You might think winter in Ohio is cold and boring, but the reality is, there are plenty of fun things to do in Ohio in the winter! Why not plan a winter visit to one of my favorite coastal towns, Sandusky? While the world-famous Sandusky roller coasters don’t run in the winter, there are still lots of cool things to do in Sandusky, Ohio in the winter. Whether you are looking for outdoor activities for your winter trip or things to do in Sandusky, Ohio indoors, this list covers it all!
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The Best Things To Do In Sandusky, Ohio In The Winter
If you are wondering what to do in Sandusky, Ohio in the winter, these are just a few of my favorites.
Indoor Waterpark Resort Getaway – just because Cedar Point is closed in the winter, doesn’t mean you can’t get an adrenaline rush! Sandusky has two huge indoor waterpark resorts that are the perfect winter weekend getaways in Sandusky. Kalahari Resort is Ohio’s largest indoor waterpark, while the Great Wolf Lodge Waterpark is equally exciting.
Spa Day – Even if waterparks aren’t your thing, one of my favorite Sandusky Ohio winter activities is a spa day at the Kalahari Resort. Spa Kalahari & Salon is a full-service spa with a huge spa menu at reasonable prices. Choose from a massage, facial, pedicure, manicure, or even a session in a float tank. Better yet, book a package and spend the whole day at the spa!
Visit a winery – Ohio has over 340 wineries, several of which are in the Sandusky area. A glass of wine at one of the local wineries will take the chill off quickly! Sandusky is home to Firelands Winery, while nearby communities are home to several more. Both Rocky Point Winery and Quarry Hill Winery are a 25-minute drive from town.
Ice fishing – there’s no better way to embrace the Great Lakes winter culture than getting out on the ice and throwing in a pole.
Winter Hike at Sawmill Creek Preserve – three miles of trail along Sawmill Creek offer a quiet respite from busy Sandusky. Riparian forests and sandstone cliffs offer beautiful scenery for a quiet winter hike.
Snowshoeing – for a quiet hike in deep snow, rent or buy snowshoes and get out for a snowshoe hike. Sawmill Creek Golf Clubhouse rents snowshoes and they are very close to Sawmill Creek Preserve and Sheldon Marsh.
Bird Watching at Sheldon Marsh Nature Preserve – visit nearby Huron and the Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve. The nearly 500-acre preserve is the first rest stop for birds migrating south from the Great Lakes region.
Visit Marblehead Lighthouse – if you prefer to stay on solid ground and observe the frozen lake, check out the Marblehead Lighthouse. Located across Sandusky Bay, the lighthouse is just 30 minutes from Sandusky. The museum and the buildings are closed during the winter, but it’s still nice to stroll around the park and take pictures of this beautiful Great Lakes icon.
Winter Photography – winter is one of the most photogenic seasons, with low light and interesting ice formations along the lake. Sunrise and sunset are at reasonable hours, so it’s possible to shoot both on the same day without losing a lot of sleep. While there’s plenty of winter photography spots in Sandusky, Jackson Street Pier is great spot for sunsets!
Sledding – why not take advantage of the snow and go sledding in Sandusky? There are tons of local parks with unofficial sledding hills. Or you can take a 20-minute drive to nearby Milan, to the Coupling MetroPark Sledding Hill.
Visit Sandusky Museums – check out Sandusky’s Merry-Go-Round Museum and learn about this childhood staple and be sure to take a ride on the museum’s beautiful carousel (the Merry-Go-Round Museum is closed in January). The Maritime Museum is equally interesting, and a great chance to learn about the maritime history of the Great Lakes.
Find the Boy with the Boot – Sandusky’s unofficial mascot can be found in Washington Park, or you can find the original statue which now lives under protection at City Hall.
Escape Room – visit the Escape Rooms by FrankKnicky for some of the best things to do in Sandusky indoors and outdoors! They have both options here, and all games are private. This is a fun, affordable thing to do indoors in Sandusky.
Visit the Sandusky State Theatre – while this historic landmark is currently closed for renovations (a strong windstorm caused severe damage to the historic theatre in June 2020). Be sure to watch a symphony or a live theater performance once the renovations are complete as the theater is spectacular and is the perfect way to spend time indoors in Sandusky.
Enjoy a cup of coffee and hot chocolate at a local Sandusky coffee shop. Mr. Smith’s Coffee House, Vita Sandusky and Saucy Brew Works Coffee offer a wide selection of coffee, teas and food items. A cup of local coffee always helps me fuel up for the day of exploring!
Explore the Sandusky Food Scene – Sandusky has a surprisingly diverse gastronomy scene. From brewpubs to brasseries, you’ll find a little bit of everything in Sandusky. A few of my favorite eateries are: Vine & Olive, Toft’s Dairy, J Bistro, OH Taco, Small City Taphouse and Sandusky Bay Pancake House.
Sip on brews and cocktails – whether you want to enjoy a hand-crafted cocktail or local craft beer, Sandusky has plenty of bars to serve you a refreshing libation. A few of my favorite bars are: Volstead Bar, Crush Wine Bar, Moseley’s Rooftop Bar and Bait House Brewery.
Curl up by the fire – whether you rent a cozy cottage on the lake with a fireplace or stay at the Breakers and take advantage of their outdoor fire pits, there’s no better way to take the chill off than curling up by the fire with a blanket and a cup of hot cocoa or a good book and a glass of wine.
Sandusky Ohio Hotels
From a boutique hotel, family friendly beach hotels to national chain hotels, there are plenty of options in the Sandusky area. A few of my favorite places to stay in Sandusky, Ohio are: Hotel Kilbourne, Cedar Point’s Hotel Breakers and Kalahari Resort.
Whether you’re looking for a fun family friendly weekend getaway or a couple’s romantic escape, there’s plenty of cool things to do in Sandusky, Ohio in the winter! Are you ready for a winter trip to Sandusky Ohio?