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Headlands Beach State Park

9601 Headlands Road

The trademark of Headlands Beach State Park is its mile-long natural sand beach, the largest in the state. In addition to its popularity during the summer season with picnickers and swimmers, the area is home to many plant species typically found only along the Atlantic Coast.


Lake Erie was a principal avenue of transportation for Indians and frontiersmen alike. The Lake Trail, a heavily used Indian path, ran along the south shore of the lake. Originally, the trail was used by the Iroquois. Later other Indians and settlers found it provided access to the Ohio country. Northeastern Ohio was given to Connecticut in an agreement by which that state gave up claim to all other land running west to the Pacific Ocean. Connecticut named the 3.8 million acres the "Western Reserve". Proceeds from the sale of this land were to benefit Connecticut schools. The Connecticut Land Company purchased the land for roughly 35 cents an acre and began selling tracts of land. Easterners moved west, and by 1800 the population of the Reserve was approximately 1,300 .

Nearby Fairport attracted Finns and Hungarians, later Slovenians and Slovaks, who came to fish and unload coal and ore from boats onto railroad cars by hand. The lake influenced development, and the harbor was a gateway for settlers and trade. Fairport Harbor is one of the best located on the lake with access possible when other harbors are closed.

Lake County, Ohio's smallest county, covers 231 square miles. With the lake's effect on the weather, the county developed a substantial nursery and fruit growing industry utilizing the prolonged growing season. The county claims one of the highest points in the Western Reserve. Known as Little Mountain, it is located about seven miles south of Painesville and offers excellent views of the surrounding area and Lake Erie.

In 1951-52, the state of Ohio began acquiring land west of Fairport to create a state park. Originally opened in 1953 as Painesville Beach State Park, the name was changed to Headlands Beach two years later. Its large beach has attracted huge crowds consistently since the opening. In 1957, the beach was closed when Lake Erie's waves and the undertow created safety problems. For a while, the public enjoyed swimming in the creek until the area was filled in. Capital improvement projects started in 1967 created numerous parking lots, concession buildings, restrooms, change booths and a treatment plant. Headlands Beach State Park remains very popular with swimmers and sunbathers.



Tuesday, June 19, 2018
A beautiful beach for a mid afternoon stroll. I'm from out of town and we had a wonderful time walking along the beach with the high tide. We walked through the sand, through the tall grass, and felt the gentle breeze the whole way along. It was not crowded at all and was very peaceful. There wasn't any trash or anything either. Parking is free. It's a wonderful place that represents Mentor very well.

Doug L.64

Sunday, July 8, 2018
We love to come here after we eat dinner at Pickle Bill's Restaurant. Bring a blanket and enjoy laying on the beach and watching the windsurfers and sunset. It is such a beautiful clean friendly place. It's much much larger and the water is way cleaner than Edgewater Park there's also a cool lighthouse right nearby.

Jordan Peelman

Friday, July 6, 2018
It is very pretty. It's really unfortunate that people rate this state park poorly. Yes the beach is rocky. It's lake Erie. Yes the water quality is poor sometimes. The park makes you aware of the water condition. If it's poor, don't get in. Easy peasy. The Dunes Nature Preserve is also very pretty with wonderful trails.

someone else

Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Love wandering around here. Nice beach. Pretty well maintained during the summer months but I enjoy going in the of season months as well, usually the bird watches or photographers out and it is quiet and peaceful. Fishing spot past the dunes on the break wall down by the lighthouse. Lots of parking. Playground for kids. Occasional events and sand sculpting events. Picnic tables and charcoal grill areas.

Kellie Sullivan

Friday, June 8, 2018
Mentor is a nice beach. Upkeep has gone down over the years but still a pleasant place to spend a day with family and friends. We had a good time attending a graduation party with friends.The kids loved putting their feet in the water and building sand castles!

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