Sandusky is known for its relaxed atmosphere and the second oldest amusement park in the country that still draws crowds today – Cedar Point.
Yet, it also offers a wide variety of lakeside beaches for all to enjoy. Some of the options sit within urban parks, some are parts of state parks, and there are a couple of island locations as well.
Swimming, sunbathing, fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding are just a few activities that you can enjoy.
Check out what Sandusky has to offer!
Beaches near Sandusky:
- Cedar Point Beach
- Lake Front Park and Beach
- Nickel Plate Beach
- Lions Park
- Lakeside Beach
- North Swimming Beach
- Catawba Island State Park
- Kelleys Island State Park
- Rocky Beach (Pebble Beach)
1. Cedar Point Beach
- Distance from Sandusky: 6 miles (15 min)
- Activities: swimming, canoeing, kitesurfing, jet skiing, fishing
- Amenities: volleyball pitch, parking, bathrooms, snack bar
Not many shorelines in the world can boast of having an amusement park. But the likes of Cedar Point Beach can. It is one of Ohio’s greatest and oldest treasures, with a very lively atmosphere.
What makes this beach an incredible getaway destination besides the amusement park is its proximity to various facilities. Also, on some days, there’s live music and shows to excite visitors some more.
Swimming, canoeing, and paddleboarding are popular. You can take boat rides and sail deeper into Lake Erie to fish or even check out the nearby Breakwater Lighthouse.
Cedar Point Beach is the closest coastline gem to Sandusky and is easily accessible and free.
2. Lake Front Park and Beach
- Distance from Sandusky: 10 miles (20 min)
- Activities: picnicking, kayaking, swimming, fishing
- Amenities: changing room, showers, benches, stone-paved pathway, picnic tables, grill, gazebo, kids playground
A low-key spot within driving distance from Sandusky, this beach is part of the Lake Front Park in Huron. It’s a peaceful place where you can come to feel the sun on your skin, dip your body in water and sink your toes in the sand.
The most special aspect of this spot is that it is both a beach and a park. So basically, there’s a lot to see. If you are careful enough, you could site wildlife sneaking through the park.
There’s a dedicated playground for kids with swings and slide complexes. Gazebos have grills installed in case you want to prepare meals on the beach.
Optionally, you could just relax and soak in the views of the lakefront and Huron Lighthouse or check out the fishing pier nearby.
3. Nickel Plate Beach
- Distance from Sandusky: 11 miles (20 min)
- Activities: swimming, picnicking, sunset watching
- Amenities: picnic facilities, volleyball court, playground, bathroom, outside shower, pavilion, grill
Known to offer spectacular views of Huron Lighthouse, Nickel Plate Beach is a must-see. It offers 12 acres of sandy shores on the edge of Lake Erie.
This is a public beach, nicely stocked with essential amenities, and also a playground for the young ones.
An onsite shop exists to supply adventure lovers with water sports equipment on rental. There’s a restaurant within the premises that sells food and drinks at affordable prices. That is if you don’t want to put the facility’s grills to work.
The settings around Nickel Plate Beach are spectacular for photography sessions. It’s hidden behind residential areas making it undiscoverable to many people.
Compared to Lake Front Park in Huron, Nickel Plate is a typical beach destination with a wide sandy lakefront filled with colorful umbrellas in summer. It’s the nearest alternative to Cedar Point.
4. Lions Park
- Distance from Sandusky: 2.2 miles (5 min)
- Activities: beachcombing, picnicking, playing tennis and basketball, kayaking
- Amenities: playground, BBQ grills, tennis court, paved walking trail, pavilion, basketball court, kayak launch, splash pad, park benches, restrooms
Lions Park is one of those secluded recreational settings that any outdoor person is sure to fall in love with.
Etched on the western shores of Sandusky, this park is special in that it has lots of activities to keep both kids and adults engaged. However, note that swimming isn’t allowed here.
Still, young ones will dominate the playground and splash pad while adults play tennis and basketball or sunbathe. Alternatively, you can explore the multiple twisting trails that pass through lush green surroundings.
The edges of the park are dotted with benches to sit on and catch the sunset or take in the lake views. If you are also into collecting colorful beach glasses, this right here is the place to be.
5. Lakeside Beach
- Distance from Sandusky: 17 miles (25 min)
- Activities: picnicking, boating, swimming, sailing, paddleboarding, kayaking, fishing
- Amenities: splash pad, pier
Do you need a perfect getaway where you can hide and decompress? If so, then no other choice on this list beats Lakeside Beach. In particular, the pier section offers the most scenic views of both the sunsets and the lake.
Lakeside Beach is strategically located in Lakeside Marblehead, with multiple shopping centers and other vibrant parks to discover. This lakeside town comes alive in summer and offers plenty of activities.
One thing to note is that Lakeside Beach is rather small. Yet, it offers more activities than most on this list.
6. North Swimming Beach
- Distance from Sandusky: 15 miles (25 min)
- Activities: swimming, camping, nature walks
- Amenities: parking, showers, restroom
North Swimming Beach has a laid-back atmosphere with plenty of trees that let you relax under the shade. Visiting this park means doing more than just swimming. Several winding trails lead out into other geographically adventurous zones-including campsites.
Enthralling tropic settings aside, this public beach is one of the well-maintained shorelines in Sandusky. Some sections are pet-friendly, and that makes it a big hit for those who’d love to go out with their furry friends.
North Swimming Beach has breaker walls that contain sand movement as well as reduce the waves. Therefore, it is one of the safest places for kids. The beach is accessible by road, and parking is not an issue.
And the best thing is, it’s part of a thriving East Harbor State Park with all its fantastic amenities, including a marina, miles of trails, and a campground – the largest in Ohio’s state park system.
7. Catawba Island State Park
- Distance from Sandusky: 17 miles (25 min)
- Activities: fishing, boating, picnicking, beachcombing, kayaking
- Amenities: restroom, dock, fishing pier, boat launch, picnic tables, playground
Catawba Island State Park is a small but mighty park near Sandusky. It is primarily popular among boaters who like to explore the expansive Lake Erie and have fun on the water.
There’s a spacious pavilion to rent out, in case you have a large group. Next to this facility is a rocky beach where you can enjoy walks along its edges while taking pictures of the fascinating surroundings and collecting bones, fossils, and beach glass. Swimming isn’t recommended here.
Catawba Island State Park is also a top fishing destination – especially for those who love catching walleye.
And the addition of a playground with swings and slides means kids will be adequately entertained. This is a loved coastal area, so arriving early will increase your chances of landing a nice parking space.
8. Kelleys Island State Park
- Distance from Sandusky: 24 miles (1 h)
- Activities: camping, picnicking, kayaking
- Amenities: kayak rentals, bars, restaurants, convenience stores, campgrounds
In the entire area, there’s possibly no park that outshines Kelleys Island State Park when it comes to lakeside camping. It has plenty of campsites, and each boasts a shade, picnic tables, a fire pit, and a cooking grill.
The sites are well-spaced to ensure every group enjoys their total privacy. Visitors can follow the many miles of looping trails that cut through tall woodlands, marshland, and other wild vegetation.
The park has a small sandy beach – a popular cooling-off spot in summer. There are no lifeguards, but the water is shallow, making it an excellent spot for families.
Kelleys Island is a boat-in location that requires a 20-minutes long ferry ride. Kelley Island Ferry runs from Marblehead, just 18 miles from Sandusky.
9. Pebble Beach (Rocky Beach)
- Distance from Sandusky: 22 miles (55 minutes)
- Activities: swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding, fishing, picnics
- Amenities: picnic tables, restrooms, showers, store, marina, cafe
Pebble Beach, also known as Rocky Beach, is an alternative to Kelleys Island State Park. It’s also located on the island, yet it’s a much more primitive option, popular with locals.
Pebble Beach is located directly south of the Seaway Marina, where the ferry arrives. It consists of a mix of sand and pebbles and offers picnic tables for amenities. The marina provides restrooms, showers, a convenience store, and a cafe, so all your basic needs are covered.
Besides swimming, this beach is an excellent spot for other water activities like sailing, paddleboarding, and fishing. And considering its south-facing orientation, it’s the best spot on the island for sunbathing, too.