East Harbor State Park

Enjoy Lake Erie's northwestern shore in Lakeside-Marblehead, Ohio, on a beach packed with summer fun for the whole family. 

Beachgoers at East Harbor State Park in Lakeside-Marblehead, Ohio (photo courtesy of Ohio Department of Natural Resources)

East Harbor State Park hugs northwest Ohio’s scenic lakeshore and affords visitors a host of outdoor recreation options. The beach here boasts fine natural sand that is ideal for running, sunning and sculpting. It’s also located along a stretch of Lake Erie known for calm waters and promises an enjoyable experience for even the youngest visitors.   

The park’s 2.5 miles of shoreline has a 1,500-foot designated bathing beach protected by four stone breakwaters that shelter the area from rough waves, and the gentle slope of its sand floor lets the entire family wade right in. 

Boaters at East Harbor State Park like to drop anchor in the shallow water and swim off their vessels, while a full-service marina caters to fishermen angling for Lake Erie walleye. The park offers access points — including two at the beach — for paddlers to head out and explore, providing opportunities for families with older kids who are looking for some on-the-water adventure. 

Located in the heart of East Harbor State Park, Middle Harbor is home to a 350-acre game sanctuary known as a great spot for bird-watching thanks to plentiful waterfowl and shorebirds, such as ducks, geese, egrets and heron. Other wildlife spotted within the park includes white-tailed deer, red foxes and bald eagles. 

The East Harbor State Park Nature Center features interactive wildlife exhibits that make learning fun. (One activity uses weights to illustrate the strength of an eagle’s talons.) The Nature Center complex includes a camp store for the convenience of travelers staying at the park’s family campgrounds. (With 586 sites, it’s the largest in the Ohio State Park system.) It’s also just a short drive or bicycle ride away from the beach. Plus, families who don’t want to bring their own bikes can rent them from the camp store. 1169 N. Buck Rd., Lakeside-Marblehead, Ohio 43440, 419/734-4424, ohiodnr.gov