Escape DC with a Trip to the Beach

There is no doubt about it – I love living in Washington DC. I love the buildings, the people, the constant rush and thrill. It’s a wonderful place. But sometimes you just need a quick breather. That’s exactly what we took last Saturday. We decided to escape DC with a trip to the beach.

As it turns out, Sandy Point State Park is only a 45 minute drive from our house on the Hill. We know there are plenty other options, but we decided to give it a try. I didn’t read any of the Tripadvisor reviews until we were stuck in line to get in for an hour. You can check out the page I read here, but I’ve included two of my favorite reviews below:

  • “This beach is for everyone…Go there and chill all day, BBQ, play horseshoes, basketball, volleyball and enjoy the beach. The restrooms are not the best but there is always toilet tissue available. Be sure to take your grill and swimsuit and enjoy the day….BTW GET THERE EARLY”
  • “We were surprised by the huge crowds of people that literally set up camp… Grills – tents – hammocks – the place was like a squatter community…The closest I will ever get to Sandy point again will be the view from the bay bridge going to the real beaches in Maryland.”

Let me just say I really enjoyed our “escape DC” day. I had a lot of fun and came away refreshed. But both of these reviews are accurate – and Sandy Point State Park is one of the most bizarre beaches to which I’ve ever been.

escape dc

Here’s what I mean. When you finally get out of line (there’s a $7 entry fee for non-Maryland residents), there is a large beach area straight ahead. That’s where 60% of the action is. There are people of all sorts, crammed into a small area, each one with their pop-up tent or beach umbrella staking their claim of space. The view of the bay bridge is spectacular. But, since it’s so crowded, you decide to head around the point.

Walking around the point, there is no gradual shift from one microcosm to the next. There is just a small patch of sand reserved only for fishermen, and then there is another swimming beach. We felt like we had been transported to Latin America.

Spanish was the only language being spoken. There were huge crowds of Latin Americans from the water’s edge all the way back into the nearby woods. There were hammocks, giant gas grills, and enormous picnic tables as far as the eye could see. The atmosphere was pleasant – families spending the weekend together. We found a nice spot in the shade, set up our hammock, and napped/read.

escape dc

Our escape DC trip was a unique one. I can’t say that I disliked Sandy Point, nor can I say that it was the most enjoyable beach ever. The lessons I’m taking away from the trip are these:

  1. Always check Tripadvisor first
  2. Tripadvisor isn’t always right
  3. Escaping DC is a good thing.

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