Are you ready to bust out of your house and take a trip? I’ve got some fun family ideas for you and if you live in Pittsburgh, the fun is not far away at all. Set your navigation system to Lake Erie Shores and Island Adventures in Ohio!
Lake Erie Shores and Island Adventures.
Sometimes finding great family adventures can be a true challenge, however, Lake Erie Shores and Islands adventures have something for everyone in your family! Wait until you see the 7 fun family ideas I have uncovered at the Lake Erie Shores and Island adventures!
My trip was hosted. Images/Opinions are my own, based on personal experiences and interactions within the area.
Lake Erie Shores & Islands encompasses the Sandusky Ohio area and includes the following:
- Put In Bay Island
- Lakeside Marblehead
- Port Clinton
- Cedar Point (treat it as its own entity, and so it should be, LOL)
- Kelley’s Island
- Middle Bass Island
- South Bass Island.
Lake Erie Shores and Island Adventures: Uncover Something for Everyone
I suggest narrowing down your option by beginning with the budget, then age, adventure, and how much adrenaline rushes are requested, then decipher the activities.
From this point, the fun is all up to you, your planning skills, and your family! Here’s the list we used to get the most out of our few days at the Lake Erie Shores & Islands area. Remember I have 3 teens who love adventure, history, and getting out there to learn what the area is about so our trip reflects this mode.
Lake Erie Shores & Island Adventures ~ Sandusky Ohio.
The Sandusky, Ohio area is interchangeable with the name Lake Erie Shores & Island Adventures because the area borders Lake Erie, has water sports, water activities, and beaches that you can head to in order to cool off from warm days.
Additionally, the area offers Island Hopping and fun family adventures on these islands. However, it’s not just about hopping to an Island as Sandusky, Ohio has awesome water parks, beautiful lighthouses, grand state parks, animal attractions, and museums with history.
No. 1 Lake Erie Shores & Island Adventures: A Trip To Marblehead Lighthouse State Park
Lighthouses are definitely a bucket list item everywhere I go, so this one should not be missed Plus you can go up or stay down and your photographic moments are endless.
I love the history that accompanies a lighthouse, while the boys prefer to climb to the top of any lighthouse that they can when we visit, so it’s a win/win family adventure.
For those that traverse to the top, you will be rewarded with grand photos, and if you stay below, you can walk the park and seek sightings of Cedar Point across the way, plus sailboats, and jet skis whizzing by!
3 Other Need To Know Items About The Marblehead Lighthouse (Lake Eries Shores and Island Adventures)
- There are bathrooms (outhouses are more what I would term them) but they are there.
- Parking is available, but it gets jammed upright when it opens (at least it did while we were there) Parking is free.
- Providing yourself an hour is plenty unless you plan on walking around more than that.
No. 2 of Lake Erie Shores and Island Adventures: Get Wild At Port Clinton
Craziest, silliest, fun, ‘wow’ moments are here. Have your phone camera ready, and be prepared to be unprepared for what is about to happen. The African Safari Wildlife Park is organized mayhem.
You follow the path (that’s the organized part) but the animals in the park are TOTALLY unpredictable and will even lick your side view mirrors it’s awesome!
Who would love this Lake Erie Shores and Island Adventure?
Do you love animals and crave a trip to Africa? Well, this may not be Africa but the fun is definitely a wildlife park. Set your GPS to 267 S Lightner Rd, Port Clinton, OH 43452 and you will have discovered fun for the family.
The African Safari Wildlife Park is a stay-in-your-car attraction, perfect for every age. Located in Port Clinton, Ohio this is a 100-acre wildlife animal farm with animals that roam in fenced-in areas. In addition to the drive-through park, there is a walk-through area as well. (get there early because the heat of the day brings on the zoo-like smell)
You arrive at the gates, pay a fee for each person in the vehicle and the attendant will ask you if you want to purchase food. If you don’t make a decision right away, you can also purchase it right before you go into the secondary gate attendant (as you gain entrance to the park).
Who Is The African Safari Wildlife Park NOT For?
This journey may not be for everyone if you don’t like being closed in a vehicle.
Or, if you don’t like animals approaching your car, licking your mirrors, rubbing up against the car, or sticking their head inside your windows, don’t go.
Yes, all of this will happen and I have photos to show that! Need a little more insight? See a little bit of what happens when you are in the park, or maybe it was just our lucky day, take a look HERE!
Suggestion: after you leave this attraction you may want to find a car wash because the animals do come up to the car, a few licked my windows, the paint, rubbed up against it and yes they leave dirt, nothing that won’t wash off, but be warned, this happens! The kids LOVED this experience.
Tip for Inside African Safari Wildlife Park of the Lake Erie Shores and Island Adventures Area
For those who don’t want the animals to stay around your car, leave your windows up. However, if you want the roaming animals to be around your car, leave your windows down and offer a cup of food. Really hold that cup of food because once they start eating they are moving that cup all over.
Be prepared to explain the birds and the bees, as you never know what you will see.
No one here is shy, the animals will come up to the car, and you drive very, very slow. The attendants tell you where you can begin feeding and so do the animals. The animals will stick their face right at your window, they are not a threat it will just take you back a bit if you have never experienced a drive-through animal park.
Inside Lake Erie Shores and Island Adventures African Wildlife Park Expect To See:
Alpaca (lots of them), Bison, Fallow Deer (by the herd), Sika Deer, Elk, Giraffes, and Zebras. Get there early, as it is a popular attraction.
Sometimes the animals won’t let you pass, or they get right in the middle of the road. (need help..? Honk and a parking attendant will steer them away)
No 3. Lake Erie Shores and Island Adventures: A Visit To Kalahari Resorts (Sandusky)
Splish, Splash Hooray, it’s time to swim today! This adventure is for those that want to swim, slide or sit! Yep, everyone!
Who is ready to splash, swim, tube, and run that adrenaline with a fabulous day at an incredible waterpark and resort? If you think the front desk and outside entrance look fab, wait until you see the inside and the experiences waiting for you and your family.
Multiple pools for swimming, body slides, tube rides, family tube rides, wave pools, hot tubs, and fun abounds in this huge waterpark.
Travel adventure here could easily have you spending more than one day. We actually got there ahead of check-in (because you can) and we played the afternoon away. When our room was ready, they texted us, we unloaded the car, and then we went right back to playtime in the park!
Tips For Kalahari Resort Sandusky in the Lake Erie and Shore Island Adventures Area
- Don’t bring towels because you won’t need them. Walk up to the attendant and they will hand you one.
- Yes, there are lockers you can rent, and anything we wanted we charged to our room (wristband) so we had to carry NOTHING around with us all day long, making it perfect.
- Walk around before you get on a ride, so you can see how much there is, we almost missed the Lazy River because the park is so big and we did not venture to where it was initially….. then we saw the lazy river tubes and followed the source!
- You can get a sunburn if you sit upon the upper deck and it gets VERY warm. There are plenty of seating areas and so many places to eat and drink from.
- Donut-tubes in the wave pool are for everyone, they are not rentals, so if one is free enjoy it. (one family we saw spent about 15 minutes debating this)
Make Lodging At Kalahari Resort A Part of Your Lake Erie Shores and Island Adventures Experience
- Long days of swimming and riding, create the need for nice accommodations where you can just collapse.
- The rooms are well-appointed and have lovely amenities for families like refrigerators, hairdryers, a microwave (popcorn), and a drying line for bathing suits.
- We had 4 in our room and there were 2 beds and a roll-out couch!
- Did I mention that the WiFi works perfectly here and I can not praise them enough for this!
- Safes in the room are yet another nice feature and I mention this for all those that prefer to lock up their phones and wallets while they are at the park!
- Check-in and Check-out are a breeze.
- Food accessibility is very prominent down to ice cream cones and the ability for the kids to get what food and snacks they wanted with their wristband and not having to drag me was a real plus!
No 4.Cedar Point (Sandusky)
In my opinion, no trip to the Lake Erie Shores and Islands adventures would be complete without a trip to Cedar Point! What fun, whether you walk, ride, sit, eat, or do a combination of all of the above you are sure to have great memories.
What’s better than 365 acres of an amusement park?
How about 17 Roller Coasters for those that love the thrill of a coaster.
Yep, it’s a great way to spend the day in the Shores & Island area of Erie right in the heart of Sandusky, OHIO.
The location of this park is what makes it special as well because it sits on a peninsula in the Sandusky Area.
If you venture to the Islands you will see it when riding in the boats, and if you visit Marblehead Lighthouse State Park you will also see different views of Cedar Point’s location.
Coaster Lovers That Visit Cedar Point (Lake Erie Shores and Island Adventure for families)
I really do think that you will need a fast lane pass if you are a coaster person to make it ‘faster’ to get through the lines that can get longer than you might want to hang.
That is just my opinion but my kids love coasters and we didn’t have that advantage, so we have forward-planned for the next trip!
Don’t miss the wooden coasters as they are part of the magic of the rides and truly from back-in-the-day.
The ‘clickety, click’ as they head up the track provides a cool effect for those enthralled with coasters.
No 5. Lake Erie Shores and Island Adventures: A Trip To Put In Bay(South Bass Island) Via Jet Express
A trip to Put In Bay is family perfect as it offers shopping, dining, drinking, sightseeing, and something for every age.
For those that don’t want to walk, rent a golf cart, or a few bikes (make sure to see where to find the Best Golf Cart Rentals On Put In Bay).
Put In Bay is a village on South Bass Island. To get there you can take either Jet Express or Miller Ferry over to the Island. If you are taking your car or camper over, you will need to take Miller Ferry, which transports vehicles and campers. Jet Express does allow bikes, not vehicles.
With Jet Express our trip over was 45 minutes, including a stop at Cedar Point and Kelley’s Island where we dropped off and picked up passengers.
Travel Tips for this Lake Erie Shores and Island Adventures
- I advise early in the morning, (early bird catches the worm) and the island seems to wake up pretty good by 2P so earlier is better.
- Get there at least 15 minutes ahead of time and get your tickets at the ticketing window.
- There are restrooms right at the port, and there is also a restroom on the Jet Express.
- The ride on top can get a bit bumpy/rocky so keep an eye on your kids.
- You load into one side of the Jet Express and get off on another.
- If you buy wine at Heineman’s Winery (on Put In Bay), they will bring it to the dock for you, you just pick it up at guest relations (get there ahead of departure).
No. 6 A Trip To Put In Bay
Because I have written so many articles on Put In Bay, I invite you to read those articles to see how much there is to do on the island. I do suggest arriving as early as possible.
Rent a golf cart, ride the perimeter of the island and stop to see at the very least, Perry’s Monument, Perry’s Cave (butterfly room is awesome!), Heineman’s Winery, and that’s the shortlist.
Grab the Insider’s Guide tips to Put In Bay,
Read about a REAL great lunch spot with really tasty beverages and fresh eats
No. 7. Lake Erie Shores and Island Adventures: Sawmill Creek Resort with Private Beach Access
From dynamic sunsets to really large property coverage, Sawmill Creek Resort is family perfect. Why am I in the photo? I am sharing a bit of the sunset with you!
Visiting this area would not be complete without a dip in the lake and a visit to the beach, and you can have your cake and eat it too if you stay at the Sawmill Lodge Resort.
From water swings to a private, sandy beach, you can have a fun day in the water or by the water.
Access is restricted to guests only and you do need a pass to get onto the beach. This is the perfect place for nighttime photos or daytime activity. Water rentals from boards to kayaks are available and there are seats.
Perfect Family Adventures at the Lake Erie Shores and Island Adventures
I know you will have the best family time can be found through experiencing Lake Erie Shores & Island adventures because there is a lot to do as you can see, and this is just my shortlist. Even after a few years of traveling to the area, there’s always more to discover and try! ~ Dana XO