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Where to Find a More Affordable Waterfront Home Near DC

3 lesser-known Mid-Atlantic spots where a waterfront home can cost less.

Photograph of waterfront homes courtesy of Michelle Zografos Realtor and Nina Galvez of Wander Homes of Compass, By Chris Mitchell Photography.

When you think of “waterfront home” within driving distance of DC, a number of locations spring to mind—Rehoboth Beach, Lake Anna, and the Potomac River, to name a few. We went looking for waterfront property in unexpected spots—specifically, places that offer much the same as well-known locales but at more reasonable prices. These areas still aren’t cheap, because you’re always going to pay a premium for water access, but their under-the-radar status could make them right for your budget.



Photograph of house on the water by Campos Media.

This town near Chincoteague, on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, abuts the Maryland border and is about a three-hour drive from DC. “It’s very rural around here,” says Meghan Oliver Clarkson, a real-estate agent with Long & Foster. Although it doesn’t have a beach, Greenbackville attracts boaters and fishermen.

One side of the town is a seaside fishing village with older homes, while the other is a development called Captain’s Cove, with waterfront and inland houses. Captain’s Cove boasts a marina, a clubhouse, a golf course, a restaurant, three swimming pools (one indoor, two outdoor), a fishing and crabbing pier, a boat ramp, and four pickleball courts. Clarkson recently listed a four-bedroom, three-bathroom waterfront house built in 2021 for $599,000. “Prices have seen an increase,” she says, “but it’s still super, super affordable.”


North Beach

Photograph of interior courtesy of Michelle Zografos Realtor and Nina Galvez of Wander Homes of Compass, By Chris Mitchell Photography.

Interested in a beach but not in driving across the Bay Bridge? This quaint Maryland village on the western shore of the Chesapeake has a boardwalk, boat slips, and fishing. Plus, says Jen Holden, an agent with Compass, cute restaurants and water activities.

Condos are around $400,000, while detached houses can run from just under $1 million to $1.5 million. Holden says that when clients come to her saying they don’t have a $2 million budget but would like something on the water, she tells them to look at the communities south of Annapolis—not just North Beach but also Chesapeake Beach, Deale, Shady Side, and Galesville. “Because it’s just as convenient, if not a little bit more,” she says.


Little Hunting Creek

Photograph of Little Hunting Creek by Rebecca McCullough.

This nearly four-mile-long tidal tributary of the Potomac River in Fairfax County shouldn’t be confused with Hunting Creek, farther north. Little Hunting Creek, not far from Mount Vernon, has water deep enough to accommodate decent-size boats. “Forty-footers, for sure,” says Rebecca McCullough, an agent with McEnearney Associates. “You can get right out to the Potomac.”

Boating, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing are popular on the creek. Stratford Landing is on the east side, Wessynton and Riverside Estates on the west. McCullough, who lives in Stratford Landing, says the east has spectacular sunsets. Houses run $1 mil­lion to $3 million, well below nearby homes on the Potomac.

This article appears in the June 2024 issue of Washingtonian.

Kathy Orton
Home & Real Estate Editor