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trees on the edge of the lake at East Harbor State Park

Standing roughly halfway between Toledo and Cleveland, East Harbor State Park is one of the most popular of all state parks in Ohio.

Featuring the largest campground within its system, the park offers 1,831 spectacular acres of water and woods for visitors to enjoy. During the months of summer, it acts as a haven for those who like boating, fishing and swimming.

All of which take place upon the breathtaking waters of Lake Erie.

Away from the water, beach walking, hiking and biking are popular activities. While winter brings the snowmobilers and cross country skiers to the park – who enjoy the choice of tackling five different trails. Ice skating and ice fishing are also regular past times in these months too.

Once home to the Wyandot and Ottawa Native American Tribes, the park is rich in cultural and historic significance.

It also has an iconic lighthouse that was built in 1821, which adds further charm to an already wonderful destination.

sunrise over the road at East Harbor State Park

Activities

Visitors to East Harbor State Park can enjoy a wide range of outdoor recreational activities during their time there.

Outlined below is a brief overview of some of the things you can see and do at various points of the year.

Boating at East Harbor State Park

As you would imagine given its stunning location around Lake Erie, boating is an activity many people partake in at the park.

With such a huge surface area of water to explore, the likes of pontoons, paddle boards, houseboats and rowboats are all regularly taken out onto the water.

Near the lake three is a marina that you can get fuel, ice, bait and other supplies for your time on it.

If you intend to fish while you are there, it is worth contacting the park’s main office to ascertain if you require a license.

jetty on the water at East Harbor State Park

Hiking at East Harbor State Park

With more than 11 trails to choose from, you will definitely want to pack your hiking boots to explore East Harbor State Park.

These trails range from easy to moderate so they should not over-exert you. However, they will take you through most of the park’s picturesque landscape.

One of the easier hikes you can tackle is the half mile Rock Garden Loop Trail. This will guide you on a course round Middle Harbor and showcase its beautiful area.

Should you prefer something that will up the heart rate a little, make your way to the South Beach Trail. Stretching for 2.5-miles it conveys magnificent views of Lake Erie from various viewpoints along the way.

Birding at East Harbor State Park

Bird Watching is a major activity at the park with enthusiasts from all over Ohio coming to it for the opportunity to spot many different breeds.

Some of these birds reside in the park all year round, while others only appear at certain times of the year depending on their migration.

You will be able to get a birding list from the park’s office. However, depending on the time of year you visit, you should be able to spot the likes of great blue herons, egrets, black-crowned night herons and a host of other shorebirds.

A prime destination to spot these birds is at Middle Harbor. That said, they will be visible at any of the park’s various waterways as well.

Hunting at East Harbor State Park

For those into hunting there is a designated area at the park in which you can partake in this activity.

This is located on the park’s eastern side from the offshore islands. Should you decide to hunt, be sure to always carry your license with you.

Winter activities at East Harbor State Park

Winter brings snow to East Harbor State Park and that is when many people come to the park for their own particularly brand of fun.

At this time five of the hiking trails turn to excellent tracks for snowmobiling. Others become more suited to cross-country skiing.

When the lake freezes over, it turns into an excellent spot for ice skating and ice fishing too. Just be sure to check the thickness of the ice before you venture out onto it though.

Pets at East Harbor State Park

Pets are permitted to join you within the park though some restrictions on their presence are in place.

While they are allowed to enter all campsites they need to be well behaved and kept under control at all times on a leash.

You will also need to ensure you clean up after them as well.

Camping at East Harbor State Park

With more than 550 campsites available the campground at East Harbor State Park is the biggest in terms of accommodation numbers in the Ohio State Park system.

These sites are all set up for RVs, trailers and tents and many of them come with full hookups for electricity, water and sewer. Others just have connections for electricity and water, while some are completely non-electric. A selection of them are designated ADA sites as well.

These sites can house rigs of up to 50 feet in length and quite a few offer terrific views of the waterfront.
In addition to these campsites, yurt camping is also available. The park has one yurt that can be reserved between the months of May and mid-October.

They can sleep five people and are furnished with various types of beds and 50-amp electrical service. It also comes with a refrigerator, coffee maker, microwave, fire ring, propane grill and picnic table.

Park Location

East Harbor State Park
1169 N Buck Rd
Lakeside Marblehead, OH 43440
Phone: 419.734.4424

Park Website
Reservations

Map

Video

Here is a short video with some aerial footage of East Harbor State Park: