Amusement parks, water slides, islands and Lake Erie make the Lake Erie Shores and Islands attractive to vacationers and families. The northern Ohio region is also a good place to meet, especially for groups that want to combine work and play.
Lake Erie Shores and Islands encompasses two counties, Erie and Ottawa, as well as three islands in Lake Erie. The islands — Kelleys, Middle Bass and South Bass — offer a slower pace and a natural setting. And the towns on the mainland are full of historical sites, specialty shopping, agriculture and wineries.
|Ferries transport passengers to the islands of Lake Erie.|
One of the region’s most action-packed areas is Sandusky, home to four water parks and Cedar Point, the Best Amusement Park in the World for the last decade, according to readers of Amusement Today. Near Cedar Point are two resorts that are also the area’s largest meeting places.
The largest is the African-themed Kalahari Resort, a 884-room property with outdoor and indoor water parks that feature surfing, family raft rides, water slides and water roller coasters.
Kalahari’s newest addition is Safari Adventures, an African-theme zoo with giraffes, ostriches, zebras, antelopes, kangaroos, sheep, pygmy goats and zebu cattle. Other options are an arcade, a children’s play area, a paint-your-own-pottery activity, miniature golf and a spa.
Because of its family-oriented amenities and its 100,000 square feet of meeting space, which includes a 17,000-square-foot ballroom, faith-based groups are big business. For example, the Philadelphia Church of God has met there for the past two years, bringing thousands for a four-day conference. The resort is also popular for church retreats and family reunions, and its conference staff is known for its assistance in planning special events for families.
With its Tom Fazio-design golf course and marina, the 240-room Sawmill Creek Resort is a good choice for corporate and association meetings. Just outside Sandusky, on 235 acres, the resort has 50,000 square feet of meeting space, which includes a convention hall that seats up to 2,000 people.
This year, Sawm
|Golfers ponder the greens at Sawmill Creek Resort’s Tom Fazio course.|
ill Creek hosted meetings of the Ohio Department of Soil and Water and the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Both groups explored the area.
“Taking a ferry out to one of the islands is always a popular thing for groups to do,” said Amanda Smith of the Lake Erie Shores and Islands Welcome Center.
“The ferry ride itself is fun, and then, when they get to the island, they can eat at one of the restaurants and spend time walking around.”
Area agriculture is also of interest. In addition to wineries, groups can also visit the Culinary Vegetable Institute in Huron, a combination organic vegetable farm/dining facility/educational organization.
Founded by a local farm family, the institute builds awareness of organic, sustainably grown foods. Farm-to-table dinner meetings, team building and farm tours are among the possibilities there.
Lake Erie Shores and Islands Welcome Center – East
Lake Erie Shores and Islands Welcome Center – West
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