Lake County may be the smallest of Ohio’s 88 counties, but it boasts the largest beach in the state. Regarded as one of Lake Erie’s best, Headlands Beach State Park lines the great lake with a mile-long natural sand beach and should be on everyone’s list of places to visit in Ohio.
Stepping on to the beach, I had a hard time believing that I hadn’t left Ohio for the Atlantic Coast. Part of the beach is in its natural state with an accumulation of drift wood to walk over and around. The other half of the beach, where swimmers and sunbathers converge, is groomed.
The Fairport Harbor West Breakwater lighthouse situated near the break wall is currently undergoing renovations. Built in 1925, this lighthouse was built at the mouth of the Grand River to replace the original Fairport Harbor Lighthouse, which serves as a maritime museum, sits on a hill in Fairport overlooking the lake.
The Fairport Harbor West light has been uninhabited since 1948. When top to bottom renovations are complete, it will be used as a vacation retreat with incredible views of the lake.
I’ll keep my eye on this property, as it’s definitely on my growing list of weekend getaways in Ohio. I just need to remember to pack light, as the only way to access the lighthouse, other than by water, is to walk from the parking lot at Headlands Beach and follow the sandy trail through Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve and across the beach.
The dunes, which are home to several plant species found along the Atlantic Coast, are best crossed in the early morning or evening during warm weather, as the temperature seems to rise when you step away from the breeze at the beach.
Due to the proximity of the beach to the highway, this makes a great stop on a road trip to stretch your legs and for little ones (or big ones) to run off some energy. Visitors will find plenty of free parking, restrooms, concession stands and changing areas for swimmers or sunbathers. The lake water is tested daily and a sign at the entrance at the park alerts visitors to the water quality. Fishing is available along the break wall.
Don’t forget to pack a picnic, kick off your shoes, grab your towel and sunscreen and spend time enjoying a popular tourist attraction in Ohio.
Have you visited Headlands Beach?
Plan your Visit to Headlands Beach State Park
Address: 9601 Headlands Road Mentor, Ohio 44060
© 2014, Tonya Prater. All rights reserved.