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Don’t Miss These 9 Attractions in the Shores and Islands Area of Ohio
There is a hidden treasure in Ohio that you may not know about! I’ve been to the area several times over the last few years, and let me tell you, if you haven’t been to Shores and Islands, Ohio, you need to add it to your bucket list.
Ohio’s Shores and Islands area is easily accessible, only 60 miles West of Cleveland and just about two hours Southeast of Detroit through Toledo. This little area is a treasure! Known for its beaches, historical sites, and wineries, Ohio’s Shores and Islands area offers plenty to do to keep you busy on a short trip. Fair warning, though. After a quick trip, you’ll want to come back for more!
But that’s okay. Shores and Islands has plenty to do to keep you busy for several days, even a week or longer. That’s why I keep going back. If you’re a regular reader, you know I live in Holland, Michigan, about 4 hours Northwest of Shores and Islands and just right for a short trip!
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A Little Info on Shores and Islands
Because Shores and Islands sits right on the edge of Great Lake Erie, the weather is cold in winter, so I recommend a Spring, Summer, or Fall visit to enjoy the most activities. But before you arrive, let’s talk about where you’ll stay when you arrive!
Where to Stay
Sawmill Creek Resort
If you are looking for a safe and luxurious stay, you can’t miss with the Sawmill Creek Resort. The Sawmill Creek Resort and Golf Club is conveniently located about 15 minutes from the top-rated Cedar Point amusement park. And there is a reason for this. In 2019, Cedar Fair, the parent company of Cedar Point, acquired Sawmill Creek Resort. They consequently shut down the resort through the season of Covid and re-opened to the public in 2022 after a $25 million renovation.
Sawmill Creek Resorts has 239 rooms and plenty of space to stretch out. When I visited, I found my room spotlessly clean and well-stocked, with just what I needed for a quick visit. If I’m honest, and I usually strive for that, I didn’t want to check out the following day.
My room had two Queen beds, but they also offered King rooms and suites that fit the family. My favorite room features were the mini microwave for a late-night snack and the glass door refrigerator that lovingly held my Diet Coke and Hershey bars. I saw them chilling in there, which reminded me in the morning that I needed to take them with me when I checked out! Nice touch, Sawmill Creek!
Where to Eat
When I have a quick trip, I prefer to make breakfast as simple as possible. I don’t have hours to search to find just the right menu. But I’m also not the world’s biggest fan of the “free continental breakfast” many hotels offer. That’s what made Harvest special.
Located right in the resort, I had a short walk down a couple of hallways to reach this light and airy eating area. The breakfast buffet was delicious, with many of those breakfast favorites served elegantly. I tasted a little of everything, including yogurt with various toppings, eggs, bacon, and sausage, and I even had a bite of oatmeal. Yum!
If you power up with coffee or juice, have no worries. Harvest has them all, including decaf, which I need. I know, I know. Many people can’t live without a morning cuppa caffeine, but I suffer throughout the day if I indulge. So decaf it is for me! There is a charge for this breakfast, but it’s in line with any other breakfast buffet in the area.
If you choose to spend a day on the award-winning golf course at Sawmill Creek Golf Course, then stop in at Mulligan’s Pub for a delicious lunch overlooking the golf course.
The menu is eclectic but suitable for any taste. Enjoy a burger, with or without a fried egg atop, a “Sticky Chicken” sandwich, or even a perch sandwich. I had fries with my lunch burger, served hot and crisp, but I also got to taste the Deviled eggs (yum) and the onion rings. Everything on the menu at Mulligan’s Pub is hand-crafted in their kitchen, including those hand-battered onion rings and the pickles on the sandwich. Yum! I leave you with one warning. You won’t walk away hungry. You might even walk away a little too full!
The Miller’s Table
Since you have tried two Sawmill Creek restaurants, this would be a great place to mention Miller’s Table. This upscale-casual restaurant is perfect for relaxing and enjoying dinner and a cocktail before heading in for the night. Order a Charcuterie board and deliver it to your room if you’re ready to crash.
Bay Harbor Waterfront Restaurant
You can’t find a better meal and a better view than that of the Bay Harbor Waterfront Restaurant. Bay Harbor is on the same peninsula as Cedar Point, located across from the Blue Streak coaster in the marina.
If you’re at the park, you can exit through the Marina Gate and walk to the restaurant. If you’re driving in, go through the main toll booth. Let them know your destination, and they’ll give you further instructions.
Once you enter the restaurant, prepare for a relaxed yet elevated dining experience. Start with a Shrimp Cocktail appetizer or some Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms. For dinner, may I suggest the Seafood Risotto or a Ribeye, my favorite cut of steak.
At Bay Harbor Restaurant, you will get attentive service, a wonderful meal, and an incredible view of Ohio’s Lake Erie shores.
What to do in the Shores and Islands Area of Ohio
What to Do During the Day
Golf at Sawmill Creek
I mean, seriously, if you’re looking for something to do and are a golfer, you will not be disappointed with the Sawmill Creek Golf Course. Golfers of every skill level will enjoy this beautiful course, designed by world-renowned golf architect Tom Fazio in the 1970s. Golf Digest ranks the public daily fee course with three and a half stars.
Reviews show the course is in excellent condition, well-maintained, and boasts firm and fast greens. I am a novice golfer and did not get a chance to swing a club while there, so if you check it out, please let me know! After a peek around the grounds, I can confirm that the course is beautiful and well-maintained!
Ride Record-Breaking Roller Coasters at Cedar Point
If you are not the golfing type but love a thrill, you must venture out on the peninsula to visit Cedar Point. Cedar Point is open from May to late September and has something for everyone! If you love a thrill, you’ll want to try out one of the many world-class roller coasters. If you like fun on the midway, carnival-style, Cedar Point delivers. You’ll find some of the best here if you enjoy delicious food.
You can even slip out of the park’s back entrance, walk down the boardwalk, and enjoy the miles of shoreline on the beach along Lake Erie. There is something for everyone! I can’t end talking about Cedar Point without mentioning its Halloween Festival. See all the details in (LINK).
What to Do In the Evening
If you haven’t finished your time at Cedar Point, by all means, keep enjoying the park. You’ll find it hard to see and do every little thing in just half a day. But if you’d like to check out another fun adventure, consider a zipline tour.
Common Ground Zipline Tour
Head about 30 minutes Southeast to check out Common Ground Canopy Tours.
A canopy tour adventure is the perfect way to suck in some great outdoor recreation safely and adventurously! Your experience zooming down a zipline through the treetops lasts about two and a half hours. Along the way, you’ll experience seven zip lines, two spiral staircases, two aerial bridges, and a floating staircase. The whole experience wraps up with a rappel at the end.
You’ll have not one but two guides with you throughout your trip! The staff is fantastic, patient, and even equipped to deal with nervous first-time zipliners like me!
Pack the strap-on camera for this good time because you’ll want to have the memories forever!
Sunset at Marblehead Lighthouse
Not everyone is cut out for wild adventure, and if that’s you, then you can spend a beautiful evening wandering around the Shores and Islands area for a good sunset. Or you can hunt down Marblehead Lighthouse, enjoy a quiet evening sipping on a bottle of wine from one of the many nearby quaint wineries, and watch the sun go down.
Marblehead Lighthouse is honored to be the lighthouse of the five great lakes most photographed. My heart will always belong to Big Red, but I can see why Marblehead is alluring. A simple drive to the Marblehead Peninsula will take you to the parking area next to it. Marblehead is fully accessible, making it the perfect destination for those not wanting to hike a long distance to reach a lighthouse view.
When you’re there, take a minute to soak in the summer beauty, including a stunning view of Lake Erie and the rocky shoreline. You can also catch a glimpse of Cedar Point, jutting out on a peninsula in the background. And yep, you can even get inside the Marblehead Lighthouse if you come between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Wrapping it all Up
I have difficulty closing this post without mentioning the other incredible opportunities in the Shores and Islands, Ohio, area. You can hardly visit without stopping for a tour with Jim & Dick of Fireland Adventure Tours, or taking a Miller Ferry to visit Middle Bass Island or South Bass Island to check out Put-in-Bay. If you ask my teenage son, he’ll tell you that the golf carts are the best part of that trip! Of course, you can always take the Jet Express from South Bass Island to Kelleys Island, where you’ll find a whole new list of things to do!
The Shores and Islands area is a well-loved tourist area in Ohio, with so much for every family member to enjoy! With dockside dining, outdoor water parks, cottage communities, family-fun amusements, and plenty of opportunities to spend lazy days, this getaway destination should make your list!
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