Things to Do

Swimming Holes Near Washington

This weekend's gonna be a scorcher. Cool off at one of these six freshwater lakes—all within 100 miles of the city.

Take a break from the summer heat at one of the surrounding area's watering holes. Photograph courtesy of Lake Anna

Beaver Dam Swimming Club
10820 Beaver Dam Rd., Cockeysville, 410-785-2323
Distance from DC: 60 miles
Amenities: Splash into the four-acre quarry from a rope swing, an anchored raft, or a diving board. The quarry is deep—50 feet on average—and has a steep drop-off, but there are also two swimming pools. Dry off on the beach, then find a picnic spot under a tree. Snack bars and locker rooms are also available. No pets or alcohol is allowed.
Price: $10 to $17.

Cascade Lake Water Park
3000 Snydersburg Rd., Hampstead, 410-374-9111
Distance from DC: 65 miles
Amenities: Spot blue herons and listen to frogs at this six-acre lake in a wooded setting. During summer, squeals fill the air as kids zip down a 150-foot water slide, jump from a high platform, or play in the splash park. You can also fish (catch and release; no permit needed) or tool around in a paddleboat.
Price: $6 to $12.

Greenbrier Lake at Greenbrier State Park
21843 National Pike, Boonsboro, 1-800-830-3974
Distance from DC: 65 miles
Amenities: In the Catoctin Mountains just off the Appalachian Trail, this 42-acre lake has a nice beach and rowboats and paddleboats for rent. Because of the elevation, the air is cooler here than in Washington. The lake is stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, and trout (Maryland fishing license required).
Price: $3 to $5 for Maryland residents; $4 to $6 for out-of-state residents

Hunting Creek Lake at Cunningham Falls
14039 Catoctin Hollow Rd., Thurmont, 1-800-830-3974
Distance from DC: 65 miles
Amenities: Enjoy a peaceful forest setting at this 44-acre lake in the Catoctin Mountains. You can swim in three roped areas or rent a canoe or rowboat. An easy half-mile hike brings you to a 78-foot waterfall; there’s also a various trails great views. Fishing—trout, bass, bluegill, and more—is allowed with a license.
Price: $3 to $5 for Maryland residents; $4 to $6 for out-of-state residents

Lake Anna
The park lies adjacent to Route 601 off Route 208, 1-800-933-7275
Distance from DC: 75 to 80 miles
Amenities: This 13,000-acre lake is one of Virginia’s largest. Swimming is permitted in a small area tended by lifeguards. There’s a beach, 15 miles of hiking trails, and a fishing pond for kids (adults with permits can catch largemouth bass, crappie, and bream in the lake). Plus, there are a bunch of cabins if you should choose to stay overnight.
Price: Swimming fees $2 to $8. Click here for the entire list of prices.

Milford Mill Park and Swim Club
3900 Milford Mill Rd., Windsor Mill, 410-655-4818
Distance from DC: 40 miles
Amenities: Splash into a quarry via two zip lines, two rope swings, and a diving board. Swim test required. There’s also a sandy beach with a wading area. The park also has two swimming pools. The gate closes everyday at 5 PM, although the park is open until 7 PM.
Price: Any child under the age of 3 is $2; 3- to 11-year-olds are $6 on weekdays and  $7 on weekends; 12 years and older are $11 on weekdays and $13 on weekends

Note: This list is an updated version of a 2008 article. Click here to view the original

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