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Location / Directions / Maps

Location: On the east end of Lake Erie; north of the village of Brocton; town of Portland; Chautauqua County; New York.

Maps: Google mapTopographic; Park Map; Campground Map; Interactive map

GPS Coordinates:

  • Park entrance: N 42.42015 / W 79.43026
  • Parking: N 42.42486 / W 79.43107

Directions: From east and west:

  1. Follow NY-5 west, 7.4 miles west of Dunkirk.
  2. There are two entrances, off of NY-5 (West Lake Rd) both the north and south sides of the highway.

Use Google Directions.

Parking: At the traffic circle just past the park entrance take the first exit towards the beach area. Follow the road as it passes the pond and then turns north towards the lake. Pass a few ballfields and there will be a large day-use parking area. There’s room for dozens of cars.

YouTube video



Lake Erie State Park from the field

Information / Accessibility / Accommodations

Seasons/Hours: Open daily year-round for day use.

Camping season runs from mid-May through mid-October, but this range varies from year to year. Check Reserve America for availability.

Admission: $7.00 per vehicle collected in the summer. When I visited in late August, no one was working the booth. Park upgrades planned in 2023-24 may add electronic parking fee collection.

Best time to visit: Year-round.

Time: Several hours for a picnic, walk along the shoreline, and hike some trails.

Handicap accessibility: In 2022 I found no special accommodations for wheelchairs in the day use areas. A gravel path leads down to the lake, but it’s uneven and probably too steep of a gradient. Hopefully the park improvements made in 2023-2024 improve accessibility. The campground facilities have accessible features.

Pets: Guests may bring up to two pets to campsites and day-use areas, except where signs or instructions indicate otherwise. Pets must always be under direct supervision and restrained either in a crate or on a leash no longer than 6 feet. When asked by park staff, proof of rabies vaccination must be presented. Please note that pets are not allowed in playgrounds, buildings, or the disc golf course.

Swimming: Swimming is not allowed as there are no guarded swimming areas. People still tend to wade in the water during hot summer days.

Boat launch: No boat launching here. If you need to launch, head east to Dunkirk City Pier or west to Barcelona Harbor.

Accommodations: Aside from views of the lake, there are:

  • Hiking, X-county skiing, biking trails
  • Campground with 99 campsites and 10 cabins. Book here.
    • Showers, restrooms, water spigots, laundry, playground
  • 18-hole disc golf course
  • Canoeing/Kayaking (hand launch from the shore)
  • Picnic tables, pavilions, grills
  • Rec hall
  • Playgrounds
  • Ballfields (including volleyball court)

There are a few restaurants and shops 5 minutes to the south in the village of Brocton.

Lake Erie State Park rec hall


Lake Erie State Park, located in the town of Portland, NY (just west of Dunkirk), is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts who are drawn to its stunning views of Lake Erie. While it offers no swimming beach, the 355 acre park is famed for its remarkable sunsets and diverse recreational offerings. Visitors have the opportunity to immerse themselves in nature, whether through camping in well-equipped sites suitable for tents, RVs, or staying in cozy cabins. The park boasts a variety of hiking and nature trails that meander through rich habitats, allowing for peaceful exploration and wildlife observation. 

For those looking to enjoy a leisurely day, the park’s picnic areas, complete with tables and grills, offer a perfect spot for outdoor dining against the backdrop of the lake. While direct swimming may be prohibited, the shoreline invites guests to revel in the beauty of the water. The westward angle of the shoreline makes for spectacular sunsets over the lake, so be sure to plan your stop so you don’t miss it.  

Anglers will find the park a prime spot for fishing, with Lake Erie known for its abundance of bass, walleye, and perch. Bird watchers, too, will appreciate the park’s position along the migratory routes of numerous bird species, especially during migration seasons. Come winter, the landscape transforms, offering serene settings for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The 18-hole “Shipwreck Bluff” disc golf course seems to be a popular one. When I visited in late August, most of the park was empty, but I would occasionally see disc golfers playing across the area and their laughter and cheers could be heard throughout.

While there are certainly more popular lakefront parks in the region with swimming and surrounding activities, this park stands out as a serene and isolated spot to enjoy peaceful lakeside recreation and one where visitors can avoid the crowds.

Kayaking on Lake Erie at Lake Erie State Park


Brocton, NY is a village with a rich history and is nestled within Chautauqua County, offering a glimpse into the evolution of small-town America. Established in 1826, the area that would become Brocton was first settled by pioneers drawn by the promise of fertile land and the opportunity for prosperity. The village was originally named “Salems Corners” after William Salem, an early settler and prominent figure in the community. It was later renamed Brocton, inspired by Brockton, Massachusetts, with a slight modification to avoid postal confusion.

The arrival of the railroad in the mid-19th century marked a significant turning point for Brocton, fueling economic growth and establishing it as a local hub for trade and transportation. This development attracted various industries, including manufacturing, agriculture, and grape cultivation, which became a defining feature of the region. The fertile lands of the Lake Erie Grape Belt provided an ideal environment for vineyards, and by the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Brocton had become integral to the burgeoning grape and wine industry in Western New York.

Throughout its history, Brocton has been characterized by a strong sense of community and resilience. The village has weathered economic shifts, changes in industry, and the challenges of modernization, all while maintaining its unique character and charm. Landmarks like the Brocton Arch, erected in 1913 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first settlement, stand as testaments to the village’s pride and historical significance.

Lake Erie State Park, located in Western New York along the shores of Lake Erie, was established in 1928. This makes it one of the older state parks in New York, developed during a period when the creation of public recreational areas was becoming increasingly important for community health, recreation, and preservation of natural landscapes.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, Brocton has continued to adapt, preserving its heritage while embracing the future. Efforts to revitalize the downtown area and promote local businesses have been coupled with initiatives to celebrate Brocton’s rich history and cultural legacy. Annual events, local museums, and historical societies play an active role in keeping the spirit of the past alive, fostering a deep appreciation for the village’s journey from its pioneer roots to its current status as a cherished part of Chautauqua County’s tapestry.

Brocton’s story is one of perseverance, community, and adaptation, reflecting the broader narrative of small-town America. Its history offers valuable insights into the forces that shape our communities and the enduring spirit that defines them.

The beach at Lake Erie State Park

Lake Erie State Park Interactive Map


Fishing is allowed at the pond on the east side and also from the beach.

Photography Tips


  • The day use area beach is covered in large stones that waves crash into for some epic splashes. Try shooting with a slow shutter to emphasize that motion.

More tips

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

Lake Erie State Park
[email protected]

The beach at Lake Erie State Park