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The Best Beaches in Western New York

City Guide

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Written by Patrick Koster

Published on July 25, 2016


Woodlawn Beach, Buffalo NY Beaches

Woodlawn Beach / Photo x Woodlawn Beach


Updated July 2019

Let’s be honest: Buffalo may not have the most picturesque beaches in the world. For most, if not all beaches in Buffalo, the sand has a few twigs and pebbles that can make it a little difficult to comfortably stroll across their shores. And while those issues can be a hassle here and there, they are really no reason to skip the beach bum experience all together. We’ve seen worse. We’re lookin’ at you sharks, hurricanes, and tsunamis.
Who’s to say that Buffalo doesn’t have some beaches worth visiting? In this heat we’re just happy to have some water nearby TBH.
For those looking to have a relaxing, sun-filled day, you’ve come to the right place. Summer is here and these beaches are calling your name. And please, please SOB readers, take it easy on our beach hosts. They have a lot of people to please on hot days and we’re willing to bet they’re doing the best they can. When you can, B.Y.O.Everything and just enjoy the atmosphere.
 

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Lake Erie Beaches

Angola on the Lake

8934 Lakeshore Road, Angola  /  (716) 549-3000
 
http://www.thebeachclubatmickeyrats.com
Open (Mickey Rats hours): Monday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 2 a.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. – 4 a.m., Sunday, 12 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Admission: $5-10
This stretching, sand-filled beach is home to two local favorites in Captain Kidds Restaurant and Mickey Rats Beach Club, which are both conveniently accessible from the shore. It’s home to several beach volleyball nets as well.
The beach is well-maintained and the sand is groomed over regularly, making it well worth the price of admission. Just be sure to bring extra cash for food and drinks.
 

Beaver Island State Park

2136 West Oakfield Road, Grand Island  /  (716) 773-3271
nysparks.com/parks/56/details.aspx
Open: Dawn – dusk
Admission: $7 Memorial Day – Labor Day
Nestled right along the Niagara River leading out to Lake Erie is Beaver Island State Park. Beaver Island is a great place to catch some rays and lay in a rather smooth shore of sand. The beach has a few benches and gazebos along the pathway leading to it with convenient parking located directly behind.
Once you’re done with the beach, be sure to check out Beaver Island’s disc golf and golf courses, playgrounds and marina for even more summer fun.
 

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Bennett Beach

8276 Old Lakeshore Road, Angola  /  (716) 947-5660
www2.erie.gov/parks/index.php?q=bennett-beach
Open: 10 a.m. (Swimming opens at 11 a.m.) – 7 p.m.
Admission: Free
“Considered by many to be the most beautiful beach in Erie County,” Bennett Beach maintains its reputation – and for good reason.
Looking for a more tranquil beach with a great atmosphere? Bennett Beach is your answer. The long trek from the parking lot to this beach is well worth working your way around, up and over sand dunes to get to your destination.
Quite possibly the only negative to this one may be a slight lack of maintenance. Not to worry, though. The sand, while not the smoothest, shouldn’t be a major problem, as it doesn’t get in the way of your feet or, more importantly, the awesome view.
The beach isn’t typically crowded and it might even make you feel like you’re on a private beach.
 

Evangola State Park

10191 Old Lake Shore Road, Irving  /  (716) 549-1802
nysparks.com/parks/91/details.aspx
evangolastatepark.com
Open: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Admission: $7 Memorial Day – Labor Day
Within this 733-acre park, you will find a beautiful beach with great sand on the shore of Lake Erie. There’s picnic areas and campsites available, as well as nature trails and playgrounds within the park.
Be sure to check out Evangola’s new yurts that are now available for rent.

Lake Erie State Park

5838 Route 5, Brocton  /  (716) 792-9214
nysparks.com/parks/129
Open: Thursday – Monday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Admission: $7
Lake Erie State Park is home to a long beach that provides a great view of… you guessed it… Lake Erie.
Along with the beach, the park also provides many outdoor activities and campsites. Their rates for cabins throughout the week are pretty good, too.
 

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Point Gratiot Park and Wright Park

Point Gratiot: Point Drive and Route 5, Dunkirk
Wright Park: NY 5, Dunkirk
(716) 366-3262
dunkirktoday.com/city-offices/parks
These two Dunkirk parks offer some smaller beaches with picnic areas and various other activities. Point Gratiot has lifeguards on duty and Wright Park has a street hockey and basketball court.

Sunset Bay Beach

1028 South Shore Dr., Irving  /  (716) 934-9953
sunsetbayusa.com
Open: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Admission: $3
“Voted WNY’s best beach,” Sunset Bay offers one of the cleanest and sandy beaches around. Its sand is kept clean daily and lifeguards are on duty every day from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunset is family-friendly with its own beach club, Cabana Sam’s Bar and Grill, Beaches and Cream ice cream stand and a video game arcade.

Wendt Beach

7676 Old Lake Shore Road, Derby  /  (716) 947-5660
www2.erie.gov/parks/index.php?q=wendt-park
Open: 11 a.m. – dusk
Admission: Free
Although swimming is prohibited, this beach and park are still worth checking out. Picnic tables and a playground are the centerpieces here, but depending on the day and maybe a bit of luck, birds and water life can take center stage. Don’t forget the camera if you have a good one – or a phone camera will work as well.

Wilkeson Pointe

225 Fuhrmann Blvd., Buffalo  /  (716) 851-5553
Open: 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Admission: Free
Located near a grain elevator in the Outer Harbor area, this small beach is a nice break from the urban environment surrounding it.
With new improvements to the area, such as a beverage stand, bike, kayak and stand up paddleboard rentals and picnic tables (as further detailed in this recent Buffalo Rising article), Wilkeson Pointe is guaranteed to provide hours of fun.
 

Woodlawn Beach State Park

3580 Lakeshore Rd, Blasdell  /  (716) 826-1930
nysparks.com/parks/47/details.aspx
Open: Dawn – dusk
Admission: $8
Another favorite in Western New York, Woodlawn Beach boasts a mile-long natural sand beach with “one of the finest freshwater sand dune areas remaining on Lake Erie.” The view of Lake Erie is wonderful from this beach’s shore, and you can even take a walk on a beach-connected boardwalk that leads to a nature center/bathhouse complex.
 

Lake Ontario Beaches

Olcott Beach

UPDATE: Due to water levels this beach may be closed. Call ahead if you’re planning a trip!
5979 Main St, Olcott  /  (716) 778-7711
olcottbeachcarouselpark.org
Open: Dawn – dusk
Admission: Free
Not only does Olcott have a nice beach, but it also has a vintage-themed amusement park with old-fashioned rides aimed toward younger children.
Located on the south shore of Lake Ontario, this beach offers spectacular views that will leave you wanting to come back for more. 

Wilson-Tuscarora State Park

3371 W Lake Rd, Wilson  /  (716) 751-6361
parks.ny.gov/parks/69/maps.aspx
Open: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Admission: $7
Wilson-Tuscarora has a beach with a good amount of shade in some areas to keep beachgoers from burning in the sun all day. The park also has a disc golf course and marina, among other features.
 

Written by <a href="https://stepoutbuffalo.com/author/patrickkoster/" target="_self">Patrick Koster</a>

Written by Patrick Koster

Patrick Koster is from Buffalo, NY, otherwise known as the land of beer, bipolar weather and wings. He plans to one day rule the world. Whenever he isn't on his quest for world domination, Patrick enjoys talking in the third person and storytelling, with a passion for news, sports, culture and anything in between. Patrick is currently working on deciphering the new language of Emoji.

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