What to do in Sandusky
The supremely popular Lake Erie vacation spot of Sandusky, Ohio, has a delightful juxtaposition: An elegant, historical downtown and, on a skinny peninsula nearby, one of the world's most famous amusement parks. The waterfront location puts swimming, boating and island daytripping all within easy reach.
Where to go in Sandusky
With 18 of the thrilling rides, including one dating to 1964, Cedar Point calls itself "the roller coaster capital of the world." Steel Vengeance, one of the newest, drops 200 feet at a 90-degree angle, making it one of the world's tallest, steepest coasters. Cedar Point also has a beach, waterpark and marina where boats leave for island cruises.
At the Merry-Go-Round Museum downtown, visitors can see horses and other carved animals from different eras, watch craftspeople restore vintage pieces and ride a refurbished carousel with a band organ and some of the collection's rarest horses. A full-day trip with Lake Erie Island Cruises is the next best thing to having a friend with a boat. You'll stop at the village of Put-in-Bay, on South Bass Island, as well as Kelleys Island, and have time on your own to explore each.
Where to stay in Sandusky
The Hotel Breakers at Cedar Point, a lakeside icon since 1905, now has a modern tower that blends with the original chateau-style buildings; many rooms have balconies and interconnecting doors that are ideal for families. The property also has three pools, a water playground, an arcade, outdoor fire pits,and, for parents craving a morning caffeine fix, an on-site Starbucks. To help them beat the crowds, the hotel offers guests early entry to both Cedar Point and the neighboring water park. Rooms at boutiquey Hotel Kilbourne downtown face either the city or the lake, so there are no bad views. It's a short walk to the Merry-go-Round Museum and family-friendly Shoreline Park, and those with bed-hogging kids will appreciate option to book a double king room.
Where to eat in Sandusky
Berardi's Family Kitchen offers "Kids' Menu Mondays," with all children's items costing $2.99. But adults will appreciate the sauerkraut balls, pretzel bites and brisket-blend burgers any day of the week. The Jolly Donut is a nostalgia-inducing diner with generous breakfasts and delectable frosted, glazed and sugared treats to get boxed up for later.
Looking for more of the best vacations with kids? Check out TODAY's Family Travel Guide.