Lake Erie Photo Prints for Sale
GPS: Park admission booth: N 42.60752 / W 79.10628
Directions: From Buffalo (north): Take the Buffalo Skyway (Rt 5) south through Lackawana and along Lake Erie for 25 miles. Just past Angola, you will cross over Muddy Creek. The entrance to Evangola State Park will be just on your right.
From Erie/Dunkirk (south): You can follow Rt 5 (Lakeshore Rd) north and look for the entrance to the park on the left, just past the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation.
Use Google Directions.
Parking: There’s more than enough parking here, although in 2013 a lot of the parking areas were in rough shape. Just past the toll booth at the entrance, the road fans out into a crescent of parking lots, easily accommodating over 500 cars. If you follow the north road, past these lots, you will find a few smaller lots closer to the pavilions and ball fields, as well as some areas along the road that can accommodate some cars.
Seasons/Hours: The park is open to the public year-round from 8am-10pm. Nature center is open July 4 through August: Wed – Sunday, 12pm-5pm.
Admission: Toll booth is open from the last weekend in May through Labor Day weekend. $7 per car during swimming season (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend), $6 in the off-season.
Best time to visit: Summer.
Time: It’s a massive park with an equally massive beach. Plan for at least a half a day to explore.
Handicap accessibility: Somewhat. While the sandy beach is not easily accessible, there are benches near the bathhouse that have excellent views of the beach and lake. Paved pathways lead to some pavilions.
Pets: Household pets only; caged or on a leash not more than 6 feet. Not allowed in bathing areas, buildings or on improved walkways and boardwalks. For campers, if your site allows pets, there is a two-pet maximum.
Swimming: A beautiful sandy beach offers guarded swimming from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend when water conditions allow. Call (716) 549-1802 for specifics.
Boat launch: Hand launch of kayaks and canoes is possible, from the area south of small creek, near the gazebo. There is no large trailer launch at this park. Use the launch to the south at the Cattaraugus Creek Boat Launch.
Camping: One of the state’s best campgrounds, Evangola has 77 wooded campsites and 1 cabin overlooking Lake Erie. The fully-equipped facility is at the south end of the park. The campground entrance is off of Lake Shore Road, to the south of the main park road. For camping reservations, click here.
Accommodations: Swimming beach; restrooms; bathhouse; picnic facilities; cycling; nature center; fishing; snack bar; hiking trails; baseball diamonds; pavilions; playgrounds; disc golf; cross-country skiing; campgrounds.
Evangola State Park
Phone: (716) 549-1802
Evangola Campsite office
Evangola State park encompasses 733 acres of mixed woodland, developed park, and a beautiful sandy beach along a crescent shoreline southwest of the Village of Angola. While the principal attraction in the summertime is the swimming and sunbathing, the ample picnic facilities, and beautiful baseball diamonds (surrounded by tall grass) were impressive when we visited and saw hundreds of people having a blast on a hot summer weekend. We hit the park in the late afternoon after visiting several other parks along the Lake Erie shore, and as the sun went down, we wished we had planned more time here.
Considered one of the best compounds in the state, Evangola’s history can be traced back to when that area of the park was a YWCA camp for half a century before the state acquired it and converted it to a multi-use family facility. With almost 80 camp sites, it isn’t the largest in the state, and certainly the park isn’t, but with spots on the bluff right next to the beach, volleyball, disc golf, baseball, tennis, cycling, hiking in the huge woodland, and much more to find and do in this region, one can easily see why the camping lots fill up quickly for summer. For those just looking for a day trip to the beach, this is the premier spot in Western New York.
Distance: Varies. At least a quarter mile loop around the beach.
Description: A walk around the park can take a few hours. We recommend a walk up and down the beach and then perhaps along the picnic area on the bluff. You can stop by the nature center for maps and descriptions on some of their recommended hikes.
Map: Check out our interactive map.
View Evangola State Park in a larger map
The land the park is now on used to be farmland, producing tomatoes, beans, corn and a variety of other produce. When the lake-side tourist boom started at the turn of the century, organizations bought up lakefront properties, especially around the north-south shoreline from Silver Creek to Sturgeon Point, and operated resorts and camps. Around here camps were big business in the pre-Depression era. Youth organizations, churches, municipalities, and private businesses established camps along this stretch, such as Westmisner, Whitford, and Bennett. The land which is now Evangola park was purchased by the YWCA of Western New York in 1920, and the following year, Camp Forty Acres opened to members aged 16 to 35 (the age lowered in subsequent years). The camp served well as private ones closed during the Great Depression, and more closed throughout times of poor water quality issues with Lake Erie. It wasn’t until the late 1960s that membership numbers dwindled enough for the YWCA to consider closing and selling the property. This was at the dawn of the Environmental Movement, and a time when the State of New York was looking to purchase and establish shoreline parks and preserves. In 1971, the camp closed and New York State began development towards the premier lakeside campground, including the former camp as part of a huge parcel to the north into Evangola State Park. The old camp recreation building is now the park’s nature center, and all but one of the cabins are gone. That cabin, at the south end of the park, is available for rent.
New York State Route 5
Beginning at the Pennsylvania state line in the Town of Ripley, State Route 5 spans 370 miles west to east across New York, passing through Buffalo, Syracuse, Utica, and Schenectady, ending up in Albany. Along the way it overlaps with State Route 20, leading to the common name of both routes as simply “5 & 20.” Several small towns and cities, as well as countless curiosities, eateries, and historic sites can be experienced along its path.
The name “Evangola”
The village of Angola was named after the south-western coastal African country of Angola, which has a similar (albeit more grand) crescent coastline characterized by large bluffs and sandy beaches. When the former camp was acquired by the state for a park, the name was created, combining the Town (Evans) and Village (Angola) names into one: Evangola.
The sandy beach sits upon a bed of dirt, surrounded by a dirt bluff. High water levels and precipitation tends to wash away accumulated sand and erode away the dirt, muddying up the lake.
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