The Best Kid-Friendly Family Resorts in Ohio

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Kalahari Resorts

Kalahari Resorts & Conventions in Sandusky, Ohio
Kalahari Resorts

In Sandusky, a hotbed of indoor and outdoor waterpark resorts, Kalahari Resorts & Conventions is not only a standout but a superlative. America's largest indoor waterpark resort features a 173,000-square-foot indoor water park, where highlights include two Kalahari Surfari surfing simulators, the uphill Zip Coaster, indoor-to-outdoor spas, the Victoria Falls family raft ride, numerous water slides, and an impressively long lazy river.

There's also a 77,000-square-foot outdoor water park; an outdoor complex with ropes courses and a zip line tour; and a Safari Adventure Park, featuring an African-themed animal park complete with camels, giraffes, zebras, and more. With 884 rooms, the resort offers a variety of lodging options, from guest rooms with a refrigerator and a microwave to three-bedroom, three-bathroom condos with full kitchens.

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Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky

Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky
Great Wolf Lodge

The Great Wolf Lodge chain has grown into the biggest-name indoor water park resorts. Signature features at the Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky include:

  • Bear Track Landing indoor water park, with waterslides slides, 5 pools, lazy river
  • Fort MacKenzie waterfort: 4-storeys, 12 levels of interactive fun with 1000-gallon dumping bucket, dueling slides
  • Racoon Lagoon, a summertime outdoor pool, with zero-entry, geysers, etc.
  • Northern Lights Arcade with over 100 games​
  • Iron Horse Fitness Center

Great Wolf Lodge also features storytime at night, in the 3-story Grand Lobby with signature Clock Tower; free craft activities; Snowland, a whole season in December with real snow in the Lobby, decorations, special events; and Howl-O-Ween in October.

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Ohio State Park Lodges

Maumee Bay State Park Lodge in Ohio
Ohio State Park Lodges

Looking for an affordable Midwest beach getaway this summer? A stay at one of the Ohio State Park Lodges might be just the ticket. Located in parks throughout the central and northern regions of the Buckeye State, the lodges offer a surprising array of beach experiences on lakes, rivers, and reservoirs.

  • Maumee Bay Lodge in northwest Ohio is situated on the shores of Lake Erie and offers a 24-slip marina and lake swimming from the inland lake featuring 1,500 feet of beachfront as well as the nearby shore of Lake Erie. There is also a kid-friendly splash park and an indoor pool.
    Check rates at Maumee Bay Lodge
  • Mohican Lodge is located in the 1,110-acre Mohican State Park. Paddlers can experience one of Ohio's finest canoeing rivers, the Clear Fork of the Mohican River, and canoes and kayaks can be rented near the lodge.
    Check rates at Mohican Lodge
  • Salt Fork Lodge is situated in Salt Fork State Park, the state’s largest park at 17,229 acres, including a lake offering motor boating and a variety of boat rentals, including popular pontoon boats. The lake also features a 2,500-foot beachfront, which is one of the largest inland beaches in Ohio.
    Check rates at Salt Fork Lodge
  • Deer Creek Lodge near Columbus is located near the 1,277-acre Deer Creek reservoir, which features two launch ramps that provide access to the lake. The lodge offers a variety of boat rentals including kayaks, pontoons, wave runners, pedal boats, fishing boats, rowboats, ski boats, aqua cycles and hydro bikes.
    Check rates at Deer Creek Lodge
  • Punderson Manor Lodge in northeast Ohio offers easy access to the 80-acre Punderson Lake. The lake is one of the few natural lakes in the state, and it is the largest and deepest kettle lake in Ohio. Punderson Manor Lodge also offers indoor and outdoor swimming pools and plentiful activities for land-lovers including golf, disc golf, geocaching, and hiking.​
    Check rates at Punderson Manor Lodge
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Castaway Bay Resort

Castaway Bay Resort in Sandusky, Ohio
Cedar Point

This waterfront hotel on Lake Erie in Sandusky is owned by the Cedar Point amusement park, a venerable institution that built its first roller coaster in 1892, and is now legendary for roller coasters in the 21st century. 

Castaway Bay Resort features a tropical theme and offers 237 hotel rooms and suites, 38,000-square-foot indoor water park, arcade, craft and child activity center, spa and more. Guests get early entrance into the water park.

Water park highlights include:

  • 5-story structure with Caribbean theme, palm trees, huts, inland lagoons
  • admission restricted to Castaway Bay guests
  • Cargo Crossing interactive play area
  • wave pool, with 3-foot waves for body-surfing
  • Lookout Lagoon Family Funhouse
  • Toddler's Tide Pool play area
  • Rendezvous Run "water roller coaster" that propels riders uphill using water jets.

Castaway Bay also offers Camp Castaway daily crafts (free, or small fee), and evening games.

- Edited by Suzanne Rowan Kelleher

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