Updated April 2019

For families with kids in tow, budget is a major consideration when planning a family vacation. Rather than spending money on airfare and stressing over all the logistics that come with long-distance traveling, many families are taking regional trips. Fortunately for them, Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands is within 300 driving miles of more than 50 million people in the U.S. Not only is it convenient destination in terms of distance, it’s also home to world-famous Cedar Point amusement park, the charming Lake Erie islands, indoor waterpark resorts such as Kalahari Resorts & Conventions and Great Wolf Lodge, and more. Plus, Lake Erie Shores & Islands isn’t far from major such metropolitan areas as Chicago (IL), Detroit (MI), Columbus (OH), Cincinnati (OH), and Pittsburgh (PA). While choosing a location close to home is a great first step in making your vacation affordable, here are some additional ways to save when visiting Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands.

Free Attractions

The easiest way to make a vacation inexpensive is to fill it with activities that have no charge. Take a hike, relax at the beach, browse free art galleries and historical museums, enjoy public parks, and take advantage of no-cost historical walking tours such as those offered by the Erie County Historical Society. Here are some additional free and fun ideas.

  • Free Family Fun in Lake Erie Shores & Islands: Eight Free, Fun Things to Do
  • Visiting in the fall or winter? Check out No-Charge Activities You Can Do Now
  • Beaches
  • Parks & Natural Areas
  • Birding

Lodging Packages


Another smart money-saving option when planning your Lake Erie Shores & Islands getaway, is to package your accommodations with the attractions you’re planning to visit. For example, Cedar Point Resorts offer great savings on park admission when staying with them. You could also save on parking and have the advantage of additional amenities, such as the Cedar Point Beach and Cedar Point Shores Water Park admission. A stay at Cedar Point Resorts also includes early entry to Cedar Point, one hour prior to the park opening to the general public for access to 20 rides – including the all new Steel Vengeance. Many other area accommodations offer packages with such added amenities as ferry tickets, golf cart rental, tickets to a show, or a round of golf. Check out all of our current lodging packages.

Deals & Discounts

One of the most common questions visitors ask when calling or stopping by one of our welcome centers is: “Do you have any coupons or discounts?” Our answer is always YES! Here are some suggestions on how to save even more money on your Lake Erie Shores & Islands vacation.

  • Shore Savings Card – This easy-to-carry discount card can be downloaded here, is included as a tear-out in the 2019 Travel Guide, or can be picked up at one of our welcome centers. The card can be shown at a variety of attractions, stores, and restaurants for savings. The discount offers are always changing, so be sure to check here for the latest offers. Also, when searching SHORESandISLANDS.com, be sure to look for the “Special Offer” flag next to listings for those businesses that have a Shore Savings Discount.
  • Sign up for E-newsletters from attractions and accommodations – Once you have an idea of the attractions you’d like to visit during your vacation, be sure to follow those businesses on social media and check out their websites for E-newsletter sign-ups. Often, attractions will send special offers and discounts to their fans and followers, like Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, which often offers “Beat the Clock” deals that are available only for a short period of time. You can only find out about these deals if you subscribe to their emails or follow them on social media.


  • Scour online sites – Speaking of online deals, often the attraction’s direct website offers the most savings. As an example, Cedar Point’s ticket prices are often cheaper if you buy them online. Also check sites like Groupon and Sprout Social for deals near Sandusky or Port Clinton.
  • Call the Welcome Center for tips on places to purchase discount tickets. Sometimes, discount tickets are available locally at places like drug and grocery stores or AAA travel offices. Whatever your reason for visiting, the friendly staff at Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands can point you in the right direction.