Rivers and Lakes Near Washington, D.C.

7 Rivers and Lakes Near Washington, D.C.

Written by Boatsetter Team
September 12, 2022

Washington, D.C. is not only important because it is our nation’s capital but also because of its unique system of rivers and lakes. Boating, fishing, and appreciating the natural scenery are a big part of the lifestyle. Read on to see some of the best rivers and lakes near Washington, D.C., and the things you can do there.

  1. Potomac River
  2. Anacostia River
  3. Lake Anna
  4. The Chesapeake Bay
  5. Rock Creek
  6. Patuxent River
  7. Shenandoah River

Read the entire post to catch additional Pro Boatsetter Tips!

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1. Potomac River

Potomac River, Washington, D.C.

The Potomac River is located west of Washington, D.C. This windy river, which is hugged by colorful trees, offers boaters a scenic trip. Popular water activities include fishing, day cruising, and swimming (in appropriate areas). There are also several beaches along this 652,000 miles long river.

  • Dockage: James Creek Marinas, The Wharf Marina, City of Alexandria Marina
  • Fish stock: blue catfish, largemouth bass, and striped bass
  • Boat ramps: Gravelly Point Boat Ramp, Anacostia Park Boat Ramp, Farmington Landing

2. Anacostia River

Anacostia River, Washington, D.C.

The Anacostia River is located in the southeast area of Washington, D.C. The Anacostia River is 8.7 miles long and connects to the Potomac River. This river is popular for fishing, crabbing, and kayaking! Many public parks along the Anacostia River include Anacostia Park, Kenilworth Park, and Kingman Island.

  • Dockage: Washington Yacht Club, The Yards Marina, Seafarers Yacht Club
  • Fish stock: blue catfish, channel catfish, and largemouth bass
  • Boat ramps: Anacostia Park Boat Ramp

3. Lake Anna

Lake Anna, Near Washington, D.C.

Lake Anna is an artificial lake that was created in 1971. The lake is located in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, about an hour from Washington, D.C. Lake Anna is popular for swimming, boating, fishing, and camping. There are also many hiking trails and picnic areas around the lake.

  • Dockage: James Creek Marinas, The Wharf Marina, City of Alexandria Marina
  • Fish stock: blue catfish, largemouth bass, and striped bass
  • Boat ramps: Gravelly Point Boat Ramp, Anacostia Park Boat Ramp, Farmington Landing

4. The Chesapeake Bay

The Chesapeake Bay, Near Washington, D.C.

The Chesapeake Bay is located east of Washington, D.C. The Chesapeake Bay is about 200 miles long. Activities to do here are fishing, crabbing, cruising, and swimming. There are also public beaches along this 200-mile-long bay.

Here’s a Pro Destination Tip: Watch wild horses gallivant at Assateague Island National Seashore, Chesapeake Bay. This destination is known for being the home of the Assateague’s wild horses.

  • Dockage: Harbour Cove Marina, Rockhold Creek Marina, Herrington Harbour Marina
  • Fish stock: striped bass, cobia, and red drum
  • Boat ramps: (Gordon Stinnett) Boat Ramp, Galeville Wharf, Jacksons Landing

Explore Boat Rentals in Chesapeake, VA

5. Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C.

Rock Creek is a stream that flows through Washington, D.C. Rock Creek is 2.8 miles long and great for fishing, hiking, and biking. Many public parks along Rock Creek are perfect for a day in the outdoors. Parks to visit are Meridian Hill Park and Rock Creek Park.

Sailboats and rowboats such as kayaks and canoes are best suited for Rock Creek’s waters. See the map provided by the park for boat ramp locations.

6. Patuxent River

Patuxent River, Near Washington, D.C.

Patuxent River is located south of Washington, D.C., and is an excellent spot for kayaking and canoeing. The river is also home to many species of fish, making it a popular place for fishing.

Patuxent River State Park spans more than 6,2000 acres and is partially a state wildland area. In the park, there is a catch-and-release trout stream. There are also equestrian trails. Nearby, the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum is also worth a visit. The museum offers tours, flight simulators, and more.

  • Dockage: Lower Marlboro Wharf, King’s Landing Park, Len’s Marina
  • Fish stock: striped bass, blue catfish, and channel catfish
  • Boat ramps: Clyde Watson Boating Area, Shelby Landing, Jacksons Landing

Like what you’re reading so far? Learn more about Patuxent River.

7. Shenandoah River

Shenandoah River, Near Washington, D.C.

The best way to get to this river is through the Shenandoah River State Park, where you’ll have other activities such as hiking, biking, and sightseeing to do. The Shenandoah River flows through the Shenandoah Valley; visitors may go fishing or rafting. There are no designated swimming areas here, but wading and floating are allowed here! The Shenandoah River, which stays just a few hours from Washington, D.C., is an excellent option for a weekend getaway.

Here’s a Pro Destination Tip: See waterfalls at the Shenandoah River State Park, as well as animals like deer and songbirds.

  • Dockage: N/A
  • Fish trap location: near Shelter 3 (suitable for wade fishing)
  • Boat ramps: Shenandoah River State Park

Discover boating destinations like Washington, D.C., at Boating Guides & Resources!

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