SHORES & ISLANDS OHIO, May 4, 2023 --- National Travel and Tourism Week is coming! Established in 1983, National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) is an annual tradition to celebrate the U.S. travel community and travel’s essential role in stimulating economic growth, cultivating vibrant communities, creating quality job opportunities, inspiring new businesses, and elevating the quality of life for Americans every day. May 7-13, 2023, marks the 40th anniversary of NTTW. Travel, even in your own neighborhood, is integral to every industry and nearly everything we do. Travel is essential to a future of American growth and innovation. Shores & Islands Ohio is proud to celebrate NTTW to keep moving #TravelForward.
The Erie and Ottawa county destination welcomes more than 11 million visitors annually and provides an economic impact of more than $2.2 Billion. The Shores & Islands Ohio destination marketing organization operates two welcome centers – in Sandusky and Port Clinton. In celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week, we invite locals to experience what millions of visitors discover each year. Join us in our welcome centers for a full week of activities and ways to get out and enjoy the Shores & Islands Ohio region!
Each day, we are honoring a different aspect of the local tourism landscape. Here are some of the fun things you can do each day:
All Week – Celebrate National Travel & Tourism Week
The Shores & Islands Ohio welcome centers, located at 125 E. Water St., Sandusky and 770 S.E. Catawba Rd., Port Clinton, are open Monday-Thursday, 9 am-5 pm, Friday, 9 am-6 pm, and Saturday, 9 am-2 pm. Beginning on Monday, in order to help share the Lake Erie Love, 3’ x 3’ flags will be available at both welcome centers for a suggested donation of $20 to the Lake Erie Foundation. The “Lake Erie Love” flags are available to both residents and local businesses, who are encouraged to show their Shores & Islands Ohio pride by sharing the love! A limited number of flags are available until sold out.
Also, all week, free cookies will be served in both welcome centers. The cookies are baked by local viral social media baker and entertainer, Dash of Dayton, who also happens to be Shores & Islands Ohio’s Social Media Manager, Dayton Barnett – who will also be sharing videos all week long on our social channels.
Sunday, May 7 – Sunrise Sunday
While the Shores & Islands Ohio welcome centers are closed on Sunday, join us on our social media platforms to watch a sunrise video taken at the Marblehead Lighthouse. We will be kicking off our photo contest, where photos of local landmarks, views, and attractions can be entered to win prizes and possibly be displayed in our welcome centers. The contest will run for the entire month of May.
Monday, May 8 – Museum Monday
On Monday, we encourage folks to explore the variety of museums in the region. Stop by our welcome centers to pick up a limited quantity of FREE museum tickets. Participating museums include Liberty Aviation Museum, Maritime Museum of Sandusky, Merry-Go-Round Museum, Milan Museum, Edison Birthplace Museum, Historic Lyme Village, Vermilion History Museum, and R.B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums. One ticket per family; tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis and until they run out.
Tuesday, May 9 – Travel Tuesday: Explore Your Own Backyard
On Tuesday, we highlight and draw attention a number of unique attractions throughout the region – encouraging you to discover those hidden gems in your own “backyard.” On May 9, stop by the welcome centers to enter for a chance to win a “Travel Tuesday” gift basket which includes an overnight stay at White Dog Bed & Breakfast in Milan, gate passes to Lakeside Chautauqua, passes to Common Ground Canopy Tours, and other Shores & Islands Ohio swag. The winner will be drawn Wednesday, May 10 and contacted via email.
Wednesday, May 10 – Wine Wednesday
On Wednesday, we encourage you to explore the many wineries in Shores & Islands Ohio. This will mark the launch of the updated Shores & Islands Ohio Cheers Trail and the all-new mobile passport which allows guests who visit this exclusive collection of more than 20 wineries, cideries, breweries, and distilleries throughout the region to “check-in” on their phones and earn points towards a variety of prizes. No apps need to be downloaded, just register for the mobile passport and earn points by visiting participating locations, all while claiming prizes along the way. Earn between 100-150 points at each business check-in. At 700 points, earn a wine stopper; at 950 points, earn a set of cork coasters; and at 1,300 points, earn a glass stemless goblet or a glass tumbler. Visit SHORESandISLANDS.com and click on the Cheers Trail to learn more.
Additionally, you are encouraged to stop by our welcome centers to register to win a Wine Gift Basket which will include Lake Erie Love wine from Firelands Winery, Cheers Trail wine glasses, $100 gift card to The Ørchard, and Shores & Islands Ohio swag. The winner will be drawn on Thursday, May 11 and contacted via email.
Thursday, May 11 – Throwback Thursday
Thursday is when we remember the local attractions and fun that remind us of our childhood – from roller skating, to visiting Cedar Point throughout the years, to enjoying that tasty Toft’s Ice Cream cone! Stop by the welcome centers on Thursday, where we will be offering free single-serve Toft’s Ice Cream – vanilla, chocolate, and sherbet available, one per customer. Ahh the memories!
Friday, May 12 – Foodie Friday
On Friday we highlight the unique foods that can only be found at restaurants in Shores & Islands Ohio. Think fresh perch and walleye, straight from Lake Erie, and a variety of other specialty food items that are distinctive to the region. Each welcome center will host a food truck which will be open to the public from 11 am-6 pm. Stop by the Sandusky Welcome Center to purchase empanadas and other Argentinian foods from The Gaucho & The Gringa, parked behind the welcome center on E. Shoreline Drive. At the Port Clinton center, get your taste of the world-famous Lobster Bisque from The Boardwalk Put-in-Bay’s mobile eatery, parked right in our parking lot. Yum!
Saturday, May 13 – Sip & Shop Saturday
A number of Shores & Islands Ohio communities feature downtown shopping districts where you can shop community retailers while enjoying a beverage. Milan and Sandusky offer a DORA district, while Port Clinton offers a similar MORA, where alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks can be taken from a number of establishments in to-go cups, so that guests can sip while shopping! Stop by the welcome centers on Saturday for a list of businesses included within these districts of visit SHORESandISLANDS.com/national-travel-tourism-week to see a map of locations. Then grab your favorite coffee, smoothie, or brew and get to shopping and supporting local!
Finally, on Saturday, Shores & Islands Ohio is working with From Stream to Bay sustainable apparel to host a Sandusky Shores Community Clean-up. As we prepare to welcome millions of visitors to our shores this year, we want to make sure the parks, streets, and surrounding areas in Sandusky are beautiful. All are welcome to join the clean-up efforts and participants will receive gifts and giveaways. Volunteers should meet at Paddle & Climb, 305 E. Water St., at 9 am and will head out for clean-up assignments, reconvening at Paddle & Climb afterwards.
Sunday, May 14 – Sunset Sunday
Join us again on our social media accounts as we close out the week with a gorgeous sunset video at the Put-in-Bay sign located at South Bass Island State Park. Our welcome centers are closed on Sunday, but we hope you’ve enjoyed all the ways Shores & Islands Ohio is celebrating National Travel and Tourism Week! Visit SHORESandISLANDS.com/national-travel-tourism-week for additional details and be sure to request your Shores & Islands Ohio Play + Stay Guide 2023!