island and close to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.
One of the best parts about the beach is that there is plenty of parking, which can be rare for some of Virginia’s best beaches!
If you’re a nature lover, then Assateague is definitely a perfect destination. The region is home to the famous Chincoteague wild ponies, plus many species of sea birds, eagles, egrets, herons, hawks, ducks, butterflies, crabs, dolphins, whales, and more.
And beyond the beach, you can explore all of this amazing wildlife by going on a hike on the many miles of nearby hiking trails. Assateague is also a great place to go on a boat or kayak tour to see much of the island’s wildlife up close and personal!
Learn all about the best Chincoteague Boat Tours for the best ways to see the famous Chincoteague Wild Ponies!
🛏️ Where to stay near Assateague Beach: Comfort Suites Chincoteague Island Bayfront Resort 🛏️
Maryland and Delaware Beaches Near D.C.
Some of the best beaches near D.C. are located in nearby Maryland and Delaware. I still remember spending fun summer weekends in Rehoboth, Delaware!
Below are some of the top Maryland and Delaware beaches near D.C.
Bethany Beach, Delaware
Distance from D.C.: 2.75 Hours, 129 Miles
Bethany Beach is a popular local favorite in the mid-Atlantic region. It’s known as the “quiet resort”, which makes it a great destination for families and couples looking for a beach escape.
The beach has all of the water activities you could be looking for, including jet skiing, kayaking, surfing, parasailing, windsurfing, kiteboarding, and dolphin cruises.
And when you’re ready to sit back and enjoy a great meal, Bethany Beach has cute restaurants and cafes to explore, like 3BB Cafe for coffee and Bluecoast Seafood Grill for surf and turf.
One of my favorite Atlantic Coast beach activities is to buy some salt water taffy and fudge at a shop like the Candy Kitchen!
An added bonus is that shopping in Delaware is tax-free, which makes it a great destination for souvenir and beach gear shopping!
🛏️ Where to stay near Bethany Beach: Bethany Beach Ocean Suites Residence Inn by Marriott 🛏️
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Distance from D.C.: 2.5 Hours, 124 Miles
Rehoboth Beach is another popular Delaware beach destination. It’s busier than Bethany, which means there’s more to do, but you’ll also have bigger crowds and traffic.
The centerpiece of Rehoboth is a wide, mile long boardwalk where you’ll find everything you could ask for on a fun beach vacation, like Candy Kitchen, Starkey’s Ice Cream and Funnel Cake, and Zelky’s Donut Rings.
A few blocks away from the beach there are plenty of restaurants, including Shorebreak Lodge for seafood, Rehoboth Ale House Downtown, Grotto Pizza, and Go Fish!
Another popular Rehoboth attraction is Funland, which is open during the summer and features old-fashioned amusement park rides, boats, swings, a carousel, and more.
And Rehoboth is a great place to take advantage of the tax-free Delaware shopping that I mentioned earlier! Just head to the Tanger Outlet Mall, which has dozens of major stores like Gap, Nike, Old Navy, and Michael Kors.
🛏️ Where to stay near Rehoboth Beach: Boardwalk Plaza Hotel 🛏️
Ocean City, Maryland
Distance from D.C.: 2.75 Hours, 147 Miles
Ocean City, Maryland is definitely one of the most popular beach destinations in the region, and for good reason!
The city is best known for its 10-mile-long sandy beach and the iconic Ocean City Boardwalk. This lively boardwalk is lined with shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues.
Ocean City is also a hub for water sports, with activities like surfing, fishing, and jet skiing. It’s also a great family destination, with numerous amusement parks and mini-golf courses.
And of course, you’ll find no shortage of restaurants! Ocean City’s dining scene prominently features fresh seafood and local delicacies.
Additionally, there are numerous shops and galleries, making it a great destination for shopping and exploring local art.
🛏️ Where to stay near Ocean City, MD: Holiday Inn & Suites Ocean City🛏️
FAQs About the Best Virginia Beaches Near D.C.
Learn even more about Virginia’s best beaches!
What is the closest beach to Georgetown D.C.?
The closest beach to Georgetown in D.C. is Mason Neck State Park, which is just 25 miles south of D.C. Leesylvania State Park is also close, just 30 miles south of D.C.
Is Virginia Beach worth going to?
Yes, Virginia Beach is worth going to. It is crowded during the summer months, but you can beat the crowds and still find plenty to do if you go during other parts of the year.
Is Virginia Beach in DC?
No, Virginia Beach is not in D.C. Virginia Beach is located in the southeastern tidewater region of Virginia. It is 219 miles from D.C. and about a 4 hour drive without traffic.
Does Virginia have ocean beaches?
Yes, Virginia has beaches along the Atlantic Ocean, including Virginia Beach, Sandbridge Beach, and Assateague Beach.
Conclusion: 6 Best Virginia Beaches Near D.C.
As you can see, Virginia has a number of beaches that are just an hour or less away from D.C.! My personal favorite is Colonial Beach for its historic sites, wineries, and restaurants.
I also recommend Mason Neck State Park for kayaking, peaceful nature walks, and beautiful summer sunsets!
Learn even more about the best beaches in and around Virginia!