On a hot summer day in Cleveland, nothing sounds more refreshing than a day spent relaxing and frolicking at the beach. And, as Cleveland is located right on the shores of Lake Erie, you better believe that there are some great beaches in Cleveland and its neighboring towns and counties.
Whether you’re looking for somewhere to launch a kayak, go fishing, work on your tan, or just watch a Lake Erie sunset, Cleveland has options for you.
Let’s beat the heat, put on that swimsuit, grab the sunscreen, and talk about the Cleveland beaches that you’ll want to visit ASAP!
Best beaches in and around Cleveland
Cleveland itself only has one official city beach where you can get in the water and swim, but there are lots of great Lake Erie beaches within a short drive of the city.
Read on to learn about our favorites – and find them all plotted on a map at the end of this post!
1. Edgewater Beach
Edgewater Beach is one of the most popular and largest beaches in Cleveland. It also happens to be the only one that is just a short drive from downtown.
This sprawling beach plays host to many events throughout the summer, including Edgewater Live on Thursday nights where there is live music, beach games, and food trucks. Aside from that, it has a new pavilion perfect for grabbing some beachy drinks on a midsummer’s day or hanging out with friends.
Edgewater Park, which neighbors the beach, contains plenty of places to set up a BBQ and admire the scenery of the lake and downtown Cleveland (plus spot the Cleveland script sign)! It also has ample space for running and playing beach volleyball. I enjoy throwing around a football or frisbee next to the beach in Edgewater Park with friends.
While Edgewater Beach can get really crowded on Thursday nights and weekends, going mid-week is a great way to ensure fewer people.
Edgewater Park pro-tip: Walk further down the beach to get away from the crowds! There is an area further down that is dog-friendly and allows boats to get closer to shore. I find this spot to be (usually) far less packed.
2. Euclid Beach Park
On the site of a former amusement park, this beach, only about 15 minutes east of downtown Cleveland, is a hidden gem. This is part of the Euclid Creek Reservation that includes quarries, a winding creek, and the beach.
This family-friendly beach also hosts a summer concert series, and has a playground and grilling facilities. They’ve also recently built a beautiful new pier and another Cleveland script sign for ample photo opportunities!
If you don’t want to venture too far from downtown Cleveland, but want to get away from the crowds of Edgewater Beach, Euclid Beach Park is a beautiful and peaceful escape.
3. Rocky River Park Beach
Rocky River Park is only about a 20 minute drive from downtown Cleveland. The beach here is definitely pristine, but it is not a swimming beach. You can certainly have a little picnic and enjoy the view of Lake Erie, but, if you’re searching for where to go swimming in Cleveland, this is not the place.
However, this park has some great amenities like a playground for kids, a picnic shelter, and grills to use. If you want to spend a sunny afternoon listening to the peaceful sounds of the waves along Lake Erie while enjoying a picnic lunch, this is the perfect place!
(If you want to swim nearby, head a few minutes down the road to Wagar Beach.)
4. Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach is one of the cleanest beaches in Cleveland. There’s a picnic area near the parking lot, and you have to climb down some steps to get to the beach itself. Trust me, though, it’s worth it!
This beach is the perfect spot to sunbathe, kayak, and play beach games.
When you’re finished with the beach for the day, you can head back up the steps and explore the 3 miles of nature trails within Huntington Reservation. Of the beaches near downtown Cleveland, this place is the best for spotting wildlife.
5. Headlands Beach / Fairport Harbor
We’re listing these beaches together because they’re right next to each other on the Lake Erie coast in Mentor. The beaches are quite different, though!
Headlands Beach is located inside Headlands Beach State Park. This mile-long beach is the longest natural beach in Ohio, and is a mix of pebbles and natural sand.
Headlands Beach is connected to the Headland Dunes State Nature Preserve, and a skinny spit of land that leads out to the Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Lighthouse.
On the other side of that spit of land sits Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park, home to a smaller sandy beach that’s perfect for families. There’s a wooden boardwalk here that stretches along the waterfront, as well as a playground and concession stand.
Fairport Harbor is part of the Lake Metroparks, so note that there is a charge for parking here in the lot closest to the beach.
6. Lakeview Park
This Cleveland beach is truly special, with a lovely shore that’s great for kayaking, playing beach volleyball, swimming, and catching a vibrant Lake Erie sunset. This park also has a colorful rose garden with 2,500 roses!
While it is about a 40 minute drive from downtown Cleveland, this is definitely worth it for a super local beach and to admire the roses in summer.
7. Nickel Plate Beach
Huron is another small community sitting on the shore of Lake Erie, right where the Huron River empties out into the lake. Nickel Plate Beach is the largest public beach in Huron, offering up 12 acres of sand for picnicking and sunbathing.
The beach has facilities like picnic shelters, grills, and volleyball courts, and you can even rent beach gear nearby at The Paddle Shack. Note: there are no life guards on duty at this beach, and there is a fee for parking.
Nearby this beach you’ll also find the Nickel Plate Beach Fishing Pier and the Huron Harbor Light lighthouse, as well as the smaller Lake Front Park, which also has picnic areas and a small swimming beach.
8. Cedar Point Beach
A lot of people in Ohio don’t know this, but Cedar Point has its very own stretch of beautiful beach. (Maybe you’ve spotted it while riding one of the park’s roller coasters!)
After a fun-filled morning of adrenaline pumping rides, why not cool off and relax on Cedar Point Beach? It’s a wide, long beach where you can do everything from sunbathe to play beach volleyball to rent a jet-ski.
Cedar Point is slightly more than an hour’s drive from downtown Cleveland, and it makes for an ideal Cleveland day trip. You can also stay the night here at Hotel Breakers, Castaway Bay, or even the campground, called Lighthouse Point.
9. Geneva State Park
Less than an hour east of Cleveland is Geneva-on-the-Lake. While this area is well-known throughout Ohio as wine country, they have a great beach, too!
I totally recommend planning a weekend getaway to Geneva with wine tasting and a stay close to the beach. Geneva State Park is a place you can spend a whole day at, with 6 miles of trails for hiking, boating tours, and a stunning shoreline perfect for laying out or swimming.
The beach here feels perfectly calm throughout the summer – it is rarely as crowded as the beaches closer to Cleveland, and you can also enjoy the nature in the area.
10. Walnut Beach State Park
A little further east from Geneva State Park is Walnut Beach State Park. This coastal park is full of activities like basketball courts, a skate park, and sand volleyball courts. You can also admire the Ashtabula Harbor Lighthouse and the low sand dunes in the area.
This is perfect for an active beach day, especially if you want to beach hop from Geneva State Park to here! The beach is super easy to access, as it is right in front of downtown Ashtabula.
11. Kelleys Island State Park Beach
I’ve discussed the mainland Ohio beaches, but did you know that Lake Erie also has several islands? And, where there are islands, there are sure to be beaches!
Kelleys Island is located approximately 2 hours from Cleveland, and your trip will include both a drive and ferry ride. Kelleys Island has a cute little beach called State Park Beach, near the Glacial Grooves. This relaxing island beach is perfect for renting a kayak or enjoying a day lounging in the sand.
Some other things you can do on Kelleys Island include seeing the Glacial Grooves, visiting local wineries and breweries, taking a kayak or bike tour of the island, and enjoying the North Pond State Nature Reserve.
12. South Bass Island State Park
Close to Kelleys island is South Bass Island, where Put-in-Bay is located. While this place is known as a party island, you’ll be surprised at how peaceful the state park away from “downtown” Put-in-Bay can be.
Perfect for camping, hiking, and fishing, South Bass Island State Park has a beautiful rocky beach that is great for lounging and watching that perfect Lake Erie sunset.
While you’re in Put-in-Bay, I recommend visiting their wineries, Perry’s Cave (with an underground lake), and going for a short hike to a hidden beach up at Scheeff East Point Nature Preserve.
Did you know that there were so many great Lake Erie beaches so close to Cleveland? You could fill up several summer weekends visiting them all.
Which Cleveland beach would you most enjoy?
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Kat is a Cleveland transplant and has lived here for over 5 years. She loves to eat, drink, and explore all across the city, and has made it her personal mission to find the best breweries and pizza in Northeast Ohio. She also runs a couples travel blog and podcast called World Wide Honeymoon.