Freshwater Swimming @ Lakes, Bays, & Quarries


Take a peek at these perfect summer opportunities that shouldn’t be missed (shown in order of distance from Dulles Airport):


Greenbriar State Park
Boonsboro, MD • Approx 55 miles from Dulles Airport

This 42-acre man-made lake is a fantastic place to spend the day with your family. Enjoy the sandy beaches with designated swimming areas, tree-shaded picnic areas, and the opportunity to rent a canoe or paddleboat.

Once you’re done basking in the warm sun, enjoy a family hike — the Appalachian Trail passes right through the park! You’ll be thankful for their bathroom facilities, and during peak times, the area near the beach offers food and refreshments at the snack bar. Please note that the park often reaches capacity and denies entry on beautiful days, so come early to claim your spot.

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Cunningham Falls State Park
Thurmont, MD • Approx 60 miles from Dulles Airport

Enjoy the gorgeous Catoctin mountain view and glistening Hunting Creek Lake at Cunningham Falls State Park! Grab the family for a day of fun and enjoy their sandy beach with lifeguard coverage from Memorial Day to Labor Day (scheduled but not guaranteed).

Plus, enjoy a day of walking/hiking, too! Trails at the park vary in terrain from short, flat hikes to steep and rocky ascents, with distances from .5 miles to 7.5 miles. The “Falls Nature Trail” will lead you to the largest cascading waterfall in Maryland: Cunningham Falls, which is 78 feet tall (please note that swimming is prohibited at the falls).

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Patapsco Valley State Park
Ellicott City, MD • Approx 60 miles from Dulles Airport

Discover 32 miles of beautiful scenery along the Patapsco River in the Patapsco Valley State Park! Over 170 miles of trails, including 70 miles of maintained trails, offer plenty of recreational opportunities, including hiking, picnicking, camping, horseback riding, and mountain biking! Water lovers can also take a dip in the river (unless otherwise noted), as swimming, paddling, and tubing are all permitted in this park.

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Aquia Landing
Stafford, VA • Approx 60 miles from Dulles Airport

Cool off and take a dip at Aquia Landing, Stafford, Virginia’s very own 32-acre park. Home to marshes and woodlands, this unique destination attracts songbirds, marshbirds, waterfowl, and terns, making it perfect for birdwatching during a day of swimming and exploring! The park, located on a peninsula, also boasts a fishing spot in addition to woodlands perfect for more daytime discovery and fun. Public swimming is permitted; however, always check before visiting, as conditions are subject to change.

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Sandy Point State Park
Annapolis, MD • Approx 65 miles from Dulles Airport

Sandy Point State Park, a 786-acre park on the Chesapeake Bay’s northwestern shore, is a welcome natural retreat with enough amenities to keep family travels civilized. Its sandy, swimmable beaches offer lifeguards in select areas. A bathhouse near the beach provides park users with restroom and shower facilities. A concession stand and beach and picnic supplies are also available at the South Beach area of the park during peak summer months. The park’s grassy picnic areas are located next to the swimming beach, as well as playgrounds. Limited grills and picnic tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Brownie’s Beach at Bay Front Park
Chesapeake Beach, MD • Approx 65 miles from Dulles Airport

Come out to enjoy the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay at Brownie’s Beach at Bay Front Park. This small, sandy beach is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. This popular destination for swimmers and nature lovers does not have lifeguards on duty. Although free to town residents, there is an entrance fee for non-residents.

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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North Beach
North Beach, MD • Approx 65 miles from Dulles Airport

Swim the day away in North Beach, the “Jewel of the Chesapeake Bay!”Located on the Bay’s western shore, this Maryland getaway is home to plenty of special events and outdoor activities throughout the year. Visitors and residents can purchase a pass, show proof of residency, and soak up the sun on the beach during the warmer summer months! Rent a paddleboard and kayak, or peruse the town and 1- to the 2-mile boardwalk on a bicycle for a unique experience! While visiting the “Best Bay Town,” don’t forget to explore Wetlands Overlook Park and enjoy some of the best North Beach businesses and shops!

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Mayo Beach Park
Edgewater, MD • Approx 65 miles from Dulles Airport

Let the sand slide between your toes this summer at beautiful Mayo Beach Park! Free and open to the general public on ”Public Open Days,” Mayo Beach Park boasts a shallow beach area perfect for water play and wading! Plan to pack a lunch, bring your canoe, kayak, or water toys, and enjoy a day in the sun!

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Beaver Dam Swimming Club
Cockeysville, MD • Approx 75 miles from Dulles Airport

The Beaver Dam Swimming Club is a 40-foot freshwater quarry with an infamous rope swing. The swimming club offers two pools up to 5 feet deep for those more interested in a pool. Lifeguards are available at the pools and quarry. They also provide shaded areas with grills for picnics, cookouts, and a snack bar. Volleyball and basketball courts are also available for use.

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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North Point State Park
Edgemere, MD • Approx 75 miles from Dulles Airport

Located on the Chesapeake Bay, this 1,310-acre state park includes the site of the former Bay Shore Park, which was one of the state’s premier amusement parks during the first half of the 20th century. The park features restored remnants of the old amusement park, hiking trails that lead you around and through protected wildlands, and a sandy shoreline perfect for wading and swimming.

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Rocky Point Beach & Park
Essex, MD • Approx 75 miles from Dulles Airport

375-acre Rocky Point Beach is a waterfront park near the Back and Middle Rivers and is the perfect place to cool off in the Baltimore area. The 300-foot beach features pavilions, a fishing pier, picnic areas, boating ramps, and a bathhouse. The Baltimore County Sailing Center is nearby, and visitors can take private or group lessons. Just want to lay in the sun? The beach offers pretty Chesapeake Bay, Craighill Light, and Hart-Miller Island views.

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Beach at Kentmorr Restaurant
Stevensville, MD • Approx 80 miles from Dulles Airport

No reservations are needed to enjoy the beautiful outdoors at Kentmorr Beach! Located on the Kentmorr Restaurant and Crab House property, the beach is a fabulous destination for families looking to relax, fish, and play in the sand! The breathtaking scenery lends itself to a day of sightseeing and swimming, too! While beach visitors do not have to be restaurant patrons, they do need to abide by the beach rules, which do not allow outside food and beverages on the property. All food and drink must be purchased from the restaurant.

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Gunpowder Falls State Park
Middle River, MD • Approx 80 miles from Dulles Airport

Gunpowder Falls, one of Maryland’s largest state parks, offers a wide range of activities, including swimming! Enjoy a 1,500-foot stretch of beach and swimming area on the banks of the Gunpowder River. The beach offers visitors picnic tables, grills, playgrounds, food concessions, and four picnic pavilions that can be rented. There are also bathrooms with showers and lifeguards on duty on most days. Other activities include boat rentals, fishing, and hiking trails. The beach is known to get filled on weekends and holidays, so plan to arrive early!

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Lake Arrowhead
Luray, VA • Approx 80 miles from Dulles Airport

Lake Arrowhead is a 39-acre man-made body of water located near Luray, VA. It offers swimming, fishing, boating, and a picturesque setting at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The white-sand beach is open for swimming every day during the summer under the watch of lifeguards. Concessions and public restrooms are also on-site, making this a family-friendly venue. Canoes and paddleboats are available for rent on the half-hour, but they rent quickly, so hurry!

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Lake Anna State Park
Spotsylvania, VA • Approx 85 miles from Dulles Airport

With so many options, Lake Anna can be visited for just a day or weeks at a time! Families can camp or rent a cabin and bring their boats, bikes, and horses for outdoor adventure. Although there is a fee to come and swim, lifeguards are on duty, and concession stands and bathrooms are open on the beach. A twelve-mile trail is also available for walking, biking, and horseback riding. There’s always something to do at this beautiful State Park for families looking for quality time outside!

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Greenwell State Park
Hollywood, MD • Approx 85 miles from Dulles Airport

St. Mary’s County is home to beautiful Greenwell State Park on the Patuxent River. The 596-acre park allows visitors to fish or hike, cycle, and horse-ride through their 10 miles of trails all year! Other seasonal activities include picnicking, hunting, canoeing, kayaking, and swimming! Managed in part by The Greenwell Foundation, accessible and inclusive programs, services, and facilities are also offered at Greenwell State Park to ensure that all community members can enjoy all that this park has to offer! Don’t forget to visit the Rosedale Manor House to see their immaculate Victorian-style rose garden and enjoy an outstanding river view.

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Flag Ponds Nature Park
Lusby, MD • Approx 85 miles from Dulles Airport

For hundreds of years, the forces of nature have reshaped the Chesapeake Bay shoreline of Flag Ponds Nature Park, creating a remarkable variety of natural environments — from sandy beaches to freshwater ponds to the forested heights of Calvert Cliffs. Flag Ponds Nature Park offers a beautiful beach right on the Chesapeake Bay. Not only is fossil hunting popular here, but visitors can also enjoy swimming. However, no lifeguards are on duty.

A short, half-mile hike brings you to the sandy beach, or you may take longer trail routes that allow you to experience the park’s beauty. Additionally, there are observation platforms at two ponds, a fishing pier on the Chesapeake Bay, and a visitor’s center with wildlife displays.

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Calvert Cliffs State Park
Lusby, MD • Approx 90 miles from Dulles Airport

The massive cliffs, from which Calvert Cliffs State Park was named, dominate the shoreline of the Chesapeake Bay for roughly 24 miles in Calvert County and were formed over 10 to 20 million years ago when a warm, shallow sea covered all of Southern Maryland.

When the sea receded, the cliffs were exposed and began eroding. Today, these cliffs reveal the remains of prehistoric species, including sharks, whales, rays, and seabirds — some the size of small airplanes!

The park also features a sandy beach, a recycled tire playground, fishing, a freshwater/tidal marshland, and 13 miles of hiking trails. Please note that the shortest route to the beach is 1.8 miles on the red trail, and no lifeguard is present. Despite the hike, the trip is well worth it at this popular destination.

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Myrtle Point Park
California, MD • Approx 90 miles from Dulles Airport

Myrtle Point Park, located in St. Mary’s County on the Patuxent River near the Chesapeake Bay, contains numerous historic sites—some dating back more than 9,000 years—as well as magnificent waterfront and saltwater ponds home to various wildlife! The park offers nearly two miles of shorelines, including beach areas, an informal canoe/kayak launching area, three miles of hiking trails, parking, and portable restroom facilities. An online hiking and guide map of the park’s trails is available for download.

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Rocks State Park
Jarrettsville, MD • Approx 100 miles from Dulles Airport

Plan a day of excitement, activity, and exploration at Rocks State Park! Among the 855 acres of scenic forests, preserved structural remains, and trails, visitors will also find Deer Creek! Perfect for wading, tubing, or fishing, Deer Creek is a wonderful and secluded spot to rest, relax, and enjoy nature in all its glory. Plus, guests looking to explore the natural beauty of Rocks State Park a little more will also find Falling Branch (Kilgore) Falls, approximately 5 miles north of the central park. Enjoy a picturesque hiking trail on your way to Maryland’s second-highest vertical drop waterfall!

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Elm’s Beach Park
Lexington Park, MD • Approx 100 miles from Dulles Airport

Spend the day at Elm’s Beach Park on the Chesapeake Bay, which boasts more than 500 feet of sandy shoreline great for swimming or fishing, and crabbing on the pier. The excellent water views will enhance your picnic or hiking experience — many trails and pavilion seating areas (for rent) with grills offer front-row views of the Bay. A playground and acres of open green space allow kids plenty of room to run around. A hanging area and parking are available on-site. The cost for out-of-county residents is $10 per car or $5 for St. Mary’s County residents.

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Point Lookout State Park
Scotland, MD • Approx 105 miles from Dulles Airport

Point Lookout State Park is a picturesque peninsula formed by the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River. Swimming, fishing, boating, and camping are just a few activities to enjoy in this beautiful bay setting! The sandy beach has a designated swimming area with lifeguards, grills, picnic tables, and a playground. Point Lookout State Park also offers a park store that provides snacks, ice cream, drinks, bait, ice, gasoline for boats, souvenirs, boating, picnicking, and camping supplies. Canoe rentals are also available! Plus, you can stop by the Civil War Museum/Marshland Nature Center!

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Elk Neck State Park
North East, MD • Approx 115 miles from Dulles Airport

Nature lovers will delight in all that Elk Neck State Park offers! Located on a peninsula, this almost 2,200-acre park has opportunities to connect with and enjoy nature! Marshlands, woods, cliffs, and beaches make for wonderful hiking, camping, fishing, boating, and swimming adventures! More than 12 miles of hiking trails for all skill levels make traveling the park fun for all! Visitors will want to visit Turkey Point Lighthouse at the southern tip of the peninsula and take in the beautiful view of the Chesapeake Bay.

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Rocky Gap State Park
Flintstone, MD • Approx 120 miles from Dulles Airport

Allegany County, MD, is home to Rocky Gap State Park, a beautiful destination offering a variety of activities and programs to visitors within its 3,000 acres! As one of Western Maryland’s most popular parks, Rocky Gap State Park is home to a picturesque hemlock forest, and visitors will delight in boating, fishing, and swimming in Lake Habeeb, which Evitt’s Mountain overlooks. Spend time hunting, hiking, or visiting the Nature Center to partake in some of the park’s interpretive activities and programs. Campers will enjoy lodging in one of the 14 mini cabins available on-site or enjoy being tucked away in the one-of-a-kind Easter Hill Chalet!

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Betterton Beach
Betterton, MD • Approx 125 miles from Dulles Airport

Betterton Beach is a 5-acre landscaped waterfront park with 300 feet of frontage for swimming and 700 feet of shoreline access. This family-oriented beach area includes a bathhouse with public restrooms, a boardwalk, lighting, handicap access, a fishing jetty, and a public pier. Be sure to bring a picnic and enjoy the pavilion located on a bay-view bluff!

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Sherando Lake
Lyndhurst, VA • Approx 135 miles from Dulles Airport

Sherando Lake, divided into upper and lower, offers many recreational opportunities for families. Lower Sherando is the largest lake, encompassing 25 acres of cool, spring-fed waters, and is available for swimming, fishing, or relaxing on the sand beach. Many hiking opportunities abound, including the Blue Loop Trail, the Lakeside Trail, and the Torry Ridge Trail that heads to Bald Knob. Weekend campfire programs are held at the amphitheater from Memorial Day through Labor Day and other seasonal events, including a kid’s fishing derby and Smokey the Bear’s Birthday Celebration!

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).

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Via Virginia.gov, check out these other Virginia State Parks that offer swimming, too:

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).


Via the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, check out these other Maryland State Parks that offer swimming, too:

Keep safety top-of-mind and swim at your own risk (many areas with shorelines and water access do not have lifeguards and are subject to tides, currents, and weather-related changes).


Disclaimer: Events/opportunities are curated from public sources and are subject to changes/cancelations that might not be reflected on DullesMoms.com.


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