How to Spend a Perfect Weekend in Sandusky, Ohio

Midwest Travel

Located in the Shores & Islands Region of northern Ohio, Sandusky is a shore thing for a perfect weekend. Sandusky is a vibrant city sitting on the shores of Lake Erie, one of the five Great Lakes. 

While this itinerary is for things to do in Sandusky, Ohio on a typical weekend, you can quickly expand it to a long weekend by taking in some of the area’s numerous museums, adding some boating activities, or a round of golf at Sawmill Resort.

Thank you to Shores & Islands, Ohio, for hosting my stay.

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Friday Afternoon

Sawmill Creek Resort

3:00 PM 

Our first order of business was to check into the Sawmill Creek Resort and get settled into our overnight accommodations. While I had an entire weekend itinerary planned of fun things to do in Sandusky, Ohio, it was tempting to stay at the resort and enjoy all the amenities.

The rooms offer large desks, perfect for getting some work done between activities or putting on your make-up while freeing up the bathroom for the next family member. You’ll also find a refrigerator perfect for chilling those drinks you want to have on hand.

In addition to all the features in the room, the rest of the property offers a lot to do. For example, you’ll find an 18-hole golf course and two swimming pools indoors and outdoors. The pools are a great way to beat the summer heat after a long day at the park. You can also take a walk around the grounds with the kiddos so that they can let off some steam. Birdwatchers will enjoy the Sheldon Marsh Nature Preserve.

Everwild Distillery
Everwild Distillery

Everwild Spirits

5:00 PM

After settling, take a trip to downtown Sandusky and have a cocktail hour at Everwild Spirits, a craft bourbon distillery. The name Everwild embodies the essence of the summertime season along Ohio’s north coast. That excitement, anticipation, and exhilaration you feel, escaping everyday life to seek fun, adventure, and new experiences, that’s Everwild. 

Piper’s Pro Planning: The distillery is open year-round, Monday through Thursday, 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM and Saturday Noon to 10:00 PM.

The View from the Miller's Table
The View from the Miller’s Table

Miller’s Table

7:00 PM

We had an upscale dining experience at Miller’s Table in Sawmill Creek, a Cedar Point Resort. Lake Erie is the Walleye Capital of the World, so be sure to sample the Walleye cakes as a starter. They feature bell peppers with a honey jalapeno aioli and a house-made chili crisp. If you prefer a more significant portion of walleye, try the cilantro lime walleye entrée with seasoned rice, fire-roasted corn, and mango salsa. Either way, you’ll have a taste of the Great Lakes. 

If you’re more of a landlubber, they offer a variety of steak and chicken entrées. If you’re not in the mood for a large meal, they have several burgers that will also check all the boxes. 

After dinner, you can enjoy the grounds or retire to your room to rest for Saturday’s long day

Piper’s Pro Planning: Reserve a table near the window with a beautiful view of a charming stream.

Saturday

Harvest

9:00 AM

Kick off your day with the breakfast buffet at Harvest, Sawmill Creek Resort’s breakfast restaurant. The self-serve buffet features both cold and hot items with an impressive variety. They have a fresh waffle station, where the servers will bring waffles to your table when ready. 

Piper’s Pro Planning: While the adult pricing is $19.95, at $11.95 for seniors over 62 and children under 12, the breakfast buffet is a great deal.

A Roller Coaster at Cedar Point
A Roller Coaster at Cedar Point

Cedar Point Amusement Park

10:00 AM

Cedar Point Amusement Park, the Roller Coaster Capital of the World, features 68 rides, 18  of which are world-class roller coasters. One of the latest thrill rides is Top Thrill 2, but I remember when the Blue Streak was one of the newest. It’s hard to believe Cedar Point has been around for over 150 years. In addition to these fun rides, you’ll also find the Top Thrill Dragster 2, Steel Vengeance, and Millennium Force. Then, you’ll have the excitement of the fastest Triple-Launch Strata Coaster.

It’s one of the area’s family-friendly attractions that the whole family will enjoy, even those who don’t ride roller coasters. The littles will love a trip through Planet Snoopy and hanging out with the PEANUTS gang.

In addition to all the rides, you can experience live shows, live music, and live entertainment. In any case, you’ll find your Cedar Point visit to have one of the best coaster collections in the world. 

Next door, you’ll find Cedar Point Shores Waterpark, a great place to explore on one of the scorching hot Northern Ohio summer days. Activities at the water park include water slides and the lazy river. You’ll also find a wave pool. This requires a separate admission.

Piper’s Pro Planning: In 2024, Michigan residents can obtain park admission on a buy-one, get-one-free basis. Check out Cedar Point’s website for all the latest information to have one of your best days of vacation.

Hugo's Italian Kitchen at Cedar Point Amusement Park
Hugo’s Italian Kitchen at Cedar Point Amusement Park

Cedar Point Meal Recommendations

Hugo’s Italian Kitchen

1:00 PM

Hugo’s Italian Kitchen is one of the great options for lunch that the entire family will enjoy. They offer family-sized pizzas baked in an open-flame brick oven, hand-made plates of pasta, and meatball sandwiches. Typically, even young children and fussy eaters will find something they like at an Italian restaurant. You can get a pizza to-go and eat it as a picnic lunch on one of the picnic tables. 

Grand Pavilion Restaurant and Bar 

6:00 PM

One of the best places for dinner is the Grand Pavilion Restaurant and Bar. This cafeteria-style restaurant offers fresh home-cooked food. I found my meal to be surprisingly good, given the counter service. I learned that at Cedar Point, the chefs in each restaurant bring family recipes to create the dishes they serve to their guests. So, you won’t find a bunch of pre-frozen food, just heated up and served. I had coconut shrimp with Jamaican rice, including pineapple bits, the day I was there. You can even eat on the deck overlooking Cedar Point Beach for a great view.

Piper’s Pro Planning: Check out the details of the All-Day Dining Plan. With 90-minute intervals between meals, you can choose an entrée and side for one price at participating restaurants. The dining plans are a money-saving way to enjoy eating throughout the day. They even have a plan that includes a snack bar and drinks.

As the park closes, head back to the hotel after a full day of fun.

For more vacation ideas in the Shores & Islands Ohio Region, read “How to Spend the Perfect Day in Put-in-Bay, Ohio.”

Sunday

Sandusky Bay Pancake House

9:00 AM

Have a great breakfast at Sandusky Bay Pancake House, with hours that include lunch. If you’re not inclined to get an early start on Sunday morning, go for brunch rather than breakfast after yesterday’s long day at the park. 

Locally owned and operated since 1966, the Sandusky Bay Pancake House has recently rebranded—the breakfast, brunch, and lunch eatery focuses on local, incorporating local farmers and purveyors. The extensive offering of pancakes, egg dishes, crepes, waffles, French toast, sandwiches, salads, and burgers satisfies both sweet and savory cravings. 

Dine inside, on the spacious covered patio, or at the bar. In addition to specialty coffees, cold brews, brunch cocktails, and locally-produced beer and wine are also offered. Eat, drink, think—local. 

Piper’s Pro Planning: Order carryout online if you are having a tough time rallying the troops to get out the door on time. 

Kayaking with Lake Erie Adventure Company
Kayaking with Lake Erie Adventure Company

Lake Erie Adventure Company

10:00 AM

Lake Erie Adventure Company is your gateway to water recreation and family fun. You can rent paddle boards and kayaks to explore the Huron River and Lake Erie or stay on land and enjoy the quaint town of Huron on a bicycle. Their gift shop helps round out your day of fun. We kayaked the Sandusky Bay Shoreline, which we found to be a great place for first-time kayaking, as the water along the shore is only about knee-deep.

Piper’s Pro Planning: They’re open daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Open March through May and September through October on weekends only. Check their Facebook page for hours of operation.

The bus used by Fireland Adventures
The Firelands Adventure Tour Bus

Fireland Adventure Tours for Things to Do in Sandusky, Ohio

Alternatively, if you’re not much into biking or paddling, you can take a just as exciting but less strenuous tour with Firelands Adventure Tours. Explore the excitement of Sandusky and the Firelands in comfort and style aboard the comfortable, ADA-compliant, 18-passenger bus. The expertly guided bus tours of the Sandusky Underground Railroad, wineries, lighthouses are great for history buffs, dates, senior groups, and families. These tours are among the best things to do in Sandusky for those who love history.

Piper’s Pro Planning: Remember to bring your camera or phone to take pictures of the places you visit. You’ll want to remember every stop vividly.

Danny Boy’s Italian Eatery

1:00 PM

After a morning of paddling, you’ll need fuel for the rest of the day. Grab some lunch at Danny Boy’s Italian Eatery. If everyone agrees on the toppings, the family-size pizza is the most economical choice.

Quarry Hill Winery
The Vineyards at Quarry Hill Orchards

Quarry Hill Orchards

2:30 PM

Head home after a great weekend in Sandusky, Ohio. On your way, stop by Quarry Hill Vineyard. While the original tasting room was in the Orchard Market Barn, that space was quickly outgrown. Now, the picturesque pinnacle of the property is a production facility and tasting room. Well-known for estate-grown grapes and fruit wine, Quarry Hill’s vantage point and distant Lake Erie views make it the perfect combination of atmosphere and delicious wine. 

Pino Grigio at Quarry Hill Vineyards
Pino Grigio at Quarry Hill Vineyards

The winery offers many European Vinifera varieties suitable to the Lake Eric micro-climate. The winery offers a comfortable and scenic environment for visitors to enjoy wines carefully crafted as the perfect extension of the Gammie family’s vision. Take some time to do a wine tasting while the kiddos and designated driver have an ice cream cone made from their estate-grown fruit. 

A new offering for 2024 at Quarry Hill Orchards is Quarry Cones Real Fruit Ice Cream. I loved the fresh fruit flavors; my favorites were the peach and raspberry. Yes, I’ll admit it, I tasted several.

Piper’s Pro Planning: Quarry Hill Winery is part of the Shores & Islands Cheers Trail and is open year-round.

If You Go

Getting There

Sandusky is in the Eastern time zone and in Erie County. 

The closest airport to Sandusky is Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) at 44.6 miles. Most major US airlines serve CLE. You’ll find flights on Alaska Airlines, American, Delta, and United. Some budget and international airlines also service this airport, including Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, and Spirit. The international airlines include Aer Lingus and Air Canada. 

How far is Sandusky from?

CityDistance
Chicago, Illinois290 miles
Cleveland, Ohio45 miles
Detroit, Michigan115 miles
Grand Rapids, Michigan247 miles
Indianapolis, Indiana285 miles
Lansing, Michigan179 miles
Driving Distance from Sandusky to Other Cities

Getting Around

The best way to get around Sandusky is by car. If you fly in, you’ll likely want to rent a car. 

Pin this to your favorite vacation planning board.

How to Spend a Perfect Weekend in Sandusky, Ohio Pinterest Graphic - Things to Do in Sandusky, Ohio
Amy Piper
Author: Amy Piper

While Piper is a lifelong Michigander, she’s had adventures worldwide. Bomb-sniffing dogs chased her in the middle of the night in Bogota (working late), gate agents refused her boarding to Paraguay (wrong visa), and US Marshals announced her seat number on a plane while looking for a murder suspect (she’d traded seats). It’s always an adventure! She even finds exciting activities in her home state of Michigan, where she lives in Lansing with her husband, Ross Dingman, her daughter, Alexis, and two granddaughters.

BOOK YOUR TRIP

Let’s get something on the calendar! Here are some of Piper’s Pro Planning links to help you book your trip.

Plan your flight and book your airline ticket with these links:

Plan your overnight accommodations anywhere from national chains to private homes with:

Plan to save on all of your activities, from tours to attractions. These links will help:

Visit my resources page for more planning help.

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6 Comments

  1. Deirdre Michalski

    Lovely article and so much to do! I could sit at Miller’s table all day.
    Love your Pro Tips. Very helpful.
    My friends in Indy could make that work. Will send to them!

    Reply
    • Amy Piper

      Thank you for sharing the post!

      Reply
  2. Darla S. Hoffmann

    I haven’t been to Sandusky since Prom for Cedar Point! This is good stuff.

    Reply
  3. Pam Baker

    Loved your article! I must confess, I’ve never been to Ohio, but if I go, I’ll use your guide to see this lovely city.

    Reply
  4. Sarah

    This looks like the perfect trip for our family. There are so many things that both teens and adults can enjoy. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  5. Julie Diebolt Price

    I appreciate all the details, Amy. This is a great resource for one-stop-shopping/travel planning.

    Reply

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Welcome to Follow the Piper! Discover interesting destinations, and practical planning tips for packing more travel into your everyday life.

Our founder and author, Amy Piper, is a freelance travel writer, blogger, photographer, and author specializing in traveling through a food lens and multi-generational travel. She is a native Michigander who travels through the lens of a food lover and has been to 41 countries and 45 states.

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