Calling all thrill-seekers, explorers, site-seers, and anyone looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of their busy lives; we’re ready to take you on a road trip through north-central Ohio that you won’t forget. One of our producers recently visited this Midwest gem, and we can’t wait to share it with you in this exclusive two part blog (there was just too much fun to squeeze into one!). In this post, we kick off our trip with a spooky seasonal attraction: Cedar Point HalloWeekends, in the roller coaster capital of the world located on the beautiful shores of Lake Eerie. Later on, we’ll bring you up the shore to Port Clinton, Marblehead Lighthouse, and the relaxing island of Put-in-Bay. There’s something for everyone in this Midwest gem!
Cedar Point HalloWeekends
We began our trip at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, just a five hour drive from Chicago, where we spent two nights at the beautiful Hotel Breakers. This family-friendly resort is located, quite literally, right on the beach, and just a short walk away from Cedar Point’s countless rides and roller coasters. During the fall seasons for Cedar Point HalloWeekends, the hotel is decorated with Halloween spirit, which include their famous merry-go-round horses in the lobby all dolled up in spooky attire, drawing you in for a festive weekend of fun.
Upon check-in, their friendly staff will not only set you up with your room, but will also give you the option to purchase your amusement park tickets right at the counter, saving you the trouble of waiting in line at the park the next day. What’s even better, parking is included with your stay, saving you the normal fee that outside visitors will pay for access to the park. You’ll just need to park once, right in the parking lot of Hotel Breakers, and enjoy your whole weekend at Cedar Point without ever leaving the resort!
As we were visiting for one of Cedar Points HalloWeekends, we stayed in late September, but the weather still felt like summer. We even took off our sandals and walked through the water of Lake Erie along the beach at sunset as soon as we arrived! The water of Lake Erie is surprisingly warm, especially for the time of year we visited. As we learned on our trip, this is because it’s the most shallow of the Great Lakes. With the mild temperatures, soft sand, and gentle waves, it’s a great beach for the kids to play in, or even for a romantic sunset walk along the shore with your partner. If you get chilly, pull up a chair at one of their fire pits to warm up.
Not only are the rooms spacious, clean, and adorably decorated in the “theme” of the theme park, but ours also offered stunning beach views from our own private balcony. You’ll feel right at home, and have the stress of packing for a day at the amusement park taken off your plate. If you forget anything in your room while enjoying your day at Cedar Point, just get your hand stamped at the park and pop back to the hotel within a matter of minutes.
The kids will love the outdoor pools and hot tubs in the summertime, but if you happen to visit on one of the Cedar Point HalloWeekends like we did, you’ll still be able to spend some time at the clean, spacious indoor pool and hot tub. Be sure to bring your own towels from your room if you decide to head downstairs for a dip! There’s also an arcade and a variety of restaurants on-site, including Starbucks, TGI Fridays, Dominos, Perkins, and the Japanese gem Tomo. You’re guaranteed to make everyone in your family happy with this variety of options.
If you’re taking a stroll on the beach and looking for a pre-dinner delight, stop by Sand Bar, located steps from Hotel Breakers, right on the sand. Adults can enjoy an alcoholic beverage of choice, while there are plenty of kid-friendly drinks and light bites for the little ones. We opted for the virgin piña coladas. They were delicious and we even got to keep the cups as a souvenir. Keep in mind that you might want to split one with a friend if you’re looking for something light; the glasses are huge! There’s hardly a better way to enjoy your drink at this bar than as you take in the view of the sunset over Lake Erie. Cheers!
Related: stay at a haunted hotel – explore some of our favorites here!
The next morning we got up, grabbed a Starbucks, and walked over to the park. As guests at Hotel Breakers, we were allowed to enter the park an hour before it opened to take advantage of those shorter lines. But don’t worry; if you prefer to sleep in, the park is open until midnight Fridays and Saturdays during their HalloWeekends. Keep in mind that the “haunt” begins at 8 PM, when the ghouls and goblins walk the park among the visitors.
We began our day with a ride in the chair lift to get an overview of the park and see what rides we wanted to go on. What’s particularly nice about Cedar Point is the ride rating system. Each ride is labeled on a 1-5 scale, indicating the thrill level of the ride (1 being low thrill, 5 being high). After surveying the park, we decided to take a ride on the Iron Dragon (pictured above), a level 4 roller coaster. This ride is fun for kids and adults alike, without being too intense for younger children. We enjoyed it so much, we ended up going on it twice!
Among our other favorite thrill rides were the Gemini, a 2 minute 40 second, level 5 wooden and steel coaster that pits red car against blue car in a daring race; Corkscrew, another level 5 coaster with three mind-bending inversions; The Cedar Creek Mine ride, a level 4 older coaster that’s fun for kids looking for a more mild thrill; and one of our personal favorites, Gatekeeper. This smooth, world-recording breaking level 5 coaster will make you feel like you’re flying. You’ll dive, weave, and soar through narrow obstacles on the left or right wing of the coaster. If you’re looking for more of a thrill, choose the left wing. For a more mild (but still thrilling) ride, go with the right side (like we did!).
We finished our day on the Magnum XL-200. The nearly 200 foot climb alone is one of the most intense parts, but what follows is just as hair-raising. You’ll fly through a series of ups and downs, quick turns and dark tunnels. Although this ride is a high level 5 and not for the faint of heart, it’s a thrilling experience that I’m glad we built up the courage to do. The park also offers a variety of thrill rides and roller coasters that we were just a little too chicken to try, but were among some of the most popular at the park.
The ones many people seemed eager to go on were Millennium Force, one of the world’s best steel roller coasters; Steel Vengeance, a record-breaking coaster with a 90 degree drop, located in FrontierTown; Top Thrill Dragster, which towers at over 400 feet, shooting you straight up and over to a 90 degree drop at 120 mph; and WindSeeker, a 300 foot swing ride like you’ve never seen before. We might just have to give some of these a try next time we visit!
Although Cedar Point is known as the roller coaster capital of the world, there are also plenty of family and child-friendly rides and activities. Camp Snoopy, for example, is a dream for little kids. They’ll enjoy a variety of Peanuts-themed rides such as Woodstock’s Airmail, Red Baron, and Charlie Brown’s Wind-Up. During Cedar Point HalloWeekends, there’s even a little tykes corn maze in Camp Snoopy that kids can go through while their parents keep an eye on them.
There’s also a selection of mid-level rides and activities, including traditional rides like the Scrambler and the Giant Wheel (one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the United States), along with many unique rides, like Pipe Scream, a hybrid coaster/spin ride located right near Camp Snoopy. The park also offers a petting zoo in their FrontierTown section, where guests can feed camels, llamas and goats, among other adorable critters. With so much to see and do, each member of the family is sure to find rides and attractions they enjoy.
The park showcases many other special spooky events and attractions during HalloWeekends. If you’re ready for a break, parents can sit with their kids and enjoy the Peanuts’ film “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” with a special screening on the bumper car platform. Around the park, you’ll find other Halloween treats, such as elaborately carved pumpkins and unique decorations.
When it gets dark, the park gets even spookier during HalloWeekends. For older kids (or adults who like a good scare), be sure to check out the full-size corn maze, or one of their spooky walking trails, such as our personal favorite, Blood on the Bayou. Even as you walk through certain areas of the park, be ready for ghosts and goblins to jump out at you, or follow you down the foggy road. Don’t want to be scared? You can purchase a No Boo. This light-up bat sells for $10 at most of their gift shops, and lets the ghouls know not to scare you. This is a great feature for kids or the faint of heart.
With a fun and spooky atmosphere, exciting rides and a variety of festive sights and activities, there’s no question that Cedar Point isn’t just a summer getaway. Head to Cedar Point this fall. With HalloWeekends, it definitely feels like Halloween every day!
- Looking to get through the lines more quickly? Check out their Fast Lane Pass for front-of-the-line access!
- For easy access to ride wait times, a car finder, special offers and your season pass, download the Cedar Point mobile app before heading over to the park.
- Although a lot of the roller coasters at Cedar Point offer cubbies to store your belongings in during the ride, a few operate slightly differently. Iron Dragon and Magnum request that you bring your items with you on the ride, while Gatekeeper requires that you put your belongings in a locker ahead of time, as they do not offer cubbies and you will not be allowed to bring your items with you.
That concludes the first leg of our Lake Erie road trip! Be sure to check out our follow-up blog An Ohio Road Trip: Sandusky, Put-in-Bay and Port Clinton where we explore Sandusky, then head a half hour northwest to Port Clinton, where we stay at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites, marvel at the Marblehead Lighthouse, and take a ferry to the relaxing island of Put-in-Bay where we stay at the Anchor Inn for a whole new kind of vacation.