While we may be hours from the closest ocean, Clevelanders need not drive far to sink their toes in the sand. Along the shores of Lake Erie, fondly called the “North Coast,” you can find numerous beaches—all with different vibes and activities to keep you busy.
In honor of National Beach Day today (Aug. 30), we put together some options of beaches within easy driving distance of the Case Western Reserve University campus. Whether you’re looking to get out on the water or simply relax, we have suggestions for you.
Edgewater Park at the Lakefront Reservation
No list of Cleveland beaches would be complete without mentioning Edgewater Park. Operated by the Cleveland Metroparks, this Lakefront Reservation beach offers 9,000 feet of shoreline and is a hotspot for locals on a sunny day. This swim beach also offers a special section for dogs to take a dip in the lake.
What to do here: Pack a picnic lunch or grab a bite to eat at the Edgewater Beach House. If you want to get out on the water, there are boat launches. For those who want to stay on the shore, cabanas, umbrellas and lounge chairs are available to rent.
Don’t miss: Be sure to snap a photo with one of the most iconic script “Cleveland” signs located near the park’s upper pavilion.
Huntington Beach at Huntington Reservation
On the west side of Cleveland, Huntington Reservation serves as another local favorite for a day at the beach. Part of the Cleveland Metroparks and located in Bay Village, this beach is popular for swimming.
What to do here: Relax on the sand with a book or take a walk along the path on the upper part of the reservation to enjoy the views. Seasonally, food, including Honey Hut ice cream, is available at The Noshery.
Don’t miss: While the beach is a big draw for this reservation, trails offer you the chance to explore other natural habitats.
Euclid Beach Park/Villa Angela Beach at Euclid Creek Reservation
Another Cleveland Metroparks gem, Euclid Beach Park stands on the site of the former Euclid Beach Amusement Park, which closed in 1969. Villa Angela Beach is adjacent. Visitors can catch a glimpse of the park’s remnants alongside the beach.
What to do here: If swimming isn’t your thing, grab a pair of binoculars and try to catch a glimpse of several bird species. Birdwatching is a common pastime at Euclid Creek Reservation. You can also access a boat launch or take a hike along one of the trails.
Don’t miss: Check out the pier commemorating the Euclid Beach Amusement Park’s history.
Headlands Beach State Park
Further east of Cleveland is Headlands Beach State Park in Mentor, which boasts the largest natural sand beach in Ohio. The park offers visitors the opportunity to see wildlife up close, including monarch butterfly migrations and bald eagles nesting.
What to do here: Hunt for beach glass or go fishing along the breakwall.