View of the "Cleveland" signage and skyline at Lake Erie Edgewater Park, one of the best beaches in Cleveland

12 Best Cleveland Beaches for 2023 (By a Local)

Many people don’t think of Cleveland beaches when they visit this northeast Ohio city. However, Cleveland, Ohio does border Lake Erie and is home to many great beaches.

I lived in Cleveland for 10 years and have put together a list of the 10 best beaches in Cleveland to visit.

Checking out the city’s beaches is one of the best things to do in Cleveland. Whether you want to do water sports or just lounge on the sand, there’s a Cleveland beach for you.

Let’s dive in!

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12 Best Beaches in Cleveland

Euclid Beach Park

A former amusement park on the Euclid Creek Reservation.

View of the "Cleveland" signage  at Euclid Beach Park on a sunny day
One of the iconic white “Cleveland” signs at Euclid Beach Park (photo: Sneakysnailart / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Euclid Beach Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: Free parking in a private lot | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: The Glidden House

You only need to drive about 15 minutes to the east from downtown Cleveland to get to Euclid Beach Park, which is part of the Euclid Creek Reservation. This is 650 feet along the shores of Lake Erie. The Euclid Beach Park was once the site of the Euclid Beach Amusement Park. Enjoy remnants of the amusement park, such as a shuffleboard area.

Euclid Beach Park has a creek, playground, and pavilion where you can relax. Euclid Beach Pier is a scenic observation pier that offers a great view of the water and the Cleveland skyline. The grilling areas come in handy for barbecues and picnics.

Additionally, animal lovers can enjoy a small area of Euclid Beach Park with their canine companions!

📚 Related Reading: Did you know that Lake Erie is the warmest and most biologically productive of all the Great Lakes? Read about this and other interesting tidbits in my list of Cleveland facts!

Edgewater Beach

A large beach, known for stunning skyline views, Edgewater Park, and fun events.

Aerial view of the boats at the Edgewater Park and the Cleveland skyline in the background
A summer day at Edgewater Park with the Cleveland skyline in the background (photo: Jason Sponseller / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Edgewater Beach Website | 🅿️ Parking: Free parking in a private lot | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: The Guest House in Ohio City

Edgewater Beach is incredibly popular and one of the biggest beaches in the city, occupying 9,000 feet of the Lake Erie shoreline. It is also the closest to downtown. Edgewater Beach offers an amazing view of the Cleveland skyline. The beach tends to be packed in the summer, so come on a weekday to avoid crowds.

Edgewater Live is a popular summer event on Thursday nights that includes fun games and music, in addition to food trucks. Get snacks and drinks from the Edgewater Beach House, including Honey Hut ice cream.

Edgewater Park is adjacent to Edgewater Beach. It’s the location of one of the iconic white Cleveland script signs and an awesome beach volleyball area.

Cedar Point Beach

A stretch of beach that neighbors one of Ohio’s best amusement parks.

View of the crowd at the Cedar Point Amusement Park and Hotel Breakers
A summer day at Cedar Point Beach (photo: gg5795 / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Cedar Point Beach Website | 🅿️ Parking: Parking fee of $15-$25 per day for the park and beach | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Cedar Point Hotel Breakers

Many people know of Cedar Point Amusement Park. However, fewer people know that this Sandusky park is home to Cedar Point Beach. It’s about one hour west of downtown Cleveland.

The beach is visible from the tops of some of the park’s roller coasters. This opportunity to cool off is almost impossible to resist after an activity-filled day at the park! Access to the beach is included with admission to Cedar Point.

Cedar Point Beach is a mile-long beach with plenty of space to play whatever beach sports you want, including frisbee and beach volleyball. You can also rent jet skis and kayaks to have some fun in Lake Erie.

👉 Don’t Forget to Pack: A life jacket is crucial for any swimming excursion at the beach. The AIRHEAD Adult Type II Keyhole Life Jacket is a fantastic option to keep you safe! 

Nickel Plate Beach

A Huron beach is great for fishing, picnicking, and beach aerobics.

View of the Huron Harbor lighthouse near Nickel Plate Beach on a sunny day
Huron Harbor Lighthouse near Nickel Plate Beach

📍 Google Maps | Nickel Plate Beach Website | 🅿️ Parking: Parking fee of $6 per day (cash only) | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Comfort Inn River’s Edge

Nickel Plate Beach consists of 12 acres and is the biggest public beach in Huron, 45 miles from Cleveland. You can have a picnic on the sand or under one of the picnic shelters. There are also grills available for use.

The Paddle Shack offers up an opportunity for you to rent beach equipment for fun water activities. There are no lifeguards, so swim with caution.

Dry off with a game of beach volleyball afterward! Anyone who wants to go fishing can do so at the Fishing Pier. Or walk to the nearby Huron Harbor Lighthouse for serene views of the lake.

If you want a quieter experience, walk to Lake Front Park, a smaller beach with picnic areas.

Huntington Beach

A super-clean Bay Village beach with amazing views and lots of local wildlife.

View of the fall foliage and the calm ocean water from the Huntington Beach in Bay Village
A quiet day at Huntington Beach in Bay Village

📍 Google Maps | Huntington Beach Website | 🅿️ Parking: Free parking in a large lot and overflow lot | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Best Western Elyria

Located in the Bay Village area, Huntington Beach is one of the cleanest beaches near the Cleveland area. You can explore the three miles of walking trails in the Huntington Reservation. This is among the best beaches for observing wildlife. Visit the onsite Lake Erie Nature & Science Center to learn more educational information about the area.

The shaded picnic areas are on a higher level than this Bay Village beach, giving you a great view of Lake Erie.

If you want the classic beach experience here, just relax on the sand, or play beach games. You can go swimming or rent a kayak at Huntington Beach. When you’re hungry, enjoy food and beverages (including cocktails and Honey Hut ice cream) at the Noshery.

Headlands Beach

The longest natural beach in Ohio, connected to a lighthouse and a nature preserve.

View of the lighthouse and the waves crashing at Headlands Beach State Park
Headlands Beach State Park, with the West Breakwater Lighthouse off in the distance

📍 Google Maps | Headlands Beach State Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: Free parking spaces in a numbered lot | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Residence Inn by Marriott Cleveland Mentor

Located in Mentor, Headlands Beach is a part of Headlands Beach State Park. This mile-long beach is the longest natural beach in the state, and one of the most unique places to see in Ohio. Walking on Headlands Beach barefoot can be a little rough, as pebbles are mixed in with the sand.

The neighboring Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve is an amazing place to observe local wildlife. Monarch butterflies and bald eagles abound! Headlands Beach is connected to a small strip of land that crosses the Grand River to the Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park.

Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park

A great family-friendly beach with a boardwalk, water activities, and a nearby creamery.

View of the rocky pathway leading to the West Breakwater Lighthouse of Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park
The rocky pathway leading to the West Breakwater Lighthouse of Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park

📍 Google Maps | Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: Free parking in a lot | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Steele Mansion Inn & Gathering Hub

The Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park is connected to Headlands Beach State Park. It’s a smaller, family-friendly beach and was awarded the title of “Best Beach in Ohio” by Coastal Living.

This beach is home to a concession stand and playground. The iconic West Breakwater Lighthouse, maintained by the Coast Guard, offers amazing views of the sunset. The wooden boardwalk here contributes to a nostalgic vibe.

There are lifeguards on duty from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. every day. Go swimming, or rent a stand-up paddleboard or kayak. There’s even a dog-friendly swimming area!

And Fairport Harbor Creamery is right nearby – a scoop of ice cream will top off the perfect day at the beach.

Lakeview Park

A Lorain park on Lake Erie with activities for adults and kids.

View of the birds on the bird feeders at Lorain Harbor
Bird feeders at Lakeview Park in Lorain

📍 Google Maps | Lakeview Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: Free parking in a paved lot | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Courtyard by Marriott Cleveland Elyria

Located in Lorain on West Erie Ave., about 40 minutes from downtown Cleveland, Lakeview Park is a hidden gem with a fragrant rose garden. You can go swimming or kayaking, or just play beach volleyball. Or you can choose to sit and lounge in the amazingly soft sand.

There’s also a great playground for the kids, so they can have the park experience overlooking Lake Erie. While they’re playing, adults can enjoy a mini-library on the beach!

If you’re hungry, Lakeview Park has concessions available for most of the day. There’s also The Sunset Café, which is open for lunch on weekdays.

Kelleys Island State Park Beach

Family-friendly, dog-friendly shores on an island within Lake Erie.

Sunset over the Lake Erie from Kelleys Island State Park Beach
View of sunset over Lake Erie from Kelleys Island State Park Beach

📍 Google Maps | Kelleys Island State Park Beach Website | 🅿️ Parking: Free parking in a small lot, $8 to park on the mainland before the ferry | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Lake Point Motel

In addition to mainland beaches, Lake Erie is dotted with islands. One of these is Kelleys Island, about two hours from Cleveland. Drive to the lakeshore, then enjoy a ferry ride the rest of the way.

State Park Beach on this island is relatively quiet and relaxing compared to mainland beaches. This is no ordinary beach, as you can make a day of visiting island breweries and wineries. Dogs are welcome on leashes!

Of course, there are normal activities, like kayaking and swimming. There’s also the North Pond State Nature Reserve, full of fascinating local wildlife. Don’t forget the Glacial Grooves. This is a geological preserve with stunningly deep grooves in the limestone bedrock land and ancient marine fossils.

Geneva State Park

A quiet beach in the middle of wine country and a charming old-fashioned town.

View of the fall foliage and the iced-over boardwalk at Geneva State Park
The iced-over boardwalk at Geneva State Park

📍 Google Maps | Geneva State Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: Two free parking lot options in downtown | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: The Lakehouse Inn Geneva

For a more secluded, private beach experience, try Geneva-on-the-Lake. It’s about 50 minutes east of Cleveland, and it’s better known as wine country than as a beach.

Geneva-on-the-Lake has a very old-fashioned, nostalgic feel. Walking down the street, you’ll see vintage fast food diners, arcades, mini golf courses, and all sorts of other places known for fun family entertainment. It’s worth it to explore the wineries as well.

You can make a memorable day trip to Geneva State Park. Go swimming in the lake, or just sit anywhere on the 300 feet of shoreline and enjoy the view. You can also go on a boating tour, or stay on land and explore the six miles of hiking trails.

South Bass Island State Park

A tranquil gem amidst the hustle and bustle of Put-in-Bay.

Aerial view of the boats docked at the harbor in South Bass Island State Park
Aerial view of South Bass Island, Put-in-Bay (photo: LukeandKarla.Travel / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | South Bass Island State Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: Free parking in a small lot, $8 to park on the mainland before the ferry | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Ahoy Inn Guesthouse

South Bass Island is the location of Put-in-Bay, which is popular among partygoers. However, the state park along the lake is quite peaceful.

South Bass Island State Park is home to a quaint rocky beach. There is a campground, so you can spend the night in a full-service campsite (reservations are required). You can also go fishing in this tranquil area of the lake.

Put-in-Bay has many wonderful wineries worth visiting. There’s also a great hidden beach bordering the lake at Scheeff East Point Nature Preserve. Check out the Lake Erie watersnake, gaggles of migratory songbirds, and more.

Perry’s Cave is another great Put-in-Bay destination. It’s a natural limestone cave with a mini golf course, butterfly house, and cool underground lake. 

👉 Read Next: Best Places to Stay in Cleveland

Columbia Beach

A beautiful quiet Bay Village beach with a cool and unusual waterfall.

Scenic sunset over Columbia Beach
The secluded Columbia Beach at sunset

📍 Google Maps | Columbia Beach Website | 🅿️ Parking: Free parking available across the street | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Cleveland/Westlake, an IHG Hotel

This lovely little beach known as Columbia Beach is adjacent to the better-known Huntington Beach. One of the best-kept secrets of Bay Village, it’s home to a stunning waterfall that cascades into the lake.

You can either enjoy the view of the waterfall and lake from the overlooking observation area or walk down the stairs and see it up close. However, be aware that the beach can be somewhat hard to access depending on the tides. Sometimes the water crashes right up against the bottom few steps, which can be dangerous for small children.

Columbia Park is a great place for dogs. Once you get to Columbia Dog Beach, you can take your canine companion off the leash to move around freely!

👉 Pro Tip: There are many amazing Cleveland beaches where swimming is not recommended, but exploring is still worthwhile. Perkins Beach and Rocky River Park Beach are great places to collect beach glass and driftwood.

FAQs About Beaches in Cleveland

Does Cleveland have nice beaches?

Cleveland has a few nice beaches on the shores of Lake Erie, such as Edgewater Beach and Euclid Beach. There are also nice beaches near Cleveland, such as Huntington Beach and Nickel Plate Beach.

Can you swim in Lake Erie near Cleveland?

You can swim in Lake Erie near Cleveland but with caution. Currents can be overwhelming even for a skilled swimmer. Raised sandbars on the bottom of the lake can come as a shock as you go deeper into the lake. Wear a life jacket if you swim in Lake Erie. 

What body of water is around Cleveland, Ohio?

The main body of water around Cleveland, Ohio is Lake Erie. There is also the Cuyahoga River that divides the city and flows into Lake Erie.


I hope you found my guide on Cleveland beaches helpful! Looking for something else to do in Cleveland? Check out my guide on the best Cleveland museums! Have a great day at the beach!

(Featured Image Credit: BLAZE Pro / Shutterstock)

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One Comment

  1. Helpful information, though Cedar Point, Nickle Plate and Geneva (not to mention the islands) are hardly “Cleveland”. They are a good distance and effort to get to. The city really needs to improve its lake access for swimming!

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