Believe it or not there is a beach in Central Ohio and it is at Alum Creek State Park. Now, those who are from Columbus and vicinity may refer to this beach as “kitty litter beach” because it isn’t covered in tiny white granules of sand, rather teeny tiny pebbles and mud that squishes between your toes (if you walk barefoot it offers a great pedicure). Alum Creek Park Beach doesn’t have crashing waves or salt water to sting your eyes; but, it has a wonderful “sandy” shoreline where the kids can build sand-like castles, play in the water, and hang out watching boats all while donning their favorite Ariel swimsuits with their tiny bodies slathered in sunscreen. It definitely feels like a beach, and recently I met up with some friends to enjoy a hot Ohio afternoon in the water.
Alum Creek Park Beach is located about twenty-five minutes north of downtown off of Lewis Center Road. There is a parking lot with plenty of spots and huge signs painted with numbers so you can give your towel whereabouts if you are meeting up with people. We decided to plant ourselves in the grassy area just before the beach at #2. We were close enough to the water but not on the actual sand, because the idea was to save the towels as much as possible from dirty little children feet. We brought buckets and shovels that entertained the children in the water and on the beach, and we also packed a lunch so we could sit and enjoy watching the boats while laughing with our friends. I got a giggle when my children thought they saw a whale…it was a guy practicing scuba diving and all they saw were his flippers emerge from the water.
Alum Creek Park Beach has more to offer than just playing in the water, there is a play area with jungle gyms and swings for the kids, volleyball courts set up, and a walk-way if you want to take a stroll. The park has 4,630 acres of woodlands and fields in addition to its 3,387 acres of reservoir, and has plenty of room for other outdoor activities. Along with all the water activities you can imagine – skiiing, jet skiing, fishing, swimming, diving – the park also offers offers campsites, hiking trails, and a 4-acre dog park. And, all of that is just in the warm months! In the winter, Alum Creek State Park is open for cross country skiing, ice fishing, and other winter sports and activities.
Alum Creek State Park is located at 3615 S. Old State Road, Delaware, Ohio 43015.
Park office: 740-548-4631
I know packing up the children for some beach time isn’t easy, but here are some hopefully helpful tips:
- Mental note: don’t forget: sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, extra swim diapers, extra diapers, change of wee underwear, dry change of clothes for the kids (can wear what they came in), swimsuits for the kids and YOU, and water/beach toys (buckets, shovels, bowls, cups, older kids may want noodles or rafts, etc.), and towels for drying off and a towel for all to sit on. Some moms said they even wished they had brought a little chair or beach umbrella (because there is NO shade).
- Pack your lunch or snacks. Kids get really hungry after playing in the water.
- Discuss water safety and be prepared to go into the water with them.
- There is a public bathroom! No peeing in the water….or the grass like my child did before she put on her dry clothes. So embarrassing…ugh.
- No fee for parking or to get on the beach.