Best Beach

Headlands Beach State Park

At a full mile from stem to stern, this Mentor marvel is the state's longest naturally sandy beach. With your toes wiggling in the sand and the fragrance of Coppertone wafting through the air, you could almost believe you're sunning somewhere along the Atlantic seaboard. Other considerations: Lifeguards are on duty during peak hours, water quality is usually among the best in the state, and neither parking nor beach admission will cost you a penny. On steamy weekends, the beach is packed, making Erie-side real estate hard to snare. But remember, the water stays warm well into the fall, and with the cry of gulls replacing the shrieks of small children, you just might like it better in September anyway.