Sometimes, there’s nothing quite like a beach getaway to me. The waves crashing against the sand, the smell of the salt water, the seagulls chirping to each other looking for fish, the sun against your skin… It’s relaxation at its finest. It’s something to always look forward to if you don’t live next to a beach. In the Midwest… there is a way to achieve almost this same feeling – up in the shores & islands of Lake Erie!
Granted – no salt water, but the lake water and fun lake activities will do just fine.
My family and I visited Lake Erie and the Shores and Islands of the lake this summer for the second summer in a row. It’s a much closer and less expensive option to visit the beach and get that beachy feel for less money, less time, and a similar experience.
From Louisville, approximately a 5-hour drive. We opted to stay the last few summers at an Airbnb in Port Clinton, very close to the beach and the Lakeside Park (both great for kids!) There are several options as far as these go, a handful of hotels in the same area, as well as condos and houses to rent. Port Clinton is a part of what is considered part of the North Shores, which also includes Catawba, Lakeside and Marblehead. In this area, we also explored the African Safari Wildlife Park (New Dinosaur Exhibit until at least next summer!) We visited the lighthouse in Marblehead (which was beautiful!) Up in the Catawba Island area, there is a brewery called Twin Oast that was well worth the visit. The outside has
rolling hills of land, a huge stage or movie screen depending on what they are hosting that night, delicious drinks and food in a very family friendly environment. Dock’s Beach House restaurant never disappoints with service or food (a very casual environment actually on the beach). Music on Madison in downtown Port Clinton is a fun free activity as the sun is setting. There is also a sports park and an aviation museum with a diner!
The Islands include Kelley’s Island, Middle Bass Island, North Bass Island, Put-in-Bay and South Bass Island. We decided to explore Put-in-Bay and the South Bass Island on our last visit. Some highlights were taking the Jet Express over, renting a golf cart, hitting The Boardwalk Restaurant, playing on DeRivera Park and playground, the Butterfly House and Mini Golf at Perry’s Cave and Kimberly’s Carousel. We always hit the Chocolate Café & Museum! This is an area I would recommend doing during the day as during the night it can attract more of the non-family/adventurous crowd.
The Central Shores, East Shores and West Shores we have yet to explore. Next time we will be taking the Miller’s Ferry in the Lakeside area to Kelley’s Island. Each area boasts its own winning activities to participate in, depending on what you’re wanting to explore and what season it is. You can go to www.shoresandislands.com to learn more about visiting!