It’s summer time, which means it’s 95 degrees outside and thousands upon thousands of tourists are descending on Washington D.C. every day.
So what can you do to escape the heat and the crowds? What else but go to the beach? All the area beaches can get pretty full this time of year especially on long weekends but crowds on a beach are better than crowds on the blue line.
The most popular beaches around DC are Virginia Beach and Ocean City. Virginia Beach is about four hours away and a great place to relax and get a nice tan for a few days. You can usually get a decent hotel room for less than $100 if you book early enough. While you’re not enjoying the sandy beach at Ocean City, you can spend hours on the boardwalk enjoying ice cream and street performers. There’s always something going on at the boardwalk, day or night. If you want to experience the outdoors without getting sandy and waterlogged, you can go golfing, hiking, or kayaking on the Chesapeake Bay.
If roller coasters are more your idea of a fun summer getaway, Six Flags America is just 40 minutes away in Upper Marlboro, MD. And because it’s the summer and everyone wants to splash around, Hurricane Harbor is open from May until September, so bring a swimsuit. If you’re just in it for the rides, you’ll enjoy the coasters and other rides in the park’s themed areas like Gotham City and Looney Tunes Movie Town.
Another theme park option is Kings Dominion in VA, which is slightly farther than Six Flags but just as thrilling. Their own water park within a theme park, WaterWorks is also open all summer. It might be a longer drive but it’s definitely worth experiencing some of the fiercest roller coasters in the Mid-Atlantic, like the Intimidator 305. But if you’re looking to save money and time, Six Flags is the way to go. You can usually get a discount on the regular price for tickets purchased online.
If you’re in the mood for something a little less hectic, you can have a nice time up in McLean, VA at Great Falls Park. There’s only a small $3 fee, or $5 if you’re driving, to see the Potomac River crashing through the park. There are many hiking trails, which you can walk, bike, or horseback ride (but you must bring your own horse). The falls are also a good place to fish or boat, though you must have a fishing license. If you don’t want the excitement of whitewater boating, you can just bring some hot dogs and burgers and fire up the grills.
So go enjoy a weekend off. The traffic in Georgetown and mobs of people filing into the downtown Metro stations will be there when you get back.