Top Places For

Cooling Off During the Hot Summer Months

When the sweltering summer sun starts beating down on the Chesapeake region, there’s only one way to escape the heat: hit the beach!

The Chesapeake is home to lots of sandy spots where you can cool off, chill out, and enjoy summer by the shore. From North Point State Park near Baltimore to Kiptopeke State Park on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, you can find a beach near you for a fun adventure on the water.

Whether you prefer the salty surf of the open Bay or a quieter spot near the gentle waters of a river or a lake, the Chesapeake region is full of places where you can swim, paddle, and wade.

Splash in the Chesapeake Bay at popular swimming spots like Sandy Point State Park in Maryland or First Landing State Park in Virginia. For a more secluded dip in the water, try Calvert Cliffs in southern Maryland or Janes Island on the Eastern Shore.

You don’t have to go all the way to the Bay to take a swim. Check out riverside locations like Elk Neck State Park on the Elk River, Gloucester Point Beach Park on the York River, or Fort Boykin on the James River.

Don’t care for salt and surf? Not a problem! Head inland to lakeside destinations like Bald Eagle State Park in Pennsylvania, Greenbrier State Park in Maryland, or Holliday Lake in Virginia.

Even if you’re not much of a swimmer, you can still cool off by the water. Explore the Potomac River’s many islands by kayak or canoe from Riverbend Park. Or paddle through a swamp at Trap Pond State Park in Delaware.

So get your bathing suit on, pack up a towel and a picnic lunch, and head out to one of the top places for cooling off during the hot summer months.

Bald Eagle State Park

Bald Eagle State Park

The 5,900-acre Bald Eagle State Park is in the broad Bald Eagle Valley of northcentral Pennsylvania. The 1,730-acre lake laps the flanks of Bald Eagle Mountain, surrounded by forests, fields and wetlands.

Howard, PA

Cliffs at Calvert Cliffs State Park

Calvert Cliffs State Park

Calvert Cliffs State Park is a day-use park featuring a sandy beach, unique fossils, recycled tire playground, a freshwater and tidal marshland and 13 miles of hiking trails located in Calvert County.

Lusby, MD

Hikers at Elk Neck State Park

Elk Neck State Park

Elk Neck State Park boasts 2,188 acres of sandy beaches, marshlands, and heavily wooded bluffs within the peninsula formed by the North East River, Elk River, and the Chesapeake Bay.

North East, MD

Footbridge to Beach at First Landing State Park

First Landing State Park

First Landing State Park is located near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay close to the spot where Captain John Smith landed in 1607. First Landing is Virginia's most popular state park with over a million visitors each year.

Virginia Beach, VA

Fort Boykin

Fort Boykin

Fort Boykin has been a part of American history since 1623 when a fort known as the Castle was constructed to protect the Jamestown colonists from Native Americans and raiding Spaniards.

Isle of Wight, VA

Gloucester Point Beach Park

Gloucester Point Beach Park

Gloucester Point Beach Park is located on the bank of the York River near where it flows into the Chesapeake Bay. The park offers a large, shady, and grassy area with picnic areas and a shelter.

Gloucester Point, VA

Greenbrier State Park

Greenbrier State Park

Greenbrier is a multi-use park providing many kinds of recreation. The 42-acre man-made lake and beach draw many visitors who enjoy swimming, canoeing, hiking, picnicking, fishing and hunting.

Boonsboro, MD

Beach at Holliday Lake State Park

Holliday Lake State Park

Deep in the heart of Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest, Holliday Lake State Park is a paradise for the outdoor enthusiast.

Appomattox, VA

Kayaker at Janes Island State Park

Janes Island State Park

Janes Island State Park encompasses 2,900 acres of Chesapeake Bay marsh, beach, and highland. The park is dissected by many small waterways, with 30 miles of trails marked for canoes and kayaks.

Crisfield, MD

Sunrise at Kiptopeke State Park

Kiptopeke State Park

Kiptopeke State Park's location near the tip of the Chesapeake's Eastern Shore makes the park a prime location for bird-watching. Migrating birds congregate at this point on the Delmarva before moving on to breeding or wintering grounds.

Cape Charles, VA

North Point State Park

North Point State Park

North Point State Park is a 1,310-acre Bay-front park with more than six miles of shoreline along the Chesapeake Bay, Back River, and Shallow Creek. The park offers public access, a wading beach, and crabbing and fishing opportunities.

Edgemere, MD

Point Lookout State Park

Point Lookout State Park

Once a prison camp for 52,000 confederate soldiers during the Civil War, Point Lookout State Park now serves as a peaceful place to enjoy recreational outings.

Scotland, MD

Riverbend Park

Riverbend Park

Tucked away in a remote river setting, Riverbend Park has over 400 acres of forest, meadows, and ponds. Kayakers and canoeists can enjoy exploring many islands in the Potomac River.

Great Falls, VA

Rocky Point Beach and Park

Rocky Point Beach and Park

Located at the mouth of Back and Middle Rivers, Rocky Point Park features a 300' beach, a 20' x 30' beach front tent, a large and small pavilion, seven shaded picnic groves, fishing pier, two boat ramps, and a bathhouse with first aid station.

Essex, MD

View of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from Sandy Point State Park

Sandy Point State Park

Spectacular views, diverse wildlife and fantastic beaches make this park a popular Chesapeake destination. The 786 acre park provides a variety of recreational opportunities such as swimming, fishing, crabbing, boating, and windsurfing.

Annapolis, MD

Trap Pond State Park

Trap Pond State Park

Nationally known for its scenic bald cypress stands and the James Branch Nature Preserve, Trap Pond State Park oversees 2,685 acres of land that offer recreational opportunities to the public.

Laurel, DE

A sunset at Westmoreland State Park

Westmoreland State Park

The park extends about one and a half miles along the Potomac River and offers hiking, camping, cabins, fishing, boating and swimming. Visitors can enjoy the park's vacation cabins as well as spectacular views of the Potomac.

Montross, VA

July 3, 2017

Main image: Swimming at First Landing State Park near Virginia Beach (Image courtesy: Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation)
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