Ohio may not be a coastal state, but that doesn’t mean that residents and visitors can’t enjoy a day at the beach. With several great options within driving distance, Ohioans have the opportunity to soak up the sun and relax on the sand without venturing too far from home. Read on for the closest beach to Ohio – both ocean and lake versions!
What are the closest beaches to Ohio?
Depending on how far you want to drive, and what type of beach you are looking for, there are a variety of beaches to pick from. The beaches actually IN Ohio are all off of lakes, but they can still be absolutely gorgeous and terrific for an afternoon of sun and sand.
Allow for a longer drive, and you can enjoy several amazing beach vacations along the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico.
Closest Florida Beach to Ohio
It’s a Midwest tradition to drive down to Florida for Spring Break, and luckily some of the loveliest Florida beaches are within easy driving distance of Ohio.
Florida Panhandle Beaches
Overall, the closest Florida Beaches to Ohio are all along the Florida Panhandle, often called the Emerald Coast. Not only are these beaches gorgeous, with soft white sand and blue waters, but they can all be reached within a day of driving (albeit a long drive, but still just a day…).
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Destin is a very popular Spring Break destination for Midwest vacationers such as those from Ohio. Destin has stunning beaches, a warm climate, and an abundance of activities. With its soft, white sand and clear, emerald-green waters, Destin’s beaches offer visitors a breathtaking view and a serene atmosphere perfect for relaxation.
The town is also home to numerous restaurants, shops, and attractions, such as the Harborwalk Village and the Destin History & Fishing Museum, making it a perfect destination for families and groups. Additionally, Destin is just a day’s drive from several Ohio cities, making it an easy and accessible destination for travelers.
With its natural beauty, warm weather, and abundant activities, it’s no wonder why Destin is a popular beach destination for people from Ohio.
Panama City Beach
Panama City Beach, also along the Florida Panhandle, has over 27 miles of soft, white sand and crystal-clear water. It offers an idyllic atmosphere for relaxation, sunbathing, and water sports.
The town is also home to plenty of fun attractions, such as the Pier Park shopping center, Gulf World Marine Park, and Shipwreck Island Water Park, definitely something for everyone.
Panama City Beach is about 12 and a half hours from many Ohio cities, so it’s another terrific choice for a week (or longer) vacation!
Fort Walton Beach
Just a short drive from Destin is Fort Walton Beach. With the same beautiful beaches and lovely weather, Fort Walton Beach is the slightly more laid-back, slower-paced counterpart to the bustling Spring Break feel of Destin.
Fort Walton Beach is also home to several attractions, such as the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park and Okaloosa Island Boardwalk, as well as numerous shops and restaurants, making it perfect for families with younger kids, retirees, or couples.
FAQs about visiting Florida Beaches from Ohio
How long is Florida from Ohio by car?
o get to the Florida Panhandle from most of Ohio will take 12 to 14 hours (depending upon where you are starting in Ohio and how far into Florida you plan on going).
What is the best driving route from Ohio to Florida?
Of course, it depends on where you want to go in Florida and where you are starting in Ohio, but generally, the most direct and popular route is to take I-75 South from Ohio, passing through cities such as Cincinnati, Lexington, Knoxville, Atlanta, and finally arriving in Florida.
However, other potential routes include taking I-77 to I-26 to I-95 or taking I-71 to I-65 to I-10. It’s important to consider factors such as traffic, construction, weather, and tolls when planning your route. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead and make reservations for lodging and any attractions or activities you may want to visit along the way.
What is the closest gulf beach to Ohio?
Most of the Gulf of Mexico beaches listed here are between 11 and a half to just under 11 hours, but it appears that the closest gulf beach to Ohio (I used Cincinnati as a starting point) would be Fort Walton Beach at 10 hours and 46 minutes.
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Best Beaches in Ohio on Lake Erie
If you don’t want to drive to Florida, there are still beach choices! Within Ohio, there are actually quite a few fun options, but the best ones tend to be along the Great Lakes.
Kelleys Island State Park Beach
Kellys Island State Park Beach is a beautiful destination located on the southern shore of Kellys Island, one of Ohio’s treasured Lake Erie Islands.
The beach boasts a wide expanse of sandy shoreline, crystal clear water, and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. When you visit the beach, you can swim in the lake, sunbathe on the sand, and enjoy a variety of recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and hiking.
The park also offers picnic areas, playgrounds, and camping facilities for those who wish to extend their stay. We visited Kellys Island years ago and enjoyed the beach, and have several friends who make the trip there every summer.
Edgewater Beach is a popular beach destination situated in Cleveland, Ohio, along the shores of Lake Erie. The beach offers stunning views of the lake, with miles of sandy shoreline and crystal clear waters.
Along with typical beach activities like swimming and sunbathing, when you visit you can have fun hiking and biking on the adjacent trails.
If you are visiting Cleveland, a day trip to Edgewater Beach is a fun way to relax and get away from the bustle of the city.
East Harbor State Park Beach
East Harbor State Park Beach is a picturesque beach destination located on the eastern shore of Lake Erie in Ohio. The beach features miles of soft sand and crystal-clear waters, making it a perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxation.
The park also offers numerous recreational activities like hiking, biking, fishing, boating, and camping.
Lakeview Park Beach
Lakeview Park Beach is a lovely beach situated on the shores of Lake Erie in Lorain, Ohio. The beach offers a serene and peaceful atmosphere, with soft sand and clear waters. The park also features a historic rose garden, which is a popular spot for picnics and relaxation.
You can eat in the cafe, play beach volleyball, and explore the nearby trails. The beach is conveniently located near various restaurants and shops, making it easy for visitors to grab a bite to eat or do some shopping after a day at the beach.
Headlands Beach State Park
Headlands Beach State Park is a stunning beach destination located in Mentor, Ohio, along the shores of Lake Erie. The 35-acre beach boasts a long and wide expanse of sandy shoreline, making it the largest natural sand beach in Ohio.
A fun and unique activity at Headlands Beach State Park is glass hunting. The sunsets are also gorgeous, so time your visit accordingly.
Cedar Point Beach
Cedar Point Beach is a beautiful beach destination located in Sandusky, Ohio. The beach is situated along the shores of Lake Erie and offers visitors a stunning view of the lake.
The soft sand and clear waters make it a perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxation. When you visit the beach you can also enjoy a variety of recreational activities, such as beach volleyball, paddleboarding, and jet skiing.
The beach is conveniently located near Cedar Point Amusement Park, which offers various rides, roller coasters, and attractions for all ages. Cedar Point is well known for its amazing array of roller coasters, so definitely plan on an extra day at the park when you visit Cedar Point Beach.
Fairport Harbor Lakefront Beach
Fairport Harbor Lakefront Beach is a picturesque beach located in Lake County, Ohio. The beach features a long stretch of soft sand and clear waters, making it a perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxation.
There is also a wooden boardwalk perfect for pushing strollers or just enjoying the lake views without getting your feet sandy.
The nearby Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Light adds to the beach’s charm and provides a unique opportunity to explore the historic lighthouse.
Maumee Bay State Park Beach
Maumee Bay State Park Beach is a lovely beach destination located in Lucas County, Ohio. The beach boasts a long stretch of sandy shoreline, with crystal clear waters perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
The park offers a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, fishing, and golfing. Plus there is a lodge and cabins available if you want to extend your stay. There is even a 57-acre inland lake with the opportunity for renting canoes or paddle boats.
Best Beaches in Ohio not on the Great Lakes
Ohio is a large state, so luckily there are a few lovely beaches that aren’t along the coast of Lake Erie. If you don’t want to head all the way north or leave the state, there are still some terrific options.
Alum Creek State Park Beach
The top choice for a non-Great Lake Ohio Beach is Alum Creek State Park Beach. It’s a popular destination located in Delaware County, Ohio.
The beach boasts a picturesque setting with a long stretch of sandy shoreline and clear blue waters. You can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and a variety of water activities, such as boating, fishing, and jet skiing.
The park also features hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, and camping facilities for those who wish to stay longer. The beach is well-maintained, and the water quality is regularly monitored, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors.
Closest Ocean Beach to Ohio
If you are in the mood for a vacation to a beach on the ocean, but don’t want to drive all the way to Florida, there are a few other choices.
Atlantic City, New Jersey
I haven’t been to Atlantic City since I was a teenager, but I do recall the fun boardwalk and many casinos.
So, it may not be your typical “beach” vacation, but if you are looking for the closest beach to Columbus Ohio, this is probably it. Actually, I think a long weekend trip could be a lot of fun – especially if your traveling party is all over 21. Spend some time by the ocean, and gamble a little at night – sounds good to me!
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Visiting Virginia Beach from Ohio offers a great opportunity to experience the stunning Atlantic coastline and all the attractions this resort city has to offer. Virginia Beach boasts a long stretch of beautiful, clean beaches that are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.
The city also offers a wide range of activities and attractions, including the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, and the Military Aviation Museum. Additionally, you can enjoy a variety of dining options, from fresh seafood to international cuisine.
Virginia Beach is easily accessible from Ohio, with the option of driving or flying into Norfolk International Airport, located only 20 minutes from the beach.
Ocean City, Maryland
Ocean City, Maryland is a popular beach destination for people from Ohio due to its beautiful sandy beaches, lively atmosphere, and abundance of activities. With over 10 miles of clean, sandy beaches, Ocean City offers visitors a perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying water sports.
The town is also home to a wide range of attractions, such as the Ocean City Boardwalk, Trimper’s Rides and Amusements, and Jolly Roger Amusement Park, all activities sure to get your kids excited.
Additionally, Ocean City’s convenient location, with easy access by car from many parts of Ohio, makes it an accessible and convenient destination.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach, located in South Carolina, is a popular beach destination for residents of Ohio due to its long stretches of white sandy beaches, warm weather, and abundance of attractions. The beach offers a wide range of activities, such as swimming, sunbathing, and water sports, while the town itself boasts many attractions, including shopping centers, amusement parks, golf courses, and restaurants.
Myrtle Beach also has a vibrant nightlife scene, with many bars and clubs offering live music and entertainment. Its convenient location, with easy access by car from Ohio and direct flights from major Ohio airports, makes it an accessible and convenient destination.
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Conclusion: What is the Closest Beach to Ohio
In conclusion, Ohio may not have direct access to the ocean, but there are plenty of beautiful beaches within driving distance. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly destination or a lively party scene, there’s a beach for every taste and preference.
From the tranquil shores of Kellys Island State Park Beach to the thrilling roller coasters and sandy shores of Cedar Point Beach, Ohio residents have a variety of options to choose from.
For those who are willing to venture a bit further, popular beach destinations such as Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Destin, Florida offer stunning stretches of sand and plenty of attractions for visitors of all ages.
So pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and head out to the closest beach to Ohio for a fun and relaxing vacation.