Looking down the walking path on the break wall at Cattaraugus Creek Harbor
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Location / Directions / Maps

Location: On the east end of Lake Erie at Sunset Bay; at the Cattaraugus Creek Outlet; northeast of the Village of Silver Creek; Town of Hanover; Cattaraugus County; New York.

Maps: Google map;  TopographicInteractive map

GPS Coordinates:

  • DEC Boat Launch Entrance: N 42.56702 / W 79.13542
  • Beach Parking Lot Entrance: N 42.56736 / W 79.13660
  • West Beacon: N 42.57269 / W 79.13966

Directions: From Buffalo (north): Take the Buffalo Skyway (Rt 5) south through Lackawana and along Lake Erie for 30 miles (just past Evangola State Park) and past where it merges with Rt 20. Make a right (north) on Alleghany Rd at the hamlet of Sunset Beach. Follow it to the end, past the DEC Boat Launch.

From Erie/Dunkirk (south): You can follow Rt 5 (Lakeshore Rd) north into the Village of Silver Creek and continue on Rt 20 east for 2 miles. Make a left (north) on Alleghany Rd at the hamlet of Sunset Beach. Follow it to the end, past the DEC Boat Launch.

Use Google Maps.

Parking: Parking is very limited. If you are launching a boat, there may be parking available at the launch if you get there early enough. TThere is room for about 20 cars. Overflow (and FREE) parking for both areas can be found at the very end of Alleghany Rd, where it meets S Shore Dr. There are about 8 spaces there. Parking further west, at the Sunset Beach is private parking. The key to visiting this place, if you aren’t from Sunset Beach, is to get here early and park at the end of Alleghany Rd.

The swimming area at Town of Hanover beach looking towards Sunset Bay.



Information / Accessibility / Accommodations

Seasons/Hours: The park is open to the public year-round.

Admission: FREE.

Best time to visit: Summer.

Time: few hours.

Handicap accessibility: Yeah, about as accessible as a sandy beach can be.

Pets: Household pets only; caged or on a leash not more than 6 feet. Not allowed in bathing areas.

Swimming: Yes.

Boat launch: Hand launch of kayaks and canoes is possible at the beach. The DEC launch is at the adjacent Sunset Bay State Marine Park off of Allegany rd.

Accommodations: Swimming beach; restrooms; bathhouse; playground; picnic facilities; marina, fishing

Boats on Lake Erie just off of Sunset Bay in Hanover.


Town of Hanover Beach

The town of Hanover maintains this park for local residents, but it’s free for anyone to come and enjoy as long as you can find a place to park. The dedicated parking lot is for residents with a permit only.  If you do visit, it’s a beautiful beach with an abundance of golden sand. In fact, when we visited in late summer of 2013, sand was spilling over the road and covered about half of the parking lot. It was everywhere. We were told that after periods of high winds, the road needs to be plowed to remove it all. The beach is just that… a beach. There’s a small open pavilion and a swing-set for the kids. Although there are some small dunes with long grass growing out of them, there’s no grassy park area to play ball; no bike trails or hiking paths…. it’s just sand, a concrete/stone pier and Lake Erie. The pier offers excellent views and is certainly worth walking out to the end. On our quick stop, we met several friendly community residents along the way, and found the stones along the pier to be decorated with an array of colorful quotes and expressions. It’s a cute beach with not much there to draw in crowds. Down the road is the commercial establishment known as Sunset Bay Beach, which features a dance club and bar & grill right on the beach.

Sunset Bay State Marine Park – Cattaraugus Creek DEC Boat Launch

This small launch and family stop area, located just north of the beach, is a great way to get your boat out into Lake Erie via Cattaraugus Creek. It is clean and well organized, but very small. There’s no parking unless it’s your boat trailer, and still parking is tight. That’s probably why the town opened a more modern, larger boat launch facility just upstream. Still, if you want to launch, or stop for the day in the small marina here, there are picnic tables, restrooms, and the pier and beach are right next door.

The pier at Cattaraugus Creek Harbor


Iroquois settlements existed in great numbers along Cattaraugus Creek long before the white settlers. A large settlement existed at the mouth of the creek, on the north side, at the time the first white settlers started appearing. This is now a part of the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation, which was established in 1797, and once stretched southeast across the creek.

The area now known as the town of Hanover was first settled by Amos Sottle, who surveyed it for the HLC from 1798-99 and found it to be pristine wilderness. It is unknown when he actually settled in the town, but it is estimated he lived there about a year before being recruited by the company for land surveys.

While settlers built mills along the creek, others built farms and orchards along the shore. Around 1867, the areas of the park and launch were farmed by M. Dowell. At this time, the B&E Railroad passed nearby, and an offshoot and small station were built extending towards the Sunset Bay to pick up goods from the producers and mills. By 1881, much of the area around the creek was subdivided, and the original farm property here was divided into three farm plots, all owned by H. Burmaster.

From the 1920s through the 40s, the beach at Sunset Bay became a municipal bathing park, and catered to thousands of visitors from as far away as Buffalo. As water quality declined in later years, its popularity declined and much of the area was further subdivided.

A historic image of a crowded beach at Sunset Bay in Hanover

Hiking / Walking Trails

Difficulty: Easy.

Distance: A few hundred feet down the pier and back, then along the beach.

Markings: None.

Description:  From the public parking area at the end of Alleghany Rd, follow the sandy path out to the pier. You can walk the length of it and back. The beach area is to the right as you make your way back to land. Don’t stray too far from the park area (where the picnic pavilion and swing-set are) as the beach beyond there is private.

Map: Check out our interactive map.

Cattaraugus Creek Harbor break wall on Lake Erie

Hanover Beach & Cattaraugus Creek DEC Boat Launch Interactive Map


Fishing is allowed. Fish from the pier/break wall.

A view of Cattaraugus Creek Harbor with Lake Erie barely visible on the horizon.

Interesting Stuff

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.

Sunset Bay Beach & Club

Some of the crowded beach party spirit from the 20-40s can be relived at the private beach-side club just to the south of here at the Sunset Bay Beach Club and Cabana Sam’s Bar and Grill. The club has live music and dancing and a huge outdoor patio bar. Cabana Sam’s is a full service restaurant that serves western NY favorites as well as seafood and popular beach drinks.

Sand and Sunsets

The beach here faces west, right up against the strong wind and water flow across Lake Erie, which means it collects a ton of sand. Some days the roads along the beach are completely covered in it. Facing west, the sun sets right over the water.

A sailboat with red sail passes the Beach at Hanover

Photography Tips


  • Sunsets happen well to the west. The best vantage point is from the beach on the west.

More tips

A pathway through tall grass leading to Hanover Beach

Nearby Waterfalls

Lake Erie Parks and Beaches Guide

More Lake Erie Parks & Beaches

Find a new summer hangout spot or place to swim in our comprehensive guide to Lake Erie Parks and Beaches in New York State.

Who to Contact

Town of Hanover Beach
Phone: (716) 934-2273

Hanover town beach with many swimmers and anchored boats