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11 Top-Rated Beaches near Arlington, VA

Arlington has a wealth of beach options spanning from the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay to Delaware's Atlantic Coast.
Leesylvania State Park Beach

Arlington has a wealth of beach options spanning from the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay to Delaware’s Atlantic Coast.

For river beach lovers, the Potomac presents a plethora of water activities and serene views with the popular Leesylvania State Park and Colonial Beach.

The Chesapeake Bay area, known for its rich marine biodiversity, has Sandy Point and North Beach among others.

But for a classic beach experience, Delaware’s coastline offers wide, sandy shores with surfing and even camping opportunities.

Discover what Arlington has to offer!

1. Leesylvania State Park

Fishing pier at sunrise at Leesylvania Park, Va
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Arlington: 29 miles
  • Activities: sunbathing, fishing, picnics, volleyball, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, boating
  • Facilities: restrooms, picnic tables, rentals, volleyball nets, boat launch

Leesylvania State Park, the closest beach to Arlington, teems with natural beauty and historical resonance. 

Adorning the banks of the Potomac River, this park unites sandy beaches with lush forest trails, making it an ideal outdoor retreat. 

Boasting a state-of-the-art boat launch, an excellent bass fishing spot, and hiking trails, Leesylvania caters to a wide array of interests. 

Ample amenities, from a playground, picnic tables, and BBQ areas to a well-stocked snack bar and a fitness trail, enhance visitor experiences. 

While the park does not endorse swimming due to natural hazards, the sandy beach provides a perfect space for leisurely walks, volleyball games, and family picnics. 

A haven for both solitude seekers and families, Leesylvania State Park beckons with its scenic and serene beach.

2. Colonial Beach

Colonial Beach
Source: unsplash
  • Distance from Arlington: 69 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnics, kayaking, canoeing, boating
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, picnic tables, rentals, boat launch, concessions

Located 69 miles from Arlington, Colonial Beach is an enchanting town that promises a fun beach experience. 

Nestled on the Potomac River, this public beach boasts a charming, family-friendly atmosphere that has earned it the title of ‘Best Virginia Beach’ by USA Today in 2018. 

It’s a vibrant spot filled with diverse activities. From lounging on the sun-kissed sands to fishing from the pier, or embarking on a thrilling kayak adventure, the options are endless. 

Tourists can explore the boardwalk, lined with a plethora of shops and over 25 eateries offering a gastronomic journey for every palate. 

Free for visitors, this beach offers an accessible and fun-filled getaway with the added convenience of nearby parking. 

Make Colonial Beach your next vacation destination for an unforgettable seaside adventure.

3. Sandy Point State Park

Sandy Point State Park near Annapolis Maryland
Source: depositphotos
  • Distance from Arlington: 44 miles
  • Activities: swimming, fishing, kayaking, hiking, picnics
  • Amenities: restrooms, trails, playground, grills, piers, seasonal lifeguards

Situated 44 miles from Arlington, Sandy Point State Park is the crown jewel of Chesapeake Bay. 

This destination’s vast, golden sands and myriad of activities make it a firm favorite. 

Whether you’re splashing in the calm waters under the vigilant watch of lifeguards or casting a line from the fishing jetties, Sandy Point promises a day of fun. 

The striking view of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge adds a majestic backdrop to a beach experience. 

The park’s amenities, including restrooms, showers, and a marina, enhance the convenience for all visitors. 

For the brave, the annual Polar Bear Plunge offers a frosty challenge. 

A mere $5-$7 entry fee opens the door to this beachside paradise, making Sandy Point a must-visit for every beachgoer.

4. North Point State Park

Beach at North Point State Park MD
Source: wikimedia/CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Distance from Arlington: 54 miles
  • Activities: swimming, fishing, kayaking, hiking, picnics
  • Amenities: restrooms, trails, playground, grills, piers

Edgemere’s North Point State Park beckons with a unique beach experience. 

Spanning 1,310 acres, the park’s beach charms with a smattering of shells and pebbles, making it a paradise for collectors. 

The shallow waters of the Chesapeake Bay offer a tranquil spot for swimming, while fishing enthusiasts can cast off from the park’s piers. 

Lacing through wetlands, fields, and woods, the park’s trails entice hikers with Maryland’s captivating landscapes. 

Amenities including restrooms, playgrounds, grills, and picnic areas enhance visitor comfort, ensuring a perfect day out. 

Despite its modest $4-$6 entry fee, North Point State Park guarantees an immersive nature experience, making it an irresistible magnet for outdoor lovers.

5. North Beach

Pink condominium building and boardwalk in North Beach, Maryland
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Arlington: 41 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, kayaking, picnics
  • Amenities: restrooms, showers, playground, pier, boardwalk, restaurants, hotels

North Beach, Maryland, a seaside haven nestled on the Chesapeake Bay, unfolds a beach life reminiscent of the Jersey Shore. 

Its beach, spanning seven blocks, serves as a haven for both locals and tourists, limited to 800 souls for ensured comfort. 

Its dedicated swimming area, netted against jellyfish, is a paradise for families, supplemented by a playground and beach toy rentals. 

Walkers and cyclists enjoy the serenity of the beach and boardwalk, kept separate by a convenient bike lane. 

A fishing pier divides the beach, offering fishing opportunities.

Nearby, the Visitors Center offers umbrella, chair, and float rentals. 

The beach, open from dawn till dusk, is accompanied by well-maintained restrooms. 

With its convenience and a plethora of amenities, North Beach offers an easy coastal experience.

6. Hammerman Beach

a beach in Maryland with lifeguard chair
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Arlington: 63 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, kayaking, picnics, hiking
  • Amenities: restrooms, trails, playground, grills, piers, seasonal lifeguards and rentals

A prized jewel within Gunpowder Falls State Park, Hammerman Beach beckons with its sprawling 1,500 feet of sandy shore. 

A hub for summer fun, the beach is patrolled by seasonal lifeguards, ensuring safety for swimmers. 

Kayaking and canoeing are popular pursuits here, with rental services easily accessible for waterborne exploration. 

Anglers, though not permitted on the beach, have dedicated zones for their peaceful pastime. 

Families and friends often congregate at the numerous picnic spots, fitted with grills for a delightful outdoor feast. 

Despite being a short trip from bustling Baltimore, Hammerman Beach offers an enchanting beach escape, epitomizing the spirit of outdoor recreation. 

Note that the beach has an entry fee and prohibits camping.

7. Calvert Cliffs State Park

Calvert Cliffs State Park in Maryland
Source: depositphotos
  • Distance from Arlington: 63 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, kayaking, picnics, hiking, fossil hunting
  • Amenities: restrooms, trails, playground, grills

Immersed in prehistoric allure, Calvert Cliffs State Park teases with a sandy quarter-mile beach stretch, a living testament to a time when Southern Maryland was submerged under a warm, shallow sea. 

Visitors can journey back millions of years through fossil hunting, with shark teeth proving to be the ultimate find. 

However, this treasure hunt demands a trek. 

A scenic 1.8-mile trail, laden with water lilies and native fauna, paves the way to the beach. 

Dog lovers can rejoice as their four-legged companions are welcome, but leashes are required. 

A playground awaits younger adventurers, and picnickers can find solace in the available tables. 

While restrooms are conveniently located at the entrance, more are found along the trail. 

Note, the mesmerizing cliffs beckon, but for safety, keep to the beach.

8. Rehoboth Beach

Rehoboth Beach in Delaware
Source: unsplash
  • Distance from Arlington: 127 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnics, surfing, bodyboarding
  • Amenities: restrooms, showers, playgrounds, grills, lifeguards, volleyball nets

Dubbed “The Nation’s Summer Capital,” Rehoboth Beach has been a cherished escape for DC area residents, despite the lengthy drive from Arlington. 

Visitors can stroll along the one-mile boardwalk, a lively mosaic of restaurants, shops, and attractions. 

The boardwalk’s crown jewel is the Funland amusement park – a family favorite since 1962. 

This Delaware beach resort also draws a diverse crowd, with its reputation as a popular LGBT-friendly getaway. 

In the summer months, the beach patrol vigilantly keeps watch from 10 am, ensuring a safe, fun-filled beach experience. 

Rehoboth’s appeal stretches beyond its tax-free shopping at Tanger Outlets or being a stone’s throw away from Biden’s “Summer White House.” 

This beach destination has transformed into a year-round haven, offering more than just a summer soiree.

9. Lewes Beach

The coast of the Delaware Bay, in Lewes, Delaware.
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Arlington: 124 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnics, volleyball
  • Amenities: restrooms, showers, playgrounds, grills, volleyball nets, seasonal lifeguards, concessions

Nestled on Delaware Bay, Lewes Beach offers a serene retreat for beachgoers. 

With less wave action compared to other Delaware beaches, it’s perfect for kids and those seeking a calm, relaxing visit. 

Lifeguards ensure safety from Memorial Day to Labor Day, marking the swim area with flags. 

Visitors enjoy various amenities, including restrooms, shower facilities, and a snack stand. 

The beach also provides Mobi-Mats, making sand navigation easier. 

Metered parking is available from May through September, making access hassle-free. 

Remember, grilling and bonfires are part of the experience but require a permit. 

It’s a beach of gentle waves and friendly faces, making Lewes Beach a choice Delaware destination.

10. Delaware Seashore State Park

Delaware Seashore State Park
Source: depositphotos
  • Distance from Arlington: 132 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnics, volleyball, surfing, bodyboarding, boating, camping
  • Amenities: restrooms, showers, playgrounds, grills, volleyball nets, seasonal lifeguards, boat ramps, campgrounds

Delaware Seashore State Park, a gem of southern Delaware, stretches six miles along the Atlantic Ocean and offers a plethora of activities. 

Split by the Indian River Inlet, it showcases two distinct beaches, each a haven for anglers and sunbathers. 

On summer days, lifeguards watch over swimmers between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., while modern bathhouses and concession stands add to the convenience. 

Surfers often find their sweet spot north of the inlet. 

Accessibility is key, with Mobi-Mat equipment aiding wheelchair and power chair users. 

Camping enthusiasts relish overnight stays at the park’s campgrounds. 

There’s also an access pier for elderly and disabled visitors who enjoy fishing. 

From birdwatching trails to surf-fishing spots, this state park truly offers something for everyone.

11. Fenwick Island State Park

Fenwick Island State Park
Source: flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Distance from Arlington: 137 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnics, surfing, bodyboarding, boating
  • Amenities: restrooms, showers, playgrounds, grills, seasonal lifeguards, boat ramps

Tucked between bustling resort towns, Fenwick Island State Park is Delaware’s southernmost beach getaway. 

With three miles of shoreline, the park boasts dual coastlines – the Atlantic Ocean and Little Assawoman Bay. 

Sunbathers and swimmers flock to the white sandy beaches on the ocean side, watched over by lifeguards in the summer. 

The park ensures convenience, featuring a modern bathhouse, showers, changing rooms, and a snack concession. 

Surf fishing is popular, with vehicle access to certain beaches with a permit. 

On the bay side, visitors indulge in fishing, crabbing, sailing, windsurfing, and kayaking. 

The tranquility of this relatively undeveloped area offers a refreshing contrast to the surrounding beach communities, making Fenwick Island State Park a true gem.

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