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Your guide to Sandusky
All About Sandusky
Along the banks of Lake Erie sits the popular beach town of Sandusky, where lovingly restored limestone buildings line the downtown district and wide sidewalks are lined with local markets and shops. The city’s amusement parks, located on a spit that juts into the lake, draw thrill-seekers and casual riders from around the country. Sandusky is also close to state parks with miles of scenic hiking trails.
History is on display in Sandusky, as the city has been a draw for vacationers since the late 19th century. You’ll find many attractive landmarks here, such as the castle-inspired Cooke-Dorn House and the Merry-Go-Round Museum, where you can see artfully carved wooden figurines and a working carousel from 1939.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Sandusky
The area south of Lake Erie has a humid continental climate, which means there are four distinct seasons to enjoy in Sandusky. You’ll find pleasant springs (think light-jacket weather) with plenty of opportunities to walk along the lakeshore. Although it can get hot and muggy in late July and August, summer is the most popular time to visit, as the theme parks open from late May through August and the waters of Lake Erie are warm enough for swimming. Fall is dry and crisp, a great time to hit the trails around Sawmill Creek and Sheldon Marsh Nature Preserves, and visit the Island Wine Festival at nearby Put-In-Bay. Winters are cold, with plenty of snow and ice, but the downtown district is enchanting with holiday lights, and you can try your hand at ice fishing or snowshoeing.
Top things to do in Sandusky
Pickerel Creek WIldlife Area
Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area, a restored wetland with abundant wildlife, is a 20-minute drive west of Sandusky. The 3,200-acre site is open for fishing, and its observation tower (located along Route 6) offers many opportunities for spotting bald eagles, white-tailed deer, and rare bird species, particularly during the spring and fall migrations. The area is crossed by wooden walkways and trails along the top of dikes. Note that some parts are closed during the hunting season from late November to early spring.
Sandusky’s stretch of Lake Erie coastline is a popular destination for chilling out, but if you’re up for a little more adventure, you can catch a ferry to visit Kelleys Island, South Bass Island, Middle Bass Island, and North Bass Island, many of which promise inland trails, beautiful beaches, and little restaurants where you can sit by the water. Once you land, you can rent a bike or a golf cart to take in the sights.
Maritime Museum of Sandusky
Dive into the maritime history of Sandusky at this museum through interactive exhibits on local pirates, ancient shipwrecks, and the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. Sandusky was a major stop on the pre-Civil War Underground Railroad, which helped slaves gain their freedom; a well-known American author paid homage to the town in one of her famous novels.