Things to Do & See in Ottawa County Ohio

The North Coast of Lake Erie is the perfect destination for all ages. Sandy beaches, waterfront dining, and exciting adventure only begin to tell the story of vacationing or living on the North Coast. 

Marblehead Peninsula

Main street shopping for gifts and collectibles, guided walleye fishing charters, full-service marinas, sport fishing resorts, and state park camping are just a few of the enjoyments available in Marblehead, Ohio.

The most productive fish spawning in the Great Lakes makes the Western basin of Lake Erie and the Marblehead peninsula a popular choice destination for serious and hobbyist anglers alike.

A visit to the Marblehead Lighthouse, the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the Great Lakes, should be a must on your to-do list as well as a fresh lake perch or award-winning chili dinner at one of Marblehead’s great restaurants.

Just minutes from Port Clinton, Marblehead is home to exciting attractions that include a dinosaur forest and mystery hill.

Motels, as well as bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, and cottage rentals, are available for lodging while visiting the Marblehead Penisula on Lake Erie.

Nestled along the Lake Erie shoreline in Marblehead is the historic, gated community of Lakeside where you can enjoy waterfront concerts, lectures, and relaxation on the pier.

Methodist faith roots the charming community of Lakeside in traditional Christian values. Swimming, shuffleboard, tennis, art classes, and family entertainment combined with fellowship and worship services make Lakeside the Lake Erie destination of choice for relaxation and renewal.

The Lakeside Association’s summer calendar is packed with events for your enjoyment including the Women’s Club Tour of Homes and the Lakeside symphony Candelight Showcase. Lakeside offers special events and nightly entertainment throughout the summer held at Hoover Auditorium while art classes are available at The Rhein Center for the Living Arts. Children visiting Lakeside will enjoy becoming members of the God Squad or Comedy Improv Troupe.

Lakeside has a wide variety of choices for overnight accommodations including dormitory housing for large groups, hotels, cottages, cabins, and guest houses as well as a Lakeside campground. You might also rent a golf cart or bicycle while touring Lakeside or enjoy some award-winning pizza at a Lakeside restaurant.

Historic Port Clinton

The architecture, the colors, the shops, the restaurants, the annual events…

Within walking distance of hotels and bed and breakfasts, historic downtown Port Clinton is an aspiring main street community with colorful flags, old fashioned light posts, and activities throughout the year.

Home to the famous Walleye Madness at Midnight walleye drop, downtown Port Clinton is a bustle of holiday activity in December. The summer months will find shopkeepers with open doors, music coming from shop speakers, and the smell of fresh perch streaming through restaurant windows as visitors stroll, window shopping nautical items, unique toys, and island souvenirs.

A walk to the downtown Port Clinton riverbank brings friendly conversation with gentlemen just back from a fishing charter or a local enjoying lunch hour on a park bench. The smell of flavored popcorn will lure you to try the finest snack on Lake Erie and the sound of music will guide you to live entertainment at a waterfront bar and grille.

A day enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of historic downtown Port Clinton should be on every Lake Erie visitors list.

Marblehead Lighthouse

The Marblehead Lighthouse in Marblehead, Ohio is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the Great Lakes. Set on the Marblehead peninsula at the entrance of Sandusky Bay, the Marblehead Lighthouse has been a beacon of light on Lake Erie since 1822.

The grounds surrounding the Marblehead Lighthouse are immaculate with picnic areas, views of Cedar Point, Lake Erie and the Lake Erie islands.

Fifteen lighthouse keepers, including two women, have tended the Marblehead Lighthouse that is currently maintained and operated by the United States Coast Guard with surrounding property maintained by The Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The first Marblehead Lighthouse keeper was Benajah Wolcott, an early settler to Marblehead, Ohio. His duties included lighting the wicks of the original thirteen whale oil lamps, keeping logs of passing ships, noting weather conditions, and organizing rescue efforts on Lake Erie for ships and sailors in distress along the rocky shores of the Marblehead Peninsula.

The original Marblehead Lighthouse keepers home was a small stone home on the Sandusky Bay side of the peninsula and is the oldest surviving home in Ottawa County.

Now maintained by the Ottawa County Historical Society and on the National Register of Historic Places, tours and events that include potluck dinners, concerts, and historical reenactments are provided with shuttle service between the Marblehead Lighthouse and Wolcott Keeper’s


Downtown Put-In-Bay is the heart of Put-In-Bay island dining, main street-style shopping, sweet eats, and home to the world’s longest bar. A merry-go-round runs all summer long to the delight of children and adults alike and live island music drifts through the air as you walk, bike, or drive a golf cart around the island.

The evening never ends with live entertainment at clubs, pubs, bars, and grills lining the downtown Put-in-Bay streets. The Key West of the Midwest, Put-In-Bay is popular for crowds, bars, and mardi gras beads!

Ferry service from Port Clinton will get you to Put-in-Bay, renting a golf cart or bike will get you around and the hotels will give you a place to rest your head.

For a relaxed day on Put-In-Bay, take a walk or bike ride to Perry’s International Peace Memorial where you can ride the elevator to the top for an unmatched, panoramic view of Lake Erie 317 feet from the ground. On the ground, you might catch a history lesson about the War of 1812 and possibly even a reenactment or memorial service.

A ride on the merry-go-round in downtown Put-in-Bay will make you feel like a kid again and gem mining is an adventurous way to collect a souvenir from your Lake Erie vacation.

Festivals and celebrations throughout the season include the annual Sailing Regatta, Christmas in July, Winefest, and Octoberfest.

Perry’s Monument

The Battle of Lake Erie fought during the War of 1812, secured control of Lake Erie for the United States. Lead by Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, American soldiers defeated and captured British warships enabling General William Henry Harrison to invade Canada. The American’s success in the Battle of Lake Erie provided the United States with a strong bargaining position in peace talks.

Peaceful relations have remained between the United States and Canada since The Treaty of Ghent ended The War of 1812 and the Rush-Bagot Agreement with Great Britain was signed. Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial on the Lake Erie island of Put-In-Bay was completed in 1915 serving not only to remember the Battle of Lake Erie, the men who fought the battle, and Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry but to also serve as a reminder of international peaceful arbitration.

The Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial was established as a unit of the National Park Service by President Roosevelt in 1936.

Perry’s Monument stands 352 feet above Lake Erie and provides a 317-foot high panoramic observation deck with views of Lake Erie as well as the shorelines of Ohio, Michigan, and Ontario.

The history inside of Perry’s Monument includes the names of Perry’s ships along with the names of the Americans who were killed or wounded in the Battle of Lake Erie carved into the walls of the rotunda while the remains of three American officers and three British officers are buried beneath the floor.

Living history demonstrations by rangers in 1812 period uniform are given at the base of Perry’s Monument as well as talks about the Battle of Lake Erie, the War of 1812, and construction of Perry’s Monument.

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