Port Clinton is a small-town U.S. getaway where visitors can enjoy more than 40 miles of Lake Erie shoreline, historic village districts, and museums. Today we’ll discover the top things to do in Port Clinton, Ohio for a perfect vacation.
Port Clinton’s years of history are ringed by sandy beaches and tranquil harbors. Today, this Midwest resort town still offers visitors a chance to enjoy the serenity of boating, fishing, and beaches.
It’s also a great place to enjoy nature. With state parks and wildlife reservation areas nearby you can take your family out on an adventure to see the beauty of the world and meet some local animals.
Getting to Port Clinton, OH
The closest big airport to Port Clinton is in Cleaveland. It’s the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. If you plan to fly here then this is the airport we recommend. Head over to our flight-finder page to search for some cheap flights.
Port Clinton itself lies on Ohio State Route 2 and the nearest interstate is the I-90.
Things to do in Port Clinton, OH
1. Visit Port Clinton Lighthouse
The Port Clinton Lighthouse is one of the best places to start your exploration of Port Clinton. Lake Erie was always important to the town of Port Clinton. The city was an important fishing center for the region and also a shipbuilding port.
Local lighthouses provided important guidance in the age without GPS and other modern navigation methods. The current lighthouse that you can visit is the second lighthouse of Port Clinton. It was constructed in 1896 and it provided service to the town until the late 1920s when it was decommissioned.
Regardless, it remained standing proud above Lake Erie and became an important tourist attraction and a landmark to Port Clinton. With the help of the local community, the lighthouse still stands today and is in excellent shape.
One of the best times to visit the lighthouse is the Port Clinton Lighthouse & Maritime Festival. The area comes alive during this time and fills with locals and tourists alike. Head over here for the 2023 festival info.
2. Walk Around Waterworks Park
Just the perfect place for a relaxing stroll and marveling at Lake Erie. Waterworks Park is the park around the lighthouse.
You can walk around the park and explore the beautiful shoreline, the American Expedition 1813 Memorial, and take a moment on the benches that overlook the water. It’s a beautiful place.
If you want to get closer to Lake Erie you can also walk on the Jefferson Street Pier which extends quite long inside the water.
Are you visiting with family? Then you can also step over to Lakeview Park just on the other side of the road. Here you’ll find a small playground with a replica of the Port Clinton Lighthouse. We’ve found that kids love this place.
3. Meet Animals at the African Safari Wildlife Park
Are you ready for the ultimate family day out in Port Clinton, OH? The African Safari Wildlife Park will surely be loved by children and adults alike. It is exactly what it sounds like.
You hop in your car and drive around a big complex full of animals straight out of Africa. Meet the giraffes, camels, alpacas, lamas, and deers. They’ll come up to your car window where you can feed them and if you are lucky they might even let you pet them a little bit. It’s so much fun!
It’s not just a drive-through safari though. There is a huge walking area as well where visitors get an opportunity to meet some smaller animals as well. We highly recommend that you visit the African Safari Wildlife Park whenever you are in Port Clinton.
4. Relive History in Liberty Aviation Museum
This next one is for history lovers. More specifically for aviation history lovers. Museums are always fun but we must admit that technology and transportation museums are among our favorites.
The Liberty Aviation Museum is full of old airplanes many from the WWII era. We loved to walk around these magnificent machines and loved to see them in their former glory. Oh, and some of the planes even work. Visit at the right time and you may even purchase tickets to ride on them.
For some added fun it’s not just airplanes. There are old cars, other military equipment, and even a Sherman on display.
5. Cool Down at Monsoon Lagoon Waterpark
It’s always a treat to visit a good waterpark on hot days. There aren’t many in this area but there is one that’s just outside of Port Clinton. It’s the Monsoon Lagoon Waterpark and it’s a family attraction that will keep everyone entertained.
The waterpark is one of the main attractions but this place got more. There’s a kid’s go-kart track, there’s minigolf, and there are even animals to meet. It’s all-around fun where you can spend the whole day with the family.
6. Try Fishing
If you have even a slight interest in fishing then Port Clinton in Ohio is just the place to try it. It is a famous fishing destination after all. There are multiple access points where you can cast your line into the water and catch fish.
However, to fully enjoy Lake Erie we highly recommend a fishing charter. There are many around town and they will take you out onto the lake for the best fishing spots.
7. Go Swimming
Is fishing not your jazz? Then you can simply go swimming in Lake Erie, that is if you visit the town during summertime. Unfortunately, most of the shoreline is private property so we’ll give you two beaches near Port Clinton that we loved.
One of them is the North Swimming Beach. It’s a sandy beach with a relaxed atmosphere inside the East Harbor State Park. Possibly the best beach in the area. There’s even a dog beach nearby if you want to take your furry friend.
The other one is Lakeside Beach. It has the Lakeside Kids Pool nearby so it’s a good option for families as well. This beach is small though and gets deep quickly. Kids should go to the kid’s pool and only adults should do swim in the lake here.
8. Fast Eddie’s Sport’s Park
Fast Eddie’s Sport’s Park is another superb family things to do in Port Clinton, OH. The main attractions are go-karts and mini golf. These alone can keep the family busy but there’s even more.
There are bumper boats and some arcade games to play with. And if you go hungry the place also doubles as a great diner with excellent food. Fast Eddie’s Sport’s Park is a must-visit in town if you travel with your family.
9. Bowl at Star Lanes at the Harbor
Some people love bowling while others absolutely hate this sport. Well, we are not sure which one you are but in case you do like bowling then you’ll be happy to learn that Port Clinton has its own bowling alley named Star Lanes at the Harbor.
We think this place is a good choice for a night out. Grab a few beers, chat with your friends, and bowl a few rounds. Oh, and there’s also laser tag in the venue as well.
10. Ottawa County Historical Society’s Local Museum
After checking out the amazing vintage airplanes and cars in the museum there’s a chance to learn about the area’s history as well.
The city has a small museum in a historic house. It’s right in the center of town so you won’t have trouble finding it. Although small in size, the museum is worth it and the staff is extremely helpful and knowledgeable.
11. Go boating
We’ve gone fishing, we’ve gone swimming, and now it’s time to explore Lake Erie one more way and that is through boating. One of the best ways to do this is to take the Jet Express the local ferry service. They operate passenger boats to the beautiful islands off the coast.
One of the best destinations is Put-In-Bay on South Bass Island. You can explore the local museums, see the island, and take a walk inside Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial.
12. The Listening Room Port Clinton
The Listening Room prides itself on being one of the most unique music venues. And we’ve got to agree it is a unique venue. They’ve created a great bar atmosphere where the guests actually listen to the music instead of talking to each other and raising the noise level.
They invite musicians from all over the world as well as locals. It’s a place where singers and songwriters can connect with the audience on a personal level. We love this place.
Check the current shows on their website before you visit, as they’ve been closed recently. Supposedly they opened back up in 2021 September, however that didn’t actually happen. Here’s their site.
13. Explore the nearby state parks
You’ve explored safaris, you’ve explored the lake, not it’s time to see the local wildlife areas. These parts of Ohio are full of small state parks and wildlife protection areas. We love to visit these and connect with nature after the busy days in big cities.
East Harbor State Park is one of the best to visit. We’ve already mentioned this place due to the beach but you can also explore nature and often see wild animals and birds in the state park.
Another good one is the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area where you can take the bird-watching trail to see some of the local bird population.
14. Paddle your way around Lake Erie
Okay, there is actually one more way to explore Lake Erie and it’s at your own pace. Grab a SUP or a kayak, or if you don’t have one simply rent one.
You can paddle around the lake, explore the coastline, visit the islands, and be immersed in the nature that surrounds you.
15. Pet Animals at Lagoon Deer Park
Lagoon Deer Park is another things to do in Park Clinton, OH that’s centered around animals. You can meet animals from all over the world here and feed and pet them. It’s great fun for the family.
In contrast to the safari park, this venue is much smaller but much more affordable. It’s kind of an off-the-beaten-path attraction. The main animals to pet are deer, but you’ll find lamas and goats as well.
16. Thrilling Fun at Cedar Point
Finally, we can’t skip the fact that Cedar Point Amusement Park is practically next door. It’s the ultimate fun thing to do while you are here. It’s super easy to spend a day here and whether you are with family or friends this is a great place to visit.
An amusement park that’s more than 150 years old. This makes the place one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. Cedar Point is well known for its epic roller coasters and thrill rides. There are 17 roller coasters in the park and more than 70 attractions in total.
If you like amusement parks then you should not sleep on this one when you visit Port Clinton!
Visit Port Clinton, Ohio, and you’ll find yourself in a vibrant community, where art, history, adventure, and scenic beauty are all at your fingertips. Whether you’re visiting for a weekend or a lifetime, there’s something for everyone in Port Clinton.
Port Clinton, Ohio – FAQ
Yes, Port Clinton is a great place. It’s good for a relaxing vacation away from the hustle and bustle of big cities.
Port Clinton is a great family holiday destination. There is plenty to explore and plenty to do with kids.