10 Fun Riverfront Towns

These riverfront towns and cities in DC, Maryland and Virginia offer scenic settings, vibrant shopping and dining districts, historic attractions and numerous ways for exploring the rivers and waterways of the Capital Region.

Georgetown waterfront, Washington, DC
Waterfront of Alexandria, VA
Boats in Baltimore's Inner Harbor
Kayakers on the water in Richmond, Virginia
Choptank River Lighthouse, Maryland
Governor's Palace, Colonial Williamsburg, VA
Annapolis, Maryland waterfront
Couple yachting in Norfolk, Virginia
Havre de Grace, Maryland
Rappahannock River, Fredericksburg, VA
1 of 10

Washington, DC

The Potomac River is an integral part of Washington, DC’s landscape, providing an outlet for sightseeing, water sports and recreation. Book a dinner cruise with Entertainment Cruises or a sightseeing tour with Potomac Riverboat Company. Or explore the capital city's waterfront neighbourhoods like Georgetown, and shop at boutiques and dine at restaurants along the Potomac River.

2 of 10

Alexandria, Virginia

Located across the Potomac River from Washington, DC, Alexandria's waterfront features numerous shops and restaurants paired with stunning views of the DC skyline. This historic town in Virginia includes Old Town, complete with brick sidewalks and historical buildings, and King Street, where shopping is the order of the day.

3 of 10

Baltimore, Maryland

Maryland’s largest city is located on the Patpasco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. The city’s Inner Harbor is a lively hub of shops, restaurants and attractions, including the National Aquarium and Baltimore Maritime Museum. Don't miss Fort McHenry, the birthplace of the United States' national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner."

4 of 10

Richmond, Virginia

Virginia’s capital city offers the only urban setting with Class III and IV rapids, both on the James River and available for kayaking or rafting. If you’re looking for a tamer adventure, explore the hiking and biking trails around the James, or sign up for the Riverfront Canal Walk to learn about the city’s 400-year history.

5 of 10

Cambridge, Maryland

On the southern bank of the Choptank River along Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the charming town of Cambridge is known as "The Heart of the Chesapeake Bay." Learn more about the town’s rich maritime heritage at attractions like the Choptank River Lighthouse. Nearby, downtown Cambridge features one-of-a-kind shops, galleries, museums and restaurants.

Photo credit: Jill Jasuta, Dorchester Tourism

6 of 10

America’s Historic Triangle

History buffs and nature lovers will delight in visiting America’s Historic Triangle – Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown. The Colonial Parkway, a national scenic byway, runs 23 miles from the York River at Yorktown to the James River at Jamestown, connecting these historic sites and Colonial towns.

7 of 10

Annapolis, Maryland

At the mouth of the Severn River in the Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis is Maryland’s capital city and well known as a sailing destination. Take a cruise, or sign up for sailing lessons. The scenic waterfront, which includes the U.S. Naval Academy and Main Street, is packed with art galleries, boutiques, restaurants and historic memorials.

8 of 10

Norfolk, Virginia

With 144 miles of coastline, you’re never far from the water in Norfolk. The newly revitalized Waterside District offers dining and entertainment on the riverfront. Take a cruise on the Spirit of Norfolk for dinner and dancing on the Elizabeth River, participate in a variety of water sports, or explore the river by foot or bicycle along the Elizabeth River Trail.

9 of 10

Havre de Grace, Maryland

Havre de Grace was honored in 2014 by Smithsonian Magazine as one of America’s best small towns to visit. The town’s scenic ¾-mile-long boardwalk along the Susquehanna River leads to numerous attractions, including Tydings Park, Decoy Museum, Maritime Museum and Concord Point Lighthouse (the oldest in Maryland). 

Photo credit: Havre de Grace Office of Tourism

10 of 10

Fredericksburg, Virginia

Located on the Rappahannock River, this prominent Colonial port town was the site of several significant Civil War battles. Experience the history of the city through its four battlefields and parks, or head to the historic downtown for shops, cafés, museums and more historic sites, inlcuding the James Monroe Law Office and Mary Washington House.

Photo credit: Fredericksburg Area Tourism

Related: 
History & Culture
City Adventures