My trip was hosted by Lake Erie Shores & Islands – though I was given complimentary admission and stay, all opinions are truthful – and my own.
I’m always looking for great long weekend getaways within driving distance of Cincinnati. When I was invited to Lake Erie to experience all they had to offer – of course I jumped at the chance.
I hadn’t been to the Lake Erie area since I was a kid – I mean like 12. I remembered a bit about our trip to Put-in-Bay but not much else. So let me walk you through our long weekend trip to Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores and Islands.
First off, if you ever go to Sandusky going to Put-in-Bay Island is an absolute must. You have to take the Miller Ferry to get over to the island. It’s a gorgeous trip over, a beautiful way to get out on the water if you don’t plan to rent a boat. It takes about 18 minutes to get over to the island, and ferries run every half hour during the summer.
I thought it was pretty cool to head out to an island where the only way off was by boat or helicopter! No bridges go over to Put-in-Bay, and that’s half the fun!
If you are a history buff, you’ll love the history that Put-in-Bay holds; there are sites such as the Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial which is all managed by the National Park Service. The 252 ft monument includes a visitor’s center and the island’s heritage is documented at the museums (including a chocolate museum) and historical homes.
There’s quite an adult fun atmosphere on the island as well, where they feature a variety of musicians , have a handful of mouth-watering restaurants and taverns, and 2 island wineries.
I have to say – there is just something about eating and hanging out by the water. It’s relaxing and just a gorgeous view to take in! Now when you head on over to the island you do have an option to take your car (you can check with Miller Ferry to see what their fees are) but I think the most fun to be had is renting a golf cart and driving around the island! The kids have a tendency to look around and take it all in more when they are riding around in a golf cart vs riding around in their car. Plus it’s just fun!
We were able to get a 6 person golf-cart so I could fit us all in on one, which is awesome! The E’s Island Golf Carts are located at the Miller Ferry Lime Kiln Dock (right after you get off the ferry, you can walk up to the E’ Island Golf Carts up the hill and to the right!) Be sure to check out their Facebook page for coupons!
We drove around enjoying the view, stopped at every place we could to get out and explore – the water was a bit choppy , but it was beautiful!
Now as much fun as it is to travel, I think that where you stay is probably the most important. 1. You want to make sure that the place is not only clean, but not in dire shape. 2. You want to make sure you have enough room for your crew (which can get difficult once you are over the 2 kid mark) and 3. you want to have some nice amenities. What’s awesome is you can get ALL the above at the Sawmill Creek Resort.
I will confess – I would go back just to stay here. It’s an amazing property on the shores of Lake Erie near Sheldon Marsh State Park Preserve. It has a golf course, private beach and marina, pools, shop, full service restaurants, and even winery and zip-lining tours!
What is awesome is Sawmill Creek Resort is they have family suites. No, not just 2 hotel rooms and you are left tired from wondering if you teenagers are sneaking out – 2 rooms connected that feature a king size bed, trundle bed (2 twins) AND a pull out couch. Their pools are pretty amazing too, and if we hadn’t of been so busy packing our days full of fun, I’m sure we would of spent more time there. They have indoor and outdoor pools, so even if you decide to visit this fall or winter, you can still get in the pool and have some fun!
Though I have to say the most amazing part would be the private beach. We went on an adventure one evening to find it, and had to walk quite a way back a very wet road to find it. Thankfully we caught the sunset and we were able to take a lot of amazing gorgeous pictures.
There aren’t a lot of nice sandy beaches on Lake Erie – and the water can sometimes be pretty rough. But this beach (and the water) were just about perfect!
Now on to my most favorite part of the trip – and if you decide to make a day trip to Lake Erie , and you could only do ONE thing, I would totally recommend hitting up the African Safari Wildlife Park. This park is the Midwest’s ONLY drive-thru safari. Home to giraffe, zebra and OH SO MANY Alpacas and crazy animals that you feed right from your vehicle!
The kids and I got a kick out of these crazy animals! They are used to being fed, so they will come to your car, waiting for you to roll down the window and feed them. You get a certain amount of food to feed them when you purchase your ticket – but trust me, you’ll want to purchase more!
This not so little guy was making a bit of a mess trying to eat the grains out of the cup, in fact, he stood there rather patiently waiting for me to roll down my window when we pulled up near him.
This is an amazing adventure that folks of all ages can enjoy! Though I would probably recommend not driving your brand-new vehicle in (you must sign a waiver you won’t hold them liable) most of the little scratches that happened during the visit were able to be buffed out. So drive the older car, but GO! It’s a blast, and I am ready to take the rest of my family up to visit this fall!
After our adventure in the safari, we made a drive over the Marblehead Lighthouse, which is actually the most photographed lighthouse on the lake! The lighthouse and museum are open for tours noon to 4p.m. and the grounds are open from dawn-dusk.
.It’s also a really awesome place to take some family portraits (beware of wind hair)!
It’s definitely a fun place to explore (and its free!)
Last but not least – before we went home – we had to do what anyone has to do before ever leaving Sandusky – we went to Cedar Point!
Cedar Point is not for the faint of heart – they are the roller coaster capital of the world! Now I thought I was spoiled living within a half hour drive to Kings Island, but Cedar Point is definitely for brave souls. They have 17 coasters including the Valravn the world’s tallest, fastest and longest dive coaster!
There are over 150 rides, shows and attractions to keep your family entertained all day long!
If you have little ones, they will love Planet Snoopy, tons of awesome rides and they also have Snoopy and his PEANUTS pals performing daily!
Lake Erie makes a perfect long weekend trip! Visit the Lake Erie Shores & Islands website or the Put-in-Bay Visitors Bureau for more information, and be sure to follow along with the #LakeErieLove hashtag to see all the fun to be had on the shores in Ohio!