Sandusky Ohio is a perfect place for an Ohio Staycation. Even in the off-season, indoor waterparks in Sandusky and much more make it a great vacation for families.
Things to Do in Sandusky Ohio During an Off-Season Staycation
When you think of taking a trip to Sandusky, Ohio you’re probably thinking of coaster riding at Cedar Point or fishing on Lake Erie… in the summer! But there are plenty of fun things to do in Sandusky, Ohio in the off-season (late fall, winter, early spring). My family had a wonderful Spring Break Staycation in Sandusky thanks to some help from Lake Erie Shores and Islands.
Indoor Water Parks in Sandusky, Ohio
When the weather isn’t warm in Ohio, but you want to feel like you are on the beach- visit one of the three indoor water parks in Sandusky, Ohio. You can choose from Castaway Bay, Great Wolf Lodge, or Kalahari Resort. We have been to 2 of the 3. Castaway Bay puts you in the laid back beach vibe and is the perfect size for littles and first-time indoor park visitors. But if you are thrill seekers and have a range of kiddos ages (including tweens/teens) we highly recommend Kalahari Resort. WOW, This place is amazing! With a “campus” full of slides, waves, spa, dining, conference center and more, we wished we had another day. If you do go in the “on season”, they also have a ton of outdoor water and dry land fun.
Sandusky, Ohio Indoor Amusements
If you say Sandusky amusement- you are probably thinking of Cedar Point (and aren’t we so lucky to have the BEST amusement park in the country!). But once again, do not overlook the indoor amusements and fun that you’ll find in the Sandusky area. Let me tell you about 3 places we went: Paddle and Climb, Ghostly Manor and Escape Rooms by Franknicky.
Paddle and Climb
Located right on Water Street, Paddle and Climb has a west coast vibe just steps from the shore of Lake Erie. When the weather is right, Paddle and Board offers kayaking and paddle boarding. They also have a retail shop with lots of active gear and right in the center is a 3 story high climbing wall! So in those off-season days, you can get your climb on. My kids loved this! (and the parents may have tried a few times too!) Owner Chad Whaley was super friendly. He also helped challenge my kids by giving harder route suggestions and time tests. Click through to learn more about what Paddle and Climb offers (and pricing).
Looking for a day full of indoor fun? Then definitely check out Ghostly Manor Thrill Center. This multi-activity fun center for families is packed with attractions; and some that we have never done before. Have you done blacklight mini golf? Maybe, but was it 3D too?! The Wizard Journey 3D mini golf was so fun and unique. The thrill center first started as a roller skating rink, which you can still do- with roller skates, blades or a scooter! Done with the skates? Then take the littles into the indoor playland or take a “ride” on the 4D movie. 2 more new experiences for us was the Lazer Maze and Virtual Reality. The Lazer Maze is right out of a Mission Impossible movie. And the VR was sooo fun! (yep the kids had to deal with my laughing through the whole game!). Also, one of their main attractions is a haunted house. We don’t do these, but if you like them; owner Billy Criscione (second generation family business) said it’s super scary, “Some people can’t get past the first part”. I can see why Ghostly Manor was featured on The Travel Channel’s “Best Places I’ve Ever Been”. Learn more about the many activities at Ghostly Manor here.
Escape Rooms by Franknicky
We were super excited for our first escape room experience- and we are sold! A Father/son duo have turned rooms in the historic Hubbard House, into clever escape rooms (they build the rooms themselves!). With your choice between Nicola Tesla or Trapped in the ’80s, you enter and begin your quest to “beat the room” in 60 min. It took us a little bit to get going, but in the end, we missed “winning” by just 5 min. We were so impressed by the story, riddles, clues, and design of the rooms (especially our mechanically minded middle son). We highly recommend taking your family, friends or co-workers for a fun escape room experience at Escape Rooms by Franknicky.
When you’re done with all the fun and need to eat, Sandusky offers so many great dining options. We loved trying the local fave Vine and Olive Restaurant and Market for lunch (it’s just up the road from Ghostly Manor). Our gyros and sandwiches were huge portions. And let me just say they have amazing desserts! It was so hard to choose, we had to sample several! Definitely, leave room for dessert.
Speaking of dessert, no visit to Sandusky is complete without making a stop to Toft Dairy. Ohio’s oldest dairy serves up classic ice cream. Don’t let the word “small” confuse you- the portions are huge! One more restaurant I have to mention, even though it’s technically Port Clinton just over the bridge, is Ciao Bella. What a gem; best Italian we have had in a long time. And it was $5 pizza night which the boys loved!
Sandusky Ohio Hotels
If you are looking for a place to stay in the Sandusky area, check out the newly renovated Best Western PLUS. We always look for a hotel with a full breakfast option, this often saves you a bunch on dining out (and if you eat a big enough breakfast you could skip a full lunch and just do snacks from home). The Best Western PLUS passes the Hoover Breakfast test with flying colors, including a yogurt dispenser and pancake maker (our new fave!) This hotel is located in just the right spot to get to all the places I have mentioned. We stayed a night here before heading to Kalahari, so it extended our Sandusky visit without having to pay another night in the water park. They also have a fitness center and a small therapy pool.
These activities and business just scratch the surface of all the fun you can have in Sandusky. Hopefully, they give you some good staycation ideas and if you need more suggestions; be sure to contact Lake Erie Shores and Islands for more recommendations in the greater Sandusky area.
Have you visited Sandusky Ohio in the “off-season”? If not, what of these things to do in Sandusky would you want to experience?
Want to see more pics from our Sandusky visit? Check out my Instagram Stories Highlight #LakeErieLove here (and be sure to follow me while you are there)
Thanks to Lake Erie Shores and Islands for partnering with Mission to Save and hosting my family for this awesome staycation. All opinions are my own, and we are already looking forward to a summer visit too!