- For other places with the same name, see Sandusky (disambiguation).
Sandusky is a city in Ohio Erie shore west and county seat of Erie County, on Ohio's north coast along Lake Erie between Cleveland and Toledo. It is perhaps best known for Cedar Point Amusement Park, home to some of the world's tallest and fastest roller coasters. It is one of Ohio's prettiest downtowns and is very clean. Walking along the waterfront in the business district should be considered very safe compared to most cities. There is a pier for those who want to fish. They say late winter fishing is great at the pier due to the fish gathering in Sandusky Bay for spawning in the local rivers and streams. Elevation: 580ft/176.8m.
A popular way of traveling during summer is by ferry, many companies offers day cruises and excursion trips to the Lake Erie Islands. Some of the larger companies includes Jet Express, that runs daily ferries during summer to and from Kelleys Island, Cedar Point and South Bass Island (Put-in-Bay). Additionally, Owen Sound Transportation Company runs the largest passenger ferry along the Lake Erie, the MV Jiimaan, between Leamington, Pelee Island and Sandusky.
Most ferries arrive at 1 Sandusky Ferry Terminal, located at 101 West Shoreline Dr at the northern end of Jackson St.
- Shelby Street Boat Launch, 101 Shelby St. +1 419-621-1059. Host to many fishing tournaments.
- Castaway Bay Marina 10 Harbor Parkway. +1 419-626-3611
- Cedar Point Marina 1 Cedarpoint Dr. +1 419-627-2334
- Lyman Harbor at Lyman Harbor, 1615 First St. +1 419-625-9626
- Safe Harbor Sandusky, 1 Huron St., +1 419-627-1201
- On the Ohio Turnpike (I-80):
- Take Exit 118(7) and follow the signs west on U.S. 250.
- Take Exit 110(6A) and follow State Route 4 north.
The city is served by two daily Amtrak trains, Capitol Limited between Chicago and Washington, D.C. and Lake Shore Limited between Chicago and Boston/New York City. All services pass through in the middle of the night, often making rail travel quite inconvenient.
- 2 Sandusky Station (SKY), 1200 N Depot St (Located in the area is south of city center in a mainly residential area.), ☏ . The waiting room is not generally open, but on nights with more than the usual riders, the police unlock the well-maintained passenger waiting room. You may want to call about 20 minutes before your arrival to double check.
Driving is easy and pleasurable. Ferries to the islands leave from downtown Sandusky, Catawba Island, Marblehead and Port Clinton to the west. If you are just pleasure driving, consider going west along the lake to Marblehead, Catawba Island and Port Clinton. These are more scenic areas with plenty of tourist attractions. Be on the outlook for bicycles and pedestrians during the day and after dark. Traffic and drinking while driving laws are strictly enforced.
Pedestrian traffic is prohibited on the Cedar Point causeway (and is very impractical).
- Sandusky Perkins Area Ride Connection (SPARC), +1 419-627-0740. The SPARC offers three routes to various stops around the city of Sandusky and Perkins Township including the Sandusky Mall, museums, stores, and area businesses.  [dead link], to view a schedule. Rides are $1/person; exact change required. Deviation routes up to 1/2 mile are offered with a 24-hour advanced reservation.
- There are several taxi companies offering transportation throughout the city and most offer call ahead service.
The main attraction is of course Cedar Point, but the surrounding area along the lake offers plenty to see. By going west toward Catawba Island (which is accessed by a land bridge), you will find plenty of historic sites like the Marblehead Lighthouse from where you can see Cedar Point, or picnic, fish or watch the lake boat traffic and enjoy the coolest breeze in Ohio. Johnson Island has a Civil War Cemetery at the site of a Civil War Officers prison compound. The area is littered with historic sites. The older cemeteries in Sandusky and on the islands are also very interesting for those who appreciate stone carving.
Often overlooked is the beach at Cedar Point, one of the nicest and cleanest beaches on Lake Erie. It is adjacent to the Breakers Hotel at Cedar Point and outside Cedar Point fence. Seldom, if ever crowded.
- 1 Cooke-Dorn House (Elutheros Cooke House), 1415 Columbus Ave, ☏ . A three-story mansion that features a ruby and cranberry glass collection, antique furnishings, a garden, greenhouses and a gift shop.
- 2 Follett House Museum, 404 Wayne St. Sandusky Library’s local history museum with four floors of exhibits featuring Johnson’s Island Civil War Prison Camp, Cedar Point and many other artifacts that shaped local life.
- 3 Maritime Museum of Sandusky, 125 Meigs St. This museum interprets the maritime history of the area including boat building, recreational boating, passenger boats, shipwrecks, wetlands, commercial shipping, fishing, and the boats of Sandusky’s Underground Railroad through interactive exhibits and educational programs.
- 4 Merry-Go-Round Museum, 301 Jackson St, ☏ . closes at 5PM. Enjoy a menagerie of rare and unusual carousel carvings. Kids of every age can ride the antique carousel and watch woodcarvers breathe life into new horses.
- 5 Ohio Veterans Home Museum & Hall of Fame, I.F. Mack Building 3416 Columbus Ave. Sa-W 8:30AM-4:30PM. A military history museum featuring memorabilia from the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam and the war on terrorism. You can also check out an exhibit on Johnson’s Island and its role in the Civil War. Free.
- Underground Railroad Trolley Tour. Discover Sandusky’s Underground Railroad history during this narrated trolley/bus tour of the abolitionist’s homes and sites used by fugitive slaves.
- 6 Sandusky Speedway, 614 West Perkins Ave, ☏ . 1/2 mile oval asphalt track. Stock car racing at its finest. Nice track, located close to Cedar Point.
- 7 Ghostly Manor Thrill Center, 3319 Milan Road (US 250), ☏ . Haunted house, XD 3D theater, motion rides, Ghostly Gifts.
- Castalia Fish Hatchery, 7018 Homegardner Rd (off Heywood Rd., just off SR 269, Castalia), ☏ . M-F 9-3. 90 acres (36 hectares) facility owned by state. Raise over 470,000 steelhead and rainbow trout for stocking Lake Erie tributaries. Free.
- 8 Castalia Quarry Reserve (SR 101 (south of SR 269) Castalia), ☏ . Abandoned limestone quarry, surrounded by forest and fields. Hiking, mountain biking, scenic.
- 9 Plum Brook Station (Glenn Research Center). NASA occasionally hosts open house events at their Plum Brook Facility.
- A total solar eclipse on Monday 8 April 2024 starts at 3:12PM local time and lasts 4 min. The chances of a clear sky are 35%. The track of totality is northeast from Mexico and Texas to Ohio, then along the Canada–New England border.
Sandusky and the surrounding areas are hopping from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Tourists travel from all over the Great Lakes and Midwest Regions to visit Cedar Point and many other amusement venues, and for boating, fishing and island hopping on the nearby Lake Erie Islands. If you are planning to fish and are not familiar with the area, keep in mind that although you catch some fish from the shore, those with the big catches are fishing offshore. Charter boats can provide everything you need except a license, for about $100 per person per day or more. They, and the "head boats", have navigation equipment and sonar equipment to find the fish at spots the boat owners are familiar with on the lake. Head boats are not quite as fancy and take more people, but prices are as low as $35 per head.
- 1 Castaway Bay, 2001 Cleveland Rd W, ☏ . An indoor water park operated by Cedar Point outside the main park. ,
- 2 Kalahari Resorts. ,
- 3 Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky’s Water Park. - located in Sandusky
- Wild Irish Rose Charters LLC, 613 Bimini Dr, ☏ .
Cruises - ferries & catamarans
- The Goodtime I, ☏ . The Goodtime I Departs from Sandusky daily on an island hopping cruise.
- Lake Erie Shores & Islands Welcome Center-East, 4424 Milan Rd. Suite A, (US 250). Stop in and talk to the friendly staff for local insights as well as maps, brochures, discount coupons. Worth a visit.
- 4 ColossalCon. Annual anime convention held at Kalahai Resort. Notable for being more party themed then most anime conventions, due to being held in a water park.
- Ohio Bike Week.
If you are visiting the Sandusky area during the summer months, you will find plenty of fresh veggies, peaches, tomatoes, sweetcorn, grapes are all grown locally and available at the orchards to the west.
Sandusky, being on the North Coast of Ohio offers some of the finest fresh water seafood available. The fresh water perch and walleye available in the area are fantastic. Other local favorites include turtle, white bass, pickerel and frog's legs. At the west edge of Sandusky is Toft's Dairy. They have a large ice cream parlor with great milk shakes and sodas.
- 1 New Sandusky Fish Company, 235 E Shoreline Dr. If you want fresh fish, this is the place. Located on the water front downtown. 80% of the building is dedicated to cleaning fish, which are delivered by boat to their dock, adjacent to the store. No inside dining. Picnic tables outside only. They also sell smoked fish-turtle meat-frozen sea food. Average meal $6.
- Demore's Offshore Bar & Grill, 302 W Perkins Ave, ☏ . Great seafood.
- Dianna's Deli & Restaurant, 3002 Milan Road, ☏ . Great food. Ribs, chicken, pasta. Open 24/7. $6-12..
- 2 Tofts Dairy & Ice Cream Parlour, 3717 Venice Rd. Dairy products since 1900. Located at the west edge of Sandusky. They put the "cream" in ice cream. Open year around, selling numerous dairy products manufactured on site. They also offer a limited variety of soups and sandwiches between 11AM and 5PM on weekdays. If you appreciate great ice cream this will make your day! Best bang for the buck. A small in a cup or a cake cone is $2.40 and bigger than most places' large.
- The Lunch Box, 3708 Columbus Ave, ☏ . Located in downtown very near the many boat docks in downtown Sandusky. The finest perch sandwiches and dinners are served with many traditional tasty favorites such as reubens, monte cristos, burgers, and grilled chicken sandwiches. After 11AM ask about the lunch specials that are a great value. Breakfast available all day. Hours are Sunday–Thursday 6:30AM to 3PM with Friday/Saturday hours 6:30AM to 8PM.
- The Original Margaritaville, 212 Fremont Ave, ☏ . (Route 6).
- Chet and Matt's Pizza, 1013 East Strub Road, ☏ . A nice family-run pizza place that's close to Cedar Point.
- Mekong, 4318 Milan Rd., ☏ . Great place for Vietnamese/Asian cuisine and a huge selection of beer.
- Zinc Brasserie, 215 E Water St, ☏ . French-inspired food with attentive service and a warm atmosphere. Seasonal favorites and classic selections. Full bar and wine list. Outdoor seating, bar/lounge, reservations suggested, open year-round.
- Crush Wine Bar, 145 Columbus Ave., ☏ . Dinner only. Food, wine and spirits in a casual atmosphere. Small plates, entrees, pastas and pizzas; wine by the bottle, glass and flight; beer and cocktails. Open year-round.
- J Bistro, 129 Market St., ☏ . Chef-owned American bistro serving creative contemporary cuisine with a twist. Entertainment, outdoor seating, bar/lounge, reservations suggested, open year-round.
- Firelands Winery, 917 Bardshar Rd, ☏ . (Off US 6) 1. Hours vary.
- Louie's: The favorite watering hole of the Cedar Point Staff. It's located just off Cedar Point Drive. On busy nights, patrons are required to show a Cedar Point employee ID.
- Small City Taphouse, 202 Columbus Ave, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
During the tourist season (no doubt due to Cedar Point), accommodations can be higher priced and rooms may be hard to come by. The main tourist season begins in early June, after most schools have finished for the summer, and doesn't end until late August when schools resume classes.
- Econo Lodge Inn & Suites South, 3309 Milan Rdd, ☏ . Outdoor pool. $52 (Feb 2022).
- 1 South Shore Inn, 2047 Cleveland Road, toll-free: . Three minutes from Cedar Point. Family owned and operated.
- Best Western Plus Sandusky Hotel & Suites, 6011 Milan Rd, ☏ . Indoor pool area. $76 (Feb 2022).
- Fairfield Inn & Suites Sandusky, 6220 Milan Road, ☏ , fax: .
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites Sandusky, 1515 Cedar Point Dr, ☏ . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: noon.
- 2 Hotel Breakers, 1 Cedar Point Dr, ☏ . Historic, family-friendly turn-of-the-century hotel located at Cedar Point. Offers packages with Cedar Point tickets.
- Battle of the Indoor Water Parks, Sandusky boasts many indoor water parks/resorts that draw families from all over the Great Lakes states:
- 3 Castaway Bay, 2001 Cleveland Rd (U.S. Rt. 6), ☏ . Caribbean theme with palm trees, huts and inland lagoons, Ten water slides, water coaster, wave pool and toddler’s pool. Also located in the hotel is a day spa. Offers packages with Cedar Point admission tickets.
- 4 Great Wolf Lodge, 4600 Milan Rd (U.S. Rt. 250), ☏ . 9 waterslides, 5 pools and 2 giant whirlpools, treehouse waterfort, climbing wall.
- 5 Kalahari Resort, 7000 Kalahari Dr (off U.S. Rt. 250), ☏ . African theme, surfing pool, water slides, water coaster, water raft rides, outdoor pool area, spa for the parents and a lot of other indoor activities.
- 6 Cold Creek Trout Camp, 4711 Venice Road, ☏ . 24 RV/Tent spaces, restrooms showers, boat dockage, boat launch, fishing.
- 7 KOA Bayshore Campground, 2311 Cleveland Rd, ☏ .
- 1 Sandusky Library, 114 W Adams St, ☏ . A historic Carnegie library, with a computer lab for getting online.
If swimming on Lake Erie, have a buddy nearby who can help if needed.
- Leamington, Ontario, Canada. Canada's southernmost city. By ferry.
- North Coast Beaches. Along the southern shore of Lake Erie are a large number of public beaches.
- Lake Erie Islands. Located west of Cleveland, a group of picturesque and festive islands in Lake Erie are accessible via ferry. In addition to several Ohio State Parks located on the islands, there is plenty to do including wineries, restaurants, bars, marinas and beaches.
- Port Clinton is a quaint fishing town on Lake Erie about 20 minutes west of Sandusky. It also provides ferries to the Lake Erie Islands as well as head boats and charters for fishing.
- Catawba Island, just west of Sandusky and accessible by road, offers a number of marinas, fishing charters and other Lake Erie shore activities.
- Marblehead, also to the west. You can see Marblehead Peninsula and the lighthouse from Sandusky or Cedar Point. Be sure you take some time and climb to the top. A Ferry to Kelly's Island leaves from Marblehead.
- Milan, Birthplace of Thomas A. Edison, inventor.
- Cleveland is about 1 hour and 13 minutes east on Ohio State Route 2. Home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
- Toledo is about 1 hour and 9 minutes west on Ohio State Route 2. Check out the Toledo Zoo.
|Routes through Sandusky|
|Chicago ← Toledo ←||W E||→ Elyria → Cleveland|
|Bowling Green ← Fremont ←||W E||→ Huron → Cleveland|
|END ←||W E||→ Milan → Ashland|
|Toledo ← Port Clinton ←||W E||→ Huron → Cleveland|