Plan your trip to one of these Lake Erie beaches! Ohio’s Lake Erie shoreline offers sandy beaches, swimming, kayaking, beautiful sunsets and more for your next Ohio road trip!
Lake Erie became a popular destination for our family once we had kids! Having two young children who did not particularly enjoy car rides, we started to look for vacation destinations that felt like a getaway but were only an hour or two away!
We began to fall in love with the midwest charm of the cities and towns along Lake Erie! And instead of driving 8+ hours to find a beach, we found several beaches along Ohio’s coast that felt almost just as good as the ocean! Plus there were no jellyfish or sharks!
Over the past several years we have travelled to the Lake Erie shores again and again! From East to West, we’ve covered a lot of ground. I’ve collected some recommendations from our travels in 8 Lake Erie Vacation Ideas That Are Perfect for Families! This post specifically focuses on the beaches of Lake Erie!
This post was updated on June 30, 2023.
What You Need to Know When Visiting the Beaches of Lake Erie
Before planning your perfect day at the beach, here are some things you should know before you go!
Can you swim in Lake Erie?
Generally speaking, Lake Erie beaches are safe to swim in. However, at times algal blooms or toxins may be at unsafe levels. The Ohio Department of Health provides regular updates on the status of any public health advisories at Ohio beaches on this website.
Some Lake Erie beaches have lifeguards on duty, others do not. It’s best not to swim alone and always stay within designated swimming areas.
How long is the Lake Erie shoreline?
Ohio can claim over 300 miles of Lake Erie shoreline! From east to west, there is so much to explore on Lake Erie!
What is the nicest beach on Lake Erie?
Certainly that title is up for grabs! We have personally visited each of the Lake Erie Beaches on this list and they do vary widely in size, nearby activities, sand quality and picturesque views.
Main Street Beach in Vermillion has always been one of our favorites! Edgewater Beach in Cleveland is home to a really fun playground and where the lake meets the shore, the sand is smooth and not too rocky. But really, it’s hard to go too wrong at any of these Lake Erie beaches!
12 Lake Erie Beaches to Visit This Summer:
You won’t have to drive far! Scroll through this list of beautiful beaches on Lake Erie to plan your next trip to the beach!
1. Main Street Beach
- Address: Main St. at Lake Erie, Vermilion, OH 44089
The Main Street Beach in downtown Vermilion is at the north end of Main Street. There is parking up and down Main St. You may have to park a couple of blocks away. We always plan to go on a weekday so it is not as crowded.
In front of the beach is an observation deck, outdoor spigot for rinsing off and a beach shack. The small beach shack is called Shore Thing and in it you can purchase snacks, ice cream and beach jewelry. You can also rent beach chairs and umbrellas here.
We have visited Vermilion several times and always find ourselves doing the same thing over and over because we love it so much! You can read more about what we do in Vermilion here: How to Have the Perfect Day at the Beach in Vermilion, Ohio.
2. Port Clinton City Beach
- 1100 E. Perry St., Port Clinton, Ohio 43452
This free, public beach in Port Clinton is a nice little beach on Lake Erie. There are picnic areas, restrooms and changing area, and an ice cream shop near by! And the beach is at the end of a great park called Lakeview Park.
Port Clinton and the Sandusky area is home to a lot of fun activities for families! Beyond the beach, read about the cool playground at Lakeview Park plus more things to do in the area here: Lake Erie: 15 Fun Things to do with Kids Near Sandusky, Ohio!
3. Lakeside Beach
- Address: 236 Walnut Ave., Lakeside, OH 43440
The beach at Lakeside is small, but you can play (or lay) in the sand and swim in the lake and there are lifeguards on duty. Lakeside is a gated community and a pass is required to enter. Daily passes can be purchased and a visit to the beach is included in that price.
Lakeside is a beautiful community – it’s home to Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile, in fact! It’s one of those places that make you say, “Wow! I can’t believe I’m in Ohio!”. Read more about it here: Exploring Ohio with Kids: Lakeside.
4. Maumee Bay State Park
- Address: 1750 State Park Road #2, Oregon, OH 43616
This beautiful Lake Erie beach is at Maumee Bay State Park on the northwest corner of Ohio. This beach is free to visit! Maumee Bay State Park also includes hiking trails, a marina, a Nature Center and is home to Maumee Bay Lodge and Conference Center.
We stayed for several nights at the lodge and really enjoyed our time spent in the northwest corner of Ohio!
5. Headlands Beach State Park
- Address: 9601 Headlands Rd, Mentor, OH 44060
The beach at Headlands Beach State Park is the largest natural sand beach in Ohio! This Lake Erie beach is a mile long and definitely had a more natural feel than some of the other beaches on Lake Erie. Adjacent to the swimming beach is Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve which is home to rare (for Lake Erie) sand dunes.
The sand area here is large, but closer to the lake the terrain gets very rocky. There is a lot of area to spread out on a blanket and enjoy the sand and the sound of the waves hitting the shore! You may want to pair a visit to Headlands Beach with a trip to the fabulous Holden Arboretum!
6. Edgewater Beach
- Address: 7600 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway, Cleveland, OH 44102
Edgewater Beach is just east of Downtown Cleveland and is part of the Cleveland Metro Parks. There’s a great playground in the park called the Lindsey Family Play Space and the park is home to one of the famous “Cleveland” signs. This Lake Erie beach is located in the lower portion of the park.
Compared to some of the other beaches, Edgewater Beach is less rocky and has a smooth sand entrance to the lake. As you can see in the picture above, when we visited the “No Swimming” flags were up due to water conditions at the time. You can check their website for swimming status updates.
Edgewater Beach is a 2400 foot beach and the western part is dog friendly. Nearby is the Edgewater Beach House with concessions, a rooftop bar, restrooms and a picnic area. The Cleveland Metroparks Nature Shop sells snacks and rents out chairs, umbrellas, cabanas and volleyballs.
7. Fairport Harbor Beach
- Address: 301 Huntington Beach Dr, Fairport Harbor, OH 44077
Fairport Harbor Beach is around 30 miles east of Cleveland and just on the other side of the Grand River from Headlands Beach. Part of Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park (one of the Lake Metroparks), the area is home to a playground, concession stand and picnic areas.
There may be a fee to enter the park. At the time of writing no fees were collected on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but a parking charge of $2 for Lake County residents and $3 for non-residents is collected Thursdays through Mondays.
Kayaks and Stand-Up Paddleboards are available to rent during the summer season. While visiting, explore all there is to do in surrounding Lake County, Ohio!
8. Lake Erie Bluffs
- Address: 2901 Clark Rd., Perry, Ohio 44081
Lake Erie Bluffs is a must-visit destination on Lake Erie! Climbing to the top of the Coastal Observation tower was a real “wow” moment for us! You can hike down to the beach here which is a natural beach with sand, rocks and dunes.
You can swim at the beach here at Lake Erie Bluffs! The beach is pretty rocky here and it’s not a place where you’re going to necessarily lay out a towel and sunbathe, but you can enter the water here to swim! The beach here is unguarded, swimming is at your own risk.
9. Euclid Beach Park
- Address: 16301 Lakeshore Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44110
Euclid Beach is part of the Cleveland Metro Parks and Euclid Creek Reservation.
Euclid Beach is 650 feet long and there are walking paths, picnic areas and the Euclid Beach Pier. This area is also home to one of the Cleveland signs! It’s a great spot to see the skyline of downtown Cleveland!
There is a a great Lake Erie beach here, however when we visited, there was a swimming warning so no one was allowed into the water. Another good reason to check the public health advisories website that I’ve linked earlier in the post!
Euclid Beach was home to the Euclid Beach Amusement Park which closed in 1969. The new pier pays homage to the amusement park in its design. It’s definitely worth a visit to see this unique and colorful pier!
10. Nickel Plate Beach
- Address: 1 Nickel Plate Dr, Huron, OH 44839
Nickel Plate Beach is a popular Lake Erie beach in Huron, Ohio!
Where some Lake Erie beaches can be rather rocky, Nickel Plate Beach has really soft sand. It is one of the beaches that really stands out to me when I think of the quality of the sand! The beach area is really quite large compared to some other beaches we have been to on Lake Erie!
Conveniently, this beach has a playground, sand volleyball nets, and a ping pong table. The Paddle Shack is open Memorial Day through Labor Day and you can rent paddle boards, kayaks and other beach items.
There is a $6 parking fee at Nickel Plate Beach. There are no lifeguards on duty.
Additionally, another highlight is the Lake Erie Love sign for the perfect photo op! You can also see the Huron Lighthouse from Nickel Plate Beach!
11. Put-In-Bay Beach at South Bass Island State Park
- Address: 1523 Catawba Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456
This Lake Erie beach at Put-in-Bay is at South Bass Island State Park. It is a rock beach so it’s not super great for laying out in the sand, but you are allowed to swim here!
Swimming is allowed out to the buoys. Just a fair warning here: it is common to see Lake Erie Water Snakes here in this area!
If you’re looking for a swimming beach on Put-in-Bay Island, this is the largest beach available! There is a playground here, restrooms and a Put-in-Bay sign for a great photo op!
12. Kelleys Island State Park Beach
- Address: 920 Division St, Kelleys Island, OH 43438
Kelleys Island State Park is home to a 150-ft swimming beach on Lake Erie. Swimming is allowed during daylight hours. There are also paddle boards for rent. There is a primitive bathroom nearby. While you’re in the park, don’t miss the Glacial Groves Geological Preserve and all of the other fun things to do on Kelleys Island!
I hope this list helps you plan your next trip to a Lake Erie Beach! Bookmark this post or save this post on Pinterest so you can come back to it when you need a little Ohio road trip inspiration!
Need more ideas?
- If you’re looking for Ohio beaches that are NOT Lake Erie read this: 7 Beaches in Ohio to Visit this Summer!
- Want to explore more of Ohio with your kids? Try this: 25 Super Fun Things to do in Ohio with Kids!
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