If you don’t live near the Great Lakes, you may not be familiar with the wonder that is Lake Erie. The fourth largest of the Great Lakes, its northern shore is Canada’s Ontario Peninsula while its western, southern and eastern shores stretch from Michigan to New York, making up a big slice of Ohio’s northern border as well as Pennsylvania’s northwestern “chimney” region. Along its U.S. coastlines are tons of hidden, beachy gems. There’s no shortage of nature preserves, hiking trails, historical sites and good old-fashioned sandy beaches to keep you and your family entertained—whether you want to go away for a weekend or the entire summer. The best Lake Erie beaches in the U.S. offer up more than one attraction, though they all have natural beauty in common.
One thing to remember: Always check the water quality of the beach you are visiting beforehand! Lake Erie is unique in that it experiences huge algal blooms every summer thanks to rainfall in Indiana and Michigan. Sometimes, depending on weather patterns, the algae makes swimming impossible (or unsafe). It’s not always the case, but it’s wise to do your research before packing your bikini.