18 Best Things to Do in Sandusky, OH

Sandusky, OH skyline

Roller coasters are the very first thing anyone who knows about Sandusky, Ohio, will think of.

And can you blame them?

The city is where you'll find Cedar Point, home to Steel Vengeance—America's best roller coaster.

But Sandusky has a lot more to offer than just roller coasters and waterparks.

It's also home to the world's largest geode, ancient lighthouses, classic theaters, wine tastings, and ferry rides—the list goes on.

Here are the best things to do in Sandusky, Ohio:

Get Your Adrenaline Pumping at Cedar Point

Aerial viiew of Cedar point, Sandusky
Joe Hendrickson / Shutterstock.com

Cedar Point is the ultimate destination for thrill-seeking individuals.

If there's one thing that makes this place unique, it's their fantastic roller coasters.

From a dragster that goes 120 miles/hr to extreme adventure rides like Frontier Fling and Power Tower and around 18 different rides of varying difficulty levels, this place tops the list for its adrenaline-filled theme alone.

Sky ride in Cedar Point
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For those who prefer a kid-friendly environment, there are water parks, slides, wave pools, diners, and plenty of other attractions that are just as good.

For sports junkies, Cedar Point has a sports force spark, best known for its innovative collection of games involving tracks, ropes, trampolines.

If you have teen kids with you, it's safe to assume they're going to love it!

Part of a rollercoaster ride in Cedar Point
Arthur Matsuo / Shutterstock.com

Cedar Point offers so many things to enjoy that it's almost impossible to try them all in one day.

To truly enjoy all of the theme park's attractions, try to make it a multi-day trip.

There are hotels in the area of the compound.

Rollercoaster loop in Cedar Point
David McGill 71 / Shutterstock.com

Splash around at Kalahari Resorts

Entrance of Kalahari resorts
Paul Frederickson, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Kalahari Resorts is famously known for its top-of-the-line wave pools, water slides, and lazy rivers.

It has a range of indoor and outdoor attractions of so many different types, difficulty levels, and themes—you might never want to leave!

There are also other attractions, such as adventure parks and an interactive animal park where you can see some birds or camels.

On top of that, there's the outdoor safari adventure park, which offers fun activities like wall climbing and a sweat-inducing challenging rope course.

Visit the Merry-Go-Round Museum

Exterior of Merry-Go-Round Museum
Midwest1.9, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It's true: Sandusky has a museum entirely dedicated to collecting and renovating merry-go-rounds and related artifacts.

Nostalgia can be a powerful driving force, proved by the fact that it is a prominent tourist spot for people who want to remember the good old days.

In the museum, you'll find miniature carousels, colorfully painted horses, and half or fully restored merry-go-rounds.

You can buy some souvenirs in the gift shop.

Embark on a Fun Ferry Frip to Cool Islands

Aerial view of Ferry at Put-in-Bay
Brendan Russell / Shutterstock.com

Suppose you're looking for major attractions around Sandusky.

In that case, there are two incredible islands nearby, which you can visit by taking an exciting ferry trip through Jet Express: Put-in-Bay and Kelleys Island.

The ferry takes you to the old lighthouse, water sports hubs, and resort-themed restaurants.

Boats on a dock during sunset
Bryan Huber / Shutterstock.com

You can also choose to visit the location in the bird migration path, Point Pelee, if birdwatching is your thing.

Ask any tourist who's been to Sandusky—a ferry trip to these islands is undoubtedly one of their top five things to do in the city.

A boat dock
Bryan Huber / Shutterstock.com

Explore Indoor Attractions at Great Wolf Lodge Water Park

Great Wolf Lodge Water Park offers a comfortable lodging experience for your family, ranging from lodge cabins to family suites with all the basic and luxury facilities you may require.

As you might have figured out while researching for your trip, the weather in Ohio can be moody—and the indoor water park at this lodge is the perfect solution for that.

It has your traditional slides and pools to take a dip in, along with a four-story tall tube slide.

For sports enthusiasts, this is one of the top amusement attractions in the city.

Have Fun Times at the Ghostly Manor Thrill Center

Despite what the name might make you think, the Ghostly Manor Thrill Center focuses not only on horror shows.

It's a major tourist spot for its adventure-filled recreational activities.

From a 4D theatre and roller skating services to an arcade for kids and a bouncy house, there's a range of activities that tourists can enjoy.

There's a miniature golf course called Wizard's Journey that goes through obstacles and waterfalls.

The most important feature of the thrill hub is the escape room, a thrill-filled activity where you need to solve various clues to find the exit from the room.

Rent a Bike and Sightsee at Your Liberty

Some places are best to be explored slowly, and some travelers take pride in jumping not just from one attraction to another, but finding hidden gems that other tourists might have missed.

Sandusky has rental bike services that you can find everywhere.

If you're a dedicated traveler, then checking out unexplored nooks and crannies is much more efficient with a handy bike by your side.

Watch a Race along Sandusky Speedway

From April through October, Sandusky's speed racing season takes place.

During this time, exciting events are held at the Sandusky Speedway.

From modifier cars to mainstream ones, all varieties participate eagerly.

If you like watching or participating in races, you will definitely enjoy this season.

Be sure to check the events in advance on their site.

Tour the Floating Prison Exhibit at the Maritime Museum of Sandusky

As the name suggests, the Maritime Museum of Sandusky is dedicated to all things related to the city's maritime history.

While you get to learn about the area's commercial fishing and maritime industry, there is some unusual excitement mixed into the exhibition— take the floating prison, for example.

The floating prison used to be a ship with convicts on board; it ended up near Sandusky after getting wrecked.

The museum discloses the credible artifacts related to that shipwreck.

Do not forget to buy a marine-themed souvenir or two at the end of your visit!

Enjoy Wildlife Encounters at Pickerel Creek

There are some tourists who always look for zoos, national parks, and wildlife areas before anything else.

If you're one of them, Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area should be on your itinerary.

Sandusky is not only a coastal area filled with waterparks—with only a 20-mile drive, you also get to visit this wildlife area that boasts a beautiful natural landscape.

There are wooden boardwalks available that provide you with panoramic views of surrounding protected forests.

Filled with wildlife and the scenic beauty of nature, Pickerel Creek is a great spot to visit when in Sandusky.

Satisfy Your Cravings at Sandusky's Top Restaurants

Here are some restaurants famous for their local specialties, with rich history and tradition incorporated into their menu.

Enjoy the Sicilian cuisine at Sortino's.

Founded by two immigrant brothers, this is a popular destination for foodies that love genuine Sicilian cuisine.

Their menu offers authentic Sicilian cuisine and a variety of delicious dishes that come from their special family recipes.

Are you a pizza lover?

Zinc Brasserie is the right place to satisfy your cravings.

This place is a favorite foodie destination for all pizza lovers around the area.

It offers a quality yet budget-friendly dining experience and is known for its wood fire pizzas.

Spend the Day at the Caribbean-Themed Castaway Bay

From a 6,000-foot arcade center to 50-person hot tubs, Castaway Bay is a one-of-a-kind, Caribbean-themed indoor waterpark.

Unlike Sandusky's other lodges and tourist attractions, Castaway Bay is wholly dedicated to various water slides, wave pools, lagoons, and themed recreational facilities.

Many extraordinary events are held here daily.

Take the Airboat and Enjoy the Ride

Nothing beats the view from the sea on an airboat cruise driven by an original US Coast Guard captain.

You could either take a 40-minute day trip through the Bay or an evening cruise, lasting around two hours.

The cruise works best for a romantic date, wherein you can enjoy the sights of Sandusky bathed in urban lights.

If you are planning your trip in the winter, check out their ice fishing trips as well.

Explore the City's Nightlife

Front view of State Theater at Sandusky
Andre Carrotflower, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sandusky is comparatively lacking in dance clubs, but don't underestimate the small city's charm.

There are homely bars with great views and fantastic classic events at night that attract many tourists.

Are you a wine connoisseur?

Then you need to have a taste of some of the best wine samples this place has to offer.

Taste-test wines at Firelands Winery, an ancient veteran of the field established in 1880.

Are you in the mood for a classic movie or an art performance?

Open up yourself to artistic creativity at State Theater.

This relic from a bygone era offers a peek behind the curtain of the history of the entertainment world.

If you want to go dancing, Baci nightclub might be good for you.

It's an adults-only club, ideal for those traveling with a partner or looking to meet someone new.

Discover Sandusky's Hidden Gems

View of Kelleys Island in Ohio
James St. John, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Kelleys Island Winery Ruins is a scenic spot with historical significance.

Once upon a time, Ohio Valley was recognized as a fine place for grape farming.

Diseases riddled the vineyards of the Ohio Valley, and all that was left were the ruins of a bygone era.

If you like geology, check out the world's largest naturally formed geode.

Although known as a crystal cave, it is actually a giant crevice in a single rock.

Glacial Grooves at Kelleys Island
fisheradam13 / Shutterstock.com

It was discovered in 1887 by the digging workforce of Gustav Heinman, who were laboring for the construction of a well.

Learn about the deep marks left from the Ice Age.

The Glacial Grooves of Kelleys Island are the vastest and most conveniently approachable in the whole world.

It is a national natural landmark, protected by fences.

Glacial groove formations in Kelly Island
LukeandKarla.Travel / Shutterstock.com

Sharpen Your Skateboarding Skill at Sandusky Skatepark

Free to the public, Sandusky Skatepark is a popular location in Erie County for those wanting to sharpen their skating, rollerblading, and scooter skills.

The outfitted facility features modular ramps of differing lengths perfect for working on beginner to intermediate level tricks.

Located in Battery Park near the tennis courts and the Police department/City Building, Sandusky Skatepark is available so long as there is reasonably dry weather, which means it's not open when there's rain or snow or some maintenance going on.

As fun as BMX freestyle biking, roller skating, in-line skating, or skateboarding can be, it's essential to wear proper safety gear when doing these activities at the skateboard park.

Nearby Sandusky Skatepark, you'll find fishing piers, boat clubs, the Maritime Museum of Sandusky, and Bait House Brewery.

Score a Strike at Twin Star Entertainment

The fun and excitement of bowling is a great way to spend free time with good friends or family, and Twin Star Centers have provided this entertainment to the people of Sandusky and Port Clinton regardless of skill level for years.

As far as bowling alleys go, Twin Star Entertainment has got to be one of the cleanest, brightest, and equipped with some of the most unique minigames around.

Their track record of exceptional customer service and excellent pricing also makes this Sandusky entertainment space worth visiting.

This bowling center has a light-hearted atmosphere that gives it an easygoing feel and TV animations to watch your bowling match give it a unique twist compared to other bowling alleys.

Despite its out-of-the-way location far from the main tourist district, this part of Sandusky still manages to pull in a respectable number of customers every day.

Because they know that when you need to work off some stress or have a bit of fun while you're in Sandusky, it's one of the best places around.

Have a Blast Zipping around Town on a Segway

Offering a unique kind of tour, Sandusky Segwave offers an adventurous 60-minute ride on one of their Segway i2 SE personal transporters, where you'll see more of the west city and learn more about it.

There are also traditional two-hour Segway tours where you'll head down West City's historic avenues and other fun places to see around Sandusky.

Sandusky Segwave offers tours of local attractions such as bike trails, city parks, gardens, registered sites, and other landmarks.

The Segway machines might take some getting used to, but when you're able to master them, it's so much fun touring the city in a whole new way.

You'll feel like you're riding with the wind at your back, enjoying panoramic views of sunny landscapes with a cool breeze on this wonderful Segway cruise.

Final Thoughts

Sandusky is building itself up as a prime destination for summer getaways.

With Kalahari Resorts, Put-in-Bay, Cedar Point amusement park, and so many other great places to visit, there's never a shortage of activities in which to partake or sights you can see once you get here!

It's important to note that each of these locations is unique in its own special way, but this guide will outline some of the best spots for the next time you choose to come and visit!