Lake Erie Shore Trip Guide | Midwest Living
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Lake Erie Shore Trip Guide

Make the most of every warm day (from May bird-watching to September boating) on the lake's shores and islands.
Marblehead Lighthouse.
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Netty's Famous Chili Dogs.
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What to do

Cedar Point Amusement Park/Resort Cedar Point has a mix of modern thrill rides (16 roller coasters!) and old carnival classics. (419) 627-2350; cedarpoint.com

Kayak the Bay Ltd. Rent a kayak and explore on your own, or sign up for a tour. In Put-in-Bay. See reviews and ratings. (419) 967-0796; kayakthebay.com

Kelleys Island Attractions include Kelleys Island State Park (for the rental yurts and fabulous beach), fishing spots and Victorian B&Bs. By ferry, 20 minutes from Sandusky or Marblehead. See reviews and ratings. (419) 746-2360; kelleysislandchamber.com

Magee Marsh Wildlife Area The bird-watching enclave 25 miles east of Toledo has walking trails and viewing towers. Peak warbler migration is early to mid-May. See reviews and ratings. (419) 898-0960; friendsofmageemarsh.org

Marblehead Lighthouse State Park The oldest Lake Erie light in operation offers tours in the summer, but the site is striking any time of year. See reviews and ratings. (419) 734-4424; ohiostateparks.org

Maumee Bay State Park Just east of Toledo, this lakeside preserve is a great birding spot and includes Maumee Bay State Park Lodge. (419) 836-1466; ohiostateparks.org

Merry-Go-Round Museum Learn about the history and art of carousels, plus ride on a restored 1939 merry-go-round, in Sandusky’s former post office. See reviews and ratings. (419) 626-6111; merrygoroundmuseum.org 

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Explore 10 miles of walking trails and migratory bird habitats in wetland, forest and upland habitats, 20 miles east of Toledo. See reviews and ratings. (419) 898-0014; fws.gov/refuge/ottawa

South Bass Island Busy Put-in-Bay village, about a 20-minute boat ride from Port Clinton, has been a destination for more than 150 years. Most guests tour the island by bicycle or golf cart, or take guided tram tours. (419) 285-2832; visitputinbay.com

Where to eat

Beer Barrel Saloon Put-in-Bay’s saloon claims to have the world’s longest bar. At just under 406 feet, it fits 165 barstools. (419) 285-2337; beerbarrelpib.com

Jolly Roger Seafood House A casual Port Clinton favorite, it’s known for marvelous fish and some of the best coleslaw we’ve tasted. See reviews and ratings. (419) 732-3382

Netty's Famous Chili Dogs Enjoy casual eats in Marblehead. (419) 798-5050; nettys.com

Upper Deck at The Boardwalk A popular lobster bisque tops the menu at this Put-in-Bay marina restaurant. See reviews and ratings. (419) 285-3695; the-boardwalk.com

The Village Pump You can make a meal of the nachos, but that would mean missing the lobster chowder, pizza and fish tacos. On Kelleys Island. See reviews and ratings. (419) 746-2281; villagepump.com

Where to stay

BayShore Resort Deluxe lakeside rooms and suites on South Bass Island offer easy access to downtown Put-in-Bay. From $109. (866) 422-9746; bayshoreresortpib.com

Kalahari Resorts and Conventions This big kid pleaser in Sandusky claims to be America’s largest indoor water park. From $169. See reviews and ratings. (877) 525-2427; kalahariresorts.com/oh

A Water’s Edge Retreat Rock away for hours on the porch of this Victorian-style bed-and-breakfast on Kelleys Island. From $209. (800) 884-5143; watersedgeretreat.com

For information: Lake Erie Shores and Islands Welcome Centers (800) 255-3743; shoresandislands.com

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