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7 Best Beaches in Ohio (and Awesome Nearby Campsites)

7 Best Beaches in Ohio (and Awesome Nearby Campsites)

Beaches… in Ohio?!

Most Midwestern states don’t offer much in the way of beach destinations.  But the Buckeye State touts several strands along Lake Erie, and even some located in its center. 

Let’s look at 7 beaches in Ohio that you may want to consider for your next getaway:

Headlands Beach State Park – Lake Erie

With the longest natural beach in Ohio, Headlands Beach State Park is one of the best beaches in Ohio! This beach is a popular place for picnics, swimming and play in the sun and surf of Lake Erie.

More than a million visitors from the US and Canada flock here each year, and not just to swim.

For instance, visitors can hike, fish and explore the unique plant life in the Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve, as well.

Location:  Situated just 30 miles northeast of Cleveland, Headlands Beach lies on Lake Erie.  GPS coordinates:  41°45’28.0″N 81°17’25.3″W

Great Nearby Campsite: Thompson/Grand River Valley KOA has huge full hookup campsites. This KOA has a wide variety of amenities, too!

Amenitites include a stocked fish pond, gem mining, and an outdoor game center to keep the entire family happy.  With a pool and dog park, you may never want to leave the campground!

Ohio Beach Vibes Score:  9/10

Geneva State Park – Lake Erie

Land set aside for protection in 1962 harbors some of the most beautiful natural beaches in Ohio. Along with these natural beaches, there are also several marshlands in what is now called Geneva State Park. 

A campground and cottages are additions to the property, making it a great destination for fishermen, boaters, and swimmers to enjoy.  And, an unreported benefit to this location is the prevalence of rare plants that are usually found only along the Atlantic coast.

Location:  Geneva State Park sits 5 miles north of the town of Geneva on Lake Erie.  GPS coordinates:  41°51’05.4″N 80°58’37.6″W

Great Nearby Campsite:  Equipped with all the necessary amenities required, Geneva State Park Campground is ready to host visitors nightly.  This campground has 49 electric sites. 19 are full hookup campsites, and 7 are primitive. There are hot showers, a laundry facility, and even a fish cleaning station.

Ohio Beach Vibes Score:  9.2/10

beaches in ohio

Kelleys Island State Park – Lake Erie

 The north side of Kelleys Island is set aside as a state park, and for good reason. 

Within the boundaries of Kelleys Island State Park lie tranquil beaches, the remnants of lime kilns and quarry operations, as well as a rare set of glacial grooves.  Proof that glaciers moved across this stretch of land, leaving deep scratches in the rock surfaces, brings many visitors to the island. 

But others come just to enjoy playing in the water or traversing 6 miles of hiking trails.

Location:  Sitting in Lake Erie, Kelleys Island is located just 6 miles north of Marblehead but requires a 45 minute ferry boat ride to get there.  GPS coordinates:  41°36’52.1″N 82°42’22.5″W

Great Nearby Campsite:  With 126 campsites, Kelleys Island State Park has the capacity to put up quite a few island explorers.  Hot showers and flush toilets are available, along with a volleyball court and a dump station.

Ohio Beach Vibes Score:  9/10

Nickel Plate Beach – Lake Erie

With 12 miles of beachfront on which to play, locals and visitors alike escape the city and come to Nickel Plate Beach to swim, paddleboard or kayak in Lake Erie.  The Huron lighthouse is visible from the sand, and the location is great for viewing sunrises and sunsets.  Volleyball courts, ping pong tables and kayak rentals insure that visitors won’t lack in activities to keep them busy.

Location:  Nickle Plate Beach lies 14 miles southeast of metropolitan Sandusky.  GPS coordinates:  41°23’44.9″N 82°32’40.8″W

Great Nearby Campsite: Located 3 miles from the beach, Huron River Valley Resort has 197 campsites with electricity and water.  The sites are adequate in size, with some located right on the river.

Ohio Beach Vibes Score:  8/10

Huntington Beach – Lake Erie

Beaches with various composition line the edge of Lake Erie at Huntington Beach.  Visitors will find massive rocks jetting out into the water with fine sandy beaches next door. 

All of it contributes to the general atmosphere of rejuvenation that the water has had on the land, and the many hiking trails that surround the beach offer ways to explore the surrounding topography. 

This destination is utilized by locals as a getaway from the city, where guests swim, kayak and paddleboard or just relax in the sand.

Location:  Situated 15 miles west of Cleveland, Huntington Beach is in Bay Village on Lake Erie.  GPS coordinates:  41°29’27.7″N 81°56’04.5″W

Great Nearby Campsite:  Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds is a great overnight camping location.  A grassy field holds 25 campsites with electricity and water available to most.  RVs must be self-contained, however, as there are no facilities.

Ohio Beach Vibes Score:  8/10

beaches in ohio

Old Field Beach – Indian Lake

Not all best beaches in Ohio are on Lake Erie!

Situated on an island in Indian Lake, Old Field Beach edges placid waters, with a stretch of sand.  There is a ball field, picnic shelters, and a dog park within reach, and swimming and fishing are most popular in this central Ohio location.

Location:  Old Field Beach lies 70 miles northwest of Columbus on Indian Lake.  GPS coordinates:  40°30’04.6″N 83°54’44.9″W

Great Nearby Campsite:  Indian Lake State Park, on the shore of the lake, has more than 430 electric sites (some with full hookups) and hot showers available.  There are also boat ramps and docks, along with naturalist-led programs, a laundry facility and camp commissary in this well-equipped campground. 

Ohio Beach Vibes Score: 8.5/10

Best Beaches in Ohio: Indian Lake

Alum Creek Beach – Alum Creek Lake

Created in 1974 as a reservoir to control flooding, Alum Creek Lake is surrounded by forest land and bluffs along the shoreline. 

The largest inland beach in Ohio entices outdoor and nature lovers to swim, boat and fish here. And, history buffs will find many signs of the Underground Railroad that ran through this section of Ohio.

Location:  Sitting on Alum Creek Lake, the beach is located just north of Columbus.  GPS coordinates:  40°11’28.3″N 82°58’14.8″W

Great Nearby Campsite:  With 297 electric campsites (some have full hookups), Alum Creek State Park Campground has many amenities for its guests, including ball courts, miniature golf and a boat ramp.  Add that to the hot shower houses and the campground’s location on the edge of the lake, and you’ve got the perfect spot for a vacation.

Ohio Beach Vibes Score:  9/10

The Best Beaches in Ohio

These beaches in Ohio offer a cool reprieve to city dwellers and anyone needing time away from the rat race on a hot and humid summer day.  Be sure to consider them on your next trip across this Midwestern state.

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

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  1. Deborah Kerr says:

    Hello! We live in NE Ohio and our favorite OH beach place to camp is the East Harbor State Park, which is north of Sandusky. There is a lot in the area – I love to visit the Marblehead Lighthouse and Jolly Rogers Seafood House!! This state park is on Lake Erie and has a lot of paved camp/park roads to ride bikes to the beach area. Some campsites are close to the Lake also!! Very nice article – some places I never heard of and will need to try!! Thank you!!