Lake Erie Escapades: 12 Exciting Activities to Spice Up Your Lakeside Adventures

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Nicky.Rose.Roy Arnab Places to Visit
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Image by Shawn Gaske from Pixabay

Nature is the best teacher. If you feel depressed or stressed out,  nothing helps you more than relaxing in the arms of nature.  Lake Erie is one such place.  It spreads across two nations and has natural and historic significance.

Read on to discover the importance of Lake Erie and the fantastic things to do during your visit.

1. Lake Erie

Lake Erie is one of the five Great Lakes, which includes Lake Ontario. It is also the fourth largest in surface area. It is about 210 miles long, 57 miles wide, and 570 feet above sea level.

It runs over the international boundary between Canada and the USA. It is spread across Ontario in  Canada to the states of Michigan, Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania in the United States of America.

2. History of Lake Erie

2.1 Formation of Lake Erie

Lake Erie was formed somewhere between 1 million and 12,000 years ago. It was created when a growing river came in contact with a glacier.

What’s so great about the Great Lakes? - Cheri Dobbs and Jennifer Gabrys

The continuous flow of the river caused the limestone rocks to erode, resulting in a large depression—the significant depression over time led to the lake’s formation.

2.2 Historical Significance

Lake Erie had a significant role in the history of America.

The lake’s east shore was occupied by the indigenous people from various tribes when the European settlers arrived. ‘The Erie Tribe’ was settled on the southern coast, after which the lake was named. Another tribe called ‘Neutrals’ decided on the lake’s northern shore.

Both tribes were eventually colonized by ‘The Iroquois,’ a neighbor during the Beaver Wars in 1651 and 1657. After that, the land was used as a hunting ground for decades. It was later occupied by the French, who held it for many years.

2.3 Battle of Lake Erie

Many battles were fought in the region, including the Battle of Lake Erie in 1812. It was fought between the U.S. Navy and the British Navy. The British lost, and the U.S. regained Detroit and the lake.

The Battle of Lake Erie - War of 1812

A park has also been erected on the shore to remember war heroes of the Battle of Lake Erie. The battle witnessed a total of 123 American casualties. Of the over 500 Americans who fought the war, the majority survived.

2.4 1850s-1900s

By the 1850s, settlers established commercial fisheries on the north coast of Lake Erie. The evidence does not provide information on the flourishing of ice fishing and fisheries in the 1910s, nor the development of ports like Toledo and the new harbor in Elk Creek during this time.

2.5 20th Century

In the 20th century, the Lake Erie and Cuyahoga Rivers were severely polluted with sewage from the manufacturing industry. This resulted in  59 of 62 beaches being unsafe to swim. By the late 20th century, many species in the lake were stated endangered or extinct.

aerial view river sediment plume
By clevelandhistorical.org

Lake Erie even now suffers from large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus, which cause the growth of toxic algae in western Lake Erie. These algae use all the oxygen in the water. Consequently, these regions are known as dead zones.

This algae also caused a fire in a river in Ohio in the 1960s. All this led to the implementation of the Clean Water Act in 1972, which is still advocated. Lake Erie’s environmental health has been a concern for over two decades.

3. Things to Do at Lake Erie

There are plenty of things to do at Lake Erie. There are recreational activities, peaceful beaches, adventure sports, and great places to try local foods. It gives the visitors a once in a lifetime.

3.1. Visit the Erie Old Fort

Visit the Erie Old Fort to learn more about the brutal battles during the War of 1912. You can enjoy the audio-visual experience of the fort under siege offered by the organizers.

After the famous Seven Years’ War, the British first made the fort a portion of the defense network. You can learn more about the pivotal role of Niagara in the War of 1812. This National Historic Site offers daily tours, reenactments, musket demonstrations, and special annual events.

3.2. Witness the Impressive Marcy’s Woods

If you love nature and scenic beauty, then  Marcy’s Woods is the place to be.  It has one of the most unique biodiversity in Canada.

Explore the Outdoors: Marcy

Spread across the 285 acres of Carolinian forest, Marcy’s Wood is a protected private nature essence. Marcy’s Woods is located on the North shore of Lake Erie, between Fort Erie and Port Colborne.

This forest is home to several endangered animals, plants, birds, and reptiles. It also offers spectacular scenery of wetlands and dunes that you can enjoy.

Although the woods are privately owned by the Dino DiCienzo family, a particular part is open to the public. Marcy’s Wood is well-known for hiking. However, book early and experience the beauty of the forest, wetlands, flora, and fauna.

3.3. Explore Port Colborne Marine Museum

Port Colborne Historical and Marine Museum is recommended to be an integral part of the visit to Lake Erie. It features the history of the Welland Canal and Port Colborne. It showcases a century of heritage buildings in a setting of historic pathways and gardens.

The marine museum also houses a small park with trees. The park contains flowers, picket fences, and a pavilion with picnic tables and benches perfect for outings and picnics.

You can also try various types of tea at Arabella’s Tea Room in the 1915 Edwardian Cottage.

The museum also conducts on-site tours with guides that showcase heritage villages, exhibits, Marine Parks, and Galleries. The museum is situated at 280 King Street, Port Colborne.

3.4. Visit the Point Albino Lighthouse

This Lighthouse is one of Canada’s National Historic Sites. The Lighthouse is built in the Greek Revival style and has a tower, deck, and fog alarm building.

Pleasant Beach shipwreck and Point Abino lighthouse

It is located at the southern tip of Point Albino Peninsula on the northern shore of Lake Erie. The address of the Lighthouse is Point Albino Rd S, Fort Erie.

The visits to the lighthouse are restricted as the lighthouse is landlocked. However, there are guided tours every second and fourth Saturday of June, July, August, and September. Book your tickets in advance to avoid surprises.

3.5. Visit Beaches at Presque Isle Park

Presque Isle State Park, located on a peninsula that juts out into Lake Erie from Erie, Pennsylvania, features several beaches with incredible scenery.

These include Beach 1, Beach 3 (Barracks Beach), Beach 6 (Lyons Beach), Beach 7 (Waterworks Beach), Beach 8 (Pettinato Beach), Mill Road Beaches, Beach 9 (Pine Tree), Beach 10 (Budny Beach), and Beach 11 (Kohler Beach).

These beaches at Presque Isle Park are a pit stop for many migratory birds. Many of these birds are classified as rare, endangered, and almost extinct. The most popular of these beaches is Beach 11, which is fantastic.

Some of the facilities in  Beach 11 include restrooms, a private pavilion, picnic areas, eight volleyball courts, and a beach house.

The 8th and 9th beaches are known as Pettinato Beach and Pine Tree.  Presque Isle Lighthouse is located on these beaches. The 10th beach, Budny Beach, is near the North Pier, and the 11th is near Gull Point Trail.

3.6. Visit Sheldon Marsh State Nature Reserve

Sheldon  Marsh State Nature Reserve is a paradise for nature lovers. It is a coastal wetland that extends up to 460 acres of land. It is located on Cleveland Road in Huron, Ohio. The reserve is well-known for its migratory birds and wildflowers.

Lake erie
Image by Kev from Pixabay

The reserve becomes home to more than 300 species of migratory birds every year. Moreover,  the fund has swamp forests, thick hardwood forests, marshlands, and beautiful scenery. It is considered an ideal place for wildflowers and birds in the spring.

You can see rare birds in the Sheldon Marsh State Nature Reserve, such as the Snowy Owl, American Woodcock, Harris’s Sparrow, and Black Tern. The reserve provides a platform that overlooks the marshland where you can go birdwatching and photography.

3.7. Boating at Geneva State Park

Geneva State Park is on Padanarum Road, Geneva, Ohio. It is on the east shore of Lake Erie and extends to 698 Acres of land. The park has a 600-foot natural beach, swimming space, and freshwater marshes. No Name Creek is one of the famous freshwater marshes.

There is also a Geneva Marina with more than 400 boat slips and a 6-lane ramp where boats can be launched. You can also go on cruises to the central basin of the lake. If you love fishing, you can catch some Walleye in the lake.

You can avail yourself of the required boating equipment, fishing gear, and fish cleaning services in the marina. Geneva State Park is a go-to boat launch for those who want to explore the lake.

Other facilities available in Geneva State Park include a 6-mile trail that can be used for hiking, snowmobiling, hunting, and cross-country skiing. There is also an obstacle course and zip line at the Lake Erie Canopy Tours Adventure Park.

3.8. Seafood at the Pier W

For the foodies on tour, this is a must-visit place. Pier W is an upscale seafood restaurant with a great lake view. It is located on the Lake Avenue in Lakewood, Ohio.

The restaurant has a bar and eating areas with an astounding view of Lake and Downtown Cleveland. They also organize live piano sessions on weekends. The restaurant serves the best fresh seafood, like Lobster bisque and salmon.

Pier W is a favorite Brunch Place amongst the locals. They offer a buffet-styled menu with options from Carved beef to eggs Benedict. They also have freshly made French toast, waffles, and omelets.

It is the perfect place to have a calm and peaceful evening with great food and wine.

3.9. Visit Cedar Point Amusement Park

Cedar Point Amusement Park is a place for the adrenaline junkies. It is located on Cedar Point Drive in Sandusky, Ohio. It is the second oldest amusement park in the country and was opened in 1870.

There are many rides and attractions to enjoy, varying from various thrill levels. The star attractions at the amusement park are the roller coasters. The park also has its oldest operating roller coaster, which is known as the Blue Streak.

There are rides for kids, adults, and families. Kids can try the bumper cars or the mini 4x4s. As for the families, there are beach bungalows and picnic lounges to spend some time on.

3.10. Visit the Put-in-Bay Village

The Village of Put-in-Bay is located on the South Bass Island in Lake Erie, Ohio. It is considered a great summer destination. It has historical significance and a great location.

The Village of Put-in-Bay is located on the South Bass Island in Lake Erie, Ohio. It is considered a great summer destination. It has historical significance and a great location.

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One of Put-in-Bay’s most eye-catching and unique places to visit is the Benson Ford Ship House. It is located on the shore of the lake. It is a 4-story vacation house, once a vast cargo ship, built for the Ford Motor Company.

The Ship House is surrounded by trees that turn into shades of red, brown, yellow, and orange in the fall. It is a great place to visit during the summer and the fall.

3.11. Explore the Dunes in Canada

Do you wish to see considerable dunes in Canada? Visit Sand Hill Park, which is on the north shore of Lake Erie. It houses Sandhills or dunes that can tower 350 feet above the lake. It is known as one of the natural wonders in the province.

Sand dunes in CANADA?!

The park, while privately owned, offers a lot of campsites and shaded sites to retreat. The dunes tower over the white pristine beaches of Lake Erie and provide a great view.

Also, due to the southwest winds, the dunes will continue to grow over time.

The park also offers a lot of hiking trails, fishing spots, and ponds. The campgrounds here typically have toilets, electrical outlets, hot showers, tents, and fire pits.

3.12. See the Marblehead Lighthouse

Marblehead Lighthouse is the oldest operational lighthouse operating on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes. It is situated in Marblehead, Ohio. It has been working since 1822. Also, it has been used for navigation by ships to date to navigate the rocky shores of Marblehead Peninsula.

The lighthouse is a part of Marblehead Lighthouse State Park. The state park covers almost 9 acres. Moreover, the park has a fantastic view of Lake Erie, Sandusky Bay, and South Bass Island. The picnic tables make it perfect for picnics.

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The park also houses the Marblehead Lighthouse Museum in the Keeper’s House. You can enjoy the varied exhibits, such as a Fresnel lens, ice harvesting, a replica lifesaving station, local fossils, shipwrecks, ships, and ice fishing.

4. Facts About Lake Erie

Located below Lake Huron, Lake Erie has its central outflow through the Niagara River. It contributes to hydroelectric power production in the US and Canada.

Additionally,  this lake was one of the first to be covered by a glacier.

4.1 Geographical Significance

Lake Erie’s primary inlet is the Detroit River, which receives the water from the Great Lakes like Lake Superior, lake Michigan, Lake Ontario, and Lake Huron. It also has an inlet from Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River.

This lake now has legal rights, just like you

This majestic lake also flows through the Welland Canal, St. Lawrence Seaway, and many other rivers like Maumee Bay and Sandusky Bay.

It is also the most biologically diverse lake among the Great Lakes. It also gives water to 11 or so million people.

4.2 Measurements

Lake Erie is the fourth-largest lake by surface area of the five Great Lakes in North America and the eleventh-largest globally. At its deepest point, Lake Erie is 64 m or 210 ft. It has 871 miles of shoreline. Moreover, it is the warmest of the Great Lakes, with an average water temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

4.3 Islands in Lake Erie

There are more than 31 islands on Lake Erie. Of these, some belong to Canada, and some belong to the USA. The largest island amongst these is the Pelee Island. Not all these islands can be accessed via ferry from Ontario, Sandusky, and Lamington.

Our Greatest Lake: Interesting facts about Lake Erie

Additionally, these islands have a unique and rare ecosystem. Its watershed has been highly urbanized in recent years.

4.4 Lake-Effect Snow

The river freezes over in the winter, which causes Lake-effect snow. This Lake effect snow has a significant impact on the surrounding region. The ice on Lake Erie is hard but is usually dangerous.

5. Ecosystem in Lake Erie

Lake Erie has an enriched ecosystem. You can find fish like trout, salmon, smelt, whitefish, steelheads, walleye, perch, small-mouth bass, and other endemic species.

The lake also houses many non-indigenous fish species. Lake’s fish population accounts for species of fish from Rainbow Smelt, water snake, white perch, common carp, and alewife.

Foreign sport fishes found in Lake Erie’s fish populations include brown trout and rainbow trout. These fishes are stocked for anglers to catch and prey on. There have been attempts to stock coho salmon.

lake erie
Photo by Taylor Noble on Unsplash

Lake Erie’s most profitable fish species are the walleye, white bass, rainbow smelt, rainbow trout, and yellow perch.

Other prominent species in Lake Erie include sea Lamprey, White Perch, Spiny Water Fleas, Fishhook water fleas, and more.

6. In The End

Lake Erie is a natural wonder of profound historical importance. It runs across two of the most significant countries – Canada and the United States.

The waters of Lake Erie have been feeding the settlements around the lake for thousands of years. It is also home to varied indigenous fishes and plants and an excellent host to migratory birds.

Despite these significant contributions, the present condition of the lake is a cause for concern. The growing pollution and eutrophication have resulted in many species going extinct.

It extends over two countries and offers many places to visit. It offers nature at its best with its scenic beauty and historical structures spread across. The lake has something to offer everyone.

Nature lovers and photographers will enjoy their time in this paradise. So do not forget to carry your camera if you visit any tourist spots on Lake Erie. It is also a heaven for bird watching with the migratory birds nesting in the region.

So,  have you ever been to Lake Erie?  Share your experience in the comment section.

7. Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q)

Q1. What Is Lake Erie Famous For?

Ans- Lake Erie is one of the Great Lakes in the North America. It is famous among the sport fishing enthusiasts. It is also a part of the famous Niagara Falls and is considered one of the most diverse and productive lakes.

Q2. Why Is Lake Erie Considered a Dead Lake?

Ans- The lake was considered dead in the 1960s due to the dense pollution and eutrophication.

Q3. Can You Swim in the Lake Erie?

Ans- The shoreline of Lake Erie is considered to swim, but it is considered dangerous to go far from the shore.

Q.4. Is the Lake Erie Still Polluted?

Ans- No, the water of Lake Erie is drinkable, and the pollution and toxins in the lake have declined.

Q.5. Is Lake Erie Freshwater or Saltwater?

Ans- Lake Erie is freshwater and is considered the 12th largest freshwater lake in the world.

Last Updated on by Namrata

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