7 Lakes, Beaches and Swimming Holes Near Washington DC

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    Lakes and Swimming in Suburban Maryland and Virginia

    ••• Johner Images/Getty Images

    Looking for some summer fun and a great way to cool off in the Washington DC area? Grab your swimsuit and take a short drive to one of these great lakes and swimming spots in the capital region. Throughout the summer you can enjoy the beautiful scenery and swimming at the following sandy beaches, swimming holes and small lakes in suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia. Enjoy a day trip and the great outdoors.

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  • 02 of 08

    Cunningham Falls State Park

    Cunningham Falls State Park
    ••• Cunningham Falls State Park. © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Thurmont, MD. Cunningham Falls State Park is a part of Catoctin Mountain Park and includes a recreation area with a 44-acre lake (Hunting Creek Lake) for swimming, boating, and fishing. There are a small sandy beach and a snack bar. The main attraction of this park is the beautiful 78-foot cascading waterfalls. There are also campgrounds, playgrounds, picnic areas and hiking trails.​

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    Greenbrier State Park

    Greenbrier State Park
    ••• Courtesy of Visit Frederick

    Located in the Appalachian Mountains, Greenbrier State Park has a 42-acre human-made freshwater lake and beach. Visitors enjoy swimming, boating, hiking, picnicking, fishing and hunting. Picnic tables and grills and playgrounds are available. This park also has campgrounds and a camp store.

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    Sandy Point State Park

    Sandy Point State Park
    ••• Mark Wilson/Getty Images

    Sandy Point State Park is a 786-acre park located in Anne Arundel County, Maryland on the west side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and offers recreational activities including swimming, fishing, crabbing, boating, and windsurfing.  Sandy Point State Park is a popular destination for families during the summer months. Facilities include picnic areas and shelters, showers, restrooms and a food concession.

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    Point Lookout State Park

    Point Lookout State Park
    ••• Point Lookout State Park. © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Point Lookout State Park is located at the most southern point of Maryland on the west side of the Chesapeake Bay. Visitors enjoy great views as well as swimming, fishing, boating and camping. Point Lookout is a historic site, the location of a prison camp during the Civil War. Point Lookout State Park has a boat launch, boat rental, camp fire programs, camp sites, cabins, camp store, fishing, flat water canoeing, hiking trails, hunting, picnic areas, playgrounds, swimming, and a nature center.

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    Cascade Lake

    Cascade Lake
    ••• © Cascade Lake

    The 6-acre lake is located on 70 acres of wooded property about an hour and a half north of Washington DC in Carroll County near Westminster. Cascade Lake has a large area for swimming with water slides and platforms. There is an admission fee which includes access to the spray ‘n’ playground, fishing, picnicking and the use of the grounds. Lifeguards are on duty and a swim test is required for ages 8 to 21 to swim in the deep section of the lake. Paddleboats are also available to rent. ​

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  • 07 of 08

    Lake Anna State Park

    Lake Anna State Park
    ••• Courtesy of Va. Dept. of Conservation & Recreation

    Activity at Lake Anna State Park centers around the 13,000-acre lake. The park has a guarded swimming beach, a children’s play area, a boat ramp, a food concession stand, a bathhouse, rental cabins, camping, hiking trails, and picnic areas. Lake Anna is one of the largest lakes in Virginia and is about 2 hours southwest of Washington DC.

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    Lake Arrowhead

    Lake Arrowhead
    ••• Courtesy of Luray Triathalon

    Lake Arrowhead is a 39-acre lake near Luray, Virginia that is owned by the Town of Luray and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland fisheries.  The lake is the focal point of Lake Arrowhead Recreation area and is a prime spot for fishing and boating and has a white sand beach for swimming. Two miles of hiking trails take visitors through wooded areas with one trail that circles the entire lake. There are picnic shelters, playground areas, and handicapped accessible restrooms. Paddle boats and canoes are available for rent.

    For more about summer water activities, see Best 10 Beaches Near Washington DC and ​Water Parks Near Washington DC.