Throughout the year, this little village resort along the southern Ohio shores of Lake Erie gathers trickles of visitors to its gorgeous national park, lakeside activities and hopping winery trail. However, in the summer, Geneva on the Lake truly comes alive. The buzzing and whirring of arcade games and theme park starts up, and the Strip fills with kids and parents. In the ‘20s, summer vacationers fished around Lake Erie during the day and enjoyed the carousel, mini-golf course and the casino at night. By the ‘40s and ‘50s, the dance halls in the area were booming to the sounds of swing, entertaining soldiers and sailors. Since the early days, Geneva-on-the-Lake has only become a bigger summer draw to families from around the U.S., and the appeal hasn’t dwindled since. Just an hour’s drive outside of Cleveland, Ohio, Geneva on the Lake and the surrounding Ohio Wine Country make for great destinations for those looking to get out of the city.
Photo by Amalisea via Flickr.
Lake Erie is known as the walleye capital of the world, and some of the best fishing in Ohio is right in Geneva State Park, where the current runs with flashes of yellow perch, channel catfish and steelhead trout. Along the marina is a canteen and concession area which supplies gasoline, bait, and offers 383 rental docks for boaters. Other things to do in the 698-acre Geneva State Park include hunting, picnicking, swimming on their 300-foot guarded swimming beach, hiking along the six miles of trails threaded throughout the park, as well as archery.
Photo by Thom Sheridan via Flickr.
Leave the highfalutin, swill-and-spit, "is-this-a-chardonnay-or-a-sauvignon-blanc" oenophile attitude in the car because the Old Firehouse Winery is a place where they make wine but serve it in one-ounce plastic cups. There’s a comfortable appeal to Old Firehouse Winery, with its glowing ‘50s-era ferris wheel overlooking beautiful Lake Erie and their rotating schedule of events like craft fairs, clambakes and dinner theater. It’s a popular stop on the Lake Erie Vines and Wines Trail, because it truly is fun for the whole family.
Photo by Scott via Flickr.
For action-packed family fun, head to the twirling lights and whirring sounds of the good old fashioned ‘50s at Adventure Zone. Even now, in the digital age where it isn’t uncommon for thirteen year olds to zonk out to Angry Birds on a five-inch long screen, kids freak out at Adventure Zone. Every time. How could they not? It’s Adventure Zone. It’s got bumper boats, batting cages, arcade games, go-karts, and the oldest mini-putt course in the U.S. (established 1924). With that variety of fun ways to pass an afternoon, even adults will love it.
Photo by Ron via Flickr.
Geneva on the Lake has been described by many a Geneva visitor as seemingly stuck in the 1950s, and there is no more resolute a confirmation of that statement than Eddie’s Grill, which still has jukeboxes stationed at every booth, abuzz to the strains of summer-lovin’ rock’n’roll tunes at the drop of a quarter. It’s all kitsch and color at Eddie’s Grill, from their classic red chairs and booths to the fluorescent glow of their marquee lights at night. It’s a family spot, through and through, so be prepared for kids zipping around, jagged on sugar and novelty.
Photo by Cynthia M. via Flickr.
The Lakehouse Inn is a bed and breakfast, winery, spa and restaurant all rolled into one gorgeous lakeside complex. Now that’s a package deal! They offer intimate suites, secluded cottages and a family-friendly Beach House above the wine cellar that has a two-person jacuzzi tub overlooking the lake. Perfect for a weekend couples’ escape or a girls’ weekend (they offer a Girlfriends’ Spa Getaway that includes a night in one of the cottages with a full breakfast, three hours of spa treatments and a champagne lunch).