Experience Northeast Ohio’s natural beauty at the many parks, gardens, and beaches located in this picturesque area of the state.
While it may be buried under snow for half the year, there are still plenty of places to go and things to do in the beautiful countryside of Northeast Ohio. The area in and around Cleveland is home to parks, beaches, wildlife, and scenic landscapes, perfect for those who enjoy exploring the great outdoors.
If you are in northeast Ohio and want to spend some time outdoors enjoying the countryside, here are some suggestions.
The Cleveland Metroparks form an “emerald necklace” around the city of Cleveland. The parks consist of over 21,000 acres encompassing 16 nature preserves in all, offering visitors hundreds of miles of hiking, cycling, and bridle trails, picnic areas, and nature education centers. In addition to hiking and picnicking, visitors can enjoy golf, boating, and fishing as well as tobogganing and cross country skiing in the winter months.
The Cleveland Metroparks host special events and educational programs throughout the year, presented by experienced naturalists and historical interpreters to get people of all ages interested in nature and wildlife. In addition, the parks are participating in the latest craze of geocaching by hiding several caches in its parks and hosting special programs about this popular hobby that brings nature and technology together.
Entry to the Cleveland Metroparks is free except for the Metroparks Zoo and certain special events. The parks are open all year round so visitors can experience northeast Ohio’s natural beauty, whatever the season.
Located near the Lake County town of Kirtland north of Cleveland, the Holden Arboretum is one of the largest arboretums and botanical gardens in the country. The Arboretum has a collection of 9,400 types of woody plants, botanical collections including specimens from China and Korea, butterfly and wildflower gardens, and ecologically sensitive wildlife habitats.
Holden Arboretum has over 20 miles of walking trails through both gardens and natural areas and offers special events and tours for visitors. Entrance to the arboretum is $6 for adults, $3 for children and is free to members.
Lake Erie Beaches
With a location on the shores of Lake Erie, northeast Ohio is home to many lovely sandy beaches offering opportunities for swimming, sailing, boating and just relaxing and soaking up the sun. Here are some of the best beaches in the area. All are free and open to the public.
Headlands Beach State Park, Mentor
Mentor Headlands in Lake County is the largest natural sand beach in Ohio. This popular beach stretches for miles with a lighthouse at one end adding a scenic touch. There are plenty of facilities for visitors including picnic tables, concessions and restrooms. It is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park
Located in Lake County, this is a popular family beach with a picturesque lighthouse, a 20-acre park and a marine museum. There are also picnic tables, concessions, canoe rentals and restrooms on site. The beach is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Edgewater State Park
Offering some of the best views of downtown Cleveland, this lakefront park is located right in the heart of the city and has a wonderful sandy swimming beach, picnic pavilions and a playground. It is open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Euclid Beach State Park
Once home to a popular amusement park, this east Cleveland lakefront park has a lovely expanse of white sand, a boardwalk, observation pier and picnic area. The original gate from the former amusement park still stands and welcomes visitors to this Cleveland landmark.
Punderson State Park
Located east of Cleveland in rural Geauga County, Punderson State Park has a lovely sandy beach on the shores of Punderson Lake. The park also offers camping facilities, hiking trails, picnic areas, a historic lodge and golf course.
Lake County Farmpark
One of the best ways to experience rural life in northeast Ohio is to visit the Lake County Farmpark. The park is devoted to agriculture, farming, and country life and offers a unique experience for the entire family. The park features over 50 breeds of livestock, some of which are endangered, horse and tractor-drawn wagon rides, gardens, orchards, and vineyards. There are sheep herding demonstrations from April to October and plenty of special events and educational programs throughout the year. The park is open all year round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for children, and free to members.