As the sizzling summer sun continues to shine, we’re all eagerly seeking refuge from the heat. But not everyone has time to drive the three plus hours to the Ocean City shoreline and luckily, we’re spoiled for choice with swimming holes, beaches and waterparks right in our own backyard! Washington Parent has compiled a list of 8 spots across Maryland and Virginia where you can cool off and have fun this summer. Pack the swimsuits, hop in the car and indulge in a day of splashing, swimming, and soaking up the sun with the whole family.
As Gunpowder’s premier day-use park, the Hammerman Area features a 1,500 feet beach and swimming area on the banks of the Gunpowder River. Food concessions, picnic pavilions and tables, playgrounds, canoe/kayak rentals, fishing and short hiking trails round out your park experience. Plus, the swimming beach, beach bathhouse and day-use pavilions are accessible for all. When you get tired of the water sports, their target practice archery range is open year round. For more information, visit their website.
- Address: 7200 Graces Quarters Rd, Middle River, MD 21220
Sandy Point State Park
Situated at the western end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, Sandy Point State Park is the closest beach to D.C. It’s a popular swimming hole for DMV residents, boasting over a million visitors each year. In addition to swimming, your family can hike the nearby Corcoran Woods forest preserve with its four miles of trails. For more information, visit their website.
- Address: Sandy Point State Park, 1100 East College Parkway, Annapolis, Md. 21409
Beaver Dam Swimming Club
Beaver Dam Swimming Club, located in Cockeysville, Maryland, covers about 30 acres. The swimming club is best known for their 40-foot-deep flooded marble quarry that has been used as a swimming hole since the 1930s. Spend a fun-filled day swinging from their rope swing, swimming in either one of their two pools of up to 5′ deep or (for strong swimmers) take a dive into the quarry. After swimming, enjoy some volleyball on one of their sand volleyball courts and cool down with a cookout at one of their shaded areas with grills. For more information, visit their website
- Address: Beaver Dam Rd, Cockeysville, MD 21030
SplashPark and Mini-Golf
At the South Germantown Recreational Park is a combination water park and mini-golf course that is perfect for a summer day trip with the kids. Cool off in a 280-jet water maze, a flooded cave with a waterfall, water bucket drops, slides and spraying animals. Across from the water park is an 18-hole mini-golf course for when you and the kids are ready to dry off. Open everyday 10am – 6pm. For more information, visit their website.
- Address: 18056 Central Park Circle; Boyds, MD 20841. montgomeryparks.org/parks-and-trails/
Patapsco Valley State Park
This park is best known for its beautiful hiking trails and thirty two miles of Patapsco River, most of which swimming is allowed. Swimming is prohibited in their dams and whitewater rapids but everywhere else you can feel free to saunter into the water. A perfect way to cool off after traipsing the miles of trails and 16,000 acres along the river—including paved pathways, mountain-biking trails, and multi-use footpaths. For more information, visit their website.
- Address: 8020 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, MD
Leesylvania State Park
Nestled along the tidal shores of the historic Potomac River is a peaceful beach just an hour from the D.C. center, Leesylvania State Park. On the National Register of Historic Landmarks, you can find hiking spots, picnic locations, fishing piers and miles of pristine sand. Swimming, boating, kayaking and sailing are popular here all summer long. For more information, visit their website.
- Address: 2001 Daniel K Ludwig Dr, Woodbridge, VA 22191
The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole
Blast to the past at this western-themed water park. The main activity pool is surrounded by a 725-foot lazy river dubbed the Rattlesnake River. The Water Mine’s centerpiece is Pete’s Peak, a jagged mountain scattered with boarded up tunnels and mine shafts. On the Peak, you’ll find three different water slides, including the 3-story Prospector’s Plummet. The little ones in tow will love Tenderfoot Pond with its toddler-sized pond and gentle bubbles. Open daily from 11am – 6pm. For more information, visit their website.
- Address: 1400 Lake Fairfax Drive; Reston, VA 20190
Atlantis Waterpark, located at Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville, Va., is your next destination for H2O-themed excitement this summer. Cool down with waterslides, pools and a 500-gallon dumping bucket, and refuel at the snack bar and sundeck. Also featuring a baby pool and sand play area for your little adventurers. For ticket prices and more information, visit their website.
Address: 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville, Va. 20121