12 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Sandusky, OH

Life along the waterfront in Sandusky, Ohio makes every day feel like a vacation day. This small town is reinventing itself. Historic buildings are renovated into restaurants serving up locally sourced food, and bayside experiences make a visit to Sandusky worthy of more than just a weekend.

Sandusky caters to those looking for a quick getaway destination, with day trip options like Cedar Point amusement park and a ride aboard the Jet Express to Put-in-Bay, but the venues and activities in the area are expanding to give vacationers a reason to stay longer.

The water is the main attraction. While it is mostly enjoyed outside on Lake Erie, Sandusky is home to several indoor water parks, making it a year-round destination. Take a stroll on Jackson Street Pier to watch a stunning Lake Erie sunset or relax on an island cruise around the bay as you soak in one of the top getaway destinations in Ohio.

1 Cedar Point

Cedar Point
Cedar Point Jeremy Thompson / photo modified

Cedar Point amusement park, on the shores of Lake Erie, is one of the top things to do in Ohio, with new roller coasters and attractions added every year. You can easily spend several days at the park and park-owned attractions. Cedar Point is known for its 17 roller coasters, like Gemini, Raptor, and Blue Streak, and its thrill rides, like Professor Delbert's Frontier Fling and the heart-palpitating Power Tower. For the non-extreme thrill seekers, the park has family-friendly rides and top entertainment venues. Cedar Point Shores is a new expansive water park, and Sports Force Parks is a unique sporting complex that caters to the sports-minded crowd, with soccer fields, ropes courses, and trampolines. Cedar Point's attractions and parks are all located in the same vicinity, and this is a great place to base yourself. One of the best hotel choices in this area is the Hotel Breakers.

Address: One Cedar Point Drive, Sandusky, Ohio

2 Kalahari Resorts

Kalahari Resorts

Kalahari is a popular indoor/outdoor water park that is as much fun for adults as for the kids. The main attraction is the extensive indoor and outdoor collection of waterslides, wave pools, and lazy rivers. With Kalahari's non-water excursions, you can easily spend several days trying to do everything. The Safari Outdoor Adventure Park is a nice break from the waterslides, with a challenging ropes course, zipline, and climbing wall. The interactive Safari Adventures Animal Park is a must-visit during your stay, where you will see animals like camels and birds that are not normal fare for a water park.

Address: 7000 Kalahari Drive, Sandusky, Ohio

3 Merry-Go-Round Museum

Merry-Go-Round Museum
Merry-Go-Round Museum Rona Proudfoot / photo modified

The idea for the Merry-Go-Round Museum in Sandusky was born after the US Postal Service issued a series of carousel stamps in 1990. The museum has become a main stop in Sandusky ever since, featuring nostalgic and historical merry-go-round artifacts. Enjoy the displays of painted carousel horses, restored merry-go-round memorabilia, miniature carousels, and other artifacts that have become a part of the museum's collection over the years. Be sure to spend some extra time at the fully renovated New York carousel and in the museum's unique gift shop.

Address: 301 Jackson Street, Sandusky, Ohio

4 Jet Express

Jet Express
Jet Express marada / photo modified

Sandusky is the ideal home base to take a day trip to nearby Put-in-Bay or Kelleys Island on Lake Erie. Jet Express is an exciting ferry trip to the islands to explore lighthouse attractions and watersports, and enjoy an array of resort-style restaurants. The popular islands in the area draw a high volume of tourists. If you plan to visit both islands, it is best to schedule one day for each and return to Sandusky in the evenings. Pay close attention to the time of the last ferry departure for the day for your return trip to Sandusky.

Address: 101 W. Shoreline Drive, Sandusky, Ohio

Official site: https://jet-express.com/

5 Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge

The indoor water park at Great Wolf Lodge works well for the sometimes unpredictable Ohio weather. The most popular attractions at the lodge are understandably at the water park. Waterslides like Otter Run and Totem Towers are traditional slides, but families who want to kick it up a notch should tackle the four-story-tall Alberta Falls tube slide, where you can ride in tandem. The lodge has activities like pajama parties, craft times, entertainment, and MagiQuest magic adventures that can break up the swimming opportunities during your stay. Be sure to experience the wolf print waffles at least once for breakfast at the Gitchigoomie Grill.

Address: 4600 Milan Road, Sandusky, Ohio

6 Maritime Museum of Sandusky

The Maritime Museum in Sandusky provides a snapshot of the maritime activity over the years in the Sandusky Bay. The museum is as educational as it is fascinating, with exhibits on commercial fishing, shipwrecks, and even pirates in the area. The interactive displays let you be a part of maritime history and its influence on the region. One of the most unique displays in the museum includes authentic artifacts from the Convict Ship, which was a floating prison that ended its journey in Sandusky.

Address: 125 Meigs Street, Sandusky, Ohio

7 Castaway Bay

The Caribbean-themed Castaway Bay is an indoor water park, with slides and rides for every age group. This is a year-round water park, with lagoons, a wave pool, high tube slides, and areas to relax with your family. When you need a break from the water, check out the scheduled crafts events and Caribbean games that are available at the resort. Events change daily, so be sure to grab a daily newsletter to see what is available during your stay.

Address: 2001 Cleveland Road, Sandusky, Ohio

8 Sandusky Segwave Tours

Sandusky Segwave Tours
Sandusky Segwave Tours

A fun way to explore historic Sandusky is by Segway with Sandusky Segwave tours. Guided tour options include one or two hours in the city. The Segway tours take you past Sandusky Bay, historic downtown, and through parks. If you plan to stay several days, the Segwave tours will give you a good introduction to the layout of the area. All tours start with instructions on how to operate a Segway, so it is fine for beginners. Since the tours take you through areas you may not find on your own, keep an eye out for restaurants and shops that you want to go back to later.

Address: 107 Columbus Avenue, Sandusky, Ohio

9 Air1Airboats


You might think of airboats for a Florida excursion and not Ohio, but that is what makes a Lake Erie cruise on Air1Airboats so much fun. A licensed U.S. Coast Guard Captain takes you on an airboat trip that provides a perspective of Sandusky from the water. Pass the sprawling Cedar Point amusement park as you spend about 40 minutes riding through the bay. For a night out, take an evening cruise where you spend two hours on the water and enjoy the vibrant light scene on the shoreline.

Address: 2312 River Avenue, Sandusky, Ohio

Official site: http://air1airboats.com/

10 Ghostly Manor Thrill Center

Adventure is the name of the game at the Ghostly Manor Thrill Center in Sandusky, which has a range of things to do, from strategic to family-friendly. The Escape Room plays off the popular escape adventures, where you and your crew must solve clues in order to get out of a room in the time allotted. Wizard's Journey miniature golf is a relaxing way to spend an afternoon or evening as you putt through waterfalls and obstacles. The Ghostly Manor Thrill Center also offers an arcade, roller skating, bounce house, and a 4D theater.

Address: 3319 Milan Road, Sandusky, Ohio

11 Vogontz Bike Share

Vogontz Bike Share

Sandusky is a town best explored at a slower pace, and Vogontz Bike Share is a fun way to do it. The bike share program is easy, with stations located throughout Sandusky. Rent a bike then ride it to your next location and drop it off at another station. Many people rent the bike just to ride around town and make stops at shops and restaurants at their leisure. The bike share program works with an app on your phone, so it is easy to find locations to pick up and drop off the bikes.

12 Goodtime I Lake Erie Island Cruises

Goodtime I island cruises are a popular way to enjoy the Lake Erie shoreline. The cruises operate from May through October. Hop on board for a Sunset Bay Cruise as you wind down the day with entertainment, snacks, and a beautiful northern Ohio sunset. One of the most popular cruises is the Island Hopping Cruise. This is a great way to take a day excursion to the islands surrounding Sandusky. The day cruise takes you to Kelleys Island and Put-in-Bay, where you can get out and explore for several hours before heading to the next location. The company offers themed cruises throughout the year that tie into sporting events and holidays.

Address: 109 West Shoreline Drive, Sandusky, Ohio

More Must-See Places to Explore in Ohio

While the shores of Lake Erie and the islands of Put-in-Bay and Kelleys Island are popular vacation spots, Ohio is ready to serve up whatever strikes the mood for your getaway. The big cities of Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati are perfect for weekend getaways, but just beyond the city lights are quiet national and state parks and the back roads of Amish Country. If your trip to the Buckeye State is more action-packed, you will want to explore the fantastic fishing, ziplining, and outdoor adventures that exist in the diverse quadrants of Ohio.

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