Lake Erie Islands
A relaxing getaway, a hot night out on the town, a family vacation spot, that’s the Lake Erie Islands. Whether you’re looking to spend a weekend or a week, the islands offer a wide variety of things to do, see and eat and they promise to slow things down to a pace saved just for summer vacations. Read on for all you need to know about planning a trip to Kelley’s Island and Put-in-Bay, the most popular hot spots off the coast of Lake Erie.
Nationally recognized as a “Top-10 Healthiest Beach and Lake Getaway” by Health Magazine, Kelleys Island is the perfect spot for a relaxing getaway. Twelve miles from Sandusky, it is the largest American freshwater island in Lake Erie and provides visitors with a beautiful setting for fishing, hiking, swimming and camping along the shore. Other must-dos on Kelleys Island include checking out the world famous Glacial Grooves National Landmark, bird and butterfly watching, scuba diving through several Lake Erie shipwreck sites and a stop at the wineries. Accommodations include camping at the Kelleys Island State Park, bed and breakfasts and vacation rentals.
South Bass Island, better known as Put-in-Bay, is a hopping place. Start with a narrated tour on the island train then set out on your own to explore via bike, scooter or golf cart. Family fun on the island includes attractions like a butterfly house, miniature golf, gem mining, cave tours, a carousel and go-karts. If you’re a history buff, Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial should be your first stop or if you’re just looking to kick back with a cold one, start out in one of Put-in-Bay’s many music establishments. Outdoor recreational activities are everywhere you look and include charter fishing, boat rentals, golf, kayaking and parasailing. There are plenty of places to eat and stay and shopping, art galleries, two wineries and a microbrewery make Put-in-Bay a fun place for everyone.
Public transportation to and from Put-in-Bay and Kelleys Island comes in three forms:
The Jet Express is the fastest way to Put-in-Bay and Kelleys Island with direct downtown service on each island. Passengers enjoy Lake Erie breezes on the outside upper deck or passenger lounges featuring cushioned chairs, carpeted decks and panoramic windows for island sightseeing. Guests are encouraged to arrive early for ticket purchase and parking (guests must pay a fee to park if spending the night at the islands).You might think about reserving tickets online to ensure your spot on the boat. The Jet Express departs from three locations in Port Clinton, Sandusky and Lorain for your convenience.
Miller Boat Line offers the most frequent service to Put-in-Bay and is the only ferry offering car service. A one-way ticket costs $6.50 and children five and under ride free. Parking at the Miller Ferry dock is free and reservations aren’t necessary. Miller Ferries passenger and auto service leave from Catawba Island (which is actually a peninsula) at the end of Route 53 North. Miller Boat Line billboards and state signage will help point your way.
The Goodtime I, an all-steel vessel built for ocean-going cruises, departs from Sandusky, Ohio daily on a Daytime Island Hopping Cruise, as well as other specialty cruises such as the Tuesday Night Sandusky Bay Cruise and the famous Friday Night party Cruises. The Goodtime I also is available for private charters and season special excursions.
So, whether you’re looking for a nature-inspired, laid back “vay-kay” or dancing till the sun comes up, the islands are the place to be this summer in Cleveland Plus.
More fun in nearby Sandusky:
Cedar Point Amuseument Park
Ranked “Best Amusement Park in the World” for ten consecutive years by Amusement Today, Cedar Point Amusement Park features a whopping 17 roller coasters, many hailed by coaster enthusiasts as some of the best! There’s plenty of fun for the little ones at Camp Snoopy, Planet Snoopy and the Jr. Gemini children’s area. New for 2010, Cedar Point is premiering a new water ride called Shoot the Rapids.
Inclement weather need not ruin the family vacation when visiting one of four indoor waterpark resorts in Cleveland Plus. Located 45 minutes west of Cleveland in the city of Sandusky, these indoor waterparks offer waterslides, pools, activity areas, surfing and all sorts of water activities perfect for every member of the family. Complete with unique overnight accommodations, restaurants, lounges, amenities and other indoor activities for families, these resorts provide theming that take kids from an African safari to a Caribbean adventure. Waterparks include Kalahari Waterpark Resort and Convention Center, Great Wolf Lodge and Castaway Bay at Cedar Point.
Ghostly Manor Thrill Center
Ghostly Manor Thrill Center, a haunted thrill center featuring three spooky sections, was rated as one of the top ten haunted attractions in the country. Check out Ohio‟s first and only XD 3D Motion Simulation, where the scariness becomes a three-dimensional experience.
–Submitted by C.A.