Ohio’s North Coast is truly unlike anywhere else in the state. In the area’s small communities like Huron, Marblehead and Sandusky, Ohio’s friendly charm is blended with a coastal, island culture all its own. The possibilities for fun on the North Coast are unlimited. If you’re looking for a relaxing weekend getaway, we’ve compiled a list below of the top places and activities you should check out during a stay on Ohio’s Great Lake.
Hold on Tight
Cedar Point is the crown jewel of Ohio’s North Coast. For nearly 150 years, the amusement park has attracted visitors with beautiful views of Lake Erie and Sandusky Bay. Now in 2017, the view tends to take a backseat to the 16 record-breaking roller coasters that call Cedar Point home. Go from 0-120 miles per hour in four seconds on Top Thrill Dragster, one of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the world. Or feel the rush as you crest the 310-foot drop of Millennium Force, consistently rated the best roller coaster in the world. The thrill rides combined with Cedar Point’s world-class resorts and restaurants create what has been named the Best Amusement Park in the World for years.
Kelleys Island, the largest American island in Lake Erie, offers beaches, a large state park, top-notch restaurants and bars, and the Glacial Grooves. It’s the largest and most accessible example of the effects glaciers had on American land thousands of years ago. Put-in-Bay, located on South Bass Island, has its own geographical wonder in Perry’s Cave, an underground cavern first discovered during the War of 1812. Visitors can also travel 352 feet up in the sky in Perry’s Monument, commemorating the Battle of Lake Erie. Finally, Middle Bass Island, just a short boat trip from Put-in-Bay, offers visitors a glimpse of what island life was like years ago with less foot traffic. The centerpiece of the island is Lonz Winery, which was once the largest producer of wine in the United States. The winery building recently reopened as part of the new Middle Bass Island State Park.
Soak Up the Sun
You don’t need to be on the east or west coast to experience some of the best beaches in America. Ohio’s North Coast is full of beautiful sandy shores, including Cedar Point Beach in Sandusky, Main Street Beach in Vermilion and Lakeside Beach near Marblehead. Lakeside itself is one of Ohio’s greatest hidden gems – this private, family-friendly community is the perfect getaway for families that offers something for everyone, from shuffleboard to concerts to shopping for local goods.
Lighten Up Your Day
Ohio’s North Coast is home to a host of historical lighthouses. These buildings, some of which were built more than a century ago, have become landmarks attracting visitors to their picturesque locations on Ohio’s beautiful shoreline. Notable Lake Erie lighthouses include the Huron Lighthouse, the Cedar Point Lighthouse and the Port Clinton Lighthouse. While many are only able to be viewed from the outside, the Marblehead Lighthouse is especially notable for allowing guests to climb its spiral staircase to the top. The views of Cedar Point, Lake Erie and Kelleys Island will take your breath away.
You can’t go to the lake without spending some time on it, and there are many ways to get out on the water on Ohio’s North Coast. If you’re looking to kick back with a hook and reel, there are several fishing charters you can catch out of Marblehead and Port Clinton. If you want to push the pedal to the metal, rent jet skis in Sandusky and ride the waves in the bay. Interested in trying something new? Head to Put-in-Bay and give paddle boarding a shot. This relaxing activity is gaining in popularity, and a few hours spent exploring on a board will show you why.
Take in The View
One of the best views of the lake is actually from above. Visitors have many options to get airborne and see the vast blue waters stretching beneath them. Sawmill Creek Resort in Huron offers hot air balloon launches, complete with calming views of the lake and its islands. For more daring thrill seekers, Cedar Point offers parasailing, with helicopter tours available at the Erie-Ottawa International Airport in Port Clinton.
Learn Some History
The North Coast has many museums if you’re looking for a more educational day of fun. Located in Sandusky, the Maritime Museum takes visitors back in time to explore the history of the Sandusky Bay area, with a focus on boat culture. See historical Lyman boats up close and see why locals say they are the must-have mode of transportation for a day spent on the bay. Also in Sandusky is the Follett House Museum, a historical home located downtown that displays artifacts from Sandusky’s past and the larger Erie County area. After the Follett House, make sure to swing by the Merry Go Round Museum in Sandusky and ride the vintage carousel.
Eat Like a Local
Ask anyone from Ohio’s North Coast and they’ll tell you that the must-have menu item during your stay is fish straight from the lake. Each year, restaurants along the coast serve up perch and walleye by the ton. Get it fresh-caught daily in sandwich form from the New Sandusky Fish Company, or sit by Sandusky Bay and eat delicious perch tacos at Dockside Cafe, complete with picturesque views of the Cedar Point skyline. If you’re looking for nightlife, do it the island way – hop on the Goodtime I and take a relaxing two-hour journey to Put-in-Bay for an evening of fun at the island’s many bars and wineries.
Stay the Night
After a whirlwind day spent on the North Coast, you’re going to want someplace to spend the night. For adrenaline junkies, keep the adventure going at one of the area’s top indoor water parks like Castaway Bay, Great Wolf Lodge or Kalahari. If you’re looking for modern and upscale, stay at the Hotel Kilbourne, a boutique hotel in downtown Sandusky complete with a rooftop patio that overlooks the lake. For a room with personality, try one of the area’s many quaint bed and breakfasts.
No matter what you choose to do while on the North Coast, it’s safe to say you will leave happy and eager to return! With so much to explore, the possibilities for future trips are endless. What are you waiting for? It’s island time!