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An Unforgettable Mom-Daughter Day – Things to Do in Sandusky OH
My adult daughter and I love to spend quality time together. Come along with us on our mini-vacation that turned into an unforgettable mom-daughter day! Just because we don’t enjoy an old-fashioned little girl tea party like we used to, we still like to work on our mother daughter relationship. We love to spend time exploring and traveling, so read on for some great ideas of fun things to do in Sandusky Ohio for your very own mom daughter day!
Lexi had some vacation time to use up and asked if I’d take a mini-vacation with her! I love checking out new places, so of course, I jumped on board! We would have four days and needed to find a place within driving distance. We live in Holland, Michigan, and have already seen many of our local attractions, so we wanted to explore someplace new. Lexi did some map research and suggested the Sandusky and Cleveland areas, which sounded great to me! I have never been to Cleveland and have only recently had a work trip to Sandusky. So, we were off on our 5-hour road trip!
First stop – Coffee
We were not far down the road when we decided we needed some coffee to kick off our mom daughter day trip. We love a local coffee shop, but ended up at the local Dunkin to try one of their amazing Pumpkin Macchiatos. Yum! Lexi tried the Pumpkin Macchiato and I tried a Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte. Never underestimate the importance of good self-care, especially if it comes in the form of a coffee shop drink!
Roadside America for the win!
One of my favorite things to do when I’m road tripping is to use the Roadside America app on my iPhone. With this app, you can map out your driving route, and the app will show you a whole list of exciting things that you can stop and enjoy along the way. Lexi took charge of the app and plugged in our route. We stopped at several quick sights, hopped out of the car, posed quickly for some selfies at each sight, and then moved on.
These quick stops are a perfect way to get out, stretch our legs, and get some fresh air while traveling!
The Shoe Tree!
Our favorite stop of all was the shoe tree in Salem, Michigan. Located off the beaten path on a dirt road winding through the woods, you will find this tree covered in pairs of shoes of all sizes and styles. We even saw a hanging ice skate. Near the base of the tree are several memorial stones for loved ones gone too soon. Legend says that this tree received its first shoes from the victims of a serial killer in the area. I remembered that I had a pair of inexpensive shoes in the back of my car that I no longer needed, so we decided to join in the fun and add our shoes to the tree.
Along the way, we stopped at Olga’s for lunch. I love Olga’s, but we no longer have one near my home, so it was a special treat to find one along the way!
Things to do in Sandusky
Take a Tour with Sandusky Segwave
The Hip Grandma with a Camera received a discount on this tour for an honest review in this post. While they did provide a discount, I still thoroughly enjoyed and endorse this tour with Sandusky Segwave!
After lunch, we got down to business and headed straight for Sandusky Segwave. We met with the owner and tour guide Jim in downtown Sandusky. He greeted us with warmth and was very patient while Lexi and I learned to navigate the Segway. Let those worries go if you are worried about operating the Segway, keeping your balance, or losing control! Once you are up and running, it’s easy as pie!
It’s not difficult, but it does take a couple of minutes to learn to get on and off and hold your balance. Once we got the hang of it and zoomed up and down the sidewalk in front of the shopfront, we were off and running. Well, zooming on the Segway, that is – not actually running! Jim gave us plenty of time to get comfortable before we headed out.
The Segway tour is a perfect way to get an idea of what you can see and do in the Sandusky area, so I recommend beginning your trip to Sandusky with this tour! Our tour took us past many beautiful, historic buildings in the area, and Jim was super knowledgeable and regaled us with many stories about the town’s history.
We were intrigued by the stories of the Underground Railroad. We loved seeing a recently remodeled home where workers found a hidden second basement. Slaves seeking freedom were able to hide in this secret basement on their travels toward Canada. What a humbling feeling to stand near the location where brave men and women risked their lives and others for the freedoms we enjoy in America today.
Take a self-guided Underground Railroad walking tour
If you are a history buff and like me, you love walking tours, be sure to stop in the Lake Erie Shores & Islands Welcome Center located across the street from Sandusky Segwave. While you’re there, pick up a free copy of the self-guided tour map and brochure, then treat yourself to a leisurely walk through the downtown Sandusky area to learn about Sandusky’s history as a central terminal on the Underground Railroad. This historic walking tour is a must-do!
Love to travel? Check this out: The Great Big List of Things to do in Holland Michigan
Check out the Cholera Cemetery
As we made our way through town, we stopped at the Cholera Cemetery. We learned the story of how a Cholera epidemic changed the course of Sandusky’s history and we took a quick trip through the cemetery to pay respects to the over 400 people who died during the epidemic.
Take a trip to Put In Bay
You must take a trip over to Put-In-Bay while you’re here. Put-In-Bay is an island in the middle of Lake Erie only accessible by boat or plane. You can take a ferry from downtown Sandusky out through the Bay into Lake Erie and over to the Island. Put-in-Bay is nicknamed “Key West of the North” for its island vibes and Caribbean feel. You can stay right on the Island in a resort or home rental and rent a golf cart to make your way around the Island. The Island has an intriguing history that dates back to The War of 1812. You will have plenty to explore on the Island and a chill time while you’re there.
Although we didn’t have time to go to Put-In-Bay on this mini trip, we will be visiting on our next visit. In the meantime, our Segway tour included a trip along the edge of Sandusky Bay, where we enjoyed the picturesque views of where Sandusky Bay opens to Lake Erie. We got a peek at the 300-acre Johnson’s Island. This Island in the Bay held a prison during the American Civil War that held captured Confederate Officers. Jim also shared a story of how Confederate soldiers unsuccessfully tried to break the prisoners free. You will have to visit to hear the rest of that story!
Cedar Point Amusement Park – one of the many things to do in Sandusky Oh
As we traveled down the walkway on the Bay, we enjoyed a fantastic view of Cedar Point in the distance. Cedar Point celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2020. Fun fact: the first 22 years of Cedar Point’s history were a public bathing beach and water attraction. The first ride didn’t even begin construction until 1892. A visit to Cedar Point is a must as one of the many things to do in Sandusky!
A tiny trip back in time
Just a few weeks ago, I visited Sandusky for a business trip held at the Hotel Breakers in Cedar Point. I did not expect to be back so soon, but here we are. I wish we could have gone to Cedar Point for our mom daughter day, but we came during the week in October, and Cedar Point is only open on the weekends during this season. If you find yourself in Sandusky in October and if you love Halloween and theme parks, then you MUST come to Cedar Point for their Halloweekends that begin in September and run through the last weekend in October. The park is fantastic and decked out in Halloween festive décor. They have themed beverages and foods and a section of the park that will spook you after dark, complete with zombies and monsters lurking in the bushes that pop out just as you pass by them!
Another great read: Is it Cool to Take Photos on the Train Tracks?
Back to the Segway Tour
As we made our way back into the downtown area and away from the shore, we cruised past the Merry-Go-Round Museum, which inhabits a former United States Post Office building. The shape of the building is perfect for a merry-go-round museum because the front is perfectly rounded. Of course, tour guide Jim shared some great information about how the museum came to be. You will love your stop at the museum. Be sure and take a ride on the carousel inside. Beware! It goes fast!
Another great read: How a Prompting and Posing Photoshoot Will Capture Natural Photo Poses of Anyone
The Follett House Museum
If you are interested in learning more about the intriguing history of Sandusky, and you will be after your Segway tour, stop in at the Follet House Museum. This museum houses a large collection of documents and photos showing the history of the city of Sandusky, its sometimes famous residents, and the Erie County area. Entrance to this museum is free.
Wrapping up the Segway Tour
As we wrapped up our tour, we commented that we were so glad we chose the 2-hour tour for our mom-daughter day. Two hours was the perfect amount of time. Jim made sure we had a quick break partway through to stretch our legs and use the restroom. He also provided us with water bottles so we could stay hydrated along the way. We had such a great time. Along with Sandusky’s history, we heard so many stories of the people who live in the area and the local businesses. When we returned to the Segway base location, we were delighted to meet Jim’s husband, Dick, who took our photo together!
Take one look around their office, and you can see how much these men and their business mean to the local community. Sandusky Segwave has been rated number one tour on Tripadvisor, has received the Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence from 2019-2021, and has won multiple local awards, including the Partner of the Year award in 2019 from Lake Erie Shores & Islands.
2022 Update on Jim & Dick!
Sandusky Segwave is now Firelands Adventure Tours – Jim & Dick sold the Segways and re-imagined their business with a 15-passenger van. They have the same staff of tour guides and can now accommodate all ages and abilities. They also have expanded their tours to include wineries and communities outside of Sandusky. If you’re in the area, check out Firelands Adventure Tours and say hi to the guys!
On to the next Sandusky Adventure
Mom Daughter Tattoos
After our Segway Tour, the next thing on our mom-daughter day agenda was to get matching tattoos. We had chosen tattoos that had meaning for us, and we wanted them written in each other’s handwriting. We had called earlier in the day to make an appointment at the Lake Erie Tattoo Emporium just out of the downtown area. Tattoo artist Chyno squeezed Lexi and me in for an evening appointment. We arrived at the shop and found everything clean and in order. Chyno was professional and pleasant. He made us feel comfortable, even swapping out the extra chair in the room for a more comfy chair as we took turns having our tattoos drawn on. If you’re looking for a clean and friendly tattoo shop, then this one comes highly recommended. Be prepared for solid work, good hygiene, and some pretty loud and graphic rap music.
Once we finished getting inked, we ate a quick dinner and headed for our hotel. We stayed just one night at the LaQuinta Inn by Wyndham in Sandusky. The gentleman at the front desk was friendly, and the room was clean. There are no elevators here, which is disappointing after a long day, but we made it to the second-floor room with no problem. Our room smelled clean and had ample towels and a working air conditioner. We also had access to a mini-fridge, microwave, and coffee pot right in the room, along with Continental Breakfast served in the morning. The room was just right for an inexpensive stay and came at a bargain deal through hotels.com for just $79.
The most important thing we learned on our mom-daughter day trip to Sandusky is that a one-time visit isn’t enough. Our next visits may not be together, but we both agree that they will include more time to see all of the beautiful sights, enjoy the many activities, and experience more of the history in Sandusky Oh. I know I will be coming back and this time I will bring the other part of my family with me – my husband and my son, the last of my kids lucky enough to live under my roof!
Check out this list of other attractions in the area that you will not want to miss:
- Ghostly Manor Thrill Center
- Lagoon Deer Park
- Lake Erie Cruise
- African Safari Wildlife Park
- Kelleys Island
- Castaway Bay
- Port Clinton
- The Maritime Museum
- The Sandusky Speedway
- Kalahari Resorts & Conventions (includes an indoor water park and Safari Outdoor Adventure Park )
- Great Wolf Lodge
- Toft Dairy Ice Cream Parlor
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