Lake Erie Boating: Things to Do and See
Ohio’s stretch of Lake Erie shoreline is one of the Midwest’s hottest vacation spots. Its shores and islands offer an eclectic mix of stunning scenery, historically significant sites, outdoor recreation and family-fun amusements. It’s a boater’s dream, filled with places, on and off shore, to find adventure.
This entire region is as boater-friendly as you’ll find anywhere. For that matter, you can easily reach many major attractions, and get close to downtown shopping and dining with your boat.
So much to do and see in Lorain
Lakeview Park is a recreational park spanning 20 acres on the picturesque shores of Lake Erie. It’s known for its Historical Rose Garden and idyllic views of the Lorain Lighthouse, as well as loads of recreational opportunities including swimming, lawn bowling, beach volleyball, picnicking and so much more!
When you’re ready to soak in some culture, you’ll want to head over to the Lorain Palace Theatre. Originally built in 1928 by Warner Brothers, it’s the largest single-floor theatre in Ohio. From the moment you enter the gleaming marble lobby, to the moment the curtain comes down to thunderous applause, you’ll be entertained and enthralled.
If you’re more of a history buff, Lorain has something for you as well. Stop in to the Lorain Historical Society and be prepared to be amazed by its impressive and diverse saga. Crew members young and old will enjoy not only the historical objects that tell the story of Lorain, but also the many programs like the Waterfront History Excursions and the Lakeview Park Scavenger Hunts.
Rockin’ on the River, at Black River Landing, is Northeast Ohio’s longest running and highest attended outdoor concert series. It’s a happening and you don’t want to miss it! The best national, regional and local talent are showcased here, filling the night sky with sounds from classic rock to pop. It’s also touted as the best light and sound show around.
While at Black River Landing, you can pay your respects by visiting the Lorain Underground Railroad Station 100 Monument and Reflective Garden. It stands in honor of the abolitionists who risked their lives helping slaves escape to the north.
You can also find Riverside Park at Black River Landing. It’s a welcoming recreational facility complete with pavilions, picnic grounds, walkways, and outdoor seating. It also hosts big festive community events such as the International Festival in June, Port Fest on Independence Day, and Sunset River Cruises and lighthouse tours every summer weekend. Just stop by, there’s always plenty going on!
All this fun is sure to give you an appetite and Loraine has everything from fine dining to casual eateries. Annually, Lorain hosts the fun and scrumptious Burger Battle, where local restaurants compete for the prestigious title of Best Burger in Lorain County. You’ll want to bring your appetite for that one! Other local favorites include Eliseo’s Pizza with authentic Italian food made fresh daily, and Diso’s Bistro, offering mouthwatering American fare as well as vegetarian and gluten-free options. If you want a memorable dock & dine experience, head to Erie Steak & Seafood Co. at Port Lorain Marina. Always serving fresh and delicious entrees, it’s situated within Oasis Marinas at Port Lorain. It also has the most breathtaking panoramic views of Lake Erie.
Want to see more of what Lorain has to offer, visit the Lorain County blog, where you can get great ideas and learn about upcoming events.
So much to do and see on Lake Erie
A crowd pleaser, and for good reason, is the Lorain Lighthouse. It’s one of the prettiest and most unique lighthouses on the Great Lakes. For a modest fee you can tour the lighthouse, and each floor has a friendly and knowledgeable docent to share the history of this great landmark.
We would be remis if we didn’t tell you about the legendary fishing on Lake Erie. If you and your crew enjoy dropping a line, you’ll be happy to learn that this area is the Walleye Capital of the World. In addition, your odds are good for plentiful yellow perch, largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass. You’ll be impressed to know that over 130 species of fish make their homes in the waters of Lake Erie.
If bird-watching is your passion, break out the binoculars. Lorain’s waterfront was named a Birding Hot Spot by Bird Watcher's Digest. This title was well earned due to Ohio’s more than 412 recorded bird species.
Ready to do a little exploring? Then head to one of the many nearby coastal boating communities like Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island. This tiny island, 3.7 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, is just 3 miles off mainland Ohio, and proud to be the Midwest’s favorite island destination.
When you arrive, you might want to take a tour on the island tour train - or go at your own pace by renting a golf cart, scooter, or bicycle. The island has everything from family-friendly activities to historical monuments, as well as shopping spots and a wide selection of restaurants and pubs for every taste and budget. Oasis Marinas at Battery Park is a great stop-over for boaters looking to spend the evening in the area!
To sleep under the stars of Ohio’s big sky, you can cruise over to Middle Bass Island State Park. The island itself is lush and green, with a modest number of eateries and shops. The state park features a 190-slip marina, primitive camping, bicycle rentals, miniature golf, and more – everything you need for good old-fashioned fun. The park has the only transient dockage on the island. However, you can take the ferry to and from Put-in-Bay if you’re docked there. How to plan your Ohio Lake Erie boating trip
When you’re ready to chart your course to the boater’s paradise that is Ohio’s Lake Erie, take some time to find a marina that’s in the center of where you want to be. Many transient boaters choose Port Lorain’s premier marina; Oasis Marinas at Port Lorain. Located approximately midway between Cleveland and Sandusky, this marina provides a protected harbor with convenient access to Lake Erie fishing, sailing, pleasure boating, views of the historic Lorain Lighthouse and impressive sunsets. Guests enjoy a whole world of fun and places to explore. This impressive marina has 600 slips, a fuel dock, a gift shop, and marina office. And of course, the Erie Steak & Seafood Co.
If this is your first time boating Lake Erie, you’ll want to be aware of Ohio’s boating laws and regulations. Contact the Ohio Department of Natural Resources – Division of Watercraft for all the information you’ll need. Additionally, the local U.S. Coast Guard Station can be reached by marine radio at VHF-FM Channel 16.
With so many options to choose from, it’s easy to see why visitors love every minute they spend in Lorain and its welcoming waters. To sum it up, between its poignant history, extraordinary fishing, mouth-watering restaurants, and lively events, don’t wait a minute longer to plan your Ohio Lake Erie boating trip.
Written by: Jo Montgomery