Northern Virginia, an unofficial local designation usually used to describe Loudoun and Fairfax counties, is a landlocked area. Its only coastal area lies on the Chesapeake Bay. Most people choose, therefore, to travel out-of-state to nearby Maryland or Delaware for nice beaches, which offer options much closer than the five-hour drive to Virginia Beach.
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
The City of Rehoboth's beach lies on Delaware's Atlantic coast, just three miles south of the Delaware Bay's mouth, and 17 miles north of the state line of Maryland, Virginia's next-door neighbor. Rehoboth is also one of the closest nice beaches to Northern Virginia, located about 150 miles from central Northern Virginia. In the summer, the beach usually has low surf; in the winter, waves can rise during Nor'easters to 6 to 8 feet high. The beach is open to the public, with no fees; dogs, alcohol and fires are not permitted on the beach. Along the mile-long Boardwalk, visitors can find lodging, restaurants and lots of shopping.
229 Rehoboth Avenue Rehoboth Beach, Delaware 19971 302-227-6181 rehobothbeachpatrol.com
Bethany Beach, Delaware
Bethany Beach is another Delaware town with nice beaches near Northern Virginia. Located midway between Rehoboth Beach and Ocean City, Maryland, the beach town is about 160 miles from central Northern Virginia. Styling itself as a "quiet resort" town, Bethany Beach recently underwent a $2.25 million beach replenishment project in which the the Army Corp of Engineers moved 200,000 cubic yards of sand to Bethany Beach. The Bethany Beach offers food, arcades, and other entertainment, and visitors can also enjoy traditional beach activities like sailing, parasailing, clamming, fishing, and surfing.
214 Garfield Parkway Bethany Beach, Delaware 19930 302-539-8011 townofbethanybeach.com
Ocean City, Maryland
Ocean City, Maryland, is a lively beach town located about 180 miles from Northern Virginia. The beach has family-friendly events like Sundaes in the Park and Free Movie Under the Stars during the summer, together with outlet shopping and great restaurants. The 10-mile beach is free and open to the public from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and welcomes swimmers, surfers, sunbathers and fishers. Running along the beach is the boardwalk, teeming with arcades, carnival-style rides, shopping and lots of food. The beach also has public rinse-off showers at various points along the beach.
4001 Coastal Highway Ocean City, Maryland 21842 800-626-2326 ococean.com