Most people don’t think of Ohio when they want to go to the beach, which isn’t surprising. However, Buckeye State has some surprises for people from the Midwest who want to relax on the sand but don’t have time to go to a more tropical place.
Ocean City, Maryland, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Virginia Beach, Virginia have the closest ocean beaches to Ohio. Even though these are the best places for Ohioans to drive to for beach vacations in the summer, they are still 9 to 10 hours away by car.
Some of the most popular beaches in Ohio are along the 312 miles of Lake Erie shoreline on the northern border of the state.
These beaches are great for water sports, leisure boating, and getting some vitamin D. You can even take a short ferry ride from Sandusky to Kelleys Island for a real island beach vacation in the Midwest.
Many Ohioans and people from nearby states, like Pennsylvania and Michigan, go to the Lake Erie area for the beaches.
However, almost all of the 75 Ohio State Parks have public beaches. Even though there are no ocean waves in Ohio, there are plenty of safe, clean freshwater beaches where you can spend a day in the sun.
With our list of the best beaches in Ohio, you can find the best places to visit by the water.
- 18. Headlands Beach
- 17. Alum Creek
- 16. Atwood Lake Park Beach
- 15. Catawba Island State Park
- 14. Geneva State Park Beach
- 13. Old Field Beach
- 12. Kelleys Island State Park Beach
- 11. Huntington Beach
- 10. Burr Oak Lake
- 9. Maumee Bay State Park Beach
- 8. Euclid Beach
- 7. Nickel Plate Beach
- 6. Cedar Point Beach
- 5. Salt Fork
- 4. East Harbor State Park Beach
- 3. Turkey Creek Lake
- 2. Conneaut Township Park Beach
- 1. Edgewater Beach
18. Headlands Beach
Headlands Beach State Park in Mentor has the biggest natural sand beach in Ohio, which makes it one of the most popular.
It is a mile long and is the state’s largest natural beach. You’ll think you’re somewhere along the Atlantic Coast because of the unique plants that grow on the beach.
As it is right next to the Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve, the landscape is one of the most beautiful in the state.
The beach stays in great shape because there are many amenities for visitors, such as trash cans, several restrooms, and designated picnic areas.
Headlands Beach is only a few miles from all of Cleveland’s attractions, so you can spend a whole weekend there.
Quail Hollow Resort is one of the best places to stay because you can eat there and see some of the sights in the area.
Address: 9601 Headlands Road, Mentor, Ohio
17. Alum Creek
Alum Creek is the most popular public beach in central Ohio and has the largest inland beach in the Ohio state park system.
It is popular with families in the summer because it has a 3,000-foot beachfront, on-site amenities, and is close to other outdoor activities.
There are places to swim, beach volleyball courts, picnic tables, and people selling food. There are showers and places to change in the bathhouse.
Alum Creek is only a few miles from Delaware and north Columbus, where there are many places to stay, like the Hilton Columbus/Polaris or the suites at Homewood Suites by Hilton Columbus/Polaris. There are a lot of nearby places to eat if you get hungry after the beach.
Address: 3305 S. Old State Road, Delaware, Ohio
16. Atwood Lake Park Beach
As part of a beautiful privately owned park on Atwood Lake, visitors can relax on the wide, sandy beach, swim, and play with several water inflatables.
There is a snack bar, vending machines, and changing rooms with showers.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the beach is open until 7 p.m. every day. There is a daily fee that gives you access to the beach, trails, picnic areas, and activities.
Daily admission costs $5 per person or $10 for two or more people.
Address: 9500 Lakeview Rd. NE, Mineral City, OH 44656
15. Catawba Island State Park
Catawba Island State Park is one of five parks on islands in Lake Erie. It is a small, quiet place where you can fish, go boating, and watch the beach on Lake Erie.
The park has a large cobblestone beach area where people can relax and wade in the water. The beach is also used to launch kayaks and canoes.
There are four free boat launch ramps and a fishing pier, as well as two large covered picnic areas.
Address: 4049 E. Moore’s Dock Rd., Port Clinton, OH 43452
14. Geneva State Park Beach
On the shores of Lake Erie, the sandy beach at Geneva State Park in northeast Ohio is one of the best places to go on vacation.
The beach is beautiful and good for kids and pets. There are picnic pavilions where you can eat lunch in the shade. There are hiking trails nearby, as well as a place where fishing charters leave.
In this old-school beach town, the Geneva-on-the-Lake beach in the state park is close to the other tourist spots along the main one-mile tourist area. The village of Geneva-on-the-Lake looks like it hasn’t changed much in the last 60 years.
Most of the places to stay near the beach are vacation rentals, but there are also the Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake, chain hotels in Ashtabula, and unique places to stay like the Steele Mansion Inn & Gathering Hub in nearby Painesville.
Eddie’s Grill is the place to go for a hot dog and fresh-squeezed lemonade after a day at the beach.
Address: 4499 Padanarum Road, Geneva, Ohio
13. Old Field Beach
Old Field Beach at Indian Lake is one of the best Ohio beaches for a quick trip. At Indian Lake, there are two beaches that are open to the public.
Old Field Beach is the most popular. The beach is nice and clean. There is a lot of space on the sandy beachfront, and there are modern amenities like picnic shelters and bathrooms.
The swimming areas are close to where boats and jet skis dock, so boaters and jet skiers who want to swim can stop by. If you don’t stay in one of the cabins at Indian Lake State Park’s campground, the only modern places to stay nearby are chain hotels like the Comfort Inn in Bellefontaine.
With the beach’s amenities and nearby restaurants, it’s easy to spend a whole day on the sand and watch the sunset over the lake or go to one of the summer concerts. Oldfield Beach is one of the closest beaches to Cincinnati and is only an hour away from Columbus.
Address: 13156 State Route 235 N., Lakeview, Ohio
12. Kelleys Island State Park Beach
One of the most popular beaches on Lake Erie is Kelleys Island State Park Beach. Even though it only has a 100-foot stretch of sand, it is one of the cleanest and most beautiful places to spend the day by the water. It gets a lot of visitors because of its unique limestone landscape and the nature preserves that surround it.
This beach is great for kids because the water depth is gradual, and you can rent kayaks to make it easy to spend the whole day on the sand.
On the Lake Erie shores, this is one of the best places to look for beach glass. There are a few places to stay on Kelleys Island, like the yurts at the campground, but not many.
The Bay Lodging Resort on South Bass Island is a better place to stay because it is close to all of Put-in-attractions. Bay’s You can also stay on the mainland in Sandusky and take the Jet Express ferry to Kelleys Island for the day.
Address: 920 N. Division Street, Kelleys Island, Ohio
11. Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach in Bay Village, near Cleveland, is one of the best beaches in northern Ohio. The beach is in the Cleveland Metroparks, which is part of the Huntington Reservation. On the shore of Lake Erie, the park has a public beach where people can swim.
The beach has changing rooms, bathrooms, grills, and picnic tables so that people can eat in the park. There is also a stand with food and drinks.
On-site, you can rent a cabana for the day or beach chairs for the day. There are also nice walking and hiking trails in the park next to the beach.
Address: 28649 Lake Road, Bay Village, Ohio
10. Burr Oak Lake
Burr Oak Lake is a man-made lake in Glouster, Ohio, with a small public beach on its inland side. It is a hidden gem that is great for swimming. In the Burr Oak State Park, there is a 500-foot sand beach surrounded by trees and waterfowl.
The beach is clean and quiet, and it’s a great place for nature lovers to watch Ohio’s colourful trees, migrating birds, and even a bald eagle every once in a while.
The lake is a popular place for boating and kayaking, and the beach has public facilities and sand volleyball courts. If you stay at the Burr Oak Lodge in the park, you can hike along the trails along the water.
Address: 10220 Burr Oak Lodge Road, Glouster, Ohio
9. Maumee Bay State Park Beach
There are two public beaches at Maumee Bay State Park. They are close to the Maumee Bay Lodge & Conference Center and other park activities.
On the shores of Lake Erie, there is one beach with great places to swim and places to use the bathroom and shower.
The other beach is an inland beach, which is great for families and kids who want to spend a day by the water without worrying about the weather changing on the open lake. There are bathrooms and showers close by.
To make your beach day last longer, you can hike on one of the many trails in the state park or have a picnic at one of the tables or grills near the beaches.
Address: 1400 State Park Rd, Oregon, Ohio
8. Euclid Beach
Many Ohioans know Euclid Beach, which is near Cleveland, because of Euclid Beach Live, a series of concerts held along the water and pier every summer.
Before it became popular, the beach was part of the historic Euclid Beach Amusement Park, which closed in 1969.
Beautiful views of Lake Erie can be seen from Euclid Beach, which is also a nostalgic place to spend a beach vacation.
The 650-foot public beach in northern Ohio is a nice place to spend a day. There are picnic areas and a pier near the water, which is a nice place to watch the sun go down.
Address: 850 Euclid Creek Parkway, Euclid, Ohio
7. Nickel Plate Beach
Nickel Plate Beach is one of the largest public swimming beaches in the Huron area of northern Ohio. It is right next to the Huron River to the east.
The 12-acre beach has soft sand, volleyball courts, playground equipment, and great water for swimming.
Pack a lunch to eat at the picnic shelter and tables, or bring hamburgers to cook on the grills that are already there.
If you want to use the outdoor ping-pong tables or cornhole boards, bring your own bean bags or ping-pong paddles and balls.
The person at the gate can also rent out paddles and balls. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, you can rent kayaks, paddleboards, and other beach gear.
This is a beach where pets are welcome, and you can see the Huron Lighthouse in the distance. There are many places to stay in nearby Huron, from bed and breakfasts to chains like the Comfort Inn River’s Edge.
Address: Nickel Plate Drive at Tiffin Avenue, Huron, Ohio
6. Cedar Point Beach
Cedar Point is mostly known for its thrilling, world-class roller coasters, but there is also a beach called Cedar Point Beach on the Lake Erie playground.
Even though the beach isn’t as popular as the roller coasters, it was one of Cedar Point’s first attractions more than 150 years ago.
Families can relax on the one-mile beachfront and enjoy the breeze from Lake Erie. They can also challenge other beachgoers to a game of sand volleyball on the spot.
You can swim in the water of Lake Erie, or you can rent a kayak or paddleboard from the boardwalk and enjoy the beach from there.
During the summer, there are beach parties at night with games, music, longer park hours, and fireworks.
The beach is only open to people with season or platinum passes to Cedar Point Amusement Park, Soak City waterpark, Cedar Point Resort, and guests of Cedar Point Resort.
Guests can stay at the Hotel Breakers at Cedar Point and walk to the beach, or they can stay at the Hampton Inn in Sandusky and just go to Cedar Point for the day.
Address: 1 Cedar Point Drive, Sandusky, Ohio
5. Salt Fork
Salt Fork State Park’s 2,500-foot-long inland beach is one of the largest in Ohio. It is in the southern part of the state.
Salt Fork is also Ohio’s biggest state park, so there is a lot to do there like hiking, fishing, and boating.
Even though the beach is very popular, it is not too crowded, and there are a number of places to swim.
At the beach, there is a bathhouse with bathrooms, showers, and lockers so you can get ready for and clean up after a day in the sun.
You can pack a lunch at one of the nearby picnic tables or grills, or you can get a bite to eat at the beach snack bar. The large Salt Fork Lodge makes staying in the state park easy and comfortable.
Address: 14755 Cadiz Road, Lore City, Ohio
4. East Harbor State Park Beach
A lot of people go to the beach in East Harbor State Park, which is on Lake Erie near Marblehead. Every year, thousands of families and beachgoers come to the 1,500-foot sandy beach. There are bathhouses with showers and changing rooms at the beach.
Near the beach, there are picnic areas with great views of the water and the marshlands that are only in this part of Lake Erie. You can spend some time in the shade looking for waterfowl that come to this area because of the way it looks.
People who come here often stay at the campgrounds or at the Island House Hotel, which is close by in Port Clinton.
They then drive to the beach for the day. You should bring your tennis shoes to East Harbor State Park to check out the hiking trails, naturalist programmes, and the Marblehead Lighthouse, which is right next to the park to the east.
Address: 1169 N. Buck Road, Lakeside-Marblehead, Ohio
3. Turkey Creek Lake
Even though its name isn’t very tropical, Turkey Creek Lake is surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the state.
The lake is in the Shawnee State Park in southern Ohio, close to the Ohio River. It is a popular place to swim and boat.
Since the area is in the Appalachian foothills and far from big cities, it is best to stay at the Shawnee Lodge in the state park and enjoy the beach and other outdoor activities like hiking.
One of the two places to swim in the park is at Turkey Creek Lake, which has a beach with picnic areas.
Address: 4404 State Route 125, Portsmouth, Ohio
2. Conneaut Township Park Beach
In the very northeast corner of Ohio, you can swim in Lake Erie at the clean Conneaut Township Park Beach.
The sandy public beach has places to swim and play. If you bring your own lunch, there is a snack bar and picnic tables.
The park next to the beach has lots of fun things to do, like sand volleyball courts and horseshoe pits.
The shore of Lake Erie is pretty, and there are boardwalks and a gazebo near the beach where you can just relax and enjoy the breeze and nature.
Address: 480 Lake Road, Conneaut, Ohio
1. Edgewater Beach
Just minutes from downtown Cleveland, Edgewater Beach is located between the Memorial Shoreway and Lake Erie.
A part of Cleveland Metroparks, Edgewater Beach in lower Edgewater Park is massive 2,400-foot beach with 1,000 feet of swimming access.
The westernmost end of the beach is dog-friendly. The beach is perfect for a game of beach volleyball or long strolls along the water.
The views of downtown Cleveland are spectacular, especially at sunset. A range of concessions offer snacks and ice creams.
The beach provides kayaking access and the fishermen can find perch, walleye, steelhead, and smallmouth bass.
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