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“Best kept secret around the D.C. area”

Colonial Beach, Virginia
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Best kept secret around the D.C. area”
Reviewed July 29, 2013

Colonial Beach has been a summer oasis for people living in the D.C. area since the late 1800s and it's a beautiful little town. This is the second longest beach in VA - and there is plenty of shade for those who don't want to sit in the sun, but plenty of sandy sunny beach for those who do. There are no lifeguards, but you can swim in the river, kayak, or fish. Check out the events on the Colonial Beach website. This is an old fashioned small town with lots of parades and other happenings. There is an active art community. Every second Friday of the month there is an art walk - year round. Start at Jarrett Thor Gallery at Taylor and Hawthorn Sts., at the Pottery By Hand on Hawthorn or at Visions By Shirl on Hawthorn. They will head you to other art locations. Drive around the water by going down Irving St. and then following the water around Monroe Bay. DO NOT come on July 4 and expect that this little town can handle crowds and provide you with every necessity. Come any other weekend - and plan to stay for awhile!

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank Judith M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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41 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Edison, New Jersey
Level 5 Contributor
96 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“The beach around the pier is the draw, the pier itself is Ok”
Reviewed July 21, 2013

I've never swam in the Potomac River; Colonial Beach was a good place to try it for the first time. Colonial Beach is a small, quaint town with several restaurants. The beach is nice with four trees along the concrete boardwalk. I just wish the people who visit would clean up after themselves better. The town provides bathrooms and outdoor showers along Wilder Street. No lifeguards, no fees.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Ray P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC
Level 6 Contributor
429 reviews
127 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 226 helpful votes
“Relaxed atmosphere. Great for families.”
Reviewed July 6, 2013

We took a day trip to Colonial Beach, intrigued by the idea of a beach that did not involve a drive across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge! This town is quite a little gem. Primarily residential, Colonial Beach does have a number of restaurants and shops, but the main attraction is the beach-- long stretches with sudden coves outlined at times by tall beach grasses, private docks stretching out into the water, and gulls who have taken up residence atop telephone poles and pier pilings. Parking is metered, and literally steps from the beach. However it is limited and residents and shop owners are serious about protecting their parking spaces. We lucked out and found a space that still had a little over an hour on the meter -- more than enough time to walk along the eastern shore and explore the western side as well. There is also free parking where you can find it on many side streets. Like many beach towns, Colonial Beach has an eclectic mix of architectural styles ranging from 1950s style bungalows to Victorians and many yards and porches sport an array of beachy kitsch. Though the temps were in the 90s and it was fourth of July weekend, the beaches were not overcrowded. Families bring tents and umbrellas and coolers filled with food and drink. There are some lovely shade trees up near the street, but if you go, it's best to bring your own shade. This beach has the feel of what beaches must have been like in earlier, simpler times. There is no boardwalk lined with shops selling everything from fries to beach wear. There is no amusement park although there are amusements. Mostly it's just quiet, with families and couples enjoying the sun, sand, and water. Really lovely. We checked out the accommodations and determined that for us, an overnight stay would not be a choice we'd make. I think if we had young kids we might stay over. But it's an easy ride back to Northern Virginia and we managed to do everything we wanted to in a one-day trip.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
5 Thank sailingboat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Two years ago we went”
Reviewed July 5, 2013

Colonial Beach was a wonderful experience! We enjoyed the cove like beaches, the paddle boats, and canoe. It was good to be able to play in the water, grill off to the side, and just lay back on the sand.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Stuart A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kutztown, Pennsylvania
Level 6 Contributor
1,955 reviews
1,077 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,911 helpful votes
“Nice free pier and beaches with laid back small town ambience”
Reviewed June 16, 2013

We were visiting the Northern Neck of Virginia for a few days and drove up to Colonial Beach for a day. It was a pleasant surprise because we had no idea that there where beaches on the Potomac River. This was a refreshing small town where you could park for free on the side streets near the pier, but there was metered parking on the street that runs by the beach.

The free wooden Municipal pier juts out into the river, has some benches and is good for fishing and bird watching. There are a number of osprey nests around the pier and beach A tour of the area also lets you see some interesting old homes along the riverfront. A very pleasant way to spend a day.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Pnemiller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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