Lake County takes its name from Lake Erie, which forms the county's entire northern boundary. Lake Erie is a rich natural resource that provides both commercial and recreational opportunities. Annual shipping on the Lake Erie coming to or originating from Ohio alone is over 40 million tons worth approximately $3.5 billion. In 2012, Ohio's commercial fishing industry harvested 4.8 million pounds of fish from the lake, worth approximately $5.8 million. Lake Erie is also a recreational haven, and sees about one third of the state's recreational boating activity. With 432,817 boats registered in Ohio in 2012, this is a significant number. Of Ohio's 312 miles of coastline along Lake Erie, 53 miles are publicly accessible. Lake County has 6.5 of those miles at 27 separate sites.
The Chagrin River is the only scenic river where most of its length is located within corporation limits. Though it borders the Cleveland metropolitan area, it still maintains its scenic characteristics. The Main Branch of the Chagrin River begins in Geauga County and flows 48 miles before entering Lake Erie at Eastlake. The Chagrin River was first designated as a State Scenic River in 1979. At that time, only 49 miles of the river were given this title but now total of 71 miles is now designated as “Scenic”. The river valley offers a group of plant and animal species. Recent studies have found more than 49 species of fish and 90 bird species living in the Chagrin River watershed.
The Grand River follows a 98-mile course to Lake Erie. Glaciation during the last ice age caused the river to wander a meandering path through five different counties, terminating at Lake Erie in Fairport Harbor. In 1974, the Grand River was designated as Ohio's second wild and scenic river. The Grand Wild and Scenic River is one of the finest examples of a natural stream anywhere in Ohio. It’s rather rugged topography has generally protected it will from any urbanization. The United States Geological Survey ranks the Grand River as the most biologically diverse river of its size in the Lake Erie-Lake St. Clair basin, and visitors can see much wildlife, including wild turkey, bald eagles, and river otter.
Headlands Beach State Park
This 120-acre lakefront park boasts a mile long natural sand beach, which is Ohio’s longest. The swimming beach is guarded and there are restrooms, changing rooms, outdoor showers, a 1-1/2 mile paved hiking trail, fishing, a playground and a large shaded picnic area with grills.
Lake Metroparks Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park
This 21-acre lakefront park features restrooms, showers, changing rooms, concessions, an amphitheater, volleyball courts, a playground and picnic area with grills. Food concession open daily, weather permitting, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. A $2 parking fee applies to Lake County residents, $3 for out of county residents.
Lake Erie Bluffs
This 139-acre wooded parcel along the shore of Lake Erie in Perry Township provides public access to a beautiful stretch of natural beach. Lake Erie Bluffs hugs the lakeshore offering visitors a bird’s-eye view from the scenic overlook of the beauty and drama of the ever-changing Lake Erie. Throughout all seasons, the lives of resident and immigrant birds are greatly influenced by this amazing natural resource. The park offers access to a natural beach, a scenic overlook, restrooms, fishing, and picnic tables. In 2014, a 50-foot observation tower will be completed that will provide 360-degree views of the surrounding area and a unique opportunity to observe migrating bird life.