What are the top ten options for fun-filled group outings?

“Don’t Miss” #LakeErieLove Group Activities

On Ohio’s north coast, we’re all about Lake Erie Love. We love our Great Lake, our islands, our neighborhoods, our friendly people, and our natural resources. Groups of all types including family reunions, student groups, senior groups, military reunions, and motorcoach tours, love visiting for the variety of activity options offered. Put in Bay Tour Train

The group sales team at Lake Erie Shores & Islands works closely with a number of local attraction, dining, and hotel partners to make planning easy. Here are the Top Ten activities that have appeared most often on group itineraries and have received rave reviews.

  1. Island Tour Train – This island tour gives groups a guided tour of Put-in-Bay and includes stops at many of the island’s most visited attractions.
  2. Winery Tour/NorthCoast Grapevine Tours – Groups love touring and tasting the many wineries on the Lake Erie Shores & Islands wine trail. Northcoast Grapevine Tours offers a safe and educational way for smaller groups to make a day of it.
  3. Ghostly Manor – This much loved attraction is a hit with student groups especially. In addition to the award-winning haunted house, the thrill center includes a skating rink, arcade, indoor black light miniature golf, XD-3D theatre, bounce houses, and indoor climbing playground.
  4. Downtown Sandusky Historical Tour – This popular itinerary includes the Follett House, Cooke-Dorn Historic Site, and a driving tour of local Underground Railroad sites.
  5. Tour and talk at Sandusky Greenhouse – Sometimes scheduled in conjunction with the downtown Sandusky historical tour or with one of Sandusky’s museums, this horticultural tour gives a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to maintain Sandusky’s lovely floral gardens and many tropical plants.
  6. Liberty Aviation Museum Tour – This museum showcases operational, historical aircraft and vehicles, including “Georgie’s Gal” a WWII B-25 Mitchell Bomber, a U.S. Navy WWII TBM Avenger, PT-boats, and more. Visitors can witness the restoration of a 1929 Ford Tri-Motor and dine in the 1950s-era themed diner.
  7. Merry-Go-Round Museum – Group visitor’s young and young-at-heart enjoy a spin on the carousel and the lively band organ music at the Merry-Go-Round Museum. Tours include this history of carousels and carousel art, wood carving demonstrations, gift shop, and more.
  8. Ferguson Gallery – The highlight of a visit to the gallery of master glass cutter Cary S. Ferguson is a glass blowing demonstration and the opportunity to create your own paper weight.
  9. Marblehead Lighthouse/Keeper’s House – The oldest continuously-operating lighthouse on the Great Lakes has been welcoming visitors since 1822. Complement a visit to this majestic lighthouse with a stop at the nearby Keeper’s House, the oldest surviving home in the area and home of first three original keepers of the light.
  10. Edison Birthplace/Milan Museum – Be inspired when visiting the birthplace of invention! Groups tour Thomas Edison’s boyhood home which includes a collection of early inventions and family mementos. Then, within the same quaint village block the Milan Museum gives visitors a glimpse into the past with historical exhibits, antique toys, and a renowned glass collection.

What is open on Kelleys Island during the fall season?

Bag the Moon Saloon (open through October 26th; weekends only)  Kelleys Island, Ohio
Caddy Shack Square (open until October 31st; closed Monday and Tuesday)
Captain’s Quarters (open until October 31st)
Kelleys Island Brewery (October 26th; call for hours)
Kelleys Island Wine Co. (open year-round)
Dockers Waterfront Restaurant & Bar (open through October; closed Monday and Tuesday)
The Village Pump (open through December 20th)

Caddy Shack Square (open until October 31st; closed Monday and Tuesday)
Island Market and Fudge Shop (open year-round)
Kelleys Island General Store (open through December)
Sweet Valley Trading Post (open through October 26th)
The Village Peddler (open through December)
The Village T’s (open through November)
Unc’l Dik’s (open through December)

Things to Do
Caddy Shack Square (open until October 31st; closed Monday and Tuesday)
The Little Healing Room (open until mid-October)
Charles Henderson Galleries & Sculpture Garden (open through December)
Captain Park’s Lake Erie Fishing Charters (open through October)
Nachofish Charter & Guide Service (open through October)
Inscription Rock (open year-round during daylight hours)
Glacial Grooves (open year-round during daylight hours)

For lodging or transportation information, visit SHORESandISLANDS.com or contact one of our welcome centers at 800.255.3743 or 800.441.1271.

Lake Erie Shores & Islands is Filled with Unique Shopping

Downtown districts invite exploration with a variety of independent retailers that specialize in candles, chocolate, pottery, home décor, international imports, jewelry, and more. Discover art galleries in Marblehead, antique shops in Milan, or find it all in a refurbished 1800’s barn at the Shops at Sawmill Creek in Huron. Shops at Sawmill Creek

Experience unique Lake Erie Shores & Islands shopping where you can purchase anything from clothing, candy, art, or wine! These establishments offer high quality items with a personal touch.


CUTE: Decidedly Different

This cozy coffee, tea, and gift shop offers Vera Bradley handbags and accessories, beach glass jewelry, PILGRIM jewelry, Lindsay Phillips SwitchFlops, MudPie, and baby items.

CANDY: Brummer’s Chocolates

Candy makers since 1904, this favorite shop features homemade chocolates, candies, a large selection of sugar-free treats, many gift items, and a large selection of Polish pottery.

FRESH: Quarry Hill Orchards Farm Market and Winery

This wonderful market, surrounded by fragrant orchards, offers homegrown fruits and vegetables in-season, as well as other complimentary gifts and food products, including their own award-winning wines.

FANCIFUL: Sawmill Creek Shops

Browse in this restored 1800’s barn offering a variety of upscale men’s and women’s clothing, home accessories, gifts, and gourmet food items.


ARTISANAL: Great Lakes Fibers

Shop here for hand-painted alpaca yarn, artisan scarves, shawls, socks, rugs, and much more. Watch the alpacas and llamas graze and see the studio where their fiber is transformed into wearable art.

GLASS: Ferguson Gallery & Studio

A must see destination location. The gallery’s four showrooms are filled with glass art creations, jewelry, oil paintings, antiques, and much more. Features glass blowing and cutting demonstrations on-site.

THIS N’ THAT: Christi’s Just for Ewe

Sample your way through these unique shops. Try on wonderful jewelry, apparel, and shoes; taste gourmet goodies, including homemade fudge, soups, teas, and coffees. Try your hand at knitting, crocheting, spinning, or weaving in the beautiful yarn shop. Take classes in the Art Class Retreat.

HEAVENLY: CheeseHaven

Find a large selection of cheese (including imports), meats, wines, smoked fish, homemade mustard, and homemade fudge. Family-owned and operated since 1949.


YUMMY: Tre Sorrelle Cioccolato

Enjoy premium chocolates made by hand in an on-site professional kitchen. Ingredients are sourced locally when possible, with no added preservatives. This is what “fresh” tastes like.

SAVORY: The Kitchen’s Bounty

The Kitchen’s Bounty is your culinary companion in creating fine-dining occasions in the comfort of your own home. Use four-star recipes and menus, cooking products, and inspiration as your road map and then drive it home to delicious.

NAUTY: Captain John’s Nauticals

Specializing in maritime artifacts and nautical treasures, Captain John’s carries nautical-themed novelties made out of wood and brass, a variety of antiques, wood carvings, furniture, and one-of-a-kind Great Lakes Ore Carrier models. This unique downtown shop has merchandise any sailor would jump ship for.

ART: Brick Gallery

This gallery features over 35+ artists from the Shores & Islands and beyond. With everything from clothing, glassware, furniture, greeting cards, photography, drawings, and jewelry, this unique store has something for everyone.

Your Lake Erie Shores & Islands shopping adventure begins at SHORESandISLANDS.com. Request a travel planner, build an itinerary, download a Shore Savings Card, and search for lodging packages while exploring all that Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands has in store for your visit this fall.

Where can I enjoy Thanksgiving dinner in Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands?

Make Thanksgiving less stressful this year…let someone else handle the cooking! We’ve compiled a list of area restaurants and churches serving holiday meals. If you are aware of other locations, please feel free to add them by commenting on the blog post below.

Sawmill Creek Resort
Featuring a traditional Thanksgiving buffet 11 am-3 pm. Reservations required.

Port Clinton
Diana’s Deli
Serving regular menu plus traditional Thanksgiving favorites.

Island House
Traditional buffet served 11 am-5 pm.

Mon Ami Restaurant and Historic Winery
Thanksgiving brunch 10:30 am-3 pm. Reservations appreciated.

Trinity United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall
Serving a free Thanksgiving meal 11:30 am-2 pm.

Diana’s Deli
Serving regular menu plus traditional Thanksgiving favorites.

Great Wolf Lodge
Traditional holiday buffet 12-7 pm. Reservations required.

Holy Angels Catholic Church
Serving a free Thanksgiving meal 11:30 am-1:30 pm.

Kalahari Resort
Traditional holiday buffet 11:30 am-7 pm. Reservations strongly encouraged. Prices subject to 19% taxable service charge and applicable sales tax.

Thanksgiving buffet served 10:45 am-7 pm. Reservations are not required.

Quaker Steak & Lube
Thanksgiving buffet served 11:30 am-5 pm. Reservations required. Regular menu served from 11-12 am.

Are there any New Year’s Eve Parties or Packages in the area?

2010 is coming to a close and it’s time to ring in another new year. The Lake Erie Shores & Islands region knows how to throw a party and the welcoming of 2011 is no exception. We’re looking forward to another fantastic year on Ohio’s north coast! Check out our list of celebrations and overnight packages.

Let’s Party!

*Start your New Year’s Eve celebration with the Toast to the Town pre-party gala at the Merry-Go-Round Museum. From 6 – 9 pm enjoy the museum, hors d’ oeuvres from local eateries and a silent auction to benefit the Sandusky Main Street Association and the Merry-Go-Round Museum.

*The biggest party on Lake Erie is the Walleye Madness at Midnight. Gigantic fiberglass fish and fireworks, ‘nuff said!

*Three parties, one location! Lyman Harbor entertainment complex offers three different party options, depending on your mood. Choose a classic rock party, Motown & more or a DJ dance party. All three include midnight fireworks.

*Viva Las Vegas at Sawmill Creek Resort! Dance and enjoy the music and entertainment Las Vegas Style, at Sawmill’s Charity Casino party. Win prizes with gaming tickets. Overnight packages are available!

*Bonne Année! Ring in the New Year with Chez Francois. Three seating times feature a multi-course dinner. The final (9:30 pm) seating includes musical entertainment and dancing.

*Enjoy the New Year A World Away®! Kalahari Resort invites you to enjoy fun activities, parties, performances by the Kenya Safari Acrobats and a buffet (reservations required) featuring an amazing selection of African-inspired delicacies. Overnight packages are available!

*Celebrate New Year’s Eve at the Kelley’s Island Wine Company with a buffet dinner, DJ, dancing, champagne toast and party favors.

*Ever wonder where Snoopy and pals spend the holidays? At Castaway Bay, of course! Castaway Bay’s New Year’s activities include visits with the PEANUTS characters and a family DJ dance party. Overnight packages are available!

*Party at Mr. Ed’s Bar & Grill, Port Clinton, featuring a buffet dinner, live music, DJ entertainment and party favors. Overnight packages are available with Commodore Perry Inn!

*Have a Howling Good New Year at Great Wolf Lodge! Guests of the resort can enjoy the Big Bash, which includes a DJ party, balloon drop, midnight champagne toast and more. Also included is the annual waterpark duck race. Overnight packages are available!