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Lake Erie – All the Info from History to Vacation Planning, Boating & Fishing!

Lake Erie is one of the famed “Great lakes” and is the fourth largest in surface size of the five marvels of nature. The western basin of the lake is the shallowest of all the great lakes. At its deepest point, it registers 210 feet. Much of Lake Erie shares an international boundary with Canada to the north. Along the northern shore, is the province of Ontario

Picture of The Falls On Lake Erie

The southern shoreline touches Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. Over 60 million people live within a four-hour drive window of the jewel of theGreat Lakes. Lake Erie receives her primary water feed from the Detroit river fed by Lake Huron. At the opposite end of the Lake, water flows outbound via the Niagara River which provides a considerable amount of hydroelectric power to Canada and the USA via huge turbines near Niagara Falls, Queenston Ontario, and New York

A portion of Lake Erie waters feeds the Welland Canal, which is part of the St Lawrence Seaway. This intricate system of waterways provides passages for ships eliminating costly and long detours to the north. The Great Lakes is home to the world’s largest surface freshwater system in the world! It contains about 18 percent of the entire world’s supply. If it were to be spread out, spread volume of water in the Great Lakes would cover all of North America in about 3.5 ft. of water!

Lake Erie Vacations

All who wander are not lost…..and perhaps that is the best way to explore Lake Erie…just wander! Starting from the western basin in Detroit, travelers can follow the Lake Erie Trail concluding at Niagara Falls near Buffalo New York. There are literally hundreds of interesting spots along the way to enjoy the Lake Erie Region! From Romantic to Historical, action & adventure to family fun, the Lake Erie area provides it all!

It would be impossible to detail each and every Lake Erie Vacation spot worth enjoying as the list is long! Let’s enjoy a little trip starting in Detriot and highlight a few of the many great destinations!

Detroit Michigan

One of America’s largest cities, Detroit straddles the incoming water flow to Lake Erie from Lake Huron, known as the birthplace of the modern assembly line and the Ford & Chevrolet motor companies, Detroit has grown to become one of Americas largest manufacturing cities!. Tours of the facilities are jaw-dropping and informative.

A recent Casino boom in the area has resulted in several new casinos that rival those in Las Vegas. MGM Grand, Greektown, and MotorCity are just a few of the exciting nightlife and gambling attractions. Over 4 million people reside in Detriot and for years the city was often overlooked by those unaware of its charm. Detriot was considered a blighted city, saddled by crime, debt, and a declining population. This preconception couldn’t be more wrong!

Nicknamed the  “Motor City” it has historically been known for its auto manufacturing sector, its Motown contributions to the early music industry, and its popular sports teams. Detroit has taken on a new appeal that makes it worthy of a place to start your Lake Erie Vacation.

Motown & Lake Erie

Motown Records is an R&B & soul record label based in Detroit that is credited with advancing racial integration of pop music in the 1960s and ’70s. Best-The Temptations, the Miracles, the Four Tops, Diana Ross, and the Supremes were on the Motown label.

The main office, named Hitsville U.S.A., was renovated and changed into a museum in 1985 highlighting the important contributions of Motown to the American music scene. Take the tour and see all sorts of records, awards, and costumes from famous musicians (including Michael Jackson). You can also see one of the recording studios where many of the label’s classic hits were produced.

Henry Ford & The Ford Motor Company

Picture of the Ford Museum on Lake ErieHenry Ford, born in Michigan was the founder of the famed Ford Motor Company and was responsible for the beginning of mass production and the assembly line in the United States in the early 1900s.

You can tour the company’s huge museum and learn about the history of the automobile and how it evolved from a wealthy man’s toy to the staple of modern society. The museum has numerous cars (including presidential automobiles), as well as exhibitions on trains, power generation, and much more.

Additionally, adjacent to the museum is Greenfield Village, a semi-separate museum that hosts all kinds of science and agriculture exhibitions that Ford collected over his lifetime. It’s a great place to visit with kids, as many of the exhibits are interactive and educational.

Toledo Ohio

Meandering down I-75 Lake Erie takes an easterly turn at Toldo Ohio affectionately known as the Glass City. Home to the Libby GlassCorporation. Libbey was originally from East Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the home of the New England Glass Company founded in 1818. In 1888, Edward Drummond Libbey, son of the first corporate owner, William, moved the company to Toledo, Ohio.

The Northwest Ohio area provided abundant natural gas resources along with access to large deposits of high-quality sand. An extensive network of railroad and steamship lines made Toledo an ideal location for the company. The name was changed to the Libby Glass Company in 1892.

Photo of the Libby Glass Company on Lake ErieToledo was a match made in heaven for Libby and thus the glass city was born.

The Libby Glass Company was the first to mass-produce light bulbs in 1904 and glass blown tumblers in 1907. Over the last 100+ years, Libby has grown thru strategic partnerships and today is home to an outlet store and museum worth the stop along your Lake Erie vacation route.

Toledo is home to the Toledo Museum of Art, with its famous collection of modern and Renaissance work. Reflecting the city’s legacy of glass production, the museum’s Glass Pavilion showcases thousands of glassworks.

Located near the Maumee River which feeds into Lake Erie, the Imagination Station is a children’s science museum with hands-on exhibits for children and young adults of all ages. The impressive and award-winning Toledo Zoo has polar bears, rides, and a captivating aquarium.

The Lake Erie Islands

Often referred to as the “Crown Jewels Of Lake Erie” e Lake Erie islands are one of the most visited and interesting locations of all. True islands in that you must take a ferry boat to get to the islands. Each summer the sleepy bedroom community of Port Clinton Ohio wakes from her Winter slumber to be the gateway to the famous islands. While a popular day trip, more and more growth on the island has made this an overnight stay recommendation.

Put-in-Bay On South Bass Island

The most popular of the Lake Erie Islands is Put-in-Bay. Just a short ferry ride across the lake brings you to a festive, pristine clean community frozen in time. There are no stoplights on the island, only one franchise, one bank & one school. Automobiles are strongly discouraged at Put-in-Bay and people get around the island on Put-in-Bay Golf Cart Rentals that seat between 2 and 8 people. Be sure to follow all traffic laws as these golf carts are considered licensed motor vehicles and laws that apply to cars also apply to golf carts, including drinking and driving!

Photo of the Perry Peace Memorial at Put-in-Bay on Lake Erie

For the adventure seekers, Put-in-Bay will offer no shortage of activities from exploring caves, bike paths, rock wall climbing, helicopter tours, and barnstorming in a biplane. For one the water or high above the water thrills several Jet Ski Rentals and Para Sailing fills the adrenaline junkie’s needs. For historical buffs, the Perry International Peace Memorial commemorates the Battle of Lake Erie and the everlasting peach between Canada and the United States one of the world’s longest unprotected borders.

Put-in-Bay has grown over the years to include several modern Put-in-Bay Hotels that offer amenities such as swim-up bars, and the Put-in-Bay Resort with the island’s only full-service conference center catering to corporate groups. An overnight stay on the island is suggested as one day is simply not enough to see everything.

Kellys Island

The largest of the American Lake Erie islands is Kellys Island. There are two ferry boat services that transport people to the island the Jet Express (also offers inter-island transportation ) and the Kellys Island Ferry, the only one that transports vehicles. The latter departs from Marblehead Ohio, a quaint bedroom community and home to the Marble head Lighthouse.

The island is a more laid back scene with a few restaurants, one hotel and is less commercialized. The Glacial Grooves carved into the islands are a popular attraction as is boating & fishing. Like Put-in-bay, golf carts are the way to see and enjoy the island and are readily available at all ports of entry. The 677 acre Kellys Island State Park is a popular place on the island to relax and enjoy nature.

Located in the heart of downtown Kelleys Island, families will love spending time at this tiny town within a small town. Ice Cream, shops, the island’s only coffee shop, and golf cart, and bike rentals can be found in the square. Kids and Adults will love playing a round of mini-golf or the games at the arcade which has air hockey, shuffleboard, and foosball, along with popular video games. GemStone mining is also fun for the whole family, too, when visiting Caddy Shack Square.

Middle Bass Island

Middle Bass Island is served by the same freight and auto ferry as Put-in-Bay, the Miller Ferry. An inter-island ferry connects Middle Bass with Put-in-Bay and is called the Sonny S. There are two restaurants on the island JF Walleyes and a GREAT pizza place at the Middle Bass Island General Store. Historic Lonz Winery is now operated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

photo of Lonz Winrery on Middle Bass ISland Lake Erie

The historic castle-like structure was recently refurbished and is now open for public tours. Explore wine cellars that date back to the Civil War era along withglacial grooves and frog ponds on the grounds. Relax on the patio or pavilion, also open to groups.

A new ultra-modern Marina was recently opened with easy access from Lake Eerie and is a safe haven when Lake Erie’s water turns treacherous which can happen quickly. Several preserves such as Peterson Woods, Kuehnle Wildlife Refuge, East Point Preserve, Costello Nature Preserve, wetlands, eagles’ nests provide kayaking, birding, fishing charters, and ideal bicycling.

There are a limited number of accommodations on the island and many people arrive for a day trip and return to Put-in-Bay for the evening.


Cedar Point One Of Americas Most Thrilling Amusement Parks Right On Lake Erie!

Located in Sandusky Ohio, Cedar Point has been entertaining the masses since 1870 In 2020, the park celebrated its 150th anniversary. It is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the United States. Here’s a look at significant events in park history. Louis Zistel, a Sandusky cabinetmaker, opened Cedar Point, which consisted of a small beer garden and dance floor, bathhouse, and a few children’s activities. He also operated a small steamboat, Young Reindeer, to bring patrons from Sandusky to the peninsula.

Picture of Cedar Point On Lake Erie

In 1905 the Hotel Breakers opened designed by Cleveland firm Knox & Elliot. The 600 room hotel featured rooms with a view of Lake Erie. At the center of the hotel is the building’s signature five-story rotunda. Tiffany chandeliers and Austrian wicker furniture decorate the public areas and also contained a tailor,  barbershop, physician, and manicurist.

In the mid-1970s: Cedar Point began to cement its name to one of the world’s best Roller Coaster venues with the construction of WildCat, Jumbo Jet, Corkscrew, and Gemini. Before long people from all parts of the world flocked to Ohio to ride the newest and most innovative coasters in existence. Soak City was added as a separate-admission waterpark located just west of Hotel Breakers.

New coasters continued to be added including Millennium Force which broke 10 world records, including the tallest (310 feet) and fastest (93 mph). It’s followed in 2003 by Top Thrill Dragster and Maverick in 2007.

Cleveland Ohio Lake Erie Comes To Life

All 78 square miles of Cleveland are packed with things to do for visitors of all ages and interests. Adventure-seekers, Sports aficionados, foodies, nature-lovers, sports fanatics, and history buffs will find plenty of things to enjoy in Cleveland. In the warmer spring & summer months, consider spending a few days exploring the Cleveland Metroparks, the Cleveland Botanical Garden, and the Cleveland Zoo for some outdoor fun for the whole family.

If you’re looking to escape the weather inside you definitely do not want to miss the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum or the incredible Cleveland Museum of Art, both visitor and a local favorite. The historic West Side Market features international grub that will impress even the hardest core foodie! — baked goods come highly recommended!

For Sports enthusiasts Progressive Field is home to Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians, Progressive Field offers sports fans a great time whether it be for an actual game or just a guided tour. If you’re in town for a game, you should consider going for the most authentic Progressive Field experience. Even without a game, you can still visit the facility! The one-hour tours cover the entire premises, so visitors will be able to see the batting cages, FanCave, the party suite, the club lounge, the bullpen, and the Indians Hall of Fame Museum.

Browns Stadium and the Quicken Loans arena are also located nearby and worth stopping by for a tour! The revitalized 4th and 6th street areas have brought Cleveland’s nightlife and dining back to the forefront with some of the state’s known restauranteurs setting up shop.

Lake Erie And Niagara Falls

While visitors to Niagara Falls may be overwhelmed with the sheer size and power of the falls, many would-be surprised to learn there are over 500water falls in the world that is even taller!

Angel Falls in Venezuela stands at 3,212 ft. tall for example!  What makes Niagara Falls so impressive is the volume of water flowing over. Most of the tallest falls in the world have very little water flowing over them. It’s the combination of volume and height that makes Niagara Falls so breathtaking.

More than 6 million cubic ft. of water go over the Crestline of the falls every minute during peak daytime tourist hours The Canadian Horseshoe Falls drops an average of 188 ft. into the Lower Niagara River The crest line of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls is approximately 2,200 ft.) wide. The plunge pool beneath the falls is 100 ft. deep

The height of the American Falls ranges between 70-110ft. This measurement is taken from the top of the falls to the top of the rock pile at the base, called the talus slope. The height of the falls from the top of the falls to the river is 188 ft.). The crest line of the American Falls is approximately 850 ft.) wide
The rapids above the falls reach a maximum speed of 40 km/hr or 25 mph, with the fastest speeds occur at the falls themselves (recorded up to 68 mph.) The water through the Whirlpool Rapids below the falls reaches 48 km/hr or 30 mph and at Devil’s Hole Rapids 36km/hr.

Picture of the Maid Of THe Mist on Lake Erie

The Niagara River is a connecting channel between two Great Lakes, Erie, and Ontario. Niagara Falls has moved back seven miles in 12,500 years and maybethe fastest moving waterfalls in the world. How much water actually flows over Niagara Falls? During the high season, the “tourist flow” over the falls of 100,000 cubic feet per second!

One of the best way to see Niagara Falls up close is the Maid Of The Mist tour on which you board a boat that takes you so close the mist of the falls can be felt. While visiting the Falls, You can tour Old Fort Niagara built in the 1600s by the French that played a role in the war of 1812! Shopping, Dining, and great nightlife on both the USA side and Canadian side of the border await visitors to the final stop and the end of Lake Erie

Lake Erie Fishing

Fishermen and boaters come from across the midwest to enjoy the incredible fishing and boating experiences Lake Erie has to offer. A quick drive-thru the many Lake Erie State parks, boat ramps, and marinas, and one will see trucks with boat trailers from the Dakota’s to New York.

Photo of Walleye from Lake Erie

For the Fisherman, Lake Erie yields some of the largest catch rates and weights in the feisty Walleye. In the Spring it is not unusual for fishermen to limit outearly in the day with this highly prized delicious freshwater fish. The western basin reef complex of Lake Erie near the islands is where millions of walleye come to spawn in the spring and feed on the massive schools of baitfish.

The billions of mayflies that hatch every summer provide ample food for the fish. There are several different techniques for Walleye fishing depending on weather conditions, water clarity, and water temperature. Fishermen start the season at ice-out using hair jigs to target spawning walleye. When the water begins to warm after the spawn, many transition to either casting worm harnesses or trolling.  For those new to the sport, there are ample experienced charters that can recommend the best way to catch walleye for the particular time you are here.

Lake Erie is also known for the sweet delicious Yellow Perch. You would be hard-pressed to find a local restaurant that does NOT have this traditional freshwater fish on the menu. The best perch fishing is generally around the Western Basin of Lake Erie a bonus when the walleye fishing slows down. The best areas for catching perch, including daily 30-fish limits of 8- to 10-inch, have been the Lake Erie Firing Zone off Port Clinton and Camp Perry.

The waters north of Kellys Island and South Bass Island and the outer edges of the Niagara Reef complex are attracting perch anglers, with the best catches coming from the limestone reefs edges where they meet the muddy lake bottom.

Boating On Lake Erie

With so many marinas, State Parks, and attractions that feature marinas such as Cedar Point it’s not hard to see what LakeErie is a boaters destination. You are never far from the basic needs of a boat be it furl, safe harbor, or a great waterfront bar or restaurant. The Lake Erie Islands is a great destination point centered in the lake and generally easy to navigate with proper equipment.

Photo of Boating on Lake Erie

Local Detroit area marina gateway to Lake Erie

Repair facilities are abundant as is transient dockage. From the casinos in Detroit and Windsor on the Canadian side to the bustling nightlife of the islands and the Cleveland downtown you are never far from the nest interesting stop for the day or evening. Boaters on Lake Erie should pay particular attention to the ever-changing weather conditions.

The lake can change quickly and as shallow as it is waves can reach 6 to 10 feet in short order when whipped by northeasterly winds. Always have proper charts and pay attention to your location and nearest safe harbor should conditions start to deteriorate. A courtesy inspection of your boat by the US Coast Guard can go a long way in ensuring your safety on Lake Erie!

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