Lake Erie Shore Trip Guide

Make the most of every warm day (from May bird-watching to September boating) on the lake's shores and islands.

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What to do

Marblehead Lighthouse.

Cedar Point Amusement Park/Resort Cedar Point has a mix of modern thrill rides (16 roller coasters!) and old carnival classics. (419) 627-2350; cedarpoint.com

Kayak the Bay Ltd. Rent a kayak and explore on your own, or sign up for a tour. In Put-in-Bay. (419) 967-0796; kayakthebay.com

Kelleys Island Attractions include Kelleys Island State Park (for the rental yurts and fabulous beach), fishing spots and Victorian B&Bs. By ferry, 20 minutes from Sandusky or Marblehead. (419) 746-2360; kelleysislandchamber.com

Magee Marsh Wildlife Area The bird-watching enclave 25 miles east of Toledo has walking trails and viewing towers. Peak warbler migration is early to mid-May. (419) 898-0960; friendsofmageemarsh.org

Marblehead Lighthouse State Park The oldest Lake Erie light in operation offers tours in the summer, but the site is striking any time of year. (419) 734-4424; parks.ohiodnr.gov

Maumee Bay State Park Just east of Toledo, this lakeside preserve is a great birding spot and includes Maumee Bay State Park Lodge. (419) 836-1466; parks.ohiodnr.gov

Merry-Go-Round Museum Learn about the history and art of carousels, plus ride on a restored 1939 merry-go-round, in Sandusky's former post office. (419) 626-6111; merrygoroundmuseum.org

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Explore 10 miles of walking trails and migratory bird habitats in wetland, forest and upland habitats, 20 miles east of Toledo. (419) 898-0014; fws.gov/refuge/ottawa

South Bass Island Busy Put-in-Bay village, about a 20-minute boat ride from Port Clinton, has been a destination for more than 150 years. Most guests tour the island by bicycle or golf cart, or take guided tram tours. (419) 285-2832; visitputinbay.com

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Where to eat

Netty's Famous Chili Dogs.

Beer Barrel Saloon Put-in-Bay's saloon claims to have the world's longest bar. At just under 406 feet, it fits 165 barstools. (419) 285-2337; beerbarrelpib.com

Jolly Roger Seafood House A casual Port Clinton favorite, it's known for marvelous fish and some of the best coleslaw we've tasted. (419) 732-3382

Netty's Famous Chili Dogs Enjoy casual eats in Marblehead. (419) 798-5050; nettys.com

Upper Deck at The Boardwalk A popular lobster bisque tops the menu at this Put-in-Bay marina restaurant. (419) 285-3695; the-boardwalk.com

The Village Pump You can make a meal of the nachos, but that would mean missing the lobster chowder, pizza and fish tacos. On Kelleys Island. (419) 746-2281; villagepumpki.com

Where to stay

BayShore Resort Deluxe lakeside rooms and suites on South Bass Island offer easy access to downtown Put-in-Bay. (866) 422-9746; bayshoreresortpib.com

Kalahari Resorts and Conventions This big kid pleaser in Sandusky claims to be America's largest indoor water park. (877) 525-2427; kalahariresorts.com/oh

A Water's Edge Retreat Rock away for hours on the porch of this Victorian-style bed-and-breakfast on Kelleys Island. (800) 884-5143; watersedgeretreat.com

For information: Lake Erie Shores and Islands Welcome Centers (800) 255-3743; shoresandislands.com

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