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Beaches within five hours of Washington, D.C.

I wrote this travel piece about beach destinations near Washington, D.C., for The Prince George’s Sentinel, a weekly newspaper covering Prince George’s County, Maryland in the Washington metropolitan area.

Celebrate summer’s end at the beach

By Erin Klema

It’s mid-August and the days of summer are dwindling away. Local students are headed back to school Monday, so it’s time for one last trip to the beach.

Day trip: Sandy Point State Park

Located less than 30 miles east on U.S. 50 from Prince George’s County, Sandy Point State Park offers beachgoers 786 acres to explore along the northwestern Chesapeake Bay.

Lifeguards patrol part of South Beach from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends and holidays through Labor Day.

Pack a picnic to share on the park’s grassy area. Visitors will find grills to use of a first-come, first-served basis and grilling supplies at the marina store. The store also carries supplies for boating, fishing and crabbing. It is open through mid-October.

Boaters have access to 22 launching ramps and six piers for temporary docking. Visitors wishing to kayak, canoe or wind surf will find a Small-craft Launch Area at the park’s south end. There is parking near the launch site, but it is limited.

It costs $5 per Maryland resident and $7 per non-resident for weekends through October. On weekdays, it’s a $4 admission for Maryland residents and $6 for non-residents through Labor Day.

Weekend getaway: Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Often considered a more relaxing beach getaway than Ocean City, Rehoboth Beach, Del., is less developed than the Maryland hotspot. But, it is still widely known for its beaches and wooden boardwalk.

Rehoboth Beach is such a popular mid-Atlantic vacation destination for suburban Washingtonians that it has been dubbed “The Nation’s Summer Capital.” And, getting to Rehoboth from Washington, D.C., got a little easier this summer. Beachgoers can take the luxury busline, DC2NY, from Dupont Circle or Union Station in the District to Rehoboth Beach or nearby Dewey Beach for less than $40 each way.

In Rehoboth Beach, visitors will find an eclectic variety of shops, amusements and recreational activities. For beer drinkers, it’s also home to Dogfish Head Brewing & Eats.

Long weekend: Outer Banks, N.C.

In less than five hours, Prince Georgians can drive 295 miles south on I-95 to North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

Adventurous beach vacationers can partake in kiteboarding, surfing, kayaking, wake boarding, jet skiing, parasailing and stand-up paddle boarding.

Naturalists can venture by off-road vehicle to undeveloped waterfronts and to see the wild horses run in Corolla, N.C.

With more than 100 miles of shoreline, Outer Banks visitors will find developed beaches with lifeguards, public bathrooms and paved parking lots and a natural, primitive seaside in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Read this story in The Prince George’s Sentinel.

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