15 Best Things to Do in Fremont, OH

Fremont, OH
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Fremont, formerly Lower Sandusky, is a city in Sandusky County, Ohio, and serves as its county seat.

It is perhaps best known as the home of Rutherford B. Hayes, who served as President of the United States from 1877 to 1881.

The Rutherford B. Hayes Center is one of the city’s focal points and was the first presidential library.

Besides the Native Americans who lived here, Fremont was also once a fortification for the French, British, and American people.  

There once were two villages in Fremont where warring Native American tribes could go about in peace.

After the war of 1812, most Native Americans were forced out, and after 1916, a small settlement called Croganhville was established.

A year later, the village of Lower Sandusky was established, and a few years later, the two communities merged into Lower Sandusky.

Sardis Birchard and his nephew Rutherford B. Hayes brought up the idea of naming the area Fremont after John Fremont, a leader, explorer, and innovator.

In 1849, the name Fremont was official for the city.

Today, Fremont remains the county seat and is a center for businesses of agriculture, battery, cutlery, rubber, electric switch, and sugar manufacturers.

Downtown Fremont is a center of fun and entertainment with a variety of event centers, eateries, cinemas, theaters, civic clubs, and other attractions.

Explore Fremont with this handy list of the best things to do in the city.

Honor History at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museum

Bird's eye view of Rutherford B. Hayes house and Presidential Library and Museum in the back
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The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museum honors 19th President Rutherford B. Hayes and First Lady Lucy Hayes.

It was the first presidential library, open to the public since 1916.

At the site are Spiegel Grove, their 25-acre wooded estate; a museum; the presidential library; their 31-room Victorian mansion; their tomb; and a network of paved walking trails.

For over a century, the library collections grew beyond its core collection and have added 90000 books and manuscripts.

They also contain images and documents reflecting Hayes’s pet subjects like local history, genealogy, and the Gilded Age period.

Front view of Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museum in Fremont
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The library preserves Hayes’ 12000 volume personal collection and archival material from his political and military career, especially from his presidency.

The centerpiece of the grounds is his mansion, with its splendid decorations and furniture that have been preserved and restored.

The museum relates the life and times of the President and First Lady with exhibits, artifacts, images, and documents.

Spiegel Grove is Hayes’ estate with its thick underbrush, large trees, and large wooded acreage, and within its grounds, the President and the First Lady are buried.

A granite tombstone quarried from the President’s hometown marks their resting place, surrounded by the burial places of their favorite animals and pets.

Bond with Your Peers at the YMCA of Sandusky County

The YMCA or the Y is a leading nonprofit organization for healthy living, social responsibility, and youth development.

It focuses on nurturing the youths’ potential, improving the citizens’ health, and giving opportunities to support neighbors.

More than just a gym, it offers programs to the community to bind families together, teach new skills, and encourage lifelong fitness.

For youths, it has developed a swim curriculum; nurtures sportsmanship and teamwork; and teaches the fundamentals of football, team play, and fitness.

It also teaches basic aerobic, fitness, and strength training exercises and holds activities such as sports, tumbling, gym games, fitness activities, and challenges.

They also believe in health and fitness for active older adults, allowing them to get fit and have regular exercise during busy days.

The Y holds group adult exercise classes such as cardio, yoga, cycling, drums, water fitness classes, and others.

It helps people achieve flexibility, balance, muscle strength, and tone with yoga and improves muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance with swimming.

It also gives group exercise classes for seniors and older adults, such as low-impact exercise and chair classes, stretching, and strength training.

Hang Out at Shellukes Bar and Grill

Shellukes Bar and Grill is a cute little bar in Fremont with cold beer, a relaxing atmosphere, excellent food, and great people, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

It is a family-owned and operated business that provides not only victuals but entertainment and enjoyment to the local community.

Come here to unwind after a long day at work or relax at patio parties during a chill weekend to get back in the swing of things.

For over a decade, the Shellukes patrons have befriended Fremont residents, knowing tons of their customers by name.

Shellukes has the best bar food in town and is very all-American, offering amazing and mouthwatering hot dogs, wings, burgers, and sandwiches.

If you’re looking for a spot of entertainment, they host lots of events with live performances and a hosting DJ.

Have Adventures at the Riverfront Marina and Campgrounds

Landscape of Sandusky River in Fremont
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The Sandusky River in Fremont is an excellent spot for fishing and boating and provides something for everyone.

The Riverfront Marina is a family-owned business on the Sandusky River just north of Fremont, providing access not just to the river but to Lake Erie and Sandusky Bay.

The river is a place for fishing and watersports, but birders may also glimpse bald eagles and waterfowl, and wildlife watchers might see a whitetail deer on the shoreline.

Fishing action at the Marina starts early in the year when the walleye run begins, and white bass soon arrive abundantly in the spring.

Spring anglers also haul in crappie, steelhead, and northern pike, as well as largemouth bass, yellow fullhead, freshwater drum, and bluegill.

Recreational boating is also very popular on the Sandusky River, and the Marina is here for adventurers who enjoy a scenic pontoon ride.

Walk into History at the Harrison Military Trail

The Harrison Trail was a major route for early frontiersmen and Native Americans, and its original name was the Sandusky-Scioto trail.

During the War of 1812, General William Henry Harrison and his troops used this trail for heavy wagons used to move the army.

Today, it penetrates what is now called Spiegel Grove, which is also where you can find the Rutherford B. Hayes Library and Museums.

There are markers designating the trail: an end-of-trail marker on West Third Street and Monroe Street.

There is also a Harrison Trail marker that was raised in Old Fort in 1913 and a Ball’s Battlefield marker near Buckland Avenue.

An impressive marker of the Harrison Trail is the Harrison Rock, reported as the rock at which Harrison’s Troops stopped to dine.

It is a glacial deposit weighing 8 tons, reported to be between 7000 and 12000 years old, and also reputed to be the Native Americans’ resting spot.

Visit the Past at Sandusky County Historical Society

Museum at Sandusky County Historical Society
Nyttend, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Sandusky County is rich in history, and as a result, Sandusky County Historical Society came into being.

It welcomes visitors to see the many artifacts exhibited and to let the county’s past tell its story with this exploration of days past.

It is one of the oldest historical societies in Ohio, formed on June 6, 1874, and originally named the Sandusky County Pioneer and History Association.

One of the society’s founders was Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President of the country, who served as the society’s first secretary.

The building was erected in 1884 and currently houses the Sandusky County Historical Society Museum.

People once considered it the finest home in Fremont, and in 1891, the Sandusky County Historical Society purchased it and could finally house their many artifacts under one roof.

An extensive room on the first floor serves as a gathering room for lectures and programs.

Have Spooky Chills at The Haunted Hydro

The Haunted Hydro is a fun Halloween Park built around a Hydroelectric Power Plant from 1911, used by Fremont Citizens up to 1943.

It features two professional haunted houses with a gift shop, concessions, stage entertainment, vendors, and more.

It also features four escape rooms, the Dead Woods, and the legendary Haunted Hydro.

Back when it generated hydroelectric power for the city, millions of gallons of water flowed through the Hydro.

It has survived two devastating floods that killed hundreds and is believed to be built on sacred Native American land.

Rumors abound of men buried alive while building the Hydro, and many of its staff still refuse to work in certain rooms.

The staff is highly intensive with makeup and theatrical training and works up their scare levels to spook the customers, who come here for a thrill.

Have Fun Together at Plaza Lanes

Plaza Lanes has the ultimate bowling experience for families, individuals, and competitive bowlers.

Whether it’s a night out with your friends and workmates or some quality family time, they have you covered.

At Plaza Lanes, they have live bands, bowling, and a TruGolf Virtual Golf Simulator.

Their Junior Bowling Leagues, Adult Bowling Leagues, and Senior Bowling Leagues are sure to pump the athletic juices for bowlers of different ages.

If you want a one-of-a-kind bowling session, their Glow Bowling is a real treat, accompanied by a top-tier light show with two enormous screens playing the latest music videos.

At their Links at the Lanes TruGolf section, bring your clubs and play a round on any course as you practice chipping, driving, and putting.

The Rhoad family has been improving and renovating Plaza Lanes for years and hopes to make it one of the best places for family entertainment in Fremont.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Feed Your Mind at Imagination Station

Exterior of the Imagination Station in Toledo
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Imagination Station is a non-profit hands-on science museum in Toledo, 39 minutes from Fremont.

It is a rich resource in the region for interactive Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education, where you will experience interactive activities, exhibits, and demonstrations teaching science concepts.

The science center is a learning hub that provides tools to get by in the 21stcentury, tempering future innovators and scientists.

Entrance to Imagination Station
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Imagination Station’s mission is to serve the community with informal science education, sparking a passion for the sciences with exhibits and programming.

Their Early Childhood Programs spark kids’ interest in the world around them and allow them to play, learn and explore.

Their Just Tinkering workshops promote getting creative, working with your hands, and making something unique that is all your own.

Exhibit at Imagination Station
Photo by and ©2007 Dustin M. Ramsey (Kralizec!), CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Their Science at Home program is a library of exciting experiments for budding scientists working from the comfort of home.

Their Extreme Science presentations put students in awe with fundamental science concepts in impressive, mind-blogging demonstrations.

Make a Splash at Watering Hole Safari and Waterpark

Located 26 minutes from Fremont, Watering Hole Safari and Waterpark is the only indoor/outdoor family waterpark in Port Clinton.

Take your kids to the waterpark where they can have a water adventure at Kid’s Tree House with four slides, the Lazy River, Slide Towers at three levels, and the heated pools.

Get your adrenaline pumping at the Coral Reef River Ride and the Typhoon Rush Slide Tower.

Go to their walk-through safari zoo with 500+ animals from everywhere in the world, and feed the kangaroos, giraffes, camels, zebras, and others.

Work hands-on with zookeepers at Jr. Zookeeper Program, learn how to feed and care for animals and get the safari zoo open.

Feel the rush of speed, competition, and adrenaline at the Montego Bay Raceway, the area’s longest track with its bi-level raceway featuring a bridge and straightaways.

Dig for buried treasure at their Gem Mining section and choose from natural gemstones, polished gemstones, fossils, seashells, arrowheads, and more.

Experience Thrills at Cedar Point Amusement Park

Entrance of Cedar Point Amusement Park
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Cedar Point Amusement Park is on the shores of Lake Erie, a 39-minute ride from Fremont.

At 150 years old, it is the 2nd oldest operating amusement park in the United States.

It has made its name as the Roller Coaster Capital of the World.

Ride on any of its 18 amazing roller coasters: the classic favorite Blue Streak, the wild and crazy Woodstock Express, or the Wild West-themed Cedar Creek Mine Ride.

Colorful rides in Cedar Point Amusement Park
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Have an adrenaline rush on the dangling Valravn, the swinging side-to-side Iron Dragon, the hyper and edgy Magnum XL-200, and the looming giant Millennium Force.

Show your athletic prowess at the Sports Force Parks and spend a day splashing at the slides, lazy river, and wave pool of the Cedar Point Waterpark.

Head to Cedar Point Nights, a mile-long beach festival with an all-night beach glow dance party, fire pits, beach treats, beverages, sand games, and competitions under the moonlit night.

Roller coaster at Cedar Point Amusement Park
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Explore Wood County History at the Wood County Museum

The Wood County Museum in Bowling Green Ohio, 32 minutes from Fremont, is the original Wood County Infirmary, also known as Poor Farm or Wood County Home.

It is a community organization that forges connections with the past, present, and future by relating stories and capturing memories.

It served as the sanctuary for the mentally ill, poor, and physically disabled, and anyone in Wood County who needed public assistance.

The Infirmary closed its doors in 1971 when a new County Infirmary, now known as WoodHaven Health Care, opened nearby.

It opened in 1975 as the Wood County Museum, with its 50-acre grounds open daily to the public.

Today it is home to over 30 exhibits that showcase the social history of Wood County and the building’s history.

It contains exhibits that draw attention to the story of mental illness, domestic issues, and global health.

On its grounds, you can find the Lyle Fletcher Arboretum, the Adam Philips Park, an archery range, and walking trails.

Discover the Carousel’s Story at Merry-Go-Round Museum

Building of the old post office which had been turned into Merry-Go-Round Museum
Midwest1.9, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Merry-Go-Round Museum in Sandusky, 32 minutes from Fremont, is one of the major stops in the town, featuring historical and nostalgic merry-go-round artifacts.

The idea for the museum was born when the U.S. Postal Service issued four carousel stamps in 1990.

A group of interested citizens gathered together a lovely carousel display at the Sandusky Post Office to celebrate these figures.

They expected a few hundred visitors, but over 2000 people from across the nation arrived.

In a few months, residents formed a non-profit corporation to promote and preserve the history and art of the carousel.

At the museum, marvel at the displays of painted carousel horses, miniature carousels, restored carousel memorabilia, and other wonderful artifacts.

Their collection of carousels ranges from horses carved out of wood to hand-carved animals with cast-aluminum legs, heads, and tails.

They also have a display of carving shop tools from famous carousel designers and a woodcarving shop where there are demonstrations of the art of carving carousel figures.

Bond with Wild Things at the African Safari Wildlife Park

If you like zoos, you will love this drive-through park in Port Clinton, 26 minutes from Fremont, which gives visitors the ability to feed animals from a car.

Visitors drive through the 100-acre preserve, observe the animals, and feed them from their cars.

They can see over 50 species in the preserve, including buffalo, llama, alpaca, warthogs, dromedary, deer, elk, bison, giraffes, camels, Bactrian camels, and eland.

These friendly animals will walk right up to your car to investigate and eat food.

The park provides one container of food for each car, and visitors can purchase additional food.

Explore the walk-through Safari Junction, visit exotic animals, and see other attractions.

Safari Junction includes HogWild Experience, Aviary Adventure, Pork Chop Downs, Mombasa Food Station, Simba Lodge Gift Shop, educational shows, a petting zoo, and camel and pony rides.

Get Refreshed at Kalahari Resorts

Fountain in the entrance of Kalahari Resorts
Paul Frederickson, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

At Kalahari Resorts in Sandusky, 37 minutes away from Fremont, you can find a fantastic venue, the biggest indoor waterpark in the entire state.

Wind your way among their extensive collection of outdoor and indoor waterslides, lazy rivers, and wave pools.

At their indoor waterpark, splash around at Coral Cove, play water basketball at Crocodile Cove, slide down a mat at Cheetah Race, and go body-boarding at Flowrider.

At Zambezi Outdoor Waterpark, take on a minuscule view at Bugs Burrow, go through high thrills at Sahara Sidewinder, sunbathe at Lagoon Pool, and hike up the adrenaline at Tornado Alley.

At Safari Outdoor Adventure Park, scale new heights on the Adventure Climbing Walls, soar on the Zip Line Tour, and see animals up close at the Safari Adventures Animal Park.

You can also rejuvenate yourself at their spa and salt room, shop from an amazing selection at their retail shops, and satisfy your tastes at their world-class eateries.

Final Thoughts

A visit to Fremont brings a taste of history and a dash of excitement and fun for the whole crew.

If you seek a break from the daily grind, take this list along and start pursuing colorful amusements in Fremont.