Is Colonial Beach A Beach? The Answer May Surprise You

Is Colonial Beach A Beach? The Answer May Surprise You

by Esme Addison

Is Colonial Beach a beach? That’s a great question! I’ll admit that when I traveled to Colonial Beach… I thought that it was, you know – a beach.

It’s not.

I checked into my Airbnb and picked up a brochure left by the owner about the town and discovered that despite the name, Colonial Beach is actually a riverfront town.


Don’t be. Colonial Beach, located in the state of Virginia, is a small town that draws visitors from all over the country. Despite being called a “beach,” it is located on the Potomac River, which raises the question: why is it called a beach?

Discover Colonial Beach, Virginia: A Waterfront Town Full Of History

History Of Colonial Beach

Colonial Beach was founded in the late 1800s as a resort town. At the time, it was a popular destination for vacationers who were seeking a getaway from the heat of the city. The town’s founders saw the potential in the area and decided to develop it into a tourist destination. They built hotels, restaurants, and attractions, and even established a ferry service to transport visitors to and from the town.

So, was it a marketing ploy? Maybe.

Why Is It Called A Beach?

The reason why Colonial Beach is called a beach is due to its sandy shoreline. The town’s founders recognized the importance of having a waterfront that could compete with other popular beach destinations, so they brought in sand to create a beach-like environment. Over time, the sand has naturally accumulated along the shoreline, creating a stretch of sand that visitors can enjoy.

I walked to the river everyday of my stay. And everyday I felt like I was at the beach. When you’re on the water, you feel like you’re at the beach. The town has a laid back beachy feel and during a storm, the water rocked and rolled like any ocean I’ve ever seen.

I was actually quite surprised at how high the waves were.

Freshwater Or Saltwater?

The Potomac River is a saltwater river that flows into the Chesapeake Bay. Colonial Beach, however, is located upstream of where the Potomac River meets the bay, so the water is brackish, meaning it is a mix of freshwater and saltwater. The water is suitable for swimming and other water activities, and the town’s beach is regularly monitored to ensure its safety.

Ready To Relax? Seven Things To Do In Colonial Beach, VA

Interesting Facts

One interesting fact about Colonial Beach is that it was once home to a casino boat. The boat, named the Potomac Belle, was anchored just off the shore and was a popular destination for visitors looking to gamble and enjoy a night out on the water. The boat operated from the 1940s until the early 1960s when it was shut down by local authorities.

Another interesting fact is that Colonial Beach is the birthplace of the famous racehorse, Secretariat. The horse was born at Meadow Farm, which was located just a few miles outside of the town. Secretariat went on to become one of the greatest racehorses of all time, winning the Triple Crown in 1973.

Despite being located on a river, Colonial Beach has earned its reputation as a “beach” thanks to its sandy shoreline. The town’s history as a resort destination and its unique location on the Potomac River make it a popular destination for visitors looking to relax and unwind.

Whether you’re looking to swim, fish, or explore the town’s history, Colonial Beach has something for everyone. I can’t wait to return. I have a new cozy, riverfront small-town to visit.

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