Any beaches with waves within 150 miles of DC?
September 14, 2011 11:18 AM   Subscribe

I'm planning on driving from DC to Colonial Beach in Virginia to go to the beach. I went there once last summer and thought it was a nice beach and it's only about a two hour drive from downtown Washington. Are there any other decent beaches in the area (as in less than three hour drive from DC and beaches where you can swim)?

In particular, are there any beaches within 150 miles of DC that have waves? I know with the less-than-three-hours from DC caveat any beach would still have to be in the bay, but thought I'd ask.
posted by forkisbetter to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Actually, no. Rehoboth Beach, DE, and by extension most of the Delaware shore, is about three hours from DC. You can't exactly surf, but there's definitely waves there. Bethany Beach is just down the road a ways.

My family vacationed there for the better part of two decades, so I've got plenty of recommendations if you're interested.
posted by valkyryn at 11:23 AM on September 14, 2011

Cape Henlopen State Park is 120 miles from DC, and is a 3-hour drive unless you go early, early in the morning (when the drive is shorter) or during rush times (when the drive is longer). There are waves, yes, and also dolphins, many dolphins that you can, if you're a good swimmer and fool-hardy (like me), swim out to. There are changing rooms and showers and (bad) food, too.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:26 AM on September 14, 2011

posted by valkyryn at 11:27 AM on September 14, 2011

Response by poster: Just to clarify, driving to Delaware is out. I'm specifically looking for beaches that are closer to DC.
posted by forkisbetter at 11:34 AM on September 14, 2011

Chincoteague is nice and there are ponies! Looks like there are also surfers, but maybe not the most exciting waves.
posted by goggie at 11:34 AM on September 14, 2011

I mean, okay, but it's definitely inside your three-hour drive caveat, and it's only 120 miles.

You want waves near DC, you go to the Atlantic. That's about it.
posted by valkyryn at 11:37 AM on September 14, 2011

Well, VA Beach is, appx, a 3 hr drive from DC. (at 3am when there's no one on I-95), and is a well know surf place (East Coast Surfing Championships is there every year)

By waves, I assume you mean rivers are out, and you want either the Chesapeake Bay or the Atlantic ocean ?

That being said, a gmap overlay says a 150 mile radius of DC spans just North of Atlantic City NJ down to the VA/NC border. (crow flies, not driving)
posted by k5.user at 11:49 AM on September 14, 2011

Yeah, valkyryn has it. If you want beaches in the bay (for example, Sandy Point), there won't be a lot of waves, but you can still swim*. If you want waves, you want the ocean, and with a 150m limit, that means Delaware (Rehoboth, Bethany, Dewey), Ocean City, Chincoteague/Assateague, and maybe the northern parts of Virginia Beach or the lower Jersey shore.

* The bay is kind of nasty right now, but it's still swimmable if you don't go too far from the parking lot areas.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:53 AM on September 14, 2011

Best answer: Yes, if you want to swin in the Chesapeake Bay, there are several beaches: North Beach is about 45 minutes from the DC line and has a pleasant little boardwalk, but the swimming area is mostly about 2-3 feet deep and surrounded by rock walls, so waves are very minimal. A bit further south is Breezy Point, which is a bit more open, as is Sandy Point State Park, which is in the shadow of the Bay Bridge. As zombieflanders said, the waves are pretty minimal, but so is the drive. You can leave at 8 am, have a full morning at the beach, and be home for lunch.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 1:12 PM on September 14, 2011

Best answer: I live in Colonial Beach!

Definitely find somewhere else to go right now, our beaches are destroyed from Hurricane Irene and the remainders of Lee. We were one of the worst hit in the flash flooding that happened last week and many of our roads are in bad shape or remain closed.
posted by SuzySmith at 3:23 PM on September 14, 2011

Short article from FreeLance Star.
Pictures in and around Colonial Beach of the damage.
picture of one of the stretches of beach.
Placid Bay which is a couple miles outside of town limits.
even more about the flooding.

Please don't forge to come back here next year, though, when the town is back to normal and beaches are rebuilt!
posted by SuzySmith at 3:36 PM on September 14, 2011

yeah, the bay is your only hope for within two hours... and with the bay, you'll get tiny waves... nothing too exciting. sandy point is nice, it's not too far from Annapolis, so after you hit the beach for a few hours, you can visit Annapolis and get dinner...
posted by fozzie33 at 7:08 AM on September 15, 2011

Response by poster: Any chance anyone has been to Slaughter Beach in Delaware? Looks neat from what I can find, but I'm having a hard time finding good online information on it.
posted by forkisbetter at 8:59 AM on September 15, 2011

Response by poster: Ended up going to Breezy Point and had a great time. It was around 90 minutes, would have been less without traffic.l
posted by forkisbetter at 12:19 PM on October 10, 2011

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