Lake Erie Shores & Islands – Unplugged

by Kaylah Stroup

Special thanks to Lake Erie Shores & Islands for sponsoring this post! Lake Erie Shores & Islands Travel Guide

Massie Cliffside fishing dock

If you follow me on instagram, you probably caught wind of the awesome little trip I just got back from (or at least I hope you did!) I promised a massive blog post recap, and that’s what I’m here to give ya today!

I was recently contacted by Lake Erie Shores & Islands about a little campaign they were doing that focused on two things I love very much – Lake Erie & unplugging. Obviously, I was quick to say ‘yes!!’ Armed with a Polaroid camera and a hefty list of places to visit over a three day weekend, we set off to have one incredible trip. Each day we made a conscious effort to pick up our phones as little as possible.

We packed a lot into three days. It’s honestly pretty amazing how many new places and things there were to experience just an hour away from home. A lot of people don’t realize how big Lake Erie is. It can easily be mistaken for an ocean.  Travel just over an hour west of Cleveland and you would think you were on the Atlantic coast. There are several islands and coastal towns along the shore, each with plenty of restaurants and attractions. I think the best way to go over everything and share some of our new found favorite places is just to start from the top…


left to right, top row; watching the waves at Put-in-Bay beach, Lake Erie Island Historical Society Resale Shop. Bottom row; Massie Cliffside Preserve, Exploring Put-in-Bay (even the kind of flooded spots) via golf cart.


Our little adventure started out with a trip to Put-in-Bay. Put-in-Bay is a small (2.5 by 5 mile) island in Lake Erie. I had never been there, nor did I know much about it but I ended up having a blast.

We took Miller Ferry (my first boat ride!) to the island and immediately picked up a golf cart from E’s Golf Carts. Although you can bring your car over on the ferry, it seems like most people opt to explore the island via golf cart. Holy cow, what a blast that was. Wade brought along his portable speakers and we spent most of the day bopping around and waving at other people in golf carts. We ate the most delicious brie, chicken and arugula pizza from Frosty’s, browsed the resale shop, checked out the island’s two cemeteries, and enjoyed mochas from the Chocolate Cafe & Museum.

Highlight of our visit to Put-in-Bay for me though? Dinner at The Boardwalk. Jeff has literally been talking about their lobster bisque since we met. It was incredible! (Also, my first time having lobster!) I ordered the crab and shrimp eggrolls which were so tasty. I would legitimately go back to the island just to eat there again.

We took the last ferry back to the mainland so we could head to our hotel, Country Inn and Suites in Port Clinton, for a good night’s sleep before the next day’s adventure. I was honestly sad to leave. The island isn’t that big but there’s a lot to do and explore! Everyone we encountered was super friendly, including the parents of a pup named Captain Jack in a pirate costume. (Clearly, that was a highlight of our visit too.) Just good island vibes all around!

put-in-bay, the watering hole safari park, lake erie, lake erie love

left to right, top row; Macey the giraffe at The Watering Hole, bumper boats at The Watering Hole. Bottom row; Massie Cliffside fishing dock, sunset at Huron Harbor Lighthouse.


We started the morning at Tin Goose Diner which is an authentic 1950’s diner that was trucked in from Pennsylvania. It’s now part of the Liberty Aviation Museum. Typical diner food (aka my favorite!) and judging by how busy the place was I’d say a lot of other folks think it’s pretty tasty too!

After fueling up, we headed to The Watering Hole Safari and Water Park at Monsoon Lagoon. I’ve actually driven past here a few times but had no idea all the fun that was to be had there. Putt putt, go-karts, a water park, bumper boats, and a petting zoo. We were most excited about the zoo because… well, animals. Duh! It was nothing short of amazing. I’m honestly shocked I didn’t cry happy tears. I bottle fed baby goats, held an armadillo, touched hands with a lemur, fed a giraffe, and CUDDLED A BABY SLOTH!!! It was clear that all the employees really loved the animals, and that the animals felt a connection as well.

After that, we checked out the water park section of the park. Happy to report that it was really fun, even for an adult! We stayed just long enough to cool off and test out each of the water slides. (Five of them – all super fun! One that was even a little fast for me.)

We made it out of the park just before the sky started to fall, and had lunch at The Original Margaritaville. I had their shrimp tacos which were out of this world. I highly recommend getting yourself some of those. It continued to rain on and off for a while, and we were all feeling a little drowsy after swimming (swimming always takes it outta ya, eh?) so we stopped for coffee at Gathering Grounds Coffee. Get yourself a sparkling lavender lemonade. Holy cow!

The city of Huron has a super cute little waterfront area. It’s a great area to walk around. Live music right on the water, a bunch of food options, and a super cheery vibe. Our hotel, Comfort Inn River’s Edge, was so close to all the action you could even hear the music from our room!

Dinner on Saturday was at Bar North Bistro. This was the one time we had reservations, and coincidentally we were still full from all the food earlier in the day. I figured we’d just get appetizers until we looked at the menu. We each got a huge meal… and devoured it. Everyone really enjoyed their food but I think we can all agree ‘devils on horseback’ is where it’s at. (That’s dates stuffed with brie and wrapped in bacon. SO GOOD!)

The evening ended with sunset on the Huron pier. We hiked out to the lighthouse and watched as the sky treated us to beautiful colors. It was busy on the pier. Not crowded in a bad way though, the kind of crowd where you can just tell everyone out there is just enjoying life. It was lovely.

left to right, top row; walking out to Huron Harbor Lighthouse. Bottom row; Granny Joe’s Ice Creamatorium, building cairns Sherod Park Beach.


Sunday morning we woke up and headed 20 minutes east to Vermilion. Vermilion is somewhere Jeff and I have been before a couple of times just to geocache. Every single time we visit one of us ends up mentioning how nice it’d be to move there. It’s just such a sweet little town. Plus it’s home to Granny Joe’s Ice Creamatorium! A cozy breakfast joint and ice cream parlor housed in what used to be a funeral home. A short walk away Lake Erie awaits! We wandered around Main Street Beach and checked out the beautiful lighthouse before hopping into the car to head to Sherod Park Beach.

From the parking lot, Sherod Park Beach doesn’t look like much but once we got down to the beach I quickly realized this could easily become one of my favorite beaches along Lake Erie. Tons of gorgeous rocks cover the shoreline. I’m not a huge rock hound but I do appreciate pretty rocks and usually, end up finding a few to bring home anytime I visit the beach. I was already carrying a few rocks when I happened to glance down and a marble caught my eye! There wasn’t much beach glass there so I definitely wasn’t expecting to find something as awesome as a glass marble, especially sitting right on the top of the rocks like that. All my time spent on the beach and this was my very first marble! I’m definitely interested in heading back for some more beachcombing… like right now.

A short twenty-minute drive away from Sherod Park was our next adventure, Common Ground Canopy Tours & Zipline. The four of us had never ziplined before but we were all over the moon at a chance to give it a shot. I presumed it would just be like one platform to another and then you’re done but it was SO much more. Seven ziplines, thirteen tree platforms, three ariel bridges, two spiral staircases, and a floating staircase! The course takes about 2.5hrs to complete. We had a blast! Our guides were so nice and felt like old friends by the end of our visit. They even take photos throughout the course so you never have to touch your phone but still have photos. I cannot recommend Common Ground Canopy Tours highly enough!

We had all worked up an appetite by the end of our ziplining excursion. Everyone at Common Ground recommended the same restaurant, The Feve in Oberlin. It was AMAZING. Honestly, the whole weekend was packed with delicious food so it’s hard to pick a favorite meal buuuut my breakfast burger was easily the best breakfast burger I’ve ever had.

Lake Erie Love, Vermilion, Ohio lighthouse

Vermilion Lighthouse

Clearly a jam-packed weekend. We ate a ton, saw a ton, and spent tons of quality time together because no one had their phone out. It’s amazing what magic awaits just an hour away from Cleveland and how much of it you’ll experience if you just stop checking your phone every fifteen minutes.

I love our beaches here but visiting all the ones we did over the weekend truly felt like a vacation. I kept thinking “okay, and what time do we need to get to the airport again?” because it felt like we were a lot further away from home than we were. Lake Erie is pretty incredible!

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allie June 28, 2018 - 9:33 am

I loved Put-in-Bay as a kid and I definitely remember that boat ride – I need to go back (especially for those cemeteries!).

Kaylah June 29, 2018 - 6:10 am

That’s always a good reason to visit somewhere! 😉

Cherie in St Louis June 28, 2018 - 2:18 pm

SOOOOOoooooo very much enjoyed this post!! Makes me want to head to the beaches of the great lakes…..we’re in southern Illinois so Lake Michigan is doable 🙂 Congratulations on your perfect-for-you wedding. It’s been enjoyable reading all your posts. I grew up in the high desert in California and am super happy living in the mid west but you’ve helped me see the desert threw new eyes 😉

Kaylah June 29, 2018 - 6:08 am

Thanks so much, Cherie! I’m so happy to hear that. I love the desert so much! ❤️ I just wish it was a tiiiiiny bit closer.

Kristina B June 28, 2018 - 2:49 pm

This totally made me want to visit Lake Erie….pretty much so I can go to an ice cream place that used to be a funeral home.

Kaylah June 29, 2018 - 6:06 am

Hahah! Well, I guess I’ve traveled further for sillier reasons!

But uh, you definitely should get your butt out here. Pretty please!

Mary June 29, 2018 - 9:39 am

You had me at Sloth. My adventure buddy and I have already planned this summer’s trip but now we are talking about flying up to Cleveland for our next adventure! I may have to pick your brain about things I must do!

Kaylah July 3, 2018 - 9:13 am

YESSS! Definitely! If you come out this way, let me know! I’d love to get tacos and show you around a bit!!!

Sam June 29, 2018 - 3:09 pm

It looks and sounds like you had an amazing time! I love how you can find new places and adventures so close to home; I need to take a leaf out of your book and discover more local places!!
So… you ever think you’ll move to a small town next to a giant lake? The next big adventure for you and Jeff? <3

Kaylah July 3, 2018 - 9:19 am

Maaaaybe! I mean, who knows?!

Right now I really am enjoying living in the city next to the lake. I think no matter what I’d like to always stay close to a body of water!

Kate BK July 1, 2018 - 4:30 pm

I haven’t been to Put-In-Bay in YEARS – like, since college, I think? – & after seeing a couple local bloggers write about their trips there, I’m dying to get back!

Kaylah July 3, 2018 - 9:03 am

It’s way more fun than I ever imagined! I guess I just always assumed it was a place to go drink and since I’m not a big drinker it didn’t appeal to me. I can’t wait to go back now!

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[…] out here!) Then over the weekend, I shot through four packs of the i-Type film. (See those ones here.) I feel like the ones taken with the i-Type film and the new camera are so much better. The colors […]

Dottie Baxter August 6, 2018 - 11:32 am

My huband and I went to Lake Erie for the first time this summer. Our friends have a boat there. We had a wonderful time. Thought you might of mentioned the awesome fishing there. We caught alot of perch and walleye. Good eating. We loved Put in Bay we also rented a golf cart to see the island. We enjoyed Perry Peace Memorial, the view was beautiful. I really enjoyed your article. Can’t wait to visit again. We live near Cincinnati. Thank you!

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