This beautiful sand beach just west of downtown Cleveland, Ohio, makes for a great place to chill out on a summer day. 

One doesn’t expect to find beach days in Cleveland, but just west of downtown, an expansive swath of well-maintained sand hugs the Lake Erie shoreline. There’s a beach house, local craft beer on tap, even a place designated for dogs to take a dip on a hot summer day, but all these upgrades have been relatively recent additions.

Edgewater Beach has been around for decades, but after control of the lakefront land moved from the state of Ohio to Cleveland Metroparks in 2013, it underwent updates that revived the prime lakefront spot as part of the Cleveland Metroparks Lakefront Reservation. The 2,400-foot beach with 1,000 feet of swimming access is complemented by amenities that promise to make your day on the shore all the sweeter. Rent a cabana or beach chair, join a game of beach volleyball, or bring a kayak and head out onto Lake Erie. For kayakers, there’s a temporary pull-off zone to drop your craft and paddling access follows along the rock jetty inside the buoys at the far side of the beach. (The Cleveland Metroparks website offers a Lake Erie Water Trail map to plan your exploration of the shoreline in advance.) 

Most people come to the beach on a hot day just to chill out, be that taking a dip in the water, grabbing a Honey Hut ice cream cone at the Beach House concessions stand or purchasing a locally crafted Fat Head’s Brewery beer. The upper level of the Beach House, which has comfy seating and expansive lakefront views, is the perfect place for people watching. Walk up the hill to the upper portion of the park to get more great views of the downtown skyline in the distance and pose with the script “Cleveland” letters that are strategically placed along the shoreline bluff. Edgewater Beach parking area accessible via Cleveland Memorial Shoreway just west of downtown, Cleveland 44102, 216/635-3200, clevelandmetroparks.com