Description - The northern shoreline of Ohio displays the dynamic effects Lake Erie has on our changing landscape. The lake has been a dominant force, shaping Ohio's natural and cultural development for thousands of years. Erie, meaning wildcat ("it is long-tailed") is derived from the tribal name of the Indian culture who inhabited this area until 1655.
Copyright: Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Headlands Beach State Park
Lake Erie was originally much larger than it is today. As an eastern outlet opened via the Niagara River, the lake drained down to its present size. Sand beaches from the former lake are still found along the northern shore. The swamp lands adjacent to the beaches were once part of the lake itself.
Plants more common to the Atlantic coastal plain region can be found growing in the surrounding sand dunes. Sea rocket, beach pea, seaside spurge, beach grass and purple sand grass persist on the dunes.
Visitors to this Lake Erie park will discover a popular swimming and sunbathing area once called Painesville Beach State Park. It originally opened in 1953, with a name-change taking place two years later. The expansive beach has now been a consistent summertime destination for several generations. However, 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.
- Since the early 1950s folks have enjoyed the sparkling blue waters and expansive beachfront found at Headlands Beach State Park. Swimmers, sunbathers and picnickers enjoy the picturesque view and the pleasant breezes. Picnic areas are enhanced with tables, grills and reservable shelters. Contact Cleveland Lakefront State Park for shelter details (216-881-8141). Beachgoers will find more than a lovely lakefront swimming opportunity. The park provides users with changing booths, concession area, and restrooms. Those wishing to fish Lake Erie may do so at the federal breakway, which is located at the east end of the park. Anglers frequently snag small and largemouth bass, rock bass, yellow perch, bluegill, walleye, and coho salmon. They are also known to reel in crappie, steelhead trout, and several species of catfish. Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve is located at the east end of the park while Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve borders the south end; hiking opportunities available.
Recreation - Sun drenched days bring the crowds to Headlands Beach State Park where swimming, sunbathing, picnicking, and fishing dominate the outdoor activities. Sledding and cross-country skiing is permitted in winter.
Climate - This state has four distinct seasons and a brilliant fall foliage display in it southern woods during mid October. Winter lasts from December through February with average temperatures near 25 degrees F. Low temperatures dip to single digits, but do not often drop below zero. Northern regions of the state receive average snowfall amounts of 55 inches, while the central and southern regions of the state receive lesser amounts with averages near 30 inches. This difference is caused by lake-affect moisture patterns.
Spring temperatures begin to warm the landscapes of Ohio by mid March and are in full swing by April. Temperatures range from 40 through 70 degrees F through the spring months. This season often brings the most rainfall, before the drying heat of summer. Summer can be extremely hot and humid in the interior of Ohio. Temperatures reach above 90 degrees F frequently through July and August. Cooler fall temperatures don't reach the region until mid to late September. This is a pleasant time to visit as the air is crisp with low humidity levels. Ohio's annual precipitation usually reaches slightly above 50 inches.
Headlands Beach State Park is located in northeastern Ohio along the shores of Lake Erie just north of the city of Painesville.