Who needs an ocean when the shores of Lake Erie are just a short car ride away?

Who needs an ocean when the shores of Lake Erie are just a short car ride away?

There’s so much to do you’re bound to please every member of the family with your Lake Erie getaway. Family members can choose among a variety of activities such as swimming, just laying on the beach, boating, bicycling, hiking, visiting wineries or art galleries, climbing lighthouses or visiting one of the greatest amusement parks or water parks.

With many parks and beaches water sports are plentiful. Spend a day at a beach, build a sand castle, play in the waves or just enjoy the warmth of the summer sun.

A list of parks and beaches can be found at www.shoresandislands.com/itinerary/Lake-Erie-Beaches.

In just a few short miles of the shore of this Great Lake you can learn about the merry-go-rounds, ride the tallest of roller coasters or feed a giraffe.

SAIL AWAY

The Goodtime I offers daytime Island Hopping cruises that gives visitors a look at Kelley’s Island and Put-in-Bay with full narration. The boat departs from Sandusky. Also offered are specialty cruises, wine tasting dinner cruise, night bay cruises and more. For details call 419-625-9692 or visit www.goodtimeboat.com

MERRY-GO-ROUND

A great place to take a step back in time or introduce the kids to merry go rounds is the Merry-Go-Round Museum. The music plays as the carousel spins making all ages happy. With wood carving demonstrations, gift shop and lots of history it makes for a worthwhile visit

For more details on this museum call 419-626-6111 or visit www.merrygoroundmuseum.org.

GO ON SAFARI

Get an up-close look at wildlife at the African Safari Wildlife Park. It is the only drive-thru safari park in the Midwest and visitors will find more than 400 animals. On the more than 100 animal-filled acres you can feed wildlife from your car, see how tall a giraffe is next to your SUV, enjoy the educational displays and much more.

For more details call 419-732-3606 or visit www.africansafariwildlifepark.com.

BE A DAREDEVIL

Slated as the “Best Amusement Park in the World” Cedar Point is located at the shores of Lake Erie just a short ride from here. It is fun for the whole family and you will want to make a day of it with more than 70 rides – 16 that are roller coasters – three children’s areas, an ice-skating show, musical entertainment and much more. It is a place to get the real “point” of summer fun.

For more details call 419-627-2350 or visit www.cedarpoint.com.

WINE TRAILS

For couples or more mature travelers take a ride along the Lake Erie Wine Trail. The area is known for wineries and vineyards with more than 42,000 acres of vines. The weather is conducive for grape growing which gives you a long trial of wineries to visit. Wineries are listed at www.shoresandislands.com/itinerary/Wineries. Maps can be picked up at welcome centers and participating wineries.

Even better, visit the wineries and vineyards of the Lake Erie Shores and Islands wine trial with Northcoast Grapevine Tours. They will take you to area wineries, educating you along the way about the rich history of the region and the tradition of wine-making. It is a day-long escorted tour based on your likes and interests.

For more details call 216-587-1965 or visit www.northcoastgrapevinetours.com.

LIGHTHOUSE SITES

If amusement parks and wild animals are not on your bucket list how about touring lighthouses? On the shores of Lake Erie there are a variety of lighthouses including Marblehead, Port Clinton, Vermilion, Huron, South Bass Island and Cedar Point.

Marblehead Lighthouse is the oldest continually operated lighthouse on the Great Lakes and a great place for a picnic. Huron Lighthouse is at the end of a fishing pier for those of you that want to bring along your gear.

Take a ride on one of Miller’s Ferries over to Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island. Special events are often going on, outdoor recreation is plentiful and much more from history to butterflies. Visitors can rent golf carts or take their car on the ferry. Visit Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial for a little history on your visit and go to the top for great views and see Canada. Make a day and enjoy restaurants, water sports, gem mining, miniature golf, go-cart racing, art galleries – something for everyone.

For the scoop on everything there is to do along the shores of Lake Erie call 800-255-3743 or visit www.SHORESandISLANDS.com.

These ideas just touch the surface of things to do along the northern shore, there is so much more.