Take advantage of time spent in the picturesque Ohio beach town.

Postcard-perfect Vermilion has all of the charm of a New England-style seaside village transported to the shores of Lake Erie. Before it became the tourist-friendly community it is today, Vermilion was a busy commercial harbor and center for shipbuilding. Nautical influences still prevail here, where on a pleasant summer day, as many boats cruise up and down the Vermilion River as cars on its flower-lined Main Street. Changes to Vermilion’s waterfront are ongoing. Redevelopment plans for Main Street Beach (cityofvermilion.com/visitors/main-street-beach) include new public restrooms, changing rooms, a snack bar and more parking and seating areas. 

Tourist-Friendly Community:
Downtown Vermilion is extremely walkable. Within a few blocks, you can shop at local boutiques, such as the Silly Goose and nautical-themed Erie & Anchor (erieandanchor.com). Go on a scavenger hunt to locate Main Street Vermilion’s vintage postcard murals, peruse artwork at the Vermilion Arts Guild Gallery (mainstreetvermilion.org/artsguild) or grab some ice cream and hit Main Street Beach. Finally, you can’t visit without getting out on the water, whether it’s renting a kayak from West River Paddling Co. (westriverkayak.com) or cruising aboard the Mystic Belle paddleboat (donparsonsmarina.com/mysticbelle)

Dining Destinations:
Families love casual dining at Woodstock Cafe (woodstockcafeandcoffee.com) and Big Ed’s Main Street Soda Grill for its burgers and shakes. Dock-and-dine options include Quaker Steak & Lube (thelube.com) and Huggy’s Social House, not to mention Chez François (chezfrancois.com), one of the top places in the country for French-style cuisine. Housed in a former sail loft, the restaurant has a dress code in the main dining room, but the riverfront cafe and Touche Bistro are more casual.

Village of Lake Captains:
Vermilion was once known as the “Village of Lake Captains” since so many ship captains built opulent homes near the port. Two of these homes now welcome guests for overnight stays. The Captain Gilchrist Guesthouse (gilchristguesthouse.com) serves up a home-cooked breakfast and views of Lake Erie, while the Captain Bell House (captainbellhouse.com) has several spacious suites, each with its own kitchen. Breakfast is provided by Granny Joe’s Restaurant a block away.

 

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