Lake Erie Love
The home of the world’s greatest amusement parks isn’t just a thrill-seeker’s destination. Situated on the Lake Erie shore about 65 miles west of Downtown Cleveland, the city of Sandusky and its surrounding area is more than just Cedar Point — dubbed, alternately, the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World” and “America’s Roller Coast” (get it?!).
Beyond all the fanny packs and french fries is a lake … a big one. In fact, dotting this expanse is a modest archipelago of islands known, collectively as…wait for it…the Lake Erie Islands. These islands have fun, rugged sounding names like Put-in-Bay, Gibralter Island and Rattlesnake Island. Most are accessible by ferry while others are a bit more remote.
Things to Do
- Visit Put-in-Bay. Odds are, if you’ve heard of the Lake Erie Islands, you probably know about Put-in-Bay. Here, you’ll find a lively downtown area packed with overflowing bars and seafood shacks, most of which feature live music. There’s plenty to do with the family including bike rentals, shopping, Perry’s Monument and a tour of Crystal Cave, the world’s largest known geode.
- Another island option is Middle Bass Island. This sleepy island of just 95 year-round residents was once home to former Lonz Winery, at one time the largest producer of domestic wine in the U.S. The facade still stands on the land and serves as a patio for outdoor events such as the Middle Bass Music Festival. There are quiet condos and cottages aplenty on this tiny island making it the calmer, more relaxing cousin of some of its neighbors.
- Be sure to hit Kelleys Island, a little quieter and slower-paced, but still with plenty to do. Like Put-in-Bay, there’s plenty of family-friendly activities. This includes miniature golf, beaches, water recreation activities, hiking and bike rentals. Kelleys also is known for its 20,000-year-old glacial grooves that have been designated a National Natural Landmark.
- You must go to Cedar Point. This may seem obvious, but it absolutely has to happen. The roller coasters are some of the tallest and fastest in the world. Who cares if you don’t like roller coasters, the people-watching opportunities are among the best you’ll find in the entire region. And who cares if you don’t like watching people, the funnel cakes are amazing.
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