East Harbor State Park

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East Harbor State Park
Location map
Location map
East Harbor is located on the south shore of Lake Erie.
Location Ottawa County, Ohio, USA
Nearest city Port Clinton
Coordinates 41°32′51″N 82°48′36″W / 41.5475505°N 82.8099097°W / 41.5475505; -82.8099097Coordinates: 41°32′51″N 82°48′36″W / 41.5475505°N 82.8099097°W / 41.5475505; -82.8099097
Area 1,831 acres (7.41 km2)
Created 1947 (1947)

East Harbor State Park is located on the shores of Lake Erie. This park includes a beach area, campground, marina, and wetland wildlife preserve areas.[1]


East Harbor's 7-mile (11 km) 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.[2]


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 (190 km) long and 30 to 40 miles (64 km) wide • After a period of intense lumbering and draining in the late 19th century, 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 • Hundreds of migrating songbirds rest here before winging north across the lake.[3]


View of Lake Erie

A thin stretch of sand beach juts north-ward into the waters of Erie, separating Middle Harbor from the lake. Part of this beach was damaged in 1972 by a storm, washing away a large section of the two-mile (3 km) beach.[4] The current beach is a much smaller area to the north of the park, where swimming is permitted.[5] More recently, four segmented offshore breakwaters have been constructed on the Northern section of beach, to sustain what is left of the sandy shoreline.[6]