A list of A to Z in Northeast Ohio would be incomplete without some mention of Lake Erie. It is a large part of what makes Northeast Ohio special to locals.
I know that when planning your dream vacation, the Lake Erie shoreline is not in the top ten (or one hundred places) to visit but having lived my whole life with the eleventh largest lake within walking distance makes me a bit biased and it is one lovely lake.
Beach is not a word that comes to mind when you think of Ohio and no, we do not have white sandy beaches that stretch for miles on end. We do have beaches - from Catawba Island to Geneva on the Lake plus the dozens of places in between there is plenty of sand and sun in Ohio. Sometimes it is bright a sunny and other times it just feels good to be outside.
I will be the first to admit that Lake Erie does not necessarily have the best water conditions, especially closer to the the city but there is Ohio Nowcast. It is a free website that monitors water quality of nine popular beaches and where the Cuyahoga River runs through Brecksville, Ohio.
The beach is actually down a steep embankment but there are two sets of stairs that will take you to the sun soaked goodness. The stairs are not easy if you are one of those who have to bring a million things.
I have two bags I take with me one for snacks, water, sunscreen, book, and my towel plus a blanket and a bag for toys. The kids carry their own bag with towel and a (just incase) change of clothes.
Edgewater is much closer to my house but I have not taken the kids swimming there. Play in the sand, yes. Check out the pier - absolutely! Swim in the water, no. It is too close to the city for me to feel comfortable but it is part of Nowcast so maybe this year we will give it a try.
Speaking of this year, I am going to venture out to Geneva on the Lake. My family use to go every summer as kids, enjoy the sand, play in the arcades and drink real birch beer at the local hot dog place. I have not taken the kids here, yet. It is on my list for this summer and since it is not far from where the Husband works it may make for a great mini-getaway. He can join us in the evening for fun and food and we can bake in the summer sunshine all afternoon.
There are also places to visit that have a beachy area but not right for swimming, wading yes, playing in the sand, yes, but not ideal to swim in.
Bradstreet Landing is a favorite because there is plenty of grassy area to have a picnic and there are grills and picnic tables. It is not really busy so you will be able to find a place on a busy summer afternoon to set up camp. The view is great and the beach is wonderful for finding "sea" glass. There is also a fishing pier and a concession stand.
It is also a great place to watch all the fireworks from Avon to Cleveland. My son is not a fan of fireworks and my mom was a resident of the nursing home across from here so one summer we sat on the pier and watched several city's fireworks displays. It was amazing.
Rocky River Park is gorgeous. The sand is clean and great to play in, build sand castles, and just enjoy the sun. There is also a wonderful playground area, a pavillion, hills to climb, a deck that overlooks the water and occasionally, yoga in the summer, but parking is limited and the first time finding it is a bitch - every year.
Lakewood park has breath taking views, a relaxing walkway, a lovely gazebo, yoga on the breakwall, but no beach.