Best Beaches in Southwest Ohio Where You Can Play in the Sand

Cincinnati and Dayton aren’t exactly known for their beaches. But there are actually lots of picturesque places to plan a ‘beach day’ — each just a short drive away. So pack up the cooler, slather on the sunscreen and spend a day at one of these beaches near Southwest Ohio.

Remember, these beaches are part of living ecosystems and sometimes are closed due to algae. Please refer to their websites for closures before visiting.

Here’s your guide to the Best Beaches near Cincinnati and Dayton!

Rocky Fork 

beach at rocky fork lake

9800 North Shore Drive, Hillsboro, OH 45133
Rocky Fork State Park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts in southwest Ohio. The region’s natural beauty can be enjoyed along the park’s hiking trails or from the water. Nearby, a scenic gorge, dolomite caves and natural wetlands add to the popularity of this recreation area.

Popular with boaters and water skiers, the 2,080-acre lake offers unlimited horsepower boating along with a marina, docks, and multiple boat ramps. With several fishing piers, Rocky Fork will give anglers a chance to test their skill catching a variety of fish.

Overnight options include a campground, group camping and the Dovetail Activity Area. Although sometimes parts of the lake close for algae, the North Shore is almost always safe. Refer to the website for closures.

Hueston Woods

Image from

College Corner, OH
Hueston Woods Beach is free to the public and open dawn to dusk. Sit on the beach and watch boats pass by, rent a kayak or camp or stay in one of the many cabins or the lodge within this close-to-home state park.

East Fork State Park

Photo credit: Yelp/Davion M.

3294 Elklick Road, Bethel, OH 45106
One of Ohio’s largest state parks, East Fork in Clermont County is home to a 1,200 foot swimming beach on East Fork Lake. Additional camping amenities and trails for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking, as well as access to fishing and boating, make East Fork a must-see weekend getaway this summer. Check for closures before visiting.

Stonelick State Park

stonelick lake beach

2895 Lake Drive, Pleasant Plain, OH 45162
A 500-foot public beach is located on the lake’s south shore. Swimming is permitted in designated areas during daylight hours only. The Friends of Stonelick recently upgraded the campground area nearby and host events annually. Nearby the beach is dock fishing, kayak launch, disc golf, hiking and kayak rentals.

Caesar Creek State Park

Photo credit: Yelp/Andrew B.

8570 E State Route 73, Waynesville, OH 45068-9719
Caesar Creek State Park offers a 1,300-foot beach that is open to the public from dusk to dawn. After a day of hiking, mountain biking, fishing or boating, hang out on the beach or take a dip in the lake.

Brookville Lake

Photo credit: Yelp/Todd M.

Brookville, IN
A lakefront park only an hour from downtown Cincinnati that offers camping, hiking and boating in addition to the beach that you can kick back and relax on.

Cowan Lake State Park

Photo credit: Yelp/Santeri P.

1750 Osborn Road, Wilmington, OH 45177
A 1,000-foot public beach is located on the south shore of this 700-acre lake. Swimming is permitted during daylight hours only in designated areas. Sailing is also very popular on the lake: boat swimming and boat camping are located in the northern portion of the lake.

Old Field Beach at Indian Lake State Park

Photo creditL Yelp/Libby V.

13156 State Route 235 N, Lakeview, OH 43331
Within Indian Lake State Park, Old Field Beach provides two beaches for swimmers on its 5,100-acre man-made lake.

Jump Rock Swimming Hole

Photo credit: Yelp/Elizabeth R.

Stanton, KY
Jump Rock is a famous spot at Red River Gorge. As its name suggests, Jump Rock is a swimming spot marked by a large “jumping rock.” To find it: drive into the Red River Gorge Geological Area, pass through Nada Tunnel and park at the Sheltowee Trace Trail parking lot. Hike the short trail and cross the suspension bridge over Red River to gain access to the small sand beach and what’s reputed to be the best swimming hole in the gorge.

Lake Logan State Park

Photo credit: Yelp/April S.

30443 Lake Logan Road, Logan, OH 43138
Located within the rolling Appalachian foothills of southeastern Hocking Valley, Lake Logan is one of the best fishing lakes in the state. A 527-foot public swimming beach is located on the north shore of this 400-acre lake.

Next time you’re craving a day of sun and sand, check out one of these worth-the-drive beaches in the tristate!

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