Colleen Smitek

We all know about — and love — Lake Erie icons like Cedar Point, Niagara Falls and Put-in-Bay, but our shore also is lined with lesser-known treasures just waiting for you to explore.

From ziplining and glamping to movies under the stars and scenic views of the northern lights, get the scoop on activities for the entire family to enjoy once the sun goes down.

Four extreme adventures to read about and four easier outings to try yourself.

Why Zinn — and nearly a million followers — are so into art that doesn’t last.


The beloved burger joint is back with a new look, but the same food that's made it a favorite in Rocky River, Ohio, since 1948.

For two days this summer, visitors can get a glimpse of Put-in-Bay's most intriguing home.

This refreshing smoothie lets blueberries do their thing. 
Imagine escaping to the fruit-filled fields of the Niagara Escarpment, spending the afternoon playing mini golf overlooking the water in Lakeside, Ohio, or canoeing at Point Pelee National Park along Canada’s North Shore. There’s a fresh perch sandwich waiting for you in Port Clinton, Ohio, and a bar chair by the sand calling your name in Port Stanley, Ontario. The Lake Erie region just keeps getting better and better. So explore and enjoy. 
You cast your votes, we counted them and here are the results —  the very best of Lake Erie in Ohio, Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
A Magnolia Warbler perches in a tree.

From May 5 through May 14, the shores of Lake Erie light up with millions of birds in flight — and thousands of people who gather to see them.

We’re all big on our Great Lake, but is it time to up your game? Take a look at our bingo board, and see if you can score five squares in a row. If so, you’re a Lake Erie winner. If not, it’s time to get out there and try something new. 

Chef Tracy Winkworth of The Belworth House in Waterford, Ontario, shares her favorite way to start summer.
The neighbors of Shore Acres can’t go a week this time of year without some sort of get-together. They invited us to their most patriotic party of the season for pound cake, a parade and the kind of conviviality that makes this pocket of Cleveland so inviting.
When Steve and Ava Rabold couldn’t find the charming cottage they wanted in Lakeside, Ohio, they took matters into their own hands. 
A crashing wave takes the form of a man's face.

Inspired by the work of Dave Sandford, Evans took thousands of images over the course of several years to get the shot he wanted. 

A giant Lake Erie wave

Dave Sandford is the king of Lake Erie's "liquid mountains." Here's how he does it — and what nature photography means to him. 

BrewBoat Cleveland, which launched in 2016 with pedal-powered boats, added the self-captioned electric boats this summer.

A look inside a Vermilion, Ohio, home that has it all, including a helicopter pad, private marina and two indoor swimming pools.

Sherri and Mark Lyden used to get away from it all on their 56-foot yacht, but then an offer came along that turned them into land lovers. 
Pumpkins, apples and hayrides are a given this time of year (and we love them), but autumn around the lake also brings the unexpected, including wings, wine, jazz and even a tombstone derby.
The owners of Flannel Dog Farm

Alan Block and his wife, Chris Zielski, create a one-of-a-kind experience near Lake Erie, complete with freshly baked bread, near Ashtabula Harbor.

The total eclipse over Lake Erie may have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but moments of wonder and celebration don’t have to be.

Representatives from the Great Lakes Island Alliance meet in Ohio next to a ferry boat.

Reps from 20 islands in the Great Lakes Islands Alliance met in October to brainstorm solutions for common challenges of life surrounded by water. 

The warmer weather brings a mixed bag to both ferry boat operators and to locals looking to have a bit of winter fun.

The ferries are running, beaches are open and there’s a full line-up of festivals and fun just waiting for you to join in. Here are 25 of the lake’s best events, plus a look at what’s new and other top ways to spend a summer day.

After a successful first season on the Great Lakes last summer, Viking cruises is expanding with an itinerary that includes Cleveland.

A cottage in Ohio proves that what's new can look old - and be earth-friendly, too.
It’s easy — and fun — to flit from beach to winery to restaurant when the weather’s fine. But Lake Erie offers so much more. Why not take a trip into the past to explore our region’s rich history. And don’t worry, there’s still ice cream involved.

Editor Colleen Smitek reveals the inspiration behind this year's Travel Guide — to nudge you out of your comfortable corner of Lake Erie and discover all the magnificent adventures that await along the shoreline and beyond.

Linda Chudowsky has lived near the lake in Ohio since 1965 — and she’s been baking this pie just as long. Concord grapes are only available through early fall, so now is the time to make this seasonal treat. 
Making your own maple syrup is very, very fun. But don't expect to turn a profit.
a collection of soap

Patti Wandover's northeast Ohio shop re-opens in a brand new space on March 10.

The bugs are coming — and that's a good thing — but they can also inflict a lot of damage.

Make breakfast amazing with these easy maple crepes.
A rescue tugboat

Meet Heather Moore and Jim Brown, the new owners of the Cleveland Harbor West Pierhead Lighthouse.

Photo of Canadian flag blowing in breeze over Lake Erie next to an outdoor lounge chair.

All Pandemic travel restrictions to Canada are over, making now a great time to head to the border and enjoy Ontario.

What do you do when life is moving too fast? You leave the farm and plan the journey of a lifetime with your two toddler sons. 

Three people on a paddle board in Lake Erie at sunset

Nothing can stop nature’s nightly show. Here are 10 of our favorite ways to enjoy the splendor from the shores, from drinks in Kelleys Island to yoga in Vermilion. 

Lake Erie provides an ideal growing environment for this stone fruit. Pick up a quart — or more — and make peaches the star of your next meal or get-together. They’re just as delicious in a pie as in a pita — and add their one-of-a-kind flavor to everything from the humble chocolate chip cookie to sparkling cocktails. 
This recipe, shared by chef Heather Pond of the Blue Elephant in Simcoe, Ontario, begs for a pitcher of margaritas, a few friends and a sunny late afternoon on the patio. 

This vacation community's newest restaurant offers elevated bar food — and a bright-and-airy gathering spot.

An urban couple finds peace on their 85-acre Port Glasgow retreat along Ontario’s stretch of Lake Erie.
If you're looking for easy, get take-out, but if you're looking for a truly elegant brunch to serve your guests, this recipe is it. 

Most of us thought the winter of 2014 was bad. Really bad. But for the anglers, snowmobilers and a few crazy runners who took to Lake Erie, it was the adventure of a lifetime. 

 It was an “aha” moment for chef Jamie Simpson of the Culinary Vegetable Institute in Milan, Ohio, when he came up with this gluten-free alternative to pasta using a little-known fall root vegetable. Simpson suggests serving the dish with duck, pheasant or just before an amazing steak. Pair it with a pinot grigio from the Alto Adige region of Italy for your own “aha” moment.


Sandusky in the off-season means merry-go-rounds, scones and more.
For the Redfern family, the peninsula is a labor of love — and a great place to live. 

Patti Wandover’s Marblehead Soap Co. began as a mission to heal herself — and grew into a shop so successful that it just doubled its size in a brand-new building. 

Catherine Schmuck prepares to head to sea.

For Catherine Schmuck, retirement means a life on the Great Lakes — and a new cookbook.

Summer is the time to show off the garden — and no dish does that better than stuffed peppers cacciatore. It’s the creation of chef/owner/gardner Dan Megna of the Twisted Lemon Restaurant in Cayuga, Ontario.

When Sir Yacht told nearly 5 million people that Lake Erie is "the worst" of the Great Lakes, we had to call him on it. 

A photo of a large pizza

The Toledo, Ohio, pizza joint is struggling to keep up with business after the Barstool Sports icon paid a visit. 

Take advantage of local peaches and blackberries with this sweet summer salad, shared by Bluebird Cafe in Lakeside, Ohio.

This is the time of year to leave work at five, let the dust bunnies multiply and chase fun. For some, that means thrills like trying a new ropes course, striking a warrior pose on a paddleboard or taking part in a zombie mud run. For others, it’s chilling to Tchaikovsky with a glass of wine, going on a firefly walk or spending an afternoon picking peaches. Whatever your definition of a good time may be, now is the time to have it. Here are 35 trips, outings and events to take you from now until …  well, there’s no reason to even think about that yet.
At most cookouts, it’s the grill that gets all the attention. Not so when you serve this salad, which pairs a summer staple (watermelon) with a nutritional powerhouse (kale) and tops it all off with tangy feta cheese. Thanks to Wegmans, a family-owned supermarket chain headquartered in New York state, for creating and sharing this recipe.
It all started with a $12,000 “piece of junk.”

From Ontario to Ohio — and everywhere in-between — here's where you'll find something special for the lake lover in your life. 

Meet the talented professionals and hobbyists out there day after day — and sometimes at night — capturing the beauty of Lake Erie. 

It feels like you’re stepping into a 1950’s summer when you hit the kitschy, fun-filled strip of pizza joints, arcades and sweets shops in eastern Ohio. And the good times are still rolling all around the lake. Check out the ale trail in Erie, Pennsylvania. Have barbecue on the beach in Conneaut, Ohio. Bike the river in Buffalo. Or try your hand at the latest craze to sweep the lake — indoor shuffleboard clubs.
It's more exciting than ever around our lake, but even after the tall ships sail away there's so much to do. Whether you're looking to indulge or explore, these are the can't-miss places, events and activities around our great lake.
Plant these herbs today for great flavor all summer long — and then some.
For years, Rose and Doug Sabin longed for a place on the lake. Theft, flood and fire were never part of the plan.
For Karen DiBenedetto of Ohio, the perfect summer party begins with a plan. We venture behind the scenes of her latest get-together for tips, tricks and — even better — family recipes.
The winners of our third annual photo contest

At the Twisted Lemon in Cayuga, Ontario, chef Dan Megna combines the first flavors of the season.

The deck of this beachside restaurant hovers over the sand. The food’s not bad either.
When Kristen Stanford began researching the Lake Erie water snake in 1999 from her base at Ohio State’s Stone Laboratory near Put-in-Bay, Ohio, there were fewer than 2,000. Now, there are between 10,000 and 12,000 and the snake has officially been delisted as an endangered species. We checked in with the woman known as “The Snake Lady” to see how she did it.
Start now to get the most out of every drop of sunshine. From berry picking to kayaking, Ferris wheels to fishing, we’ve got plans for round-the-lake fun.

What started as a hobby has turned into much more for Kelly Hand and her sunrise surf crew.

Rosé has taken Lake Erie by storm. Here's where to find it — and what to pair it with. 

Shared by Jonathan Haloua, executive chef at La Fleur Restaurant in Mayville, New York, these bite-size tarts are perfect for an elegant, at-home happy hour. 

For three local couples, living small offers big rewards, including freedom, debt-free living and a connection with nature and their surroundings. 
An ice skating "ribbon" in Toledo, Ohio.

Metroparks Toledo just opened a new 1,000-foot-long ice skating ribbon — and it's too cool.

With 2022 in the books, we take a look at what's been happening in and around Lake Erie.

Jeri McMinn stands at the bottom of a huge ice formation.

Bill and Jeri McMinn love to hike — and colder temperatures are an invitation to bundle up and keep exploring.

The perfect sunglasses for the boater in your life — or for anyone looking to make a style statement.