Road Trip! 10 Places to Cool Off Within 100 Miles of DC

Summer's swelter isn't letting up! Whether you're looking for the best local water parks or want to get out in nature, read on for our picks on the top 10 places to cool off within 100 miles of D.C.

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The water adventures at Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags America (13710 Central Ave., Upper Marlboro, Maryland) range from beginner-friendly to... intimidating. Case in point: On the 132-foot funnel known as the Tornado, all you have to cling to is a four-person raft! (Good luck not screaming). You'll also find a huge variety of slides, a water park version of a half-pipe, a lazy river and a "beach." DISTANCE: 16 miles from downtown D.C.
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Looking for outdoor adventures? Take a quick drive to the Harpers Ferry area, where you can enjoy a variety of expeditions with Harpers Ferry Adventure Center or River & Trail Outfitters, including rafting, tubing, canoeing or kayaking. Each river trip is led by trained guides. DISTANCE: 68 miles from downtown D.C.
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Have you tried stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) yet? It's a challenging but fun combination of canoeing, kayaking and surfing, and it comes with the chance to build your balance skills, too. At Black Dog Paddle, which has locations in Richmond, Charlottesville, Fredericksburg and more, you can enjoy a scenic river paddle while getting a pretty good workout as well. Call 804-57-STAND to check on dates, times and rates. DISTANCE: A bit further away than we'd promised -- roughly 125 miles from downtown D.C., depending on the location you pick. If you need closer-in SUP'ing, try the Key Bridge Boathouse.
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SplashDown
SplashDown Waterpark (7500 Ben Lomond Park Drive, Manassas, Virginia) is home to a 770-foot lazy river, a sand beach, a lily pad and log walk, two fast cannonball slides, two four-story slides and more. DISTANCE: 35 miles from downtown D.C.
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Cameron Run
When was the last time you bodysurfed on a massive wave? If "never" was your answer, the Great Waves Waterpark at Cameron Run Regional Park (4001 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria, Virginia) may be the place to go. You'll also find speed slides, a wave pool, batting cages, fishing, miniature golf and a kids' zone. DISTANCE: 15 miles from downtown D.C.
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Megan McGrath, NBC4
Enjoy a refreshing sea breeze not far from home at Chesapeake Beach (Maryland's western shore). Stroll the the boardwalk, enjoy the beach or check out the Chesapeake Beach Water Park. At the end of your day, stop by a roadside market for fresh fruits and veggies on the way home. DISTANCE: 35 miles from downtown D.C.
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Soak City at Kings Dominion (16000 Theme Park Way, Doswell, Virginia) is a great option for a day or weekend trip when it's way too hot to hit the coasters. You'll find more than a dozen water activities, including a wave pool, slides, and a massive water playground that's still fun when you're a grownup. DISTANCE: 75 miles from downtown D.C.
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Bohrer Park
Bohrer Park (512 S. Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg, Maryland) offers a variety of slides -- including one that's an impressive 250 feet long -- and a main pool with activity areas. The kids' area offers plenty of shallow-water fun and a "raindrop" water umbrella. DISTANCE: 28 miles from downtown D.C.
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Want to skip the water parks? Go canoeing, tubing or kayaking with Shenandoah River Outfitters instead, and stay cool in a (mostly) shaded setting in Luray, Virginia, which offers campgrounds and cabin rentals if you'd like to spend a weekend away. DISTANCE: 100 miles from downtown D.C.
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When is a five-hour hike in the summer OK? When there's plenty of waterfalls and natural pools to cool you off. Get your workout in at White Oak Canyon and Cedar Run (Etlan, Virginia). See a PDF map from the National Park Service here. DISTANCE: 90 miles from downtown D.C.
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Didn't see your fave spot listed? Look for it in our other galleries:
n• Top 10 Beaches
n• 10 Places to Swim If You Want to Avoid Bay Bridge Traffic
n• Top 10 Day Trips
n• Top 10 Virginia Getaways
n• Top 10 Maryland Getaways
n• Top 10 Weekend Getaways
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