vermilion light house at main street beach

How to Have the Perfect Day at the Beach in Vermilion, Ohio

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Vermilion, Ohio is our favorite little Lake Erie beach town! Read on for how we love to spend a day at the Main Street Beach in Vermilion!

I love Vermilion so much! With an adorable downtown, a clean beach and tasty treats it’s easy to spend the perfect day on Lake Erie in Vermilion, Ohio! Vermilion is home to one of our favorite Ohio beaches and we return again and again when we visit Lake Erie as a family (as I’m sure you will be able to tell from the growth of my children in between some of these photos!)

Why do we love Vermilion? It’s such a quaint, well kept town. Parking is easy. The beach is free. The lagoons are unique. There’s ice cream. And Woodstock Cafe. Read on to see how we have spent a day at Main Street Beach – year after year!

Where is Vermilion, Ohio?

hanging baskets on a light post in downtown Vermilion, Ohio on Lake Erie

First of all, let’s talk about downtown Vermilion! Vermilion is a small town of around 10,000 residents, situated on Lake Erie, in between Cleveland and Sandusky. 

downtown Vermilion, Ohio

Downtown Vermilion is known as the Harbor Town Historic District and is built around the Vermilion River and The Vermilion Lagoons. This is a beautiful residential area with shopping and restaurants. 

boats on the Vermilion Lagoons on Lake Erie

houses and boats on the Vermilion Lagoon in Ohio

With a touch of New England and a touch of Venice, Vermilion makes for a beautiful Ohio getaway where you can feel like you’ve truly gone on vacation to someplace far away – even if it’s just a few hours drive!

How Do We Spend the Perfect Beach Day in Vermilion, Ohio?

Our family has spent a day in Vermilion 4 different times beginning in 2015 and as recently as 2019! Each year we have done the exact same thing. No joke. In fact, looking back at the pictures I can see that I have eaten the exact same lunch each time! LOL

These are the things we do. We’re not ashamed to say we’ve done the same thing every year and we will probably do the exact same thing again the next time we go back!

1. Woodstock Cafe

Address: 665 Main St., Vermilion, OH 44089
Phone: 440-967-7687 

outdoor patio at Woodstock Cafe in Vermilion, Ohio

Lunch at Woodstock Cafe is always our first stop as soon as we arrive in Vermilion. And every time we arrive just before the lunch rush and enjoy a relaxing meal on the amazing patio.

boy and dad playing checkers at Woodstock Cafe in Vermilion, Ohio

What is so great about Woodstock Cafe, if you have kids, is the great outdoor dining patio that has rotating yard games to keep kids (and adults) occupied while you relax and wait for your food.

boys playing checkers at Woodstock Cafe

California Club sandwich at Woodstock Cafe in Vermilion, Ohio

The menu includes pizzas, hot and cold sandwiches, subs, salads, plus craft beer. You can also stop in to order coffee and baked goods to go! Every year I get the California Club. Every time. 

boys playing Jenga on the patio at Woodstock Cafe in Vermilion Ohio

boys playing games on the patio at Woodstock Cafe in Vermilion Ohio on Lake Erie

Whenever we eat at Woodstock Cafe we feel happy and relaxed! The patio gives off California hippie vibes and, of course, we know that we are headed to the beach so just looking at these pictures brings back a happy and nostalgic feeling for me.

2. Main Street Beach

Address: Main St. at Lake Erie, Vermilion, OH 44089

lake erie beach in Vermilion Ohio

The Main Street Beach in downtown Vermilion is at the north end of Main Street. There is parking up and down Main St. You may have to park a couple of blocks away. We always plan to go on a weekday so it is not as crowded. 

beach overlook and shore thing beach shop at Main Street Beach in Vermilion, Ohio

In front of the beach is an observation deck, outdoor spigot for rinsing off and a beach shack. The small beach shack is called Shore Thing and in it you can purchase snacks, ice cream and beach jewelry. You can also rent beach chairs and umbrellas here.

This is a great beach for walking and playing. In my opinion it’s a great size. Big enough to feel like you’re “at the beach” but small enough to be able to keep an eye on kids as they play.

boys playing on the Lake Erie Beach in Vermilion Ohio

There is one downside to the Main Street Beach and that is that there is no changing area or restroom close by. As I was researching details, I did see mention of a porta-potty, but I do not personally remember seeing one so maybe that is new since 2019.

There is, however, a Comfort Station a few blocks south in Exchange Park on Main Street at the corner of Liberty Avenue. This small building (an old police station) has large restrooms where you can also change clothing. It’s not super convenient so plan accordingly with extra bathroom visits at lunch. 😉  

people on Main Street Beach in Vermilion Ohio - Lake Erie

3. Big Ed’s Main Street Soda Grill

Address: 5502 Liberty Ave., Vermilion, OH 44089
Phone: 440-967-4002

downtown Vermilion, Ohio on Lake Erie

What’s left to do after the beach? Ice cream of course! We always stop for scoops, ice cream sodas or root beer floats at Big Ed’s Soda Grill on the corner of Main Street and Liberty Avenue.

root beer float at Big Ed's Main Street Soda Grill in Vermilion, Ohio

Expect old fashioned ambiance and a classic soda fountain and diner counter. All kind of ice cream treats are available including hand-dipped ice cream, shakes, malts, phosphates, floats, banana splits and sundaes!

boy with a drink at Big Ed's Soda Grill in Vermilion, Ohio

If ice cream isn’t your thing or you’re looking for a different meal option, Big Ed’s Soda Grill has an extensive food menu with classic diner items like hot dogs, burgers and other sandwiches.

Kids meals are available that include a drink and choice of fries or apple sauce. Kids options include hot dog, battered Icelandic cod, chicken tenders, corn dog, cheeseburger or PB&J.

man and toddler eating ice cream at Big Ed's Soda Grill in Vermilion

front of Big Ed's Soda Grill in Vermilion Ohio

Well, there you have it. That’s our three part plan for a perfect day at Main Street Beach in Vermilion, Ohio!

Just in case we ever feel like mixing up our routine, please feel free to share any of your favorite spots in Vermilion in the comments!

Exploring Ohio with your Kids!

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How to Have the Perfect Day at the Beach in Vermilion, Ohio



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25 Super Fun Things to do in Ohio with Kids

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There are so many fun things to do in Ohio with kids! Whether you live here or plan to visit, these Ohio attractions for families make for fun day trips, staycations or vacations for all ages!

From beaches to hills, farmland to caves, you can just about find it all in Ohio! If you’re looking for a museum, an outdoor adventure, an indoor water park or the best donut you’ve ever tasted, you won’t be disappointed!

families on a beach in Vermilion, Ohio

The beach in Vermilion, Ohio is beautiful!

With a population of over 11 million people, Ohio is the 7th largest state in the United States. Ohio is bordered on the north by Lake Erie and the south by the Ohio River. The entire state includes 3,877 square miles of water. (And yes, there are actually beaches in Ohio!)

I grew up in Ohio and I have lived here for the majority of my life. That’s a lot of time spent exploring Ohio! Even after all these years I continue to be surprised by the diversity of scenery that can be found in this underrated midwest state!

From the hills of Hocking Hills to the farmland of Amish Country to the shores of Lake Erie, traveling to a new part of the state can feel like an unexpected getaway!

boy playing at LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Columbus, Ohio

LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Columbus is tons of fun for kids!

Ohio’s slogan is “So Much to Discover” and it couldn’t be more true! There is so much to love about Ohio! I think you might be surprised at all the fun things there are to do in Ohio! Take a look through this list of fun things for families to do in Ohio and plan your next day out!

25 Super Fun Things to do in Ohio with Kids

If you're planning a trip to Ohio or you live here already and you're looking for a new idea for a family-friendly outing, this list will be a great starting point!

Ohio has so many attractions for families and you'll never run out of things to do! Whether it be indoors or outdoors, for teens or for toddlers, you're sure to find a new idea on this list of 21 fun things to do with kids in Ohio!

I hope this list has inspired you to try something new with your kids! My family is always on the hunt for unique things to do in Ohio! We love exploring our home state!

If you need even more ideas of things to do check out these posts:

Feel free to share some of your favorite Ohio attractions in the comments!

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24 Super Fun Things to do in Ohio with Kids

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The Ohio Bird Sanctuary is a Hidden Gem in Mansfield, Ohio

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See bald eagles, feed the birds and take a hike at this awesome bird sanctuary in Mansfield, Ohio! This place is a hidden gem that provides education and a unique experience for kids!

Ohio Bird Sanctuary Sign

I found out about the Ohio Bird Sanctuary thanks to an ad on Facebook! After seeing it a few times, I finally clicked and was happy to find out it was located just outside of Mansfield and would make a great outdoor meeting place for us and my parents who live in Wayne County!

We really didn’t know what to expect beyond the pictures on their website, but I think it’s safe to say we were all pleasantly surprised by what we discovered when we arrived!

First I want to say, if you are coming from Columbus, the drive involves a lot of rural, back roads. It took us about 1 hour and 15 minutes but it will be a quicker trip for those of you in the northern suburbs of Columbus!

two boys hiking on the trail at Ohio Bird Sanctuary

We spent about 2.5 hours here, though you could easily spend more or less time, depending on your schedule. Everything about the visit is self paced. There are picnic tables outside if you want to pack a lunch. You can extend your visit by taking longer hikes or spending more time on the playground.

There really is a lot to do here and I think it is well worth the trip from Columbus!

Take a look at all there is to do at the Ohio Bird Sanctuary:

Ohio Bird Sanctuary Visitor Center

The Visitor Center at Ohio Bird Sanctuary, Mansfield, Ohio

Upon arriving you will first want to check in at the Visitor Center. There are public restrooms here, a gift shop and the entrance to  the bird display area. Entrance to this area is $3 for adults (16 years and over) $1 for children (kids under 2 years are free), and $1 for military and individuals from assisted care centers (no charge for caregivers). 

Gift Shop inside the Visitor Center

You will need to go through the Visitor Center to access the live bird display area. If you end up leaving the gated area to see other parts of the property, you must come back through the Visitors Center to reenter. You can reenter as many times as you need to during your visit.

The Bird Display Area

Bird Display Area at Ohio Bird Sanctuary

The live bird displays include over 30 different species of birds that have been injured in some way and are no longer able to live on their own in the wild. The Ohio Bird Sanctuary will also take in birds that you might find that are hurt or injured!

people viewing the birds in the Bird Viewing Area

You are free to walk the paths for as long as you desire! There are bald eagles, falcons, owls, crows, and more! Fun fact: it takes a bald eagle 5 years to develop its signature white head!

boy looking at bald eagles at the bird sanctuary in Mansfield, Ohio

a red-tailed hawk housed at the bird sanctuary

Songbird Aviary

people feeding birds in the songbird aviary at Ohio Bird Sanctuary

Included in your admission to the Ohio Bird Sanctuary is the Songbird Aviary. You can purchase small containers of food in the Visitor Center for $.25 so you can feed the birds in the aviary! After our first trip through, we came back to buy bird food and feeding them turned out to be a highlight of our trip!

boy feeding a mourning dove in the songbird aviary

Inside the Songbird Aviary, birds are free to fly around or roam around on the ground. Keep an eye out as you walk! If you stay still for long enough, they will come up to your cup of food to eat!

Butterfly Garden

Inside the Bird Display Area are butterfly gardens so keep an eye out for butterflies!

boy looking through binoculars at the butterfly garden within the bird sanctuary

Naturescape Play Area

the sign for the Naturescape Play Area at the Ohio Bird Sanctuary

Once outside the bird display area, follow the path to the Naturescape Play Area! It’s a super fun natural play area with a bird theme (of course)! There is a fun (albeit slow) caterpillar slide, a sand area, a vine for swinging, animal tracks and tic tac toe, just to name a few activities! 

boy on two wires at the Naturescape Play Area

boy measuring his wingspan

the Naturescape Play Area at Ohio Bird Sanctuary

Barred Owl Trail

The Barred Owl Trail at Ohio Bird Sanctuary

The Barred Owl Trail is the closest hiking trail to the bird displays. There are several other trails available and they are all under 1 mile long. We took the Barred Owl Trail to the bird blind, which was a little anti-climactic, but still a nice hike! Check this link for a map of the property and the different trails available.

two boys looking through the bird blind at the Ohio Bird Sanctuary

The Barred Owl Trail is a narrow dirt trail with a couple of shoots off in different directions so I recommend checking your map often! In actuality all of the distances between the points of interest are pretty short.

Picnic Areas

There are two picnic areas within the sanctuary. One is close to the Naturescape Play Area and would make a fun picnic spot! The other picnic area is right by the parking lot at the Visitor Center.

The entrance fee to the Ohio Bird Sanctuary is quite reasonable, but if you need a free activity, you could hike on the trails and play at the playground at no cost and you would still be able to view one of the eagles from the outside!

boys walking on the path through the Ohio Bird Sanctuary

We had a great time visiting the Ohio Bird Sanctuary and I think it is well worth the drive from Central Ohio! The 90 acre property is beautiful and you can tell it is well cared for! A visit here would make a great field trip this year!

If you’re looking for more things to do in Mansfield, Ohio, check out: Day Trip: Downtown Mansfield and Little Buckeye Children’s Museum.

Know Before You Go:

Ohio Bird Sanctuary

3774 Orweiler Rd, Mansfield, OH 44903
Phone: 419-884-4295 
Visit the website

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Sunday: 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Special Summer Extended Hours: Tuesday & Thursday open 10:00 AM- 7:00 PM

  • Home school programs are available throughout the school year. 
  • Masks are required in the Visitor Center but not required when outdoors and able to social distance.

physical distancing sign at Ohio Bird Sanctuary

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Ohio Bird Sanctuary

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