Head to the beach before summer’s end

Great lakes in Ohio: Head to the beach before summer's endThe outdoor swimming season in Ohio is shorter than a pair of men’s Speedos, spanning three months from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

As a kid it seemed an eternity, probably because I spent so much time in our pond, swimming with toe-nibbling bluegill and through slimy algae. It was a rite of passage growing up on a farm in northeastern Ohio.

In July, the kids and I were invited to a friend’s pond in Canal Winchester. This fun outing got me wondering where else could we go for a cool lake swim in the Buckeye State.

Great lakes in Ohio: Head to the beach before summer's endThrough scouring the Internet, I learned that swimming is welcomed in designated areas at many of the Ohio State Parks with lakes and on Lake Erie, and it’s free to enter state park beaches. I also learned that there are many other beaches throughout the state, some of which require an entry fee.

Before you set out, be sure to check water quality advisories, such as the Ohio Department of Health’s BeachGuard.

Below is a sampling of swimming sites in Ohio.

Alum Creek State Park
3305 S. Old State Rd., Delaware, Ohio 4301
Highlights: 3,387-acre lake with 3,000-foot beach, bathhouse, concessions, sand volleyball courts, disc golf

Atwood Lake Park
9500 Lakeview Rd. NE, Mineral City, Ohio 44656
Highlights: 2,460-acre lake with beach, inflatable beach toys, concessions, fishing pier

Conneaut Township Park
480 Lake Rd, Conneaut, OH 44030
Highlights: Sandy beach, concessions, picnic area, playground, shuffleboard, boardwalk, gazebo, and basketball, volleyball, tennis and bocce courts

Cowan Lake State Park
1750 Osborn Rd., Wilmington, Ohio 45177
Highlights: 1,000-foot beach, bathhouse, bike rental, picnic areas

Deer Creek State Park
20635 State Park Rd. 20, Mt. Sterling, Ohio 43143
Highlights: 1,700-foot beach, boat-swim area in cove, picnic tables, grills

Delaware State Park
5202 US Route 23 North, Delaware, Ohio 43015
Highlights: 1,300-acre lake with 800-foot beach, bathhouse, concessions, disc golf

Euclid Beach Park
16301 Lakeshore Blvd., Cleveland, Ohio 44110
Highlights: Former site of Euclid Beach Amusement Park, 650-foot beach, picnic area, observation pier for bird and butterfly watching, boardwalk

Edgewater Park
6500 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway, Cleveland, Ohio 44102
Highlights: 2,400-foot beach, dog-friendly, cabana rental, volleyball, concession stands, panoramic views of downtown Cleveland

Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park
301 Huntington Beach Dr., Fairport Harbor, Ohio 44077
Highlights: Beach along shores of Lake Erie, concessions, kayak rentals, boardwalk

Grand Lake St. Marys State Park
834 Edgewater Dr., St. Marys, Ohio 45885
Highlights: Four public beaches, swimming areas for boaters, miniature golf course, bicycle rental

Guilford Lake State Park
6141 Clewell Dr., Lisbon, Ohio 44432
Highlights: 600-foot beach, bathhouse, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits

Headlands Beach State Park
9601 Headlands Rd., Mentor, Ohio 44060
Highlights: Ohio’s largest natural sand beach, scenic picnic area

Huntington Beach
400 Bryson Ln., Bay Village, OH 44140
Highlights: Designated Blue Wave Certified beach by the Clean Beaches Council, Mitchell’s Ice Cream, near Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

Indian Lake State Park
13156 State Route 235 N, Lakeview, Ohio 43331
Highlights: 5,800-acre lake with two public beaches, picnic shelters

Kelleys Island State Park
920 Division St., Kelleys Island, Ohio 43438
Highlights: 100-foot beach, picnic area, near Glacial Grooves State Memorial

Lakeview Park
1800 West Erie Ave., Lorain, Ohio 44052
Highlights: Beach along Lake Erie, playground, rose garden, Lorain Lighthouse, spectacular sunsets, lawn bowling, beach volleyball, picnic facilities

Lake Hope State Park
27331 State Route 278, McArthur, Ohio 45651
Highlights: 120-acre lake with 600-foot beach near dam, sun deck, concessions

Madison Lake State Park
4860 E. Park Dr., London, Ohio 43140
Highlights: 300-foot beach, dog swim area, basketball courts on beach

Maumee Bay State Park
1400 State Park Rd., Oregon, Ohio 43616
Highlights: Two sand beaches on Lake Erie shore, concessions, bathhouse, lakeside amphitheater, boardwalk, bike rental, Scottish links golf course, Trautman Nature Center

Mosquito Creek Lake Park
1439 State Route 305, Cortland, Ohio 44410
Highlights: 600-foot beach, butterfly garden, summer concerts, bike rental, archery range, disc golf

Nickel Plate Beach
1 Nickel Plate Dr., Huron, Ohio 44839
Highlights: Lakefront stretch of sandy beach, ping-pong table, corn hole, beach volleyball, concessions, playground, picnic facilities

Tappan Lake
84000 Mallarnee Rd., Deersville, OH 44693
Highlights: 2,350-acre lake with beach, slides, concessions, paddle boat rentals

Villa Angela Park
Park Rd., Cleveland, Ohio 44119
Highlights: 900-foot beach, boardwalk, fishing pier

Wallace Lake
213 Prospect St., Berea, Ohio 44017
Highlights: 17.6-acre old quarry, sandy beach

Senecaville Lake Park
22172 Park Rd., Senecaville, Ohio 43780
Highlights: 3,550-acre lake with public beach, inflatable beach toys, concessions, beach volleyball, playground

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