20 Things to Do in Port Clinton, Ohio: Your Ultimate Guide

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Are you headed out for an adventure along the Erie Shores? Consider some of these things to do in Port Clinton, Ohio!

Port Clinton is the place to be if you want a fun and relaxing vacation spot. Whether traveling with family, friends, or solo, you will find plenty of activities to suit your interests.

From State Parks to Wildlife Safari, there is a bit of everything in the perfect place along the Erie Shores.

One of the top attractions in Port Clinton is Lake Erie itself. The lake offers plenty of opportunities for fishing, boating, and swimming.

You can rent a boat and explore the nearby coves and inlets or take a relaxing ferry ride to one of the nearby islands – like Put-in-Bay or Kelleys Island

If you are an angler, you can fish for walleye, bass, yellow perch, and bluegill. If you are looking to relax, you can lounge on the beautiful beaches and enjoy the stunning views of the lake.

Things to do in Port Clinton, OH: Outdoor Activities

If you are looking for outdoor activities in Port Clinton, Ohio, you're in luck! There are plenty of things to do that will get you out in the fresh air. Here are some of our top picks for outdoor activities:

Black fishing rod and body of water during golden hour.

Fishing in Lake Erie

Lake Erie is known for its excellent fishing, and Port Clinton is one of the best places to cast your line. On a fishing trip, you can catch a variety of fish, including walleye, perch, and bass. 

Many charter boats are available for hire, or you can bring your boat. If you are new to fishing, consider taking a guided trip with an experienced captain who can show you the ropes.

Welcome sign for Magee Marsh Bird Trail surrounded by lush greenery, with the trail leading into a wooded area. The sign is decorated with painted birds and indicates that the trail is part of the ODNR Division of Wildlife.

Bird Watching at Magee Marsh

Magee Marsh Wildlife Area is a must-visit spot for bird watchers. It is located just a short drive from Port Clinton and is home to over 300 species of birds. 

The best time to visit is during the spring migration, when you can see thousands of birds passing through. There are several trails to explore, and you can also take a guided tour with a knowledgeable birding expert.

Address:13229 W. SR 2 Oak Harbor, OH 43449

A scenic overview of a lush green park with winding pathways, benches, and a variety of trees and shrubbery under a cloudy sky. There are a few people visible on a trail in the distance, highlighting the park's recreational use.

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge

The Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to explore nature. The refuge covers over 6,000 acres of wetlands, forests, and grasslands and is home to over 240 species of birds.

You can hike the trails, go birdwatching, or take a guided tour to learn about the local flora and fauna.

Be sure to check out the visitor center – the duck display upstairs is a unique experience.

Address: 14000 OH-2, Oak Harbor, OH 43449

Billboard for African Safari Wildlife Park featuring a giraffe, with bold text stating "Rain or Shine Turn Right" for the drive-thru experience. The sign is set against a clear sky and green field.

African Safari Wildlife Park

Imagine stepping into an adventure where the wilds of Africa come to life in Port Clinton. At the African Safari Wildlife Park, you can go face-to-face with exotic animals without leaving Ohio.

A highlight is the giraffe encounter, where you can feed these gentle giants. You can even take camel rides at the park; what a unique experience!

The park offers drive-through and walk-through experiences, allowing you to observe and interact with creatures from different continents.

As you navigate through the habitat, zebras, camels, and alpacas approach, eager for a snack. Cups of food are available for purchase to make these close encounters even more thrilling.

The park is open from March through early December. Fees are charged for entrance – expect $20+ per person.

Address: 267 S Lightner Road, Port Clinton, Ohio 43452

The Watering Hole at Monsoon Lagoon

At The Watering Hole at Monsoon Lagoon, adventure awaits with a unique blend of safari experiences, waterpark fun, and leisure activities.

Navigate a safari up close with giraffes and zebras, then cool off in a waterpark that boasts a swim-up bar and thrilling slides.

There's more: engage in a mini-golf challenge, race in go-karts, or become a gem miner for a day. It is an ideal spot for families seeking excitement and relaxation, wrapped up in an unforgettable visit.

Prices vary, and this destination is only open from May through September.

Address: 1530 S Danbury Rd, Port Clinton, OH 43452

People engaged in outdoor activities at "Island Adventures," with a miniature golf area in the background and a black sedan in the foreground. The scene is bustling with casual recreational vibes and greenery.

Fast Eddie's Sports Park

Fast Eddie's is a well-known destination that provides a fun and lively atmosphere with entertainment options for the entire family.

It is known for its arcade and indoor entertainment center, with games and activities for families and friends to enjoy.

At Fast Eddie's, guests can experience classic arcade games, modern video games, air hockey, skeeball, and other interactive attractions.

The arcade features a redemption center where players can exchange tickets won from games for prizes.

Other onsite activities include mini-golf, go-karts, bumper boats, and mining. Prices vary depending on activity.

Address: 280 SE Catawba Rd (Rt53N), Port Clinton, Ohio 43452

Free Things to do in Port Clinton, Ohio

These free attractions provide a budget-friendly way to enjoy the beauty and charm of Port Clinton, Ohio, without spending a dime. They are also activities that you could do by yourself or enjoy with your family.

Concrete pathway bordered by large rocks leading out into a tranquil lake, with overcast skies above and wildflowers in the foreground. A single individual in a bright green shirt is visible in the distance, adding a pop of color to the serene landscape.

Jefferson Street Pier

At the Jefferson Street Pier, you can take a stroll, fish from the pier, or sit and absorb the serenity of the waterfront. It is an ideal place for quiet reflection and enjoying nature's wonders.

The pier's location often provides opportunities for birdwatching, especially during migratory seasons when a variety of bird species can be spotted along the shoreline.

Address: 205 E. Perry St. (SR 163), Port Clinton, OH 43452 (Waterworks Park)

Historic Downtown Port Clinton 

Explore the charming streets of downtown Port Clinton, where the heart of the town's small-town atmosphere embraces you warmly. 

Spend an afternoon indulging in retail therapy at a gallery or other local small business. Once you've shopped til you dropped, head out to check the dining scene.

Downtown's dining scene boasts an array of eateries. From casual bites to sit-down meals, the emphasis is always on fresh, flavorful, and satisfying fare.

The charm of Port Clinton doesn't stem from grand gestures but the genuine, unpretentious warmth of its people and places.

The ambiance of small-town life invites you to slow down, savor every moment, and take pleasure in the simple things. 

Visitors atop the Port Clinton Light Station, a historic white and green lighthouse on a stone base, with an informative plaque at the front and an American flag placed nearby. The overcast sky and calm lake in the background create a serene, historical atmosphere.

Port Clinton Lighthouse 

The Port Clinton Lighthouse is a timeless sentinel, proudly watching over Lake Erie for over a century. Its storied past is a testament to the region's rich maritime history and the community's unwavering commitment to preserving it.

A stroll around this iconic structure offers a captivating glimpse into the world of early maritime navigators.

This picturesque lighthouse is a piece of history and a perfect backdrop for photographs. If you are eager to delve deeper into its history, you can choose to take a guided tour for a small fee.

Address: 205 E. Perry St. (SR 163), Port Clinton, OH 43452 (Waterworks Park) 

Public park scene with a large tree in the foreground, a colorful playground structure, and a baseball field in the background, all under a cloudy sky. The park is a blend of recreational spaces offering activities for various age groups.

Waterworks Park

Waterworks Park is your gateway to an enjoyable afternoon surrounded by nature's beauty. This park offers many amenities to suit every visitor's preferences.

Families with children can explore the well-equipped playground, while sports enthusiasts can engage in games at the baseball/softball field. 

Fishing enthusiasts can choose pond or pier fishing, and wheelchair-accessible trails ensure everyone can enjoy the natural beauty. 

Picnic areas with grills make it perfect for a family gathering, and your furry friends are welcome as the park is pet-friendly. 

Remember to visit the iconic Port Clinton Lighthouse within the park. Port Clinton City Beach is located right next door for beach access, making it a fantastic spot to relax, play, and connect with the outdoors. 

Address: 205 E. Perry St. (SR 163), Port Clinton, OH 43452

Beach shop setup with paddleboards on display, life jackets, and a canopy tent, situated on a gravelly surface near a water body. An "Open" sign indicates the shop is ready for business, catering to water sports and outdoor activities.

Lakeview Park 

Lakeview Park is a serene lakeside haven full of natural beauty and abundant amenities. Situated with picturesque views of Lake Erie, this park offers something for everyone.

Lakeview Park features a well-equipped playground for families with children, where kids can swing, slide, and climb to their hearts' content.

Picnic tables and benches are scattered throughout the park, providing ideal spots for families and friends to gather, enjoy a meal, or soak in the tranquil ambiance.

This natural haven is also a favorite spot for birdwatching and water activities like fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. 

Whether you are seeking a relaxing day by the lake, a place for children to play, or a scenic spot for a picnic, Lakeview Park is a perfect destination.

Address: 1100 E Perry St, Port Clinton, OH 43452

Park view with Lake Erie in background on a bright day.

Catawba Island State Park

Catawba Island State Park is a beautiful spot for a picnic. It is located on the shores of Lake Erie and has plenty of picnic tables and charcoal grills available.

You can also enjoy watching boats pass by, swimming in the lake, or launching your boat from the park's ramp.

There is ample parking and a nice place to sit and watch boats float by.

Address: 4049 E Moores Dock Rd, Port Clinton, OH 43452

Banner promoting '75+ Themed Road Trip Ideas' with a clickable link, depicted on an olive green background with white and yellow text and directional arrow graphics, suggesting a resource for travelers to plan their next adventure with unique themes.

Things to do in Port Clinton, OH, on a Rainy Day

Liberty Aviation Museum

The Liberty Aviation Museum showcases an impressive collection of vintage aircraft, some fully operational and taken to the skies periodically.

Beyond the aircraft, the museum houses a wealth of aviation artifacts, including uniforms, memorabilia, and historical documents, offering visitors an immersive journey through the history of flight.

What truly distinguishes the Liberty Aviation Museum is its dedication to preserving the machines of flight and the remarkable stories of the people who piloted them.

Through events, lectures, and educational programs, the museum sheds light on the human side of aviation history, honoring the bravery and innovation of those who soared the skies. 

There is a fee of around $15 for adults and $10 for children. Expect to spend about 2 hours exploring the museum.

Address: 3515 E State Rd, Port Clinton, OH 43452

Port Clinton Community Library

While it may not be a traditional tourist attraction, it holds a special place in the community. It is worth visiting if you are interested in literature, local history, or a quiet relaxing space.

The Ida Rupp Library often holds events – from story times and arts and crafts to meditation. Check online or stop in for a schedule of events.

Address: 310 Madison Street, Port Clinton, OH 43452

Things to do in Port Clinton, OH at Night

While Port Clinton is considered to be a smaller city in the area, there are still many evening activities to consider in the City of Port Clinton.

Dine at Local Restaurants

Explore the restaurants within Port Clinton, offering delicious seafood, classic American dishes, and waterfront dining options.

Take a Sunset Stroll 

Head to a waterfront location like the Port Clinton City Beach or the pier to watch the sunset over Lake Erie. It is a beautiful way to end the day and unwind.

Nighttime Fishing on Lake Erie

 If you have the necessary permits, you can enjoy fishing under the stars right off the shores of Port Clinton.

Explore Downtown

Take a leisurely walk through downtown Port Clinton and explore its shops, boutiques, and galleries. Many stores may stay open late, allowing for some evening shopping.

Go Bowling

Have some fun at a local bowling alley, where you can enjoy a few games with family and friends in a relaxed atmosphere.

Play Miniature Golf

Challenge your friends or family to a game of miniature golf at one of the nearby courses. It is a great way to enjoy some friendly competition under the stars.

Top things to do near Port Clinton, Ohio

There are plenty of activities in the surrounding areas if you run out of things in Port Clinton. Some of my favorite things include the following: 

A tall stone tower Peace Memorial monument under a bright blue sky, with three flags at half-mast in the foreground, including the American and British flags, symbolizing respect or mourning. The lush green lawn and clear weather give the location a serene and respectful atmosphere.

Put-in-Bay Island

Take a ferry ride from Port Clinton to Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island. Explore the island's attractions, including Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial, Heineman's Winery, and Crystal Cave.

The downtown area is brimming with charming shops, restaurants, and bars, making it a bustling hub of activity day and night.

To reach Put-in-Bay, you can choose from several ferry options departing from Port Clinton and other nearby ports, including the Jet Express and Miller Ferry.

There are many activities close to the Jet Express drop-off point, or if you want to venture further on the island, rent a golf cart.

The quiet, pebble-strewn beach of Scheele Preserve on Kelleys Island, with calm waters gently lapping at the shore, surrounded by lush greenery under an overcast sky, creating a serene and secluded lakeside retreat

Kelleys Island

Kelleys Island, located in Lake Erie near Port Clinton, Ohio, is a picturesque island getaway known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities.

If you visit Kelleys Island, you can explore pristine beaches, scenic hiking trails, and tranquil state parks.

The island also boasts historical attractions such as the Glacial Grooves State Memorial, which is unique and has ancient geological formations carved by glaciers thousands of years ago.

Take a bicycle or rent a golf cart to get around the island easily. We rode our bikes around the island and had so much fun soaking in the atmosphere.

The ferry lines serving Kelleys Island include the Kelleys Island Ferry, Jet Express, and Goodtime Island Cruises. Ferry costs vary but generally are less than $30 per person.

Silhouette of a distant amusement park with multiple roller coasters and thrill rides seen across a calm expanse of water under a hazy sky, evoking a sense of excitement and entertainment.

Cedar Point Amusement Park

Just a short drive away in Sandusky, Ohio, Cedar Point is one of the world's best-known amusement parks, famous for its thrilling roller coasters and family-friendly attractions.

Known as the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World,” Cedar Point offers unparalleled thrills with its world-class roller coasters like Millennium Force and Top Thrill Dragster. 

Besides thrilling rides, you can enjoy family-friendly attractions, picturesque views of Lake Erie, and a beautiful beach for relaxation. 

Expect to shell out about $50 for a daily ticket.

Address: 1 Cedar Point Drive, Sandusky, OH 44870

Path leading to the Marblehead Lighthouse, established in 1821, with visitors around the base and some looking out from the top. The lighthouse stands tall against a backdrop of trees and overcast skies, serving as a historic beacon on the lakeshore.

Marblehead Lighthouse State Park

Marblehead Lighthouse State Park, with its iconic tower, is the longest continuously operating lighthouse on the United States side of the Great Lakes.

Climbing to the top provides a fantastic view that's hard to match – the vast expanse of Lake Erie on one side and the charming landscape of the park on the other.

The park also houses a museum where you can uncover more about the lighthouse's role and impact throughout the years.

There is a small fee if you want to climb up the tower.

Address: 110 Lighthouse Dr, Marblehead, OH 43440

Toledo Museum of Art

Located in Toledo, about 30 miles from Port Clinton, this museum features an extensive fine art collection, including works by famous artists like Rembrandt, Picasso, and Monet.

In addition to its permanent collection, the museum hosts rotating exhibitions showcasing diverse art forms, from paintings and sculptures to glass and decorative arts. 

You can also explore the museum's stunning architecture, which features a mix of classical and modern design elements, including the iconic Glass Pavilion.

Entry to the Toledo Museum of Art is free, but you will need to pay for parking.

Address: 2445 Monroe St, Toledo, OH 43620

A polar bear in a zoo habitat, partially submerged in water, playfully biting on a blue enrichment toy. The reflection on the water surface creates a textured view of this majestic animal in a moment of leisure.

Toledo Zoo

The Toledo Zoo is a premier destination for wildlife enthusiasts and families. The zoo, founded in 1900, is home to over 10,000 animals representing more than 700 species from around the globe.

There are plenty of themed exhibits to explore at the zoo, including the African savanna, Arctic tundra, and tropical rainforest, where you will encounter exotic creatures such as elephants, lions, polar bears, and orangutans.

Living in the Detroit area, I often hear about how amazing the Toledo Zoo is. The Toledo Zoo also has seasonal events, like Lights Before Christmas, Little Boo at the Zoo, Zoo Snooze, Zoo Brew, etc.

Tickets are about $15 per person, and parking charges are expected.

Note: The zoo has implemented a cashless payment system.

Address: 2 Hippo Way, Toledo, OH 43609 or 2683 Broadway St., Toledo, OH 43609

East Harbor State Park

East Harbor State Park, near Lakeside-Marblehead, Ohio, offers diverse outdoor activities across 1,800 acres along Lake Erie.

You can enjoy hiking, biking, swimming, disc golf, and boating at the park amidst forests, wetlands, and sandy beaches.

The park's marina and boat launch facilities provide access to fishing and water sports, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers seeking relaxation and adventure. 

There is also plenty of camping at this state park. Visiting the park is free, but some things like camping and boat launch use have fees.

Address: 1169 N Buck Rd, Lakeside Marblehead, OH 43440

Rows of young grapevines supported by wooden stakes and wire trellises, showcasing the early stages of a vineyard against a backdrop of lush trees. The greenery suggests a quiet, rural setting devoted to viticulture.

Wineries and Vineyards

While few wineries and vineyards are directly in the Port Clinton area, several nearby options in the broader region of Lake Erie's shores offer delightful wine-tasting experiences amidst scenic landscapes.

Some notable wineries and vineyards near Port Clinton include:

  • Located in nearby Catawba Island, Mon Ami Winery is one of the oldest wineries in the Lake Erie Islands region. 
  • In Sandusky, Ohio, Firelands Winery offers a wide selection of award-winning wines crafted from locally grown grapes. 
  • Located in Wakeman, Ohio, Matus Winery is known for its relaxed and inviting atmosphere, offering tastings of handcrafted wines made from estate-grown grapes. 
  • Situated in Sandusky, Hermes Vineyards offers a tranquil setting for wine enthusiasts to enjoy tastings of premium estate wines surrounded by scenic vineyards and gardens.
  • Located in nearby Oak Harbor, Ohio, Slate Run Vineyard offers a selection of handcrafted wines made from locally grown grapes.

Things to do in Port Clinton, OH: Special Events

Throughout the year, Port Clinton hosts many special events that showcase the community's unique character and spirit.

Walleye Festival: Held annually over Memorial Day weekend, the Walleye Festival is a beloved tradition celebrating Port Clinton's status as the “Walleye Capital of the World.” The festival features live music, delicious food vendors, carnival rides, fishing tournaments, and a grand parade.

Greater Port Clinton Area Arts Council's Art Walk: This event showcases the talents of local artists and artisans, with galleries and businesses throughout downtown Port Clinton opening their doors to display artwork ranging from paintings and sculptures to jewelry and crafts.

Main Street Port Clinton's Downtown Trick or Treat: Families can enjoy a safe and festive Halloween celebration in downtown Port Clinton, where local businesses hand out treats to costumed children. The event often includes activities like pumpkin decorating and costume contests.

Port Clinton Lighthouse Festival: Celebrating the rich maritime history of Port Clinton, this festival features tours of the historic Port Clinton Lighthouse, live music, food vendors, children's activities, and boat rides on Lake Erie.

Christmas in Port Clinton: The holiday season comes alive in Port Clinton with festive events such as the Community Christmas Parade, tree lighting ceremony, visits with Santa Claus, holiday concerts, and shopping events at local businesses.

Walleye Drop on New Year's Eve: Ring in the New Year in Port Clinton with the iconic Walleye Drop, where a giant fiberglass walleye is lowered from the sky at midnight to welcome the start of the new year. The event includes live entertainment, food vendors, and a lively atmosphere as residents and visitors gather to celebrate.

Sign reading "Lake Erie Love" in bold, stylized letters with a heart symbol, promoting the SHORESandISLANDS.com website, set against a backdrop of the lake with boats visible in the distance, under an overcast sky.

Where to stay in Port Clinton

Best Hotel for Families

The Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Port Clinton – Catawba Island offers comfortable rooms and convenient amenities, including complimentary breakfast and free Wi-Fi. It is located near Lake Erie and downtown and provides easy access to local attractions.

Guests can also enjoy a fitness center and indoor pool at this hotel.

Address: 50 NE Catawba Rd, Port Clinton, OH 43452

Best Downtown Hotel for Couples

The Island House Hotel has a boutique elegance and historic charm in the downtown area.

Enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast before heading out for adventures, like walking over to the Jet Express for island hopping, booking a fishing charter, or exploring the vibrant nightlife of downtown Port Clinton.

Address: 102 Madison St, Port Clinton, OH 43452-1104

Where to eat in Port Clinton

Port Clinton has plenty of dining options, from fast food joints to sports pubs to fine dining. Here are a few of my top recommendations:

Jolly Roger Seafood House – A must-visit for seafood lovers. Their perch and walleye dishes are local favorites, capturing the essence of Lake Erie's bounty. It is a casual spot with no frills but full flavors, perfect for a laid-back meal after a day of exploring.

Mon Ami Restaurant & Historic Winery – Offering a touch of elegance and a taste of local wine, this spot is excellent for those who enjoy pairing history with their meals. The menu has something for everyone, from seafood to steak.

The Orchard Restaurant & Bar – Known for its farm-to-table approach, this spot serves fresh, locally sourced dishes in a cozy setting. It is ideal for travelers like you who appreciate farm-to-fork meals.

Dock's Beach House – For those who love dining with a view, Dock's Beach House offers fantastic waterfront views alongside a menu filled with fresh seafood and classic American fare. It is a great place to unwind and enjoy the sunset over Lake Erie.

Slaters Madison Street Pub – A laid-back pub with a hearty selection of burgers, wings, and beers. It is the perfect spot to relax and share stories of your travels with locals or fellow travelers.

A tranquil beach scene with children playing on the sandy shore, a calm Lake Erie, and a long stone breakwater extending into the water, under a hazy sky, creating a peaceful and recreational setting.

Final Thoughts: Things to do in Port Clinton

Port Clinton, Ohio, boasts an array of activities and attractions to suit every traveler's taste.

Whether you are craving outdoor adventures, eager to delve into local history and culture, or simply looking to soak up the lakeside ambiance, this charming town has it all.

Whether planning a quick weekend escape or a more extended vacation, Port Clinton promises an enriching experience for all. 

So why wait? Discover the diverse charms of this vibrant town – you are in for a delightful adventure!

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A tranquil beach scene with children playing on the sandy shore, a calm Lake Erie, and a long stone breakwater extending into the water, under a hazy sky, creating a peaceful and recreational setting.
3 images showing things to do in Port Clinton Ohio: Welcome sign for Magee Marsh Bird Trail surrounded by lush greenery, with the trail leading into a wooded area. The sign is decorated with painted birds and indicates that the trail is part of the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Visitors atop the Port Clinton Light Station, a historic white and green lighthouse on a stone base, with an informative plaque at the front and an American flag placed nearby. The overcast sky and calm lake in the background create a serene, historical atmosphere. Sign reading "Lake Erie Love" in bold, stylized letters with a heart symbol, promoting the SHORESandISLANDS.com website, set against a backdrop of the lake with boats visible in the distance, under an overcast sky.
Concrete pathway bordered by large rocks leading out into a tranquil lake, with overcast skies above and wildflowers in the foreground. A single individual in a bright green shirt is visible in the distance, adding a pop of color to the serene landscape.

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