Two Day Getaway to Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands: Marblehead and Kelleys Island

Spend the day exploring the Marblehead Peninsula and take a relaxing boat ride to Kelleys Island, the largest U.S. island in the western basin of Lake Erie.

Day 1

Christi’s Just For Ewe Christi's Just for Ewe
Sample your way through this unique shop. Try on jewelry, apparel, and shoes; taste fudge, soup, tea, and coffee; try knitting, crocheting, spinning, or weaving; and get creative in the Art Class Retreat.

East Harbor State Park
East Harbor has unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation. Boating, fishing, swimming, picnics, 11 miles of hiking trails, and camping. Pack a picnic basket and enjoy the afternoon on the beach.

The Keeper’s House
This 1822 home offers visitors the chance to experience the history of the first three light keepers of the Marblehead Lighthouse.

Marblehead Lighthouse State Park
This state park features picnic facilities, fishing, walking trails, and the Marblehead Lighthouse. In use since 1822, this is the oldest continually operating lighthouse on the Great Lakes.

Cleats Club Seat Grill
This full-service sports bar and restaurant features waterfront and patio dining, seasonal entertainment, and a menu to suit just about any taste.


Board the Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Line Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Line
The only passenger/vehicle ferry service between Kelleys Island and Marblehead runs daily year-round, weather permitting. During peak season, ferries run every half-hour and offer late night service on weekends.

Inscription Rock
The 32 x 21’ surface of the rock is covered with one of the finest examples of aboriginal art in the Great Lakes region. Known as a petroglyph, no one is sure what the unusual drawings depicted. The most widely accepted theory is that the large rock was used as a “message stone” where various Native Americans would make drawings noting that they’d been there, how the hunting or fishing had been and/or where they were headed next. The markings have been so eroded by exposure to the weather that it is difficult to see them. In 1969 The Ohio Historical Society erected a cover to attempt to preserve the rock.

Kelleys Island State Park
The park features hiking trails, camping, launch ramp, fishing, summer programs, picnic shelter, and swimming beach.

Kelley’s Island Wine Company
The Island’s only winery! They have the largest outdoor facility on the island with picnic tables, horseshoes, volleyball, a children’s play area, and plenty of room to throw a Frisbee or a ball! The Kelley’s Island Winery features a winery viewing area, a tasting room tavern, gift shop, full restaurant with dining room, and covered outdoor pavilions.

Glacial Grooves  Glacial Grooves
The world’s largest accessible glacial grooves, embedded with fossils that are 350-400 million years old. Located on the north side of the island, the grooves can be viewed from a walkway and stairs.

Historic District/Downtown
The entire island is on the National Register of Historic Places. The downtown area remains the heart of island activity where visitors can do everything from shop in unique shops to play miniature golf or enjoy a variety of delicious dishes from island establishments.

Kelleys Island Brewery
Sample handcrafted beers that are made 200 gallons at a time. Fresh yeast, hops, and grains are used to make these some of the finest beers obtainable. 

For more information on Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands, please visit

New Look for Festival: Sandusky’s Toast of Ohio Wine Heritage Festival

Celebrating the area’s heritage as the largest wine-producing region in the nation prior to Prohibition, the tenth annual Toast of Ohio Wine Heritage Festival, will take place on Saturday, July 26th. The festival will feature more than a dozen Ohio wineries, gourmet food, live musical entertainment, and an art show. The festival grounds, in Veterans Park, located next to the Merry-Go-Round Museum at 301 Jackson St., downtown Sandusky, are open Saturday from 12-8 pm. Toast of Ohio

Admission for Saturday is just $5.00 per person and includes a souvenir Toast of Ohio wine glass and two complimentary wine tastings.  Admission fees benefit the sponsoring Merry-Go-Round Museum.

Tickets will be available to purchase for exchange of wine tastings. Wine tasting tickets are four for $3.00 and glass pours will vary by vendor. Food offerings will be provided by: Creative Cuisine, Sandusky; Grahm’s Goodies, Sandusky, and more.

Participating wineries include Paper Moon Vineyards, Firelands Winery, Meier’s Wine Cellars, Ferrante Winery, Maize Valley Winery, Stoney Ridge Winery, Humble Bee Vineyards, Quarry Hill Winery, Myrddin Winery, Matus Winery, D & D Winery, and Chateau Tebeau.

A variety of musical entertainment and family fun activities will occur throughout the day, including performances from The Brad Walk Trio and SandTown. The adjacent Merry-Go-Round Museum will offer special $2 admission from 10 am to 5 pm during the festival.

The Lake Erie Shores & Islands once featured huge vineyards that spread from east of Sandusky to the western region near the bay because of the lakeshore climate. The Toast of Ohio event was developed to celebrate the area’s winemaking heritage. Today, dozens of wineries still operate in the region.  Make a weekend of it with lodging packages available at and tour the area’s wineries. Call 1.800.255.3743 for information.

Other event sponsors include Ohio Grape Industries, Ohio Magazine, and Lake Erie Shores & Islands.


Fireworks Displays in Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands for 2014

Fireworks Display at Cedar Point
July 3, 2014

Oak Harbor Independence Day Celebration
Along the Riverbank in Downtown Oak Harbor
From 5-11:30 pm, food, fun, and entertainment will be celebrated along with a spectacular fireworks display at dusk.

July 4-5, 2014
Fireworks at Cedar Point
Cedar Point, Sandusky
Two days of amazing fireworks at dusk.

July 4, 2014
Port Clinton Fireworks
Port Clinton
Fireworks begin at dusk. Best viewing area is Waterworks Park.

July 4, 2014
4th of July Fireworks
Lakeside Dock, Lakeside
At approximately 9:45 pm or dusk, fireworks will offer a spectacular finale to the day (gate fees apply).

July 4, 2014
Fourth of July Fireworks!
The island business owners and Friends of the Bay will sponsor a spectacular fireworks program at dark (9:45 pm). Fireworks display over the downtown harbor. Great views from Perry’s Monument and downtown.

July 4, 2014
Lake Erie Fireworks Cruise
Sawmill Creek Resort, Huron
Currently SOLD OUT; call for cancellations.

July 4, 2014
Fireworks Cruise
Goodtime I, Sandusky
Enjoy fireworks from the peaceful waters of Lake Erie. Family, fun, and pizza will be had by all! Tickets are only $15. Departs Sandusky at 9 pm and returns around 11-11:30 pm (depending on boat traffic). Call to make a reservation.

July 5, 2014
Red, White & Blues Bang
Huron Boat Basin, Huron
Enjoy entertainment beginning at 6:30 pm; fireworks at 10 pm.

July 11-13, 2014
Huron Riverfest
Huron Boat Basin, Huron
Awesome fireworks display over the Huron River on Friday, July 11th at 10:15 pm.

For a complete list of events, please visit

One Dozen Shores & Islands Must-Do’s

There’s so much to love in Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands! Whether you prefer a getaway that includes lazy days at the beach, fishing with friends, and bicycling around an island, or one filled with exciting thrills like roller coasters, waterslides, and parasailing, the Lake Erie Shores & Islands is the ideal destination. It offers a coastal retreat with abundant recreational options to satisfy any number of interests. Visit soon and find your Lake Erie Love! Lake Erie Love

1.    Cruise to an island and take a tour, or rent a golf cart or bicycle and ride along the water’s edge at your own pace.
2.    Go to Cedar Point and be thrilled by the rush of breathtaking rides or the talent of live entertainers.
3.    Spend an entire day or two splashing in a refreshing, multi-activity waterpark.
4.    Fish Lake Erie or one of the many tributaries that flow into it, for some of the freshest catch-of-the-day.
5.    Enjoy the lake and go kayaking, canoeing, sailing, parasailing, boating, or Jet Skiing.
6.    Photograph the lighthouses, and if visiting in the right season, climb the spiral staircase to the top of the Marblehead light and enjoy the spectacular view.
7.    Explore numerous museums and enjoy hands-on exhibits or a docent’s account.
8.    Sunbathe or show off your talents building sandcastles at the beach.
9.    Sample locally-crafted brews and wines and learn about the process of production for each unique blend.
10.   Attend an annual festival and enjoy the entertainment while savoring the harvests of the season.
11.    Walk a nature trail enjoying the native flora and fauna of the region.
12.    Visit an animal park and pet, feed, and perhaps ride one of the animals.

Planning your Lake Erie Shores and Islands getaway is easy; use the Itinerary Builder at!

Facer Park Inducted into the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom

Join community leaders and historians on Friday, May 23 as Facer Park becomes part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.

Downtown Sandusky, Ohio.

Facer Park in downtown Sandusky, Ohio.

The celebration begins with a short 6:00 pm ceremony at Facer Park, located at 255 Water Street in Sandusky. Keynote speaker Dr. Eugene Sanders, Superintendent of Sandusky Public Schools, will be joined by National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom representative Deanda Johnson, as well as First Congregational UCC’s Pastor Lenore Kure, Second Baptist Church’s Pastor Reginald Taylor, and members of the Sandusky High School Gospel Choir.

A reception following the induction ceremony will be held at the Erie County Senior Center at 6:30 pm and all are invited. While no seating will be available at the Facer Park ceremony, there will be ample seating available at the Senior Center. The program is brought to you by the Erie County Historical Society and the generous support of Lake Erie Shores & Islands Welcome Center.

Facer Park is home to the life-sized sculpture, “Path to Freedom,” dedicated in November 2007 to commemorate the efforts of the clandestine Underground Railroad members who helped slaves escape across the waters of Lake Erie to freedom in Canada. Local artist Susan Schultz designed the piece featuring a man, woman, and child whose bodies and limbs are composed of 800 feet of chain. The faces and limbs are cast in bronze. Plaques containing information about the Underground Railroad surround the statue.

You are also invited to attend the Maritime Museum’s Underground Railroad/Civil War Programming on May 24 and 25.

For more information on these events, contact Lake Erie Shores & Islands at 800.255.3743 or

For more information, contact:
Jill Bauer, Public Relations Coordinator
Lake Erie Shores & Islands

Shores & Islands Summer Check List

Summer is just around the corner and depending on your employer’s benefit package and your kids’ school calendar those summer “free days” come and go rather quickly. So start out with a plan and try to get as many Lake Erie Shores & Islands must-do’s checked off your list before it’s too late. Marblehead Lighthouse

¨     Catch a fish

¨     Go camping

¨     Visit a lighthouse

¨     Cruise Lake Erie

¨     Watch the waves

¨     Tour a museum

¨     Visit an island

¨     Watch the sun set over Lake Erie

¨     Ride a roller coaster

¨     Go to a water park

¨     Attend a concert or festival

¨     Experience local cuisine

¨     Visit a natural area

¨     Enjoy locally-made wine or beer

¨     Take a stroll on a beach

¨     Spot a rare bird

¨     Do something out of your comfort zone – parasail, paddle board, jet ski

¨     Fall in love…with Lake Erie Shores & Islands!

Need some guidance on how and where to get these activities done? The Lake Erie Shores & Islands Welcome Centers are here to help. Give one of our friendly, local travel counselors a call (800.255.3743 or 800.441.1271) and we’ll point you in the right direction. Or, use the Itinerary Builder at and see how many you can check off during your getaway.

A Summer Guide to the Lake Erie Shores and Islands in 26 Letters

Arrive - Located in the heart of the country, the Lake Erie Shores & Islands is easily accessible by land or sea or plane.  Wait, we mean land or lake or plane. You get the point. Fishing - Lake Erie

Brave your fears – Experience the scariest haunted house you’ll ever encounter at the Ghostly Manor Thrill Center.

Catch a fish – Book a charter boat through Tibbel’s Charter Fishing Service and fish your heart out for walleye, perch, or bass.

Drive your car alongside bison, alpaca, llama, deer, and Scottish Highlander cattle at  African Safari Wildlife Park  – just make sure you keep your windows rolled up unless you want another passenger!

Enlist in the Navy – or just imagine you had during the War of 1812. Hop a ferry to Put-in-Bay and visit Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial, which commemorated the Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial in 2013.

Fire down a water slide - KalahariGreat Wolf LodgeMaui SandsCastaway BaySoak City - and the list goes on.

Get Groovy – Immense pressure let Mother Nature carve out glacial grooves in thick limestone and during the pinnacle of the last ice age, Kelleys Island was under more than a mile of ice.  A mile of ice?  That’s pretty cool – no pun intended.

Have a few laughs as the Huron Playhouse’s 66th anniversary season opens with its hilarious rendition of Mel Brooks’ The Producer’s.

Invite your friends - Have them watch the Lake Erie Love music video and then personally give them a tour of the spots you love.

Jog on a beach – Not saying you have to run five miles, but running on a beach can be fun.  Take in the beautiful landscape of Sheldon’s Marsh, get your heart rate going at Kelleys Island State Park, then pass out in the sand and listen to nature.

Kayak the needle – Explore Put-in-Bay harbor via paddle at Kayak the Bay.  See if you can find and thread the needle amongst Gibraltar Island’s limestone cliffs.

Listen to some music – The Listening Room in Port Clinton, the North Coast’s #1 music venue, features some of the best singer songwriters across the United States.

Make it to a Museum – Whether it’s a trip to the Merry-go-Round Museum or the Milan Museum, learning about history is cool and it’s just a coincidence that those both started with the letter ‘M’.

Nibble on Foie Gras – Food that’s hard to pronounce is usually really good and it’s no different at Zinc Brasserie, the eatery that started the downtown Sandusky restaurant renaissance.

Open a bottle of wine – It’s not Napa Valley or Sonoma; it’s better. The Lake Erie Shores & Islands Wine Trail has over 40,000 acres of vineyards.  Take a tour.

Play a round of golf – Oak Harbor Golf Club, Sawmill Creek Golf Club, and Mills Creek will bring out your inner Jack Nicklaus.

Quaff down an ale – For all you craft beer fans, the Catawba Island Brewing Company’s tasting room offers several unique options. Sip on a New Mcfadden Red Ale, or the ISL; or take some home in a growler.

Ride a record breaker - Cedar Point’s new winged roller coaster dubbed “The Gatekeeper” smashed seven world records when it debuted in 2013. Cedar Point is home to several other record-breakers as well. Do you have it in you?

Spelunk - Cave exploring is awesome and whether it’s Seneca Caverns in Bellevue or Crystal Caves at Put-in-Bay, there’s bound to be a stalactite that’s just right for you.

Taste a legend – The Boardwalk’s famous lobster bisque served in a bread bowl is well-known as the best in the region.

Unveil your inner pilot – Everyone dreams of flying.  At the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton they won’t let you fly, but at least they’ll let you look at their collection.

View the world from 500 feet up – Scared of heights? Don’t be. Go parasailing on Cedar Point Beach with North Coast Parasail.

Watch the sunset over Sandusky Bay from onboard the Goodtime I cruise ship. Sunset cruises are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout most of the summer.

marks the spot – Lake Erie is famous for its shipwrecks.  Learn all about them and see which ones are still sitting on the lake floor waiting to be explored on your next scuba adventure at the Maritime Museum of Sandusky.

Yearn for chocolate - Tre Sorelle Cioccolato in Sandusky specializes in ganache filled candies and truffles.  Everyone likes a person who shows up with chocolate.

Zip line – Are you going to let your child show you up on Kalahari’s Zip Line?  C’mon, it’s only 60 feet high and 400 feet long.

Ready to plan your Lake Erie Shores & Islands adventure from A to Z? Check out the Itinerary Builder and get ready to have the time of your life!

**Special thanks to Chad Whaley of Green Door Mediaworks for assisting with this post.