Two hundred years ago Sandusky, Ohio was founded on the shore of Lake Erie. As part of their year long bicentennial celebration the tall ships will be making a stop in port. The Festival of Sail will take place July 12th through 15th and is the perfect time to plan a long Sandusky vacation.

Disclosure: Accommodations at Holiday Inn Express and tours were provided by Shores and Islands. Opinions, as always, are purely my own.



US Brig Niagara ©Rich Christensen — Click for hi res pic

Sandusky Festival of Sail

The Festival of Sail events will take place all along the waterfront downtown. Several ships will be docked at the ferry terminal with those offering sailing excursions at another location. Tickets get you into the event grounds and a tour on board the US Brig Niagara or El Galeon. Day Sail ticket holders can also take a 90 minute voyage out on Lake Erie. Live music, vendors, and other entertainment will also be available during the festival. I had the opportunity to visit the tall ship festival in Bay City, Michigan and it was well worth the trip. Visit the Festival of Sail website for the latest on ship lineup, maps, and event times.



Sandusky Merry-Go-Round Museum ©R. Christensen

Things to Do in Sandusky

Best way to see the town is on a Segway. Sandusky Segwave offers 2 hour tours of the downtown to fill you in on the history, architecture, and unique places around town. Never ridden a Segway? No problem, the tours include thorough training. Hey, if I can do it anybody can. Visit the Sandusky Segwave Tours website for details and current pricing.

One of the stops you’ll see along the Segwave tour is the Merry Go Round Museum. Housed in a unique old US Post Office building, the museum features carousel animals from over the past century. I was surprised by the variety of animals in additional the common horses, such as roosters, goats, and even a tiger. The museum performs restorations and creates new figures, so you may have a chance to see their skilled volunteers in action. To cap off your visit, take a ride on the 1939 carousel! Check the Merry Go Round Museum website for hours and pricing.


Maritime Museum of Sandusky ©R. Christensen

An important, and likely very popular, place to visit during the Festival of Sail is the Maritime Museum of Sandusky. The museum chock full of nautical artifacts covering two centuries of Sandusky history. Beginning with a short film, the visitors will find displays on local fishing, the ice harvesting industry, and the importance of this port as a final stop on the Underground Railroad where slaves could escape across the lake to Canada. Outbuildings behind the museum house a collection old boats, motors, and other equipment. Visit the Maritime Museum website for more info.

A great way to see Sandusky is from the water. The Goodtime I will take you on a relaxing cruise around the bay, even skimming along the waters near Cedar Point. The sunset cruise is a great way to finish off a day, but there will likely be special daytime cruises scheduled during the Festival of Sail so visitors can get a good look at the ships. Visit the Goodtime website for the latest schedules and pricing.

Downtown Sandusky is full of new restaurants and shops to peruse. A favorite spot of mine is the Small City Taphouse which serves up the perfect combination of sushi and beer. Other eateries, from burgers to elegant dining, are on hand to satisfy any appetite. If you’re in the mood for a drink, check out Moseley’s Public House and rooftop bar in the Hotel Kilbourne for the perfect view of the harbor or the more elusive Volstead speakeasy for night time cocktails.

Sandusky is undergoing a renaissance which is drawing visitors from around the Midwest. Long known for the Cedar Point amusement park, downtown Sandusky has blossomed into a destination all its own. If you’ve never been to this wonderful little city on the lake, the Festival of Sail is the perfect excuse to plan a summer trip.


For more Sandusky, Ohio Information

Six Truly Fun Family Activities in Sandusky, Ohio

Sandusky Bicentennial

Shores and Islands – Ohio Lake Erie Tourism Info