Living along Ohio's north shore has its perks.Our landlocked fellow statesmen in Columbusonly have open fields to frametheir sunsets. And Cincinnati mayhave the Ohio River, but a sandbeach trumps a riverboat cruiseany day of the week. Sure, we may not beFlorida, but by midsummer, when you'rebeachside watching the water run out tothe horizon, you're not even going to recallwe had this conversation. Here arefour spots to dig in and chill out for thenext three months.
6700 Memorial Shoreway, Cleveland
(216) 881-8141 - Open daily 6 a.m. - 11 p.m.Nine-hundred feet of sand beach and the hands-downbest views of the city's skyline should be enough toalready have you packing your bag. Then, there's theaccessibility and sheer size of this state park thatmake Edgewater one of the best (and busiest) beachesin the area. The park is divided into upper and lowersections, which are connected by a bike path. Planon staking out some beach-blanket real estate on theFourth of July and you'll have a great spot to catchthe city's annual fireworks display.
Lakefront Park Beach
301 Huntington Road, Fairport Harbor
(440) 639-9972 - Open daily sunrise to 1/2 hourafter sunset
The family-oriented vibe of Fairport Harbor's beachmakes it a hearty dose of good, old-fashionedsummer fun. With its lighthouse marine museum(prowled by a ghost cat, according to local legend)there is more to do than just get a tan. The 21-acrepark has plenty of room for picnics on sunny days.
Headlands Beach State Park
9601 Headlands Road, Mentor
(216) 881-8141 - Open daily 1/2 hour before sunsetto 1/2 hour after sunset.
Mentor Headlands' mile-long natural sand beach isOhio's own little coastal wonder. Home to many nativeplants that are normally found along the Atlanticcoast, the state's largest beach hosts more thantwo million visitors each year. With a lighthouse atone end and sand dunes on the other, you couldn'tget better scenery for soaking up the sun.
Lake Road (near Porter Creek Drive), Bay Village
(216) 351-6300 - Open daily 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
This short but sweet stretch of beach offers visitorsaccess to the park's adjacent 103-acre reservation.It's a relaxing, easily accessible place. So,it's no problem to drop by for an afternoon picnicor an evening stroll. But if you're hoping to makea day of it, be sure to arrive early. The secret isout on this lakeside gem and people travel from allover to enjoy it.