Photo courtesy Lake Erie Shores & Islands-West
Marblehead Lighthouse State Park
A favorite of photo buffs, the Marblehead Lighthouse is the oldest continuously operational lighthouse on the Great Lakes. This white native limestone lighthouse trimmed in red has been guiding ships and boats since 1822. Climb the 87 steps of the spiral staircase to the top of the lighthouse and you're rewarded with panoramic views of Kelly's Island, South Bass Island and Cedar Point. Stop at the on-site Keeper's House which serves as a museum, welcome center and gift shop. Guided tours of the lighthouse available. Within the Marblehead Lighthouse State Park, you'll find picnic facilities, fishing and walking trails.
Come to Marblehead for the Halupki celebration Aug. 15 at the Holy Assumption Russian Orthodox Church. Visit Aug. 21 for the Peach Festival at St. Paul Lutheran Church.
Lakeside, known as the Chautauqua on Lake Erie, continues in the Chautauquan tradition of providing a 10-week season of lectures, concerts, religious programs and classes. Popular recreational venues at Lakeside include shuffleboard, tennis and miniature golf. Rent a golf cart or bike and follow historic pathways past charming Victorian cottages. For sweeping views of Lake Erie, settle in a rocking chair on the Hotel Lakeside's wraparound porch. Lakeside's waterfront is the setting for events like the annual sailing race and swimming off the dock. Gate pass required for visitors to Lakeside.
East Harbor State Park
Looking for a campground along Lake Erie? East Harbor State Park, situated on the Marblehead peninsula, offers the largest number of campsites in the Ohio State Park system. A 2.23-mile-long sandy beach, picnic shelters, fishing access, a full service
marina and an 11-mile trail system attract vacationers to East Harbor.
Plan to picnic at Huron's Lake Front Park and walk the mile-long fishing pier to the Huron Harbor Lighthouse. A six-day festival, the Lake Erie Boat Week, comes to the Huron Boat Basin Sept. 7-12. Boating enthusiasts will find a powerboat and "Fastest Boat on Lake Erie" competitions. Take a sunset sailboat cruise and enjoy the lighted boat parade on Sept. 10. The Lake Erie Boat Week is all about boating lifestyle with daily entertainment on the Huron Amphitheater stage.
This deep water port with four new boat ramps along the Huron River is known for world class fishing.
First time visitors to Vermillion express surprise at finding this coastal town in Ohio reminiscent of New England shoreline communities. Once known as the Village of Lake Captains, a walking tour takes you past outstanding examples of restored historic homes. Plan to check out shops in the downtown area, Harbour Town, offering home décor, gifts, antiques and apparel. There's an old time appeal to this village with concerts in the park through Aug. 29. For a narrated tour and views of Vermillion, climb on the Mystic Belle, a small paddle wheeler.
The Vermillion River flows into Lake Erie offering boat slips and ramps making for easy access to this quaint harbor town.
Headlands Beach State Park
Swimmers find the largest natural sand beach in Ohio at Headlands Beach State Park. In the sand dunes at the eastern end of the park, rare plant species remain. Picnic area offers tables and grills.
Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park
Sept. 10-12 brings PerchFest, a grand celebration of food, live entertainment and a perch fishing tournament to the Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park. This Lakeside community overlooks two historic lighthouses and is home to two museums: Fairport Harbor Marine Museum dedicated to maritime artifacts and life on the Great Lakes and the Finnish Heritage Museum showcasing the rich traditions of Finns who arrived in Fairport Harbor in the mid-to-late 1800s.
Often referred to as "Ohio's First Resort Town", a visit to Geneva-on-the-Lake is a trip back to another era. The mile-long entertainment strip beckons with arcades, foot-long hot dogs, go-karts, shooting galleries, a Ferris wheel and a merry-go-round. Combine spectacular views of Lake Erie with wine tasting at The Lakehouse Inn and Winery and at the Old Firehouse Winery. Vacationers come back to Geneva-on-the-Lake for fishing charters, sunrise, sunset and moonlight cruises. A popular annual event is the Celtic Fief at the Old Firehouse Winery Aug. 28-29.