Summer is all about sun, sand, and sea breezes. But as summer winds down and we start settling back into the routines of work, school, and daily life, we might not quite be ready to let go of those long, lazy beach days just yet. That’s why we’ve rounded up a bunch of places in the city, in the ‘burbs, and worth-the-drive destinations where you can get your beach on without the commitment of vacation time and travel.

In the City

Tortuga Caribbean Bar & Grille

Vibrant colors and chill vibes will lure you in. But you’ll stay for the rooftop – misting fans to keep you cool on those hot summer days and heated so your tropical cravings can be satisfied even when it’s cold out. There’s also a first-floor patio and indoor dining space, giving you ample options to relax and enjoy a tropical taste sensation and some delectable frozen drinks. The kids menu, or Little Mates, keeps the tropical vibes going with several seafood options but also features a couple of classic kid faves. Enjoy some island music along with your island bites and sips and the whole family can go home feeling like you just spent the day on an island beach.

Tortuga Caribbean Bar & Grille
514 8th Street SE,
Washington, DC 20003
202-507-8143
Online: tortugadc.com

Colada Shop

This isn’t your typical beach vibes, yet it still has that flair. With fluorescent pops of pink, yellow, and blue, it’s got a strong throwback vibe to Havana. Lots of outdoor seating, including a rooftop patio, allows you to soak up the sun while sipping a tropical delight – from cocktails to Cuban coffee, they’ve got your thirst quenched. While there’s no kids menu, there are many options on the menu that will be tongue-pleasers to any age, including the Colada Shop Cuban and Churros for dessert. Combine it all with some high energy from the staff and a blend of Panamanian, Puerto Rican, Columbian and Cuban music and it can feel like you’re traveling the Latin American beaches.

Colada Shop
1405 T St NW
Washington, DC 20009
202-931-4947
Online: coladashop.com

THROW Social

If your beach dreams include lounging in a cabana, THROW Social might be just the place for you. Reserve a cabana so the whole fam has a place to chill and relax while you also engage in games of football bowling and curling (with no ice!). Enjoy some yummy eats and drinks in this place that will remind you of your favorite Miami paradise! While there is no kids menu, there are definitely some kid-friendly tastes. Do take note that it is 21 and up after 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

THROW Social
1401 Okie St NE
Washington, DC 20001
(888) 847-6919
Online: throwsocial.com

 

In the ‘Burbs

MacDowell’s

It may not be Key West right in your backyard, but it’s a lot closer than the real deal! MacDowell’s brings a Florida vibe to Leesburg, with their warm sandy beach and tropical-themed menu. Toss in some live music, fire pits and tropical trees and you’ve got that beach feeling for days. While there is no dedicated kids menu, there is a dedicated “kid-zone” play pit filled with toys on the beach. Let the kids enjoy beach play for hours while you sip your favorite brew on tap and listen to some relaxing tropical tunes.

Insider tip: if you want to make a real vacation of it, they Airbnb the Palm House right behind the beach.

MacDowell’s
202 B Harrison Street, SE
Leesburg, Virginia 20175
703-777-2739
Online: macsbeach.com

Port-au-Prince Authentic Haitian Cuisine by Don Berto's Kitchen

Authentic Haitian cuisine is all that’s on the menu here and that means the chill beach vibe is matched by the food’s slow preparation. This is a great place to come with the kids if you really want to kick back and relax while enjoying some delicious island dishes and drinks. This is an ideal place if you’ve got adventurous kids when it comes to food, but even the less adventurous eaters can find something to satisfy their appetite, such as the macaroni and cheese, rice, or fried beef. Port-au-Prince doesn’t just take you on a culinary journey through Haiti’s culture, either. You’ll also go on an artistic journey as you view some of the most incredible original Haitian art. Immerse yourself and fall in love with the island of Haiti in this little piece of it right in DC.

Port-au-Prince
7912 Georgia avenue
Silver spring, MD 20910
301-565-2006
Online: paphaitiancuisine.com

Kentmorr Restaurant & Crab House

During the summer months, you can reserve a beach space on Kentmorr’s beach, but even after the season ends, you can come to Kentmorr Restaurant & Crab House to enjoy a beautiful beach vibe. Parents can enjoy some delicious seafood treats with adult drinks while the kiddos can order from the kids menu. It is a rather limited kids menu, but it does hit all the faves. Finish off the meal with a stroll along the docks or on the beach to extend the beach experience.

Kentmorr Restaurant & Crab House
910 Kentmorr Road
Stevensville, MD 21666
410-643-2263
Online: kentmorr.com

 

Worth the Drive

Bowleys On The Bay

View the drive to Bowleys On The Bay as a transition from reality to vacay fantasy. When you step onto the property, you’ll be instantly transported to a tropical oasis. Whether you opt for indoor dining in the dining room or bar, or outdoor dining on the tropically-themed patio or go full-beach with dining on the sand itself, you will have a beach experience that can only be matched by the beach itself. With a soundtrack including Steel Drum, Reggae, Salsa, and Latin Jazz backing the gentle breezes off the water and the slow sway of the palm trees, enjoy your seafood meal while watching the boats pass by. And in the winter months? Enjoy a bonfire on the beach or the holiday lights instead!

The kids menu is small but perfectly suited to their appetites. Bigger kids can also choose from a themed burger on the main menu if the kids menu doesn’t tempt them.

Bowleys On The Bay
800 Chester Road
Baltimore, MD 21220
410-335-8613
Online: bowleysonthebay.com

Dockside Restaurant & Tiki Bar

With boats, cars and other fun things that have been “beached” as your seating arrangements, Dockside offers a real beachside experience, especially the beach is right there with a stunning view. With great food, great service, and the great laidback atmosphere, this is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat and follow it up with a swim. With indoor and outdoor dining, this child and pet-friendly hangout is perfect for the whole family to get away from it all and enjoy a lazy day at the beach.

Dockside Restaurant & Tiki Bar
1787 Castlewood Dr
Colonial Beach, VA 22443
(804) 224-8726
Online: facebook.com

—Wendy Miller

featured photo: Thomas Lefebvre via Unsplash

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