Aerial panorama of the Cedar Point peninsula at dusk, in Sandusky, Ohio, on the Erie lake. Image credit Mihai_Andritoiu via Shutterstock.

Ohio's most charming beach towns

Few might consider Ohio when discussing the best beaches in the United States. Instead, they associate salty waters, tropical weather, and white sandy shores to coastal states, Mediterranean countries and the Caribbean. However, it might be surprising to find out that nice sunny beach days (and more!) are easily accessible in Ohio. 

The Buckeye State, Ohio, is truly the heart of it all as many say and in this article, we will take a closer dive into its clear Lake Erie and man-made waters that account for the best beaches in the region. These towns are perfect for a quick weekend getaway, or even a permanent relocation if tired and ready to leave the busy city and crowded highways!

Sheffield Lake 

Red picnic table on a deck overlooking Sheffield Lake, Lake Erie.
Red picnic table on a deck overlooking Lake Erie near Sheffield. Image credit SAMtheMAN via Shutterstock.

The quiet and relaxing small city of Sheffield Lake is a small shoreline that stretches along Lake Erie’s edge with some of the most charming nature views. Home to an amusement park on the beach, Lakewood Beach Park, and OVI Civil War Museum. The town is a calm destination for many favorite watersports and wholesome family trips. Sheffield’s Beach offers a mix of rocky and sandy shores with a paved jogging path and plenty of outdoor exercise equipment for a full beach day experience. 

Bay Village

his image portrays the shoreline meeting the rocks along the beach in Bay Village.
Pebbles along Bay Village Beach. Image credit Steven Schuster via Shutterstock. 

Bay Village is a gorgeous beach town, home to famous Huntington Beach which attracts swimmers from surrounding towns all summer long. Bay Village is a suburb of Cleveland with a population of roughly 16,000 in the southern part of western Cuyahoga, known to be home to the famous poet, Edgar Alla Poe. Although it is named Bay Village, the small suburb grew to become its own city in 1950 after reaching a population of roughly 7000 residents. 

Bay Village beach is not a typical sandy beach and instead is more akin to a Canadian-style beach by being rocky with a side of greenery. Perfect for a picnic or relaxed water-watching sessions, Bay Village’s Huntington Beach also offers waterfront homes to rent under the shaded canopy of the surrounding cottonwood trees.


Lighthouse at Mentor Headlands Beach State Park in Ohio with waves crashing on shore and dark clouds overhead.
Lighthouse at Headlands Beach State Park. Image credit Showcase Imaging via Shutterstock.

Located on the northeast shores of Ohio, Mentor-on-the-Lake is a small town with several parks and many welcoming local businesses. It is part of Lake County and home to over 7500 residents despite its land size of 1.6 sq. mi. Mentor-on-the-Lake features two main beach parks, The Green Overlook Beach Park and Mentor Beach Park. Additionally, it neighbors two other beautiful parks that are part of Willoughby, Ohio–Osborn and Sunset. Willoughby is only a few miles from Mentor-on-the-Lake.

Along the 283 highway lies many beaches. From Chagrin Harbor to the famous one-mile Headland Beach, this area is a local go-to destination every summer with Headlands Beach State Park of Mentor, Ohio, being the largest beach in the region. 


View from aboard the ferry at Put-in-Bay, Ohio.
View from aboard the ferry at Put-in-Bay, Ohio. Image credit Zack Frank via Shutterstock. 

Put-in-Bay is among the most unique, charming, beach towns on this list. An island located 35 miles east of Toledo, Ohio, it is by far the most popular beach in the area, featuring everything from fine entertainment and amusement parks, to nature preserves and wildflower hiking trails. Known for its delicious wine, a trip to Put-in-Bay promises to be romantic, explorative, or a mind-calming break on a semi-secluded island for a few days or more!


Summer days at Caesar's Creek, Little Miami River, Waynesville, Ohio
Summer days at Caesar's Creek, Waynesville. Image credit My_Scenic_View via Shutterstock. 

Waynesville is a special beachfront town and boasts a classy reputation, being known as the capital of antiques in the Midwest. Waynesville is a popular shopping destination for crafty individuals and draws thousands of people from across the states thanks to its thrifty culture! Waynesville is also a main attraction for its beautiful Caesar Creek Beach, attracting visitors to its clear waters which are unlike any other beach on this list. 

The Waynesville Caesar Creek beach is part of a man-made park created by the U.S. Army Corps to aid flood control in 1978. Despite being an old, artificial lake, Caesar Creek Marina was ranked Platinum Level in cleanliness in 2019. This perfect beach for picnics, romantic cotton candy sunsets in greenery under tree shades, and activities such as kayaking and boating are sure to dazzle all who visit. 


The Marblehead Lighthouse on the edge of Lake Erie in Ohio, USA. Photographed at sunrise.
Marblehead lighthouse at sunrise. Image credit Sara Winter via Shutterstock. 

Home to the iconic lighthouse, Marblehead is a lakeside town with the oldest operating lighthouse on the American side of the great lakes, a beautiful landmark, distinguishing itself from other rocky shores on this list. A green landscape surrounds the lighthouse with trees that nearly touch the lake’s waters. The town has many unique, experience-based activities, including orchid tours, wine tasting, a ferry line to Kelly’s Island, camping parks, and an art gallery with pieces inspired by the city’s beauty. 


State Road Covered Bridge, built in 1983, crosses Conneaut Creek in rural Ashtabula County, Ohio in autumn.
State road covered bridge over Conneaut Creek. Image credit Kenneth Keifer via Shutterstock.  

Conneaut in the language of the Seneca people translates to “River of many Fish”, hence this part of Lake Erie is the ultimate go-to location for fishing trips for neighboring communities. Situated in Northeast Ohio, Conneaut’s waters are more of a family-friendly park than a beach, appealing to those who admire a secluded, peaceful area for swimming and enjoying quality time. One of the finest beaches in Ohio’s wine district, enjoy a romantic wine-tasting experience near the water, practice some favorite sports under the sun, or tag along on the weekly Conneaut Lighthouse cruise. 


Cedar Point Amusement Park was originally built in 1870 and has been one of the top amusement parks in the world with 72 rides, including 17 roller coasters.
Cedar Point Amusement Park. Image credit Hendrickson Photography via Shutterstock.

Finally, Sandusky is yet another underrated charming beach town in Ohio on the shoreline of Sandusky Bay. It features a range of family-friendly destinations such as the Cedar Point amusement parks, the Merry-Go-Round Museum, and a world-class waterpark, giving the town its nickname of “Ohio’s waterpark capital.” A very popular summertime spot, Sandusky is the largest beach town on this list and is home to many beaches, a few islands, and the beautiful Castaway Bay complete with gorgeous waterfront houses. 


Ultimately, Ohio is home to many beautiful, colorful beach towns to visit this summer. The vibe in each city is different: some sandy, some pebbly, while others may remind of coastal states on the Pacific Ocean! Visit the charming beach towns of Ohio, and explore what this underrated state has to offer. Additionally, if the beach towns of Ohio are not in the vicinity, find a list of beach towns for almost every state on our website or check out the all-inclusive articles of  America's 12 most charming beach towns

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