When you think of beach vacations, Ohio might not be the first place that comes to mind. But, since this Midwestern state is home to one of the Great Lakes — Lake Erie — there are many beaches in Ohio to visit.
And those aren’t the only places to have great Ohio beach trips! We’ll break down all the best beaches to hit up during your next vacation.
Alum Creek State Park | Delaware
Alum Creek State Park is the largest inland beach located in Ohio’s state park system. This 3,000-foot beach offers a beautiful place to swim, sunbathe, and boat. There are many nearby coves to explore, as well as a campground, hiking trails, nature center, concession stand, and changing rooms.
Baylor Beach Park | Navarre
Baylor Beach Park is a family-owned property that has been in operation since 1954. It’s a full family resort on the lake, featuring campgrounds, family-friendly activities, and much more.
The 2-acre lake is the centerpiece, surrounded by sandy beaches. It includes a water park with waterslides, paddle boats, and other fun activities.
Beulah Beach | Vermilion
Beulah Beach is a Christian camp and retreat center on Lake Erie with cabins for rent and a lakeside beach. There are a number of activities, including Jet Ski and canoe rentals, a zip line, a rock wall, and much more. Alternatively, you can spend your time enjoying the sun and the sand!
Buck Creek State Park | Springfield
Buck Creek State Park is a full-service campground with a variety of options for lodging and amenities. The park includes a 2,400-foot sand beach along the CJ Brown Reservoir. The reservoir, a section of the Ohio River drainage basin, is open for swimming, fishing, boating, and other activities throughout the year.
Burr Oak State Park | Glouster
Part of Burr Oak State Park, Burr Oak Beach is located in Glouster. This stunning park offers the ultimate experience of Ohio wilderness, including hiking trails and forested land.
The 500-foot public beach includes a sand volleyball court, picnic area, and restrooms, as well as plenty of space for swimming and sunbathing.
Camp Perry | Port Clinton
Camp Perry is a private beach and campground in Port Clinton. The property includes cabins, cottages, and other lodging options, all providing access to the historic beach.
The sand beach includes a pier, a picnic area, and plenty of space to swim and fish. You must be staying at the camp to access the beach.
Catawba Island State Park | Port Clinton
Catawba Island State Park is one of Lake Erie’s five parks. It includes a cobblestone beach and is a popular spot for boating, fishing, and bird-watching. The surrounding scenery also makes it perfect for taking photos — though you’re welcome to enjoy the water and sun too.
Cedar Point Beach | Sandusky
Sandusky Ohio is famously known for its Cedar Point amusement park. But, the resort also includes Cedar Point Beach, a sand beach with restaurants, swimming, Jet Ski rentals, and other activities. The beach is only available for guests of the resort.
Columbia Park | Bay Village
Columbia Park is described by visitors as a hidden gem, and once you visit, you’ll understand why! This small park is technically a dog park, but it’s well worth exploring. It includes a breathtaking waterfall that empties right into Lake Erie. You’re likely to have the beach all to yourself!
Conneaut Township Park | Conneaut
Conneaut Township Park, self-styled as Northeast Ohio’s Best-Kept Secret, is a 60-acre park on the shores of Lake Erie. The park offers activities galore, but visitors are consistently drawn back thanks to stunning views of the surrounding bluffs and lake, making this one of the most beautiful beaches in Ohio.
Crystal Beach | Vermilion
Crystal Beach has a long and storied history in the town of Vermilion. It has been open to the public since 1907 and, over the years, even included amusement park rides. These days, it’s a quiet beach on Buckeye Lake. The facilities have closed, but it’s worth a visit if you love peaceful days on the water.
Edgewater Beach | Cleveland
Edgewater Beach is just one part of Cleveland’s Edgewater Park. Here, visitors can enjoy a 2,400-foot beach with views of the city. It’s also a popular spot for kayaking and boating, as well as playing sand volleyball. Parts of the beach are dog friendly, so bring your pup along!
East Harbor State Park | Marblehead
East Harbor State Park has a stunning public beach in Marblehead Ohio. Here, you can enjoy a sand beach with public restrooms, changing rooms, disc golf, and sand volleyball. The nearby campgrounds are available to stay in, and the park has 11 miles of hiking trails and multiple pet-friendly areas.
Euclid Beach Park | Cleveland
The Cleveland Metroparks system is huge and impressive, so it’s difficult to choose the best feature. Euclid Beach Park isn’t to be missed, featuring a large beach, picnic tables, an observation pier, and a pavilion. It was once home to the Euclid Beach Amusement Park, signs of which can still be seen.
Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park | Fairport Harbor
Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park has a charming, scenic beach on Lake Erie. Here, you can enjoy walking the boardwalk, strolling with your dog, and observing the scenery, including a lighthouse. The swimming season here is short, but it’s a popular spot for boating and other activities.
Fox Island State Park | Washington Township
Fox Island State Park has one of two beaches in the wider region of Indian Creek State Park. This public beach is open to visitors year-round with plenty of nearby campgrounds, cabin rentals, and more. The area is a popular spot for swimming, boating, and fishing in a peaceful and beautiful environment.
Geneva State Park | Geneva
Geneva State Park covers almost 700 acres across the southern shore of Lake Erie. The sand beach is cool and shady with plenty of surrounding estuaries where you can fish and look for wildlife. Visitors flock to this gorgeous public beach all year for swimming, hiking, bird-watching, boating, and fishing.
Headlands Beach State Park | Mentor
One of the top attractions of Headlands Beach State Park is the 35-acre sandy beach that offers one of the most unique lakeside experiences on Lake Erie. You can not only enjoy exceptional swimming and sunbathing but also explore the stunning sand dunes and search for lake glass, plants, and animals.
Huntington Reservation | Bay Village
The Huntington Reservation is one attraction among the huge Cleveland Metroparks network. Here, you can enjoy all of your favorite lake activities with unrivaled views of Lake Erie. Its beach has many public amenities, including restrooms, changing rooms, and grills and picnic tables for public use.
Indian Lake State Park | Lakeview
Indian Lake State Park was once a humble feeder lake of Erie. But these days, it has grown to a large waterfront that’s perfect for watersports and other beach activities. Throughout the year, you’ll find visitors enjoy boating, swimming, and fishing.
Kelleys Island State Park | Kelleys Island
Kelleys Island is one of several gorgeous islands off the shores of Lake Erie. Visitors must travel there by ferry, but the trip is well worth it. The island’s state park offers a stunning experience of prehistoric glacier formations, with cliff faces and beaches offering unparalleled views of the lake.
Lake Shore Park | Ashtabula
Lakeshore Park is a 54-acre public park with a beach right along Lake Erie. You’ll find a public dock where you can fish, stroll, and enjoy the sights, as well as board your boat or Jet Ski. Other amenities include a pavilion, playground, and adult yard games. One unique attraction is the waterfowl, including wild swans.
Lakeview Park | Lorain
Lakeview Park is a historic area stretching over 20 acres alongside Lake Erie. The park is home to a stunning rose garden, yard games, a picnic area, and more. But, the beach itself is the star of the show, with views of the Lorain Lighthouse, fishing, boating, and sand volleyball.
Long’s Retreat Family Resort | Latham
If you’re looking for a full summer resort experience, you need to check out Long’s. This fun-filled campground offers cabins and campsites.
When you stay, you’ll be able to access the beach, which includes a variety of waterslides and other fun lakeside activities. This is a great choice for families with young kids!
Main Street Beach | Vermilion
Downtown Vermilion offers one of the most fun and action-packed beach experiences in Ohio! Alongside the city center is the public sand beach, which includes an observation deck, boat launch, and concession stands. Popular activities include bird-watching, swimming, picnicking, boating, and sea glass hunting.
Maumee Bay State Park | Oregon
Nestled in the town of Oregon Ohio is Maumee Bay State Park, one of the most unique environments in the state thanks to its extensive wetlands where Lake Erie meets the land. Because of this, Maumee Bay is a popular spot for not only classic lake activities but also bird-watching!
Mineral Springs Lake Resort | Peebles
Mineral Springs Lake Resort is an almost 600-acre family campground bordering a large spring-fed lake. Since 1973, it has been a popular campground with more than 400 campsites. The lake and beach are among the most pristine in the state, making it a safe and beautiful place to swim.
Nickel Plate Beach | Huron
Nickel Plate Beach is a large sand beach located in Huron Ohio. There’s plenty to do and see here, with special views of the Huron Lighthouse and sunsets over Lake Erie.
The beach is overflowing with amenities, from yard games to concessions, restrooms, a playground, sand volleyball, boat and Jet Ski rentals, and more.
Old Field Beach | Lakeview
Old Field Beach is one of several beaches that border Indian Lake in Lakeview Ohio. Each one offers a unique experience, and Old Field Beach is a popular spot for families, kids, and even furry friends. The sandy beach includes a dog park, playground, and access to many hiking trails throughout the area.
Pleasant Hill Lake Park | Perrysville
Pleasant Hill Lake Park has a public beach offering camping, a public boat dock, and unlimited horsepower for boats. The swimming beach is easily accessible from the campsites, which include RV hookups and cabins for rent.
The nearby playground, picnic tables, and restrooms make it an ideal spot for families and kids!
Port Clinton City Beach | Port Clinton
Port Clinton City Beach is a popular spot for tourists of all ages. It can be found across from Lakeview Park, and visitors often bypass the two beaches for a change of scene. Leashed dogs are also welcome, so bring the whole family along to enjoy the crystal sands of Port Clinton.
Punderson State Park | Newbury
Punderson State Park is a 741-acre public park featuring historic structures, sports facilities, and most intriguingly, a 150-acre natural lake. The lake and beach are widely known as some of the cleanest in the state and are a popular spot for swimming, hiking, bird-watching, angling, hunting, and boating.
Rocky Fork State Park | Hillsboro
Rocky Fork State Park is one of Southwest Ohio’s most popular beaches. It’s a haven for outdoor sports lovers, especially anglers and sailors.
The lake is ringed by prehistoric dolomite caves and wetlands, creating some of the most breathtaking scenery you’ll find in the Buckeye State. The fishing options here are not to be missed!
Rocky River Reservation | Rocky River
Just outside of Cleveland lies Rocky River Reservation, one of the oldest in the Cleveland Metroparks system. The park encircles — unsurprisingly — the Rocky River.
Here, you’ll find a quiet cliffside beach alongside waterfalls. While swimming isn’t allowed, you’re welcome to boat or drop a fishing line.
Salt Fork State Park | Lore City
Salt Fork State Park is an enormous area of preserved land in Northeast Ohio. Encompassing thousands of acres, it offers attractions for every interest, from hiking to swimming, angling, boating, or simply enjoying the view. Dogs are also welcome, so bring your furry friend along for the adventure.
South Bass Island State Park | Put-in-Bay
Put-in-Bay is one of Lake Erie’s top attractions, a gorgeous island in Sandusky Bay. The island is home to South Bass Island State Park, where you can experience Lake Erie alongside signature white cliffs. The beach is the perfect place to swim, fish, boat, Jet Ski, or sit and admire the view.
Tappan Lake | Deersville
Tappan Lake is a 2,350-acre lake located in Deersville Ohio. It’s a hugely popular spot for boating enthusiasts and anglers — but even if these sports aren’t up your alley, it’s still worth a visit.
The enormous lake has more than 500 campsites, a swimming beach, dock rentals, and tons of activities throughout the year.
Shawnee State Park | West Portsmouth
While most Ohio beaches are gathered around Lake Erie, Turkey Creek Lake is on the other side of the state just off the banks of the Ohio River. Here in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, you’ll find Shawnee State Park. Turkey Creek Lake is a peaceful retreat that’s especially popular among anglers.
Walnut Beach | Ashtabula
Walnut Beach is a quiet but scenic beach in Ashtabula, offering wonderful views over Lake Erie and the surrounding wetlands.
This family-friendly beach has lifeguards on watch until 6 p.m. and features a nature trail, sand volleyball court, tennis and basketball courts, and concession stands. The surrounding wetlands and sand dunes add to the stunning scenery.
Frequently Asked Questions About Beaches in Ohio
What is the cleanest beach in Ohio?
Cleanliness is an important factor when it comes to choosing a great beach, especially if you’re taking kids or pets along. While every natural waterway is subject to the occasional algae bloom (and unfortunately, human litter), most of the beaches in Ohio are beautifully maintained.
Some of the cleanest beaches include Cedar Point Resort, Kelleys Island State Park beach, Punderson State Park beach, and Lakeview Park beach. However, it’s worth noting that water safety is carefully monitored by the state, so you can easily find information about water cleanliness at any time.
What Ohio lake has the clearest water?
Many of Ohio’s lakes are known for their stunningly clear water, which may seem more typical of a tropical ocean than a lake in the Midwest. Some of the lakes that have a reputation for amazingly clear water include Mineral Springs Lake, Tappan Lake, and Salt Fork Lake.
These waterways are a great place to visit on a sunny summer day when you’ll enjoy pristine water views both above and below the surface.
Planning Your Trip to the Best Beaches in Ohio
When it comes to beaches in Ohio, every experience is available. From crowded family beaches with tons of activities to peaceful secluded lakeside woodlands, the offerings are unparalleled. Some of them even feature Lake Erie lighthouses. That’s not bad for a state in the middle of the Midwest!