For those of us who live in the DMV region, the Atlantic Ocean is our playground. Just a drive away and we can experience spectacular sunrises, fresh seafood, and tons of fun ranging from nature walks to nightlife. While the DMV includes portions of D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, the other “DMV” geographic grouping is Delmarva – the East Coast peninsula formed from parts of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia where life primarily revolves around the beach.
Many of us have our regular Delmarva haunts, but this Labor Day weekend, you may want to try a new locale – or revisit a beach you haven’t seen in a while.
Just shy of a two-hour drive from the Bay Bridge (depending on traffic), the Delaware Beaches are a great option and offer beach lovers both peaceful state park and classic boardwalk experiences. And who knows? Maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of President Biden whose (heavily barricaded) beach home is at Rehoboth Beach! Added bonus: tax-free shopping!
Rehoboth’s mile-long boardwalk includes boutique hotels, restaurants, family amusements, and more. The iconic Rehoboth Beach Bandstand brings a variety of musical genres to perform on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays throughout the summer.
The Bethany Beach vibe is laid back and geared toward families and residents, with a small boardwalk that offers charming shops and upscale restaurants.
Known as the best nightlife spot in Delaware, Dewey Beach is a narrow strip of land between the Rehoboth Bay and the Atlantic Ocean – just a mile long and two blocks wide but packed with bars and restaurants.
This coastal resort town is said to have once been used by pirates to hide their treasure.
One of the oldest towns in America – dating back to 1631 – Lewes embraces history. If you like historic homes, quiet strolls through boutiques, and the serenity of a state park beach sans boardwalk, this is the town for you.
Check out what’s happening Labor Day Weekend at Delaware’s beaches.
“OC” has more than 10 miles of sandy beaches and a boardwalk that spans three miles. The boardwalk itself dates to 1902 when it was a wooden walkway that was rolled up and stored during high tide.
Check out what’s happening Labor Day Weekend in Ocean City.
Located in Maryland (⅔) and Virginia (⅓), Assateague is known for wild ponies and breathtaking nature. Chincoteague, Va., and Ocean City, Md. are the two gateways to Assateague – an island with more than 37 miles of pristine Atlantic shoreline.
The historic (since 1925) annual Chincoteague Wild Pony Swim and subsequent auction brings thousands of visitors who watch the Virginia herd of approximately 150 Assateague wild ponies swim across Assateague Channel. Usually held during the last week of July, the swim and auction help manage the number of wild horses on Assateague to help prevent adverse impact on island ecology. Have kids? “Misty of Chincoteague” is a must-read before visiting!
It’s about three to four hours from the D.C. area, but Virginia Beach’s seven distinct districts offer something for just about anyone’s tastes. This resort city has miles of beach with hundreds of hotels, shops and restaurants.
And don’t forget the Bay!
The Chesapeake Bay offers big water views and fabulous seafood. At 200 miles long and 30 miles broad at its widest point, the bay and its tributaries contain 11,684 miles of shoreline. Best known for blue crabs, oysters and rockfish (striped bass), you’ll find tons of seafood restaurants cooking up locally-sourced favorites. Here are just a small selection of the parks and charming beach towns you can visit.
Sandy Point State Park
At 786-acres, Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis offers swimming, fishing, and boating on the shores of the Chesapeake with an awesome view of the Bay Bridge.
North Beach and Chesapeake Beach
These twin beaches are about an hour away from D.C. on the western shore of the Chesapeake in Calvert County, Md. North Beach – “The Jewel of the Chesapeake Bay” – offers great shopping and dining opportunities as well as Wetlands Overlook Park, a wildlife refuge in tidal marshlands. Attractions at Chesapeake Beach include the Railway Station, the Chesapeake Beach Rail Trail, a water park, marinas, piers, and charter boat fishing.
Calvert Cliffs State Park
These renowned cliffs dominate 30 miles of Chesapeake shoreline. Calvert Cliffs also has become a treasure trove of 600 known species of fossils. Even massive megalodon shark teeth 10 to 20 million years old have been found.
Point Lookout State Park Beach
A picturesque peninsula formed by the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River, Point Lookout was once the site of a Civil War Union outpost and Confederate prison camp.
Named one of USA Today’s Top 10 Best Small Coastal Towns, St. Michaels is quaint, picturesque, and historic with exceptional dining and one-of-a-kind shopping.
This historic Virginia town has one of the largest concentrations of late-Victorian and turn-of-the-century buildings on the East Coast.
Settled about 350 years ago by Captain John Smith, Smith Island is accessible by a passengers-only ferry. This cultural and historic treasure is one of a kind. Make sure to listen to the locals to hear their distinctive Elizabethan accents, remnants of the original English colonial settlers.
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