Located on the United States and Canada border, the shimmering allure of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes, unveils a treasure trove of experiences waiting to captivate any adventurer. From its serene shores to the vibrant pulse of its surrounding communities, there are so many things to do in Lake Erie no matter when you visit. Join us on an exploration of the gems that adorn the Lake Erie coastline in the United States, offering a diverse range of adventures that cater to every passion and curiosity.
Attend Local Events and Festivals
When visiting Lake Erie, be sure to join in on local events and festivals that showcase the region’s rich culture. Some events in Chautauqua County, for example, cater to different interests like children’s events, food and beverage happenings, and sports-related activities. You’ll surely find something to enjoy and celebrate during your visit.
Visit Cultural and Heritage Sites
Your trip to Lake Erie will not be complete without exploring some historical and cultural landmarks. Pay a visit to the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society Museum, which is situated on South Bass Island. This museum tells the story of the island’s history, including the pivotal Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812, where U.S. Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry played a crucial role.
Additionally, take a trip to the Port Erie Bicentennial Tower that honors the town of Erie’s bicentennial in 1996. Ride the elevator to the top and enjoy the panoramic views of the harbor and lake. Visiting these sites will give you a deeper appreciation of the region’s vibrant past and present.
Engage in Traditional Experiences
Immerse yourself in the local culture by experiencing traditional activities. While exploring the beaches of Presque Isle State Park, for example, you can watch boats docking or set sail to witness firsthand the daily lives of the local community. Keep an eye out for opportunities to attend workshops and local events that showcase the area’s unique customs, arts, and crafts.
By engaging in these activities, you’ll not only learn more about Lake Erie’s history and culture but also create unforgettable memories of your visit.
Things to do in Lake Erie: Outdoor and Nature Activities
Nature Trails and Hiking
Along the shores of Lake Erie, you’ll find picturesque trails and parks perfect for a day of hiking and nature exploration. In Presque Isle State Park in Pennsylvania, you can walk along scenic shorelines and enjoy some of the most breathtaking beaches on the lake. If you’re in Ohio, head to the Kelleys Island State Park for a lovely hike and take in the beauty of the natural surroundings.
When exploring the region of New York, don’t miss the opportunity to hike along the lakeshore at Lake Erie State Park and marvel at the beautiful landscape. For a less crowded and serene environment, venture to the Marblehead Lighthouse State Park in Ohio, where you’ll find a historic lighthouse and an incredible view of Lake Erie.
Lake Erie’s vast coastlines offer numerous water activities for you to enjoy. Kayaking is one of the best things to do in Lake Erie. In Michigan, you can rent a kayak and explore the western shores, or paddle through Buffalo in New York while taking in the urban skyline.
For a relaxing day by the water, head to Fairport Harbor in Ohio, where you can swim, sunbathe, and have a delightful picnic. With numerous beaches throughout the lake region, you’ll have a wide variety of options to choose from for your perfect beach day.
Looking for something a bit more adrenaline-pumping? Around Lake Erie, you’ll find a variety of thrilling adventure sports. Try your hand at windsurfing or kiteboarding, popular activities that are well-suited to Lake Erie’s breezy conditions. In Ontario, Canada, you can find several adventure sports outfitters who will cater to your desires for excitement on the water.
If you’d like to learn about some of Lake Erie’s ecological wonders, visit Gibraltar Island near Ohio’s Put-in-Bay. Participate in guided eco-tours and explore the island’s natural beauty while learning about its fascinating history.
Relaxation and Wellness
Spas and Wellness Centers
Looking for things to do in Lake Erie where you can pamper yourself and recharge? Lake Erie has plenty of spas and wellness centers to help you relax! Treat yourself to a massage, facial, or body treatment. Many of these centers offer a range of amenities, such as saunas, steam rooms, and hot tubs.
Beaches and Pools
Are you a beach lover? Lake Erie has numerous stunning beaches perfect for a day of relaxation. Dip your toes in the soft sand, soak up the sun, or take a refreshing swim in the calm waters. Some popular beaches along Lake Erie include Presque Isle State Park and Geneva State Park’s 600-foot natural beach. Don’t worry if you’re not into sandy beaches; Lake Erie also offers refreshing pools at various resorts, hotels, and beach clubs!
Parks and Gardens
If you prefer a peaceful retreat away from the beach, Lake Erie has a variety of parks and gardens waiting to be explored! Stroll through lush greenery, admire the stunning landscapes, and discover serene spots for quiet contemplation. Some parks even offer yoga classes or guided meditation sessions, so you can truly embrace the peace this region has to offer.
Food and Culinary Activities
Local Cuisine Tasting
Lake Erie is well-known for its delectable local cuisine, mainly focused on fresh seafood. When you’re in the area, don’t miss the chance to taste the mouth-watering dishes at waterfront restaurants. For instance, try dining at The Boardwalk or The Village Pump if you want to treat your taste buds to unforgettable meals, complemented by stunning lake views.
Looking for more hands-on things to do in Lake Erie? You might want to consider attending a cooking class! This is a great way to learn about the local ingredients, flavors, and techniques used in the area’s cuisine. Plus, with these newfound skills, you can recreate your favorite dishes at home and impress your friends and family!
Visit Local Markets
Visiting local markets is another fantastic way to immerse yourself in the culinary scene of Lake Erie. There, you’ll find an array of locally sourced ingredients and products, as well as getting the chance to meet and interact with the farmers, vendors, and other food enthusiasts. As you explore the market, you might even come across a cooking demo or tasting event to make your visit even more memorable. Keep an eye out for seasonal markets and special events for unique experience throughout the year.
Entertainment and Nightlife
Live Shows and Performances
When you’re visiting Lake Erie, be sure to catch some live shows and performances in the area. For instance, Geneva on the Lake’s Yankies Bar and Grill hosts country music icon Lee Greenwood for a one-night summertime concert where you can sing along to hits. You won’t be disappointed by the lively entertainment scene around the lake.
Restaurants and Clubs
Who doesn’t enjoy a fun night out? Lake Erie has plenty of restaurants and clubs where you can enjoy a drink, dance, and unwind with friends. Make your way to some popular spots in the region, such as Cedar Point Amusement Park. After a thrilling day on the roller coasters, you can relax at one of the restaurants in the park and savor the evening.
Evening Cruises or Tours
What could be more magical than a sunset cruise on Lake Erie? Embark on an evening cruise or tour to explore the beauty of the lake and its picturesque surroundings. Cruises provide a fantastic way to unwind and appreciate the natural wonders, while tours offer unique opportunities to learn more about the history and ecology of the region. It’s a must-do experience when visiting Lake Erie.
Shopping and Souvenirs
Local Artisan Shops
If you’re looking to support local artists and find unique, handcrafted items, Chautauqua and Mentor have plenty of artisan shops to explore. In Chautauqua, don’t miss the opportunity to stroll through the charming streets and discover galleries and studios showcasing beautiful handmade pieces. In Mentor, you’ll find various craft shops and galleries featuring local artists’ works.
Popular Shopping Districts
While visiting Lake Erie, make sure to explore some of the popular shopping districts in the area. For a wide selection of retail stores and souvenir shops, head to Shores & Islands region. Here, you can find stylish boutiques, gift shops, and Lake Erie Love gear to show your appreciation for this beautiful destination. When you need a break from shopping, grab a bite at one of the many eateries nearby.
Children’s Museums and Attractions
If you’re looking for family-friendly things to do in Lake Erie, there are several museums and attractions perfect for the little ones. Sandusky’s Merry-Go-Round Museum offers nostalgia for adults and fun rides for the kids. Be sure to also visit the Maritime Museum of Sandusky, where children can learn about Lake Erie shipwrecks, pirates, and boats. You can get a family pass for these museums to save on costs.
In the Toledo area, be sure to check out the Imagination Station, an interactive science museum perfect for hands-on learning and engagement.
Parks and Play Areas
Lake Erie is home to numerous parks and play areas for families to explore. One must-see attraction is Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, known for its thrilling roller coasters and fun family rides. Within the park, you’ll also find a beautiful beach.
Marblehead Lighthouse State Park is another destination to consider. Here, you can explore the oldest lighthouse on Lake Erie and enjoy scenic views of the surroundings. Visit Kelley’s Island for a relaxing day at the beach or a hike around Inscription Rock, a historic site featuring native petroglyphs.
If your family enjoys immersive, hands-on experiences, consider participating in workshops or tours that showcase the region’s unique offerings. For instance, in Put-In-Bay on South Bass Island, you can find interactive workshops on various topics, including local flora and fauna.
Take your adventure to new heights by joining a guided tour with Harbor Yak kayaking, or sail through Geneva’s coastline with Best Coast Watersports. If you’re looking for something faster, try reserving a Lake Erie speed boat rental for a thrilling adventure on the water.
Remember to explore the lovely Lake Erie Islands, such as Port Clinton and Lakeside, for additional recreational activities and a true taste of Midwest family fun. Happy exploring!