East Harbor State Park

1169 N. Buck Road, Lakeside-Marblehead, Ohio 43440
Park Phone: (419) 734-4424
Marina Phone: (419) 734-2289
Camp Office Phone: (419) 734-5857
Reservations: (866) 644-6727
Email: OhioStateParks@dnr.state.oh.us

East Harbor State Park Map View

Located on the shores of Lake Erie, 1,831-acre East Harbor State Park has unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation. Boating, fishing, swimming, picnicking and camping are popular while nature enthusiasts will enjoy the abundance of waterfowl, shorebirds and other species of wildlife found in the park's scenic wetlands.

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Park Map Campground Map Hiking Trail Map Hunting Map

You can find more information about each of the following activities below.

Nature Of The Area

East Harbor State Park is situated on Catawba Island, beside Lake Erie--one of the largest freshwater bodies in the world. A two-mile-long strip of beaches and dunes separates the harbor from the open waters of the lake. The harbor itself is the former mouth of the Portage River, which once crossed the Catawba Island peninsula to flow into Lake Erie thousands of years ago. The rocky parts of Catawba Island are the Columbus Limestone, which in places bears the marks of glaciers which crossed the area several times before finally receding about 12,000 years ago. The Columbus Limestone also is known for forming spectacular sinkholes and caverns. East Harbor lies on the fringe of Ohio's prairie marsh zone. These wetlands are remnants of the Great Black Swamp which once covered an area 120 miles long and 30 to 40 miles wide. After a period of intense lumbering and draining in the late 1800s, the swamp was nearly destroyed. Only ten percent of Ohio's original wetlands now remain. These wetlands produce more wildlife than any other type of habitat in Ohio. Reptiles and amphibians are numerous including the green frog, American toad, water snake, fox snake and painted turtle. Large numbers of ducks, geese, gulls, terns and other migratory waterfowl delight birdwatchers. Middle Harbor is a game sanctuary where black-crowned night herons, egrets, great blue herons and other shorebirds find refuge. Furbearers in the park include muskrat and red fox.


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The campground at East Harbor is the largest in the Ohio State Park system with 365 electric sites and 205 non-electric sites. The campground is equipped with showers, flush toilets, dump station, launch ramp and camp store. Pet camping is permitted on designated sites. A group camp can accommodate 120 units. Two Rent-A-RV units are available on full-service sites for weekly rental. Two camper cabins are also available for rent.

Campground Map

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Disc Golf, Swimming, & Boating

Disc Golf: The park offers an 18-hole course plus a practice hole. The course is located near the Lockwood Shelter House. Bring your own equipment; rental equipment is not available. No fee is charged to play. The location of the course can also be found on the campground map.

Swimming: Thousands of visitors come to East Harbor's 1,500-foot sand beach. A beach concession is available.

Boating: Lake Erie offers unlimited horsepower boating opportunities. The park's marina provides seasonal and day-use dock rentals, fuel, launch ramp, supplies and restaurant. Boats and campers can be stored year-round at the marina in a fenced enclosure.


A valid Ohio hunting license is required. You can find out more information about getting a valid Ohio hunting and trapping license on Ohio's division of wildlife website: http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/hunting-trapping-and-shooting-sports/hunting-trapping-regulations/licenses-and-permits. Pursuant to Ohio Administrative Code, no person shall at any time hunt, trap, kill, pursue, or shoot at any wildlife and/or wild animals by any means within 400 feet of any nature trail, picnic area, service area, residence, barn, parking lot, cabin, or other structure.

East Harbor State Park Hunting Map

Hiking Trails

East Harbor's 7-mile trail system leads through the many different habitats within the park. The Middle Harbor Trail skirts the southern edge of the Middle Harbor game sanctuary and includes a stop at a bird observation blind. The short Blackberry Trail near the camp check-in station invites campers to enjoy a pleasant evening stroll. Other foot trails near the swimming beach offer the opportunity to observe the flora and fauna of a beach community.

East Harbor State Park Hiking Trail Map


Picnic areas with fantastic views of the lake and marshlands are equipped with tables and grills. One picnic area is conveniently located next to the beach. Two spacious shelterhouses may be rented by the public. Contact the park office for details.

History Of The Area

Before European settlement, the East Harbor region was home to the Ottawa and Wyandot Indians. Ottawa in native tongue means "trader". An east-west trail skirted the southern shore of Lake Erie connecting the Pittsburgh and Detroit settlements, and also linked with the famed Scioto Trail from the south. This important area remained in Indian control until the British and Indians were defeated in the War of 1812 by the Americans. After the Great Black Swamp was eventually drained, the land became highly productive. Fruits, particularly peaches and grapes, were grown extensively. The grape culture became very successful as a result of quality soil, natural drainage and suitable climate. Marblehead Lighthouse was erected in 1821 east of the park on the Marblehead Peninsula to aid navigation in and out of Sandusky Bay. Johnsons Island on the bay side of the peninsula was the site of a prison for Confederate soldiers captured during the Civil War. A Confederate cemetery still remains on the island. The region has long been valued as a recreation area. The unique plant and animal life, sandy beaches, marshland and the lake itself led to the development of East Harbor State Park. The park was opened in 1947 and today is one of northern Ohio's most popular vacation spots.

Other Area Attractions

Crane Creek State Park, west of Port Clinton, is one of the state's foremost birding areas and is noted for its spring and fall bird migrations. It is one of the few areas in the state where the endangered bald eagle may be seen. The Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge borders this park to the west. Encompassing 2,600 acres of wetland adjoining Crane Creek State Park, Magee Marsh Wildlife Area offers outstanding nature study areas and fishing access at Turtle Creek. Controlled public duck hunting is permitted here. The Sportsmen's Migratory Bird Center, located on the main entrance road to Crane Creek State Park is operated by the ODNR Division of Wildlife and features displays of native wildlife species and information about the area. An observation platform offers a unique perspective on the surrounding terrain. Several other state nature preserves are located in the Sandusky area including Sheldon Marsh, Old Woman Creek and Erie Sand Barrens.