Things To Do In Port Clinton Ohio For First-Time Visitors

With a population of just 6,000 people, this is not an overly large city yet there are so many fun things to do in Port Clinton Ohio.

Located on the banks of Lake Erie and the Portage River, this port city is one of my favorite family destinations because when it comes to entertainment, this city caters to all age groups.

Beautiful, Port Clinton, lighthouse, sunset night shot

Since it is lies upon the banks of a lake, water sports, there are aplenty, from boating to fishing and paddling. My family loves to explore the shoreline and islands of Port Clinton.

Here hiking trails meander into all sorts of wonderful places. Picturesque picnic spots invite families to feast on lunch and the lake views.

And as if the natural beauty wasn’t enough, the City of Port Clinton has also laid on one of the biggest and best amusement parks in the country.

When we holiday in Port Clinton, we plan a day at the Cedar Point Amusement Park and another at the Water Park.

Based on previous happy holidays, I’ve put together a list of all the best things to do in Port Clinton Ohio.

  • Wine and dine at Catawba Island State Park
  • Explore history at the Liberty Aviation Museum
  • Take a Walk on the Wild Side at the African Wild Life Safari
  • Boat out to Kelley’s Island
  • Explore Port Clinton Lighthouse
  • Get an adrenalin rush at Cedar Point Amusement Park
  • Commune with Nature at Put-In-Bay
  • Learn the History of Marble Head Lighthouse
  • Marvel at the Toledo Museum of Art
  • Stay Over at the Cedar Park Resort

Wine and Dine At The Catawba Island State Park

Catawba Island State Park

One of the first things to do in Port Clinton Ohio must be to visit Catawba Island, State Park. For a fun day out you’ll enjoy the fresh air on the banks of Lake Erie.

The Park is, in fact, a peninsula and not an island at all. It has a fishing pier, picnic areas, launch pads, and restrooms. Broad pebble beach’s lead onto the shallow waters of Lake Erie.

Launch a kayak or paddle and explore the shores of the Great Lake. You’ll get great views of the imposing limestone cliffs along the shore.

The 10-acre park has plenty of trails for hikers and bikers. So, take to the trails and find a vineyard along the way for a taste of wine and a bite to eat. For me, this is one of the most romantic things to do in Port Clinton, Ohio.

Get a blast from the past and visit the Ottawa City General Store at Catawba Point. If you enjoy a good beer you may want to include a visit to the Catawba Island Brewing Company.

It is on Monday to Thursday from 4 pm to 10 pm, and Friday and Saturday from noon to 11 pm. There is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. Live acoustic music and pinball keep the atmosphere light.

The brewery accommodates non-drinkers with soft drinks and tea and coffee.  They also offer light meals and snacks.


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Explore Port Clinton’s Liberty Aviation Museum

 

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Looking for even more fun things to do in Port Clinton Ohio? Why not head out to the Liberty Aviation Museum.

Located at the Erie Ottawa International Airport, the Liberty Aviation Museum pays tribute to aviation and the military past. Here you will find a full section dedicated to World War Two, including the bomber, Georgie’s girl built in 1945.

Explore ambulances, WW2 jeeps, and replica tanks. There is also a German field kitchen in the museum. Some of the memorabilia rotate so there’s always something new on show.

Right now, a Ford Tri-motor is under construction at the museum and visitors can see how these aircraft were built off the original jigs.

The museum also has some film memorabilia on show. Enjoy lunch 1950s style in the on-site Tin Goose Diner before you head off on your next adventure.

The museum is open 7 days a week 10 am to 5 pm. Adults pay $10 and children of 6 and up pay $8. Children under 5 are admitted free of charge.

Take a Walk on the Wild Side at the African Wild Life Safari

Feeding Giraffes at The African Wild Life Safari

The African Wild Life Safari is open from spring to fall. It is a drive-through safari that lets you get up close to the more than 500 animals in the park. These include zebras llamas, camels, and giraffes.

Every visitor receives a ladle of animal feed on entering the park. The animals in the park eat directly from the cup. Here you can hand-feed birds, bison, and giant tortoises.

Once you’ve done the drive-through, get out of your car and walk through an area that is more like a zoo. Here you’ll find birds, a kangaroo, and an albino alligator. Camel rides are also on offer.

If you’re at the park with the children, make sure to leave time for some fun at the Monsoon Lagoon Water Park. This is the only outdoor waterpark in the city.

The slippery slides and treehouse surrounded by cool, blue water will have them begging for more. There are fun rides for the adults too. Have fun on the multi-story go-cart track, 18-hole mini-golf, or go gem mining.

Book a 2-hour Junior Zookeeper program where the children can learn to feed and care for the animals.

The Park is open Monday to Friday from 10 am to 5 pm and from 9 am to 6 pm on the weekend. The gates close for entry an hour earlier.  The entry fee changes according to the season.


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Boat Out to Kelley’s Island

Glacial Grooves at Kelleys Island

Take a boat to Kelley’s Island, once home to Native Americans. You’ll find evidence of these ancient people in the petroglyphs on the sandstone cliffs, aptly named Inscription Rock. The island was used as a military post during the war of 1812.

There are few permanent occupants on the island but thousands of tourists visit each year to enjoy what nature has to offer. The island has a small village and boasts lovely sandy beaches, parks and camping grounds, and plenty of trails, for hiking, biking, and birding. There is also a brewery, two wineries, and 4 marinas on Kelley’s Island.

Make time to visit the glacial grooves. The glaciers that created the Great Lakes have left their footprints on this island, leaving behind the largest and most accessible grooves anywhere on the planet. The 400 feet grooves are 35 feet wide and up to 15 feet deep.

If you’re looking for a good time, you’ll find plenty of restaurants, pubs, and cafes on the island. There is also a miniature golf course and a working vineyard. The vineyard is located at the site of one of the oldest stone cottages on the island and is well worth a visit.

The ferry to the island can accommodate buses, RV’s, and cars and will also take bicycles and pets. You can also get to the island using Jet Express, a boat, or a plane.


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Get an Adrenalin Rush at Cedar Point Amusement Park

 

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Looking for fun things to do in Port Clinton Ohio with the family? You’ll find it all at the Cedar Point Amusement Park. Open in 1870, this park is the second oldest amusement park in the US.

Find more than seventy different rides at the Cedar Point Amusement Park. Choose from 17 roller coaster rides or take a ride on each of them.  The Park covers 364 acres of land and includes a beach, a mile of soft golden sands with two marinas.

Find on-site accommodation and stay the night. You’ll enjoy the benefit of early entry to the park. There are plenty of restaurants and live shows to keep you amused overnight. Located in Sandusky, the amusement park runs from May to October.

The Cedar Point Shores Water Park is right alongside. It offers 18 acres of sheer fun in the sun. In poor weather, you may prefer an indoor experience. Castaway Bay, in the same area, offers protection from the weather in an indoor water park.

Enjoy an Afternoon at Port Clinton Lighthouse

After a day at the amusement park, you may want to find good but cheap things to do in Port Clinton. The recently restored Port Clinton Lighthouse, built-in 1896 definitely ticks that box.

A lightkeeper’s boathouse close by is a replica of the original. The boathouse includes a rowboat and several historical displays. If you want to tour the light and boathouse you will need to make time on Saturdays from 12 noon to 5 pm. You’ll pay $3 for anyone over ten to do the tour.

The grounds of the lighthouse are always open so take a walk, sit yourself down on one of the benches and enjoy the lake views.

Commune with Nature at Put in Bay

Put-In-Bay

Also known as South Bass Island, Put-In-Bay is one of the most popular islands on Lake Erie and one of the best things to do on Catawba. Ferries take guests across from Catawba Island. They run between 6.30 am and 9 pm.

It takes about twenty minutes to get to Put-In-Bay. You can cycle, rent a golf cart or take a bus from the drop-off point to downtown Put-In-Bay.

The island has been blessed by nature. The forested shores are surrounded by azure water. And if you are still looking for things to do in Port Clinton Ohio be sure to check out there many, restaurants, cafes, and pubs that overlook the stunning harbor.

You’ll find endless amounts of Yachts and speed boats lined across the marina. Almost all the amenities on the island are designed to please and entertain the visitors that come there.

Lakeside beaches and state parks ensure that nature is never far away. Take a tour through a wine cave for something a little different. Charter a fishing boat or play 18 holes of miniature golf.

For some real family fun, why not jump onto a tour train and get to see all the island attractions. You’ll enjoy an hour-long journey in an open carriage so you get to enjoy the lakeside breeze while you’re about it.


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Discover the World’s Biggest Crystal Cave

Stop off at the Heinemann Winery and visit the marvelous crystal cave. You’ll descend 8 meters into the ground to reach the world’s biggest geode or crystal cave. The staircase is shrouded in enormous crystals. It was discovered in 1887 by workers who were digging a well.

Perry’s Victory and International Peace Museum

Pay a visit to the International Peace Museum and the 35-foot Doric tower that stands alongside it. Enjoy the view from the top of the 352-foot monument. An elevator will take you up so no need to climb.

Learn the history of the monument at the visitor’s center. It was built to commemorates America’s victory in the 1812 war and honors eternal peace between the US, Canada, and Great Britain.

Learn the History of Marble Head Lighthouse

For more fun things to do in Port Clinton Ohio visit marblehead ohio lighthouse

Make time to visit the Marble Head Lighthouse. It has recently been painstakingly restored. Climb the 77 steps to the top of the tower and enjoy the view from the top. Visit the museum and learn the story of the lighthouse.

A lovely replica of a historic lifesaving station stands alongside the lighthouse. It tells the story of what it was like to rescue people in distress on the lake. The site also includes the Keepers House built-in 1880.

The lighthouse is located on the 9-acre Marble Head Lighthouse State Park. It has lovely views of the lake. Enjoy a packed lunch at the picnic facilities that overlook the lake.

The Marblehead Lighthouse is the oldest continuously used lighthouse on the Great Lakes in the US. It started its working life in 1822.

The lighthouse is open for tours between 12 noon and 4 pm. You’ll pay $3 for anyone over ten to tour.

Marvel at the Toledo Museum of Art

 

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Take a 50-minute drive to Toledo. The treasures at the Toledo Museum of Art are well worth the trip. Glass maker Edward Drummond Libby founded the museum at the turn of the century to make art accessible to anyone.

The 280,000 square foot museum has 45 galleries. It exhibits over 30,000 artworks. The museum has an enormous collection of glass artwork. It also features a large collection of European and American art featuring artistic legends like Rubens, van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Holbein.

In line with the founder’s vision of making art available to all, entry to the museum is free. The museum is closed on Monday and Tuesday. It opens between 11 am and 5 pm on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday and from 11 am to 8 pm on Friday and Saturday.


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Stay Over at the Cedar Park Resort

Camp at Cedar Park for fun things to do in Port Clinton Ohio

The Cedar Park Resort, just a mile from Lake Erie is the perfect spot to camp for a night or a week. Here you can rent a cabin, park your RV or pitch a tent. There are more than 300 sites at the resort.

The resort has all the modern facilities that you need including showers, restrooms, a laundromat, a gift shop, and a grocery store.

There are three onsite heated pools and shuffleboard and basket board courts. There is also a comfortable outdoor lounge where you can gather and socialize.

Family Fun at Port Clinton

Port Clinton is a small lake-side village that packs a punch. It offers fun and entertainment for every member of the family. Yet the beauty of nature, the stillness of the forests and beaches offer everyone a chance to be still and commune with nature.

Conclusion

I found so many fun things to do in Port Clinton Ohio even as a first-time visitor. I really hope you get a chance to head out one weekend so you too can truly experience all the beauty and adventure this little city has to offer. Thank you for reading.