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View from Catawba

Ohio Erie shore west is a region in Ohio, consisting of the northwestern plains bordering the lake. It is sometimes referred to as the Firelands.


Map of Ohio Erie shore west

It includes the following counties:

Erie County's county seat is Sandusky. Even though Erie County is one of Ohio's smaller counties, over seven million visitors come to Erie County each year to visit. Over 50% of the land is still dedicated to agricultural use. The Lake Erie shoreline is more pristine and accessible along Erie County than most other areas, that is why it is so popular with boaters and fishermen.

Sandusky County Courthouse in Fremont

Sandusky County is in Northwest Ohio. The county seat is Fremont. The S/W part of Sandusky Bay is in Sandusky County as well as the Sandusky River flowing North into the bay. The northern part of the county is popular with fishermen who wade the river and fish the south end of the bay where fish traffic is heavy during the spawning period. It was also the home of Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th President of the United States, where he practiced law from 1845 to 1849 before moving to Cincinnati.

Lucas County composed of Toledo and surrounding areas.

Ottawa County has Port Clinton on the shore as well as more inland villages.


Milan Township Building

Other destinations[edit]

  • 1 Cedar Point - A theme park known for its record breaking roller coasters.
Sandusky Bay

State parks[edit]

  • 1 East Harbor State Park. Northeast part of Ottawa County on the north part of Catawba Island, off of Route 63, on the shores of Lake Erie. 365 electric sites, 205 non-electric sites, showers, flush toilets, dump station, launch ramp, camp store, pet camping, two Rent-A-RV units on full-service sites, two deluxe camper cabins, dock rentals, restaurant, marina, fishing, hunting, 7 mi (11 km) trail, volleyball, basketball, horseshoe courts, playground equipment and a 1,500 ft (460 m) sand beach. East Harbor State Park (Q5328551) on Wikidata East Harbor State Park on Wikipedia
  • 2 Kelleys Island State Park (Erie County on Kelleys Island). 45 non-electric, 82 electric sites, showers, flush toilets, volleyball court, 6 mi (9.7 km) of hiking trails, North Pond Nature Preserve, North Shore Nature Preserve, picnic areas, a picnic shelter, launch ramps, fishing, 100 ft (30 m) swimming beach and hunting. Kelleys Island can be reached by ferry from Sandusky or Marblehead Peninsula. Kelleys Island State Park (Q6385748) on Wikidata Kelleys Island State Park on Wikipedia
  • 3 Maumee Bay State Park. Lucas County, east of Toledo, and northeast of Oregon on the shores of Lake Erie. Resort lodge with racquetball courts, game room, saunas, whirlpools, indoor, outdoor pools, conference and meeting rooms, dining room, lounge, and a snack bar. Resort cottages. 252 campsites, showerhouses, flush toilets, electricity, playground equipment, fishing, three Rent-A-Camp units, Rent-A-Yurt, 5 mi (8.0 km) of asphalt trails, cross-country skiing, winter nature walks, ice skating, sledding, 32-slip marina, 57 acres (23 hectares) inland lake, sailing, canoeing, canoes, paddle boats, row boats, and sailboats are available for rent, two sand beaches, concession area, changing booths, amphitheater, 18-hole "Scottish Links" style golf course, pro-shop, nature center, bike rental, a basketball court, horseshoe pits, bike rental, basketball and volleyball courts. Maumee Bay State Park (Q6792485) on Wikidata Maumee Bay State Park on Wikipedia
  • 4 Middle Bass Island State Park. Ottawa County, on Middle Bass Island south of Pelee Island and north of Catawba Island Ferries are available from Catawba Island or Marblehead. 20-site primitive campground, no drinking water or electric, 50 boat slips, 25 with electric hook-up, 20 tie-ups, showers and flush toilets. Middle Bass Island State Park (Q113088746) on Wikidata
  • 5 South Bass Island State Park. Ottawa County on South Bass Island, southwest of Pelee Island and northeast of Catawba Island Ferries are available from Port Clinton or Marblehead. 125 non-electric sites, 10 full service sites, flush toilets, showers, pet camping, four cabents, two picnic shelters, picnic areas, launch ramp, fishing pier and small stone beach. South Bass Island State Park (Q49563158) on Wikidata



The region was established as the Firelands, named so as it was land promised to Americans from coastal Connecticut who lost their livelihoods to pillaging British forces who torched their property during the American Revolutionary War. By the 1950's, the number of coastal resorts and tourist attractions earned this region the nickname Vacationland.


Erie County and Huron County were at one time one county, they were divided in the 1800s. Erie County includes one island, Kelleys Island, and has a long shoreline on Lake Erie running from Bay View east to Vermillion. In the early days the shoreline was quite rough and swampy. Today, it is the site of Cedar Point in Sandusky and the location of some of the most expensive residential property in Ohio.

  • Cold Creek, starts as an underground river, lacking normal oxygen levels, that rises first at Castalia, Ohio south of the business district and forms a pond, where the water, which remains at a constant 48 degrees year around flows north to Sandusky, where it enters Sandusky Bay and then Lake Erie. The places where the water rises to the surface are similar to the cenotes in the Yucatán and the two areas share a similar Karst geological sub-surface of limestone. From Castalia, north, there are several of these "cenotes" or springs that vary in size. Some have been explored by divers and they have not been able to determine the depth or scope of the rivers. Today, most are on private property and access is a bit difficult. The small ones at Castalia are not difficult to visit, as they are in a public park. Another example of this can be found a short distance away at Seneca Caverns.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

By car[edit]

  • SR 6 E/W 2 lane follows lake shore. Scenic.
  • SR 2 E/W 4 lane.
  • I 80/90 Turnpike E/W Indiana to Pennsylvania
  • SR 4 2 lane N/S
  • SR 13/250 2 lane N/S

By boat[edit]

  • Cruises - Ferries & Catamarans
    • The Goodtime I, +1 419-625-9692, [1]. The Goodtime I Departs from Sandusky, Ohio daily on an island hopping cruise.
    • The Jet Express, 101 West Shoreline Drive, toll-free: +1-800-245-1538, . Trips to Kelly's Island and Put-in-Bay. Jet Express (Q28834141) on Wikidata Jet Express (ferry line) on Wikipedia
    • The Pelee Islander, +1-800-661-2220. Daily trips to Pelee Island and mainland Ontario, Canada. Service from Sandusky is limited to once daily during the summer months, and is further restricted during the spring and fall. Advance vehicle reservations.
    • The MV Jiimaan, Jackson St. The largest passenger ferry along the Lake Erie route to Pelee Island. Leaves from the foot of Jackson St., Sandusky. To Lemington, Canada, Kingsville Govt. Dock, Ontario, Canada and Pelee Island, Ontario, Canada.

Get around[edit]

By car[edit]

The majority of travel in this region is done by car.

There are not many dedicated electric car chargers in this area outside of Toledo and Sandusky.

By boat[edit]

It is possible to take ferries, cruises, or private boats between various coastal cities. For island cities, a car ferry is generally preferred.

By bike[edit]

The mainland here is generally flat, so cyclists rarely have to change gear or go uphill. Cyclists should be cautious of area motorists, who often don't expect bikes on the road.




  • Birding - Many birds pass through this area as they migrate over Lake Erie.
  • 6 Sky Zone Toledo (located in Holland).



Freshwater fish are a staple here. In particular fish like perch and walleye are enjoyed.


Soft serve ice cream and taffy are common summer treats served along the shore.


Pubs are common along the shore, and on the islands. There are some local wineries as well, especially on the islands.

Stay safe[edit]

Lake Erie[edit]

Although it is smaller than most of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie can be temperamental with calm water one hour and choppy waves the next. Like the ocean, riptides can occur. Unlike the ocean, you are less buoyant in lake Erie due to the lack of salt.

In the winter, the parts of the lake may ice over. For more information, see Ice safety.

Go next[edit]

This region travel guide to Ohio Erie shore west is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!