Port Clinton, a coastal town known for its rich maritime heritage, was our very first destination on our roadtrip. We primarily wanted to stay here since it was in close proximity to Miller Ferry, our ferry to Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island (read about our adventure here). Much to our surprise, Port Clinton is more than a base camp. It is totally worthy of your time!
Places to PLAY
Port Clinton Lighthouse, (GPS set to 301 E. Perry Street in Port Clinton, Ohio)
Our first stop in Port Clinton was the small, yet mighty lighthouse, Port Clinton Lighthouse. Decommissioned in 1920 then moved to a private property, the 26-foot lighthouse has recently undergone renovations and has been moved to the Port Clinton Water Works Park. Check out this video on how they did so!
The kids loved running around the lighthouse and we discovered a hidden path that led to a small beach. Since we were already by the waterfront, we decided to walk down the pier. We waved hello to boats and jet skiers coming into port.
African Safari Wildlife Park 267 Lightner Rd, Port Clinton, OH
As the Midwest’s only drive-thru safari, we couldn’t resist feeding animals such as deer, alpaca, huge bison, Scottish Highlanders, and so much more!
These animals are very well-versed in what to do. When they spot windows rolled out and those large white cups, they immediately gravitate towards you. At first, it was a little overwhelming with so many of them of them vying for your attention like this huge Scottish Highlander, but we got into a groove and figured it all out. Here’s our little secret: When it started looking a little too crowded we threw some of the feed into an empty space, and they moved towards that direction.
One particular fellow had an infatuation with our window.
They also have giraffes but they didn’t budge when I showed them a tasty carrot. My favorite was feeding the zebras, although they were located behind the gates.
The fun doesn’t end after the giraffes and zebras. Guests can park and go through the walk-thru safari with warthogs and a white alligator. Unfortunately, time was not on our side — we still had a 6-hour drive ahead of us, and it was already evening.
Places we EAT
Jolly Roger’s Seafood House, 1737 E. Perry St., Port Clinton, OH
When hunger struck, we were only interested in trying out food that locals loved. When we heard about Jolly Roger’s, a seafood joint that specializes in fried fish, we just had to check it out. They are known for their perch and walleye, so we couldn’t resist trying those out. We could even watch it go through the breading machine. I’ve had a lobster roll craving for the longest time, so I just had to try that one. Everything was spot on!
Toft Dairy, 4016 E. Harbor Rd., Port Clinton, OH
You know we couldn’t visit a new-to-us destination without trying ice cream. In the Port Clinton area Toft Dairy is the place to go. There are tons of choices of flavors, but thankfully the staff is super patient when it comes to sampling.The portions are humongous, rich, and creamy.
Although we didn’t stay in Port Clinton too long, we found that it was the perfect gateway for exploring places like Put-in-Bay and Sandusky. If you happen to be in the area, I highly recommend checking out the area!
Disclosure: Although we were provided tickets to African Safari Wildlife Park, all opinions are 100% my own.