We had a reader request for beaches somewhere closer than VA Beach (which is about a four hour drive). Here are our results from readers about beaches that are local to Manassas, Woodbridge, Dumfries, Dale City, Lake Ridge and Bristow (and any other city in Prince William County. Don’t hate me for trying to get google to get my website to come up!)
Obviously I haven’t been to all of these beaches, although I’m willing to give that a try.
You know, in the name of science.
Here’s what I’ve got! Are we missing your favorite? Leave a comment below and add your thoughts!
If you’d like to stay under 2 hours (minus DMV traffic which cannot be helped on any given day)
“off courthouse rd. Its secluded but its connected to the Potomac river…good fishing a beach and bathrooms! 25 mins.”
“1.5 hours from Manassas”
“In MD, about an hour and a half from Manassas. Beach, shallow water, and shark teeth fossils!”
“Only about an hour and 15 min away and a pretty decent beach. We went there for Memorial Day and it wasn’t packed. If you follow the water down to the right of the pier area there’s also all day parking for $5 as opposed to the 2 hour parking by the pier”
“Colonial Beach is like an hour and a half or so from 95 south entrance”
“1 1/2 hour sometimes only 45 minutes giving traffic but it is awesome, they have playground for kids, ice cream shops, little art shops where the kids can participate and for the adults there is the river boat casino and the best part, you rent golf carts to drive around the town. My kids love it there and on the 4th of July there is a firework show”
“Yes!! Colonial beach is only an hour and a half from Woodbridge! Best local places to eat, too!”
“We went to Colonial Beach last 4th of July. My 4 boys loved it!
“To those of you who went to Colonial, I found it very rocky and almost unmanageable. Was I just in the wrong places?”
(Not copying this comment, but suffice it to say someone was less than impressed with the ambiance at this beach.)
“Right off the highway Falmouth exit…30 mins. Have grassy area a beach and a couple of grills…they also give out life jackets to the kids!”
“We go to River Beaches, not quite the coast. Not fancy, but the kids love it. Free parking, 30 mins from Dale City”
Half Moon Beach
“Past Strasburg” (Google maps says 1.5 hours from Manassas)
Lake Arrowhead Beach
“In Luray VA you have Lake Arrowhead Beach, very nice and cost very low”
“Leesylvania has two tiny beaches. Woodbridge/Dumfries area.”
“I have heard good things about North Beach, MD but I have never personally been. Google says it takes about 1 hour 15 min from Montclair.
“North Beach is okay, but it’s a pay beach”
“No waves to worry about for the little ones. Cute shops and a nice boardwalk.”
“Off Rt 1. Quiet, safe, good for kids. 20 minutes from Dumfries”
“Never been, but looking into Sandy Point”
“Second best for us, least crowded every time we’ve gone is Shenandoah River at the Shenandoah State Park. About an hour drive.”
Westmoreland State Park
“Only 90 minutes away and a nice beach”
If you think 2+ Hours is local (or worth the drive, but either way, I’m separating them out)
“Delaware. 3 to 3.5 hours. We have done day trips. They are long days, but so worth it.”
Chincoteague Island/Assteague Beach
“I am a single mom and I love taking my 7 year old daughter to Chincoteague every August. “Is that where the horses are?” is the top question I get. Yes, but there is way more. It is 3.5-4 hours east of us and only 30 minutes south of Ocean City. There are plenty of hotels and it is a top family vacation destination in the area. We also like to camp there as well for only $30 a night tent camping. The beach is really nice and has lifeguards. Assateague beach is a notion park so there are no board walks, just shower and parking. There is a small fee for the beach because it is a park.
“We loved Chincoteague”
“About 2.5 hours away and super family friendly. It’s right next to Ocean city but removed from the crazy college crowd.”
“DE, and it’s beautiful and not too far, but not great for families. Bethany, just a few minutes away is much better.”
“I load the kids up at 5am and head to OCMD. It’s before the traffic rush so we can be there by 8, even with a bathroom break. Spend all day and load up the sleepy kids back into the car around 7 and they wake up in their beds. It’s a drive, but not awful.”
“We just moved here from Norfolk. VA Beach is cool for ocean beaches but I have small kids and we always like the Ocean View beaches in Norfolk better because the waves are smaller and the beaches are less crowded. On a good day it’s 2.5 hours from here, but it’s more like 3-3.5 hours.”
“31/2 to 4 HRS”
In addition to reader suggestions, here are a few from the Washington Post.