10 Top Things to Do Near Cedar Point, Ohio

An amusement park and harbor in Sandusky, Ohio

Douglas Sacha / Getty Images

Cedar Point, Ohio, a peninsula that extends out into Lake Erie, the most southern of the five Great Lakes, is a favorite summer destination for North Coast residents as well as visitors from all over the country.

Although the Vacationland area south of Kelley's Island has been dubbed the "​Roller Coaster Capital of the World" since the amusement park's first ride was built in 1892, Cedar Point offers more things to see and do. Here, you'll find museums with historic merry-go-rounds, wineries, water parks full of adventures for the little ones, historic sites like the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museums and the Thomas Edison Birthplace Museum, and plenty of activities for every budget and interest.

01 of 10

Raise a Glass at Firelands Winery

Firelands Winery & Restaurant

Firelands Winery & Restaurant

917 Bardshar Rd, Sandusky, OH 44870, USA
Phone +1 419-625-5474

Head to Firelands Winery, just 20 minutes from Cedar Point, to sample some of the area's finest reds, whites, and bubbles at the tasting room and onsite restaurant. It's open all year long except for Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day, though they tend to close early on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, so plan your trip accordingly.

Themed wine flights include the best offerings from Firelands Winery (Pinot Grigio, Rosé, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc) as well as other collections like International Red, International White, Lake Erie Favorites, and Sweet & Bubbly, among others. After finding your new favorites, purchase some souvenir bottles to bring home in the gift shop.

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02 of 10

Cool Off at One of the Area's Best Water Parks

Water slides at Kalahari Resorts Sandusky Ohio

Kalahari Resorts

7000 Kalahari Dr, Sandusky, OH 44870, USA
Phone +1 877-525-2427

About a 20-minute drive from Cedar Point, two popular family-friendly resorts — Kalahari Resorts & Conventions and Great Wolf Lodge — offer water park access to both guests (it's included in your nightly rate) and visitors (day passes are available for a fee).

Kalahari Resorts is home to an indoor and outdoor water park. At 173,000 square feet, it's the largest indoor water park in the Midwest, featuring zero depth entry play areas, an epic 920-foot lazy river, and a Flowrider surfing simulator, among dozens of other water features, slides, and raft rides. Outside, the Zambezi Outdoor Water Park, open seasonally during the summer, offers even more options for thrill-seekers of all ages.

At Great Wolf Lodge, the 33,000-square foot water park is a hit with young and older visitors, with 60 guest-activated water effects such as squirters and other fun things to play with. You'll also find a rock-climbing wall, geysers, fountains, water basketball, and The Northern Lights Arcade, full of classic games.

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03 of 10

View Thomas Edison's Birthplace

The Birthplace of Thomas Edison

VisionsofAmerica / Joe Sohm / Getty Images

9 N Edison Dr, Milan, OH 44846, USA
Phone +1 419-499-2135

Thomas Edison, the inventor of the photograph and the light bulb, among other things,​ was born on the north coast in Milan, Ohio, in 1847. The house where he was born and lived until he was seven years old, located about a 25-minute drive from Cedar Point, still stands in its original location and has been restored and converted into the Thomas Edison Birthplace Museum. It's now a National Historic Site full of artifacts, inventions, and other interesting memorabilia.

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Ride an Antique Carousel

The Merry-Go-Round Museum


301 Jackson St, Sandusky, OH 44870-2621, USA
Phone +1 419-626-6111

The Merry-Go-Round Museum, located in Sandusky, makes a unique and fun side trip from Cedar Point. The museum features an antique 1939 carousel that you can ride as well as onsite woodcarvers who are there to demonstrate the art of creating carousel horses. There are also exhibits and artifacts about the history of merry-go-rounds, a gift shop, and antique hand organs.

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05 of 10

Explore South Bass Island

Put-in-Bay, Ohio Harbor

Rona Proudfoot / Getty Images

South Bass Island, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456, USA

Put-in-Bay, located on South Bass Island a bit north of Sandusky and Port Clinton, is Ohio's Lake Erie playground. The island's popularity peaks in the summer, with a vibrant marina, many lively bars and restaurants, antique stores, a home-grown brewery, and a historic winery.

The island is reachable via Miller Boat Line ferries, which offer passenger and vehicle service from Catawba from March through late November, although the ferry schedule is weather-dependent. Jet Express also offers service between various locations including Put-in-Bay, typically from May to October, while you can reach the island year-round by small aircraft, weather permitting. Once on the island, take the shuttle from the dock into town, rent a bike or a golf cart, or walk; it's only about 1.5 miles.

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Check out Glacial Grooves at Kelleys Island

Glacial Grooves State Park

James St. John / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Kelleys Island, OH 43438, USA

Kelleys Island, the largest of the Lake Erie islands, is located just off the north central Ohio coastline and is about a 70-minute drive from Cedar Point. The island is a summertime favorite known for Kelley's Island Wine Company and its restaurant, additional eateries, and its Victorian houses. It was once covered by glaciers and the receded ice sheets are what carved its famous "Glacial Grooves," souvenirs from the Ice Age. The Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Line operates year-round ferry service from Marblehead, while the island is also accessible by small airplane.

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07 of 10

Greet Animals at Lagoon Deer Park

Lagoon Deer Park
Lagoon Deer Park
1012 Martins Point Rd, Sandusky, OH 44870, USA
Phone +1 419-684-5701

A favorite for families with little ones, Lagoon Deer Park in Sandusky features more than 200 animals from around the world ranging from emus and llamas to miniature donkeys, all of which you can feed. Visitors can also fish in the stocked lagoon or eat at one of the park's scenic picnic areas.

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08 of 10

Tour a Cemetery on Johnson Island

Johnson Island Cemetery

Chris Light / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Johnson's Island Causeway, Marblehead, OH 43440, USA
Phone +1 330-335-3069

More than 10,000 Confederate prisoners of war were once housed on Johnson's Island, a National Historic Landmark and a small piece of land just off the south coast of Marblehead, near the ferry docks and the Cedar Point Causeway. More than 200 of these soldiers are buried at the Confederate Stockade Cemetery.

A causeway connects the island to the mainland at Lakeside Marblehead and has a small toll each way. Visitors may go to the cemetery daily from sunrise to sunset. Back on the mainland, the Johnson's Island Museum in Sandusky features a scale model of the prison as well as some other artifacts.

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09 of 10

Visit the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums


Spiegel Grove, Fremont, OH 43420, USA
Phone +1 419-332-2081

In Fremont, Ohio, about a 45-minute drive from Cedar Point, you'll find the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museums. This 31-room mansion was where President Hayes lived for two years in 1873 before he left to serve as the governor of Ohio and later, president of the United States. The complex includes the home, museum, and the grounds, as well as the tombs of former President Hayes and his wife, Lucy.

Visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the house, stroll the grounds, and take a self-guided tour of the museum. On display are original family furnishings, President Hayes' library, which the staff has expanded to over 90,000 books, as well as many of his papers, and Civil War and other 19th century artifacts.

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Go Underground at Seneca Caverns

Seneca Caverns

Dustin M. Ramsey / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.5

15248 E Township Rd 178, Bellevue, OH 44811-9592, USA
Phone +1 419-483-6711

Located about 15 minutes from Cedar Point in Bellevue, Seneca Caverns is one of the largest underground cave systems in Ohio. Visitors can embark on a one-hour tour that goes as far as 110 feet underground and through seven subterranean rooms. The best part: On a hot summer's day, the caverns are a constant 54 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius).

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10 Top Things to Do Near Cedar Point, Ohio