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Explore Northern Ohio’s Coastal Cities
From roller coasters to rock-n-roll, northern Ohio’s Lake Erie Coast is a unique stretch of shore offering small-town parks, golf courses, and fishing piers to major city museums, markets, and sports teams. We’ll cover Cedar Point in Sandusky, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and President Garfield’s famous front porch.
Known as Vacation Land, Port Clinton is a welcoming city set in northern Ohio on the Lake Erie shore. Found less than an hour east of Toledo, Port Clinton features beaches, historic sites, and unforgettable festivals.
The southern coast of Lake Erie is a stunning and unique destination in Ohio. From fishing to sunbathing, Port Clinton yields some of the best shores in the Midwest. Check out the fishing pier at Camp Perry, or fire up the grill for a family picnic at Port Clinton City Beach.
Shake the sand out of your shoes and explore Historic Port Clinton – where you can try shopping, dining, and entertainment.
Head to Main Street Port Clinton for the Wide World Shoppe and the Northern Exposure Gallery, or grab lunch at the Slater’s Madison Street Pub and the Cielo Grande Tapas Bar. For a nightcap, step inside the Bait House River Bar.
For more fun on Lake Erie, head to Catawba Island State Park for swimming, picnicking, and boating. Anglers are likely to hook bass, yellow perch, channel catfish, and Walleye – after all, this is the Walleye Capital of the World.
From Port Clinton, travel east on Ohio State Route 2 for 15 miles until you reach Sandusky across from the Sandusky Bay. Set north of Norwalk, Sandusky is known for beaches, waterparks, and roller coasters.
Covering 364 acres, Cedar Point is a lively amusement park known as the Roller Coaster Capital of the World. Set on a peninsula jutting into Lake Erie since 1870, Cedar Point runs from May to November. America's Rockin’ Roller Coast features 72 rides in the park, 16 of which are roller coasters.
The Sandusky area is also a mecca for waterparks. Catch some sun at Soak City and Monsoon Lagoon, or head indoors for Castaway Bay, Great Wolf Lodge, and Kalahari.
Take advantage of the incredible coast weather with some time on a bike, or the course. Head down the 27-mile Milan Canal Bikeway, or bring your clubs to the Mills Creek Golf Course, Keys Golf Course & Driving Range, or the Woussickett.
From Sandusky, hop on U.S. Route 6 and move east. You’ll be right on the coast for about 30 miles until you dip southeast, making your way into Elyria.
Covering 135 acres, Cascade Park features everything from hiking trails, playgrounds, and firework shows in the summer to a sledding hill come winter. Elyria’s largest park, Cascade Park also features the East Falls along the Black River.
Found at Lorain County Airport, the Discover Aviation Center was established in 2013 in order to promote careers in aviation. The DAC is home to the DAC Flying Club, and hosts the annual Discover Aviation Days during Memorial Day Weekend.
Hit the links in Elyria during your tour of coastal Ohio. Swing by the municipal, 18-hole Forest Hills Golf Course, or try the fairways at the Dragon Ranch Golf Club.
The Forest City is set 30 miles northeast of Elyria along Interstate 90 – or about an hour away if you take Route 6 for more views of the coast. Ohio’s second largest city, Cleveland is home to Cleveland State University, major sports teams, and plenty of local fun.
Cleveland has more than a few attractions worthy a visit. Explore the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum, and University Circle – home to the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Cleveland Orchestra, and many more.
Sports fans, catch MLB’s Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field, NFL’s Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium, and NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.
If you’re looking for a local market, Cleveland’s historic West Side Market is ideal. Established in 1912 and listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, WSM is found in Ohio City in downtown Cleveland. WSM’s 100 vendors yield fresh produce, flowers, and bread, plus handmade crafts and gifts, and even guided tours.
Known as the Emerald Necklace, Cleveland Metroparks is a collection of public parks – established in 1917 and today covering over 21,000 acres. Open throughout the year, Cleveland Metroparks features multiuse trails for walking, cycling, and horseback riding – plus golf, fishing, and nature centers.
From Cleveland, continue northeast along the Lake Erie coast, this time hopping on the OH State Route 283 for 30 miles until you hit Mentor.
Found on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the James A. Garfield National Historic Site is the former home of President James Abram Garfield. Built in 1876 and the site of the famed front porch campaign, the home is now operated by the National Park Service – offering themed tours, a visitor center, and bookstore.
Whether you need to bring home gifts, or would just like to catch a movie, head to Great Lakes Mall – Ohio’s first enclosed shopping center. Open daily, GLM is anchored by major stores like Dick's Sporting Goods and Macy’s, and also features stops like Yankee Candle, Teavana, and H&M.
Let’s end this drive tour of Ohio’s Lake Erie coast with a lighthouse – the Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Light to be exact. Standing at 42 feet, this now maritime museum was built in 1925 – and is found at the Mentor Headlands Beach State Park.
Ohio’s longest natural beach, the public Headlands Beach offers fishing, hiking, and of course, swimming and sunbathing.