Best Beaches and Water Adventures near Washington, DC

Discover the rivers and other waterways near Washington, DC – rent a kayak, cruise the Potomac or canoe on a canal.

Cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin, Washington, DC
Paddleboats in the Tidal Basin
Georgetown waterfront, Washington, DC
Georgetown Waterfront
Entertainment Cruises, Odyssey, Washington, DC, Potomac River, dinner cruise, sightseeing
Scenic Potomac River cruise
Lincoln Memorial and Memorial Bridge at night
Lincoln Memorial and Memorial Bridge
Cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin, Washington, DC
Georgetown waterfront, Washington, DC
Entertainment Cruises, Odyssey, Washington, DC, Potomac River, dinner cruise, sightseeing
Lincoln Memorial and Memorial Bridge at night

Washington, DC’s most notable body of water is the Potomac River. Explore this famous waterway by kayak, canoe or river cruise, or simply admire the river’s majestic flow as you enjoy an al fresco cocktail or meal along the Georgetown waterfront.

The quaint C&O Canal also stretches through Washington, offering an idyllic backdrop for quiet strolls or low-key bike rides.

Water Adventures on the Potomac River

The area’s mightiest river is the Potomac, whose watershed encompasses the entire Capital Region. Forming the border between DC and Virginia, as well as between Maryland and Virginia, the Potomac is by turns serene and turbulent.

Take out a paddleboat near the Georgetown waterfront, or view the monuments by water as you enjoy a Washington, DC river cruise, many of which connect the District with Alexandria, Mount Vernon and the National Harbor.

The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal runs parallel to the Potomac for 184.5 miles, offering an additional waterway for canoes and rowboats. The towpath, which separates the canal and river, is also a favourite path for bicyclists and runners.

Lakes, Bays & Beaches Near Washington, DC

Whether planning to visit beaches, bays, lakes or rivers, you’ll find the Capital Region is full of waterways to discover, with Virginia and Maryland offering some of the closest beaches to Washington DC. Explore outdoors and nature attractions throughout the region.

Looking for more? Here are other ways to Experience DC from the Water, or view photo tours of riverfront towns and coastal areas found throughout the Capital Region.

Related: 
Outdoors & Nature
City Adventures