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Take a Weekend to Explore Sandusky, Ohio

Tonya Prater, Owner
Spend a weekend exploring Sandusky, Ohio

Sandusky, Ohio is known for big thrills at Cedar Point Amusement Park, Great Wolf Lodge and The Kalahari Indoor Waterpark.

What visitor’s to the area may not realize, is that Sandusky has many small museums and attractions that also leave a lasting impression and deserve a second glance.

I recently had the opportunity to spend a weekend in Sandusky. I spent one day discovering the city solo before my husband joined me in my exploration.

Though we’ve been to Sandusky many times, this is the first time we’ve taken the time to see the sights the downtown area offers.  We weren’t disappointed and plan to visit again when the weather is warmer, as the wind coming off Lake Erie can be pretty cold in November.

Merry-go-Round Museum in Sandusky Ohio

Day 1 Exploring in Sandusky Ohio

My first stop was to the Merry-Go-Round Museum. One look at the building and I couldn’t wait to go inside.

Located on the National Register of Historic places, the museum is housed in what was once the post office. Its unique design allows for a full-size carousel to fit, and operate, perfectly inside.

Several displays address the history of the carousel and show the difference between the types of carousel horses while a booth in the back of the museum shows volunteers working on pieces to add to the ride.

The Small City Taphouse is a short drive from the Merry-go-Round Museum and during the spring or summer months, it would have been a walk that I’d have enjoyed had it been a little bit warmer.  

Small City Taphouse, offers a blend of Asian and Vietnamese foods that can be paired with one of over 45 craft beers on tap. The décor is comfortable and trendy, a great place to have lunch with a friend.

I ordered my meal of Beef and Broccoli from the lunch menu. It was delicious, and the service was wonderful.

The Maritime Museum in Sandusky Ohio

The Maritime Museum of Sandusky shares the history of Lake Erie. From the shipbuilders that were once common in the area to harvesting blocks of ice during the winter and even the Underground Railroad and pirates- this museum was a special surprise. It was much more appealing and interesting than I thought it would be.

Families with younger children will appreciate that much of the museum is hands-on. Grown-ups will appreciate the Lyman boats that have been lovingly restored and are housed in a back building as well as the collection of boat motors.

The Milan Museum complex is a short drive from Sandusky. My husband opted not to visit this attraction with me, though he regretted his decision later.

This wasn’t my first visit to this museum, which is a collection of several buildings and houses, I’d visited on a field trip with my children several years ago. That tour focused on the history of Milan, what was once a canal town.  

Since that visit, the museum has overhauled its glass collection which is now housed beautifully in the Glass Museum, said to be one of the top glass museums in the country. I may not have talked my husband into touring with me this time around, but I’m sure he won’t pass it up another time.

Day 2 in Sandusky

Saturday morning, my husband and I took some time to drive through downtown Sandusky before touring the Cooke-Dorn House Historic Site.

On the outside, this property resembles a small castle-like abode, while the interior is a contrast of fifties-inspired décor.

Our tour guide, Ed, was very knowledgeable and had known the last owner, sharing personal insight and stories.

The Cooke-Dorn House in Sandusky Ohio offers free guided tours.

Our appetite for all things Sandusky history was whetted.

From the Cooke-Dorn House, we drove to the Follett House where we viewed four floors of artifacts and memorabilia collected by private donors from the area.

While tour guides are available, my husband and I opted to explore this home on our own.

I was disappointed the Widow’s Walk, which promised an amazing view of Lake Erie, was off-limits for the season but plan to pop in when the temperatures rise.

St. Mary's German Catholic Church in Sandusky Ohio

While at the Cooke-Dorn Home, I picked up a Walking Tour of Downtown Sandusky (download here) which features many of the buildings and highlights the varied architectural styles.

My husband and I spent a bit of time exploring the architecture, before heading to Toft’s, the oldest dairy in Ohio for some deliciously creamy ice cream.

Have you been to Sandusky? What have you enjoyed?


Friday 19th of April 2019

Thank you for this post! I’m from Sandusky, and recently moved back home. I’m looking for one tank trips/activities to do with my family this Summer, and found a few right in town that I’ve never been to! I’m glad I clicked on the Sandusky link!

Tonya Prater

Saturday 8th of June 2019

That's great to hear! I hope you have fun exploring your former hometown and I hope you enjoy all the changes.

Julie Henning

Wednesday 26th of November 2014

I used to BEG my parents to take us to Cedar Point and they never did. Now I have more reasons to return with my own family. The Sawmill Creek Resort looks like a place I would love.


Wednesday 3rd of December 2014

I've lived near Cedar Point almost my entire life. I think we take it for granted. I really loved my stay at Sawmill. Trying to convince my hubby that we need to plan another trip. ;)

wandering educators

Wednesday 26th of November 2014

We LOVE Sandusky! There's a few new places you've shared that we'll have to visit next time - thanks!


Wednesday 3rd of December 2014

I'm thrilled to have introduced you to something new Jessie! I know you and Ed like to find different places to eat when you're on the road so I'd definitely suggest a stop at Small City Taphouse. Very good. And there is also a pizza place that cooks wood-fired pizza nearby called the Brick Oven Bistro. They had a special Chicken Cordon Bleu Pizza the day we were there and it was very tasty. Protection Status
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