Every summer I try and visit a new place along the Ohio coast and earlier this summer I had the pleasure of visiting Lakeside Chautauqua with my good friend Katie! People have always told me I would love Lakeside and let me tell you. None of them were wrong! Lakeside is the most charming coastal town with beautiful views of the lake, lovely historic homes and buildings, and the most quaint downtown filled with nautical inspired boutiques and coffee shops. It’s truly a gem.
I’m going to break this post down into a little bit of history of the coastal town and some tips if you plan on visiting soon.
ABOUT LAKESIDE CHAUTAUQUA
Lakeside Chautauqua is a private community along the shores of Lake Erie that was founded 150 years ago. You might be wondering, what in the heck does “Chautauqua” mean? The word originates from the Iroquois tribe and is meant to mean “two moccasins tied together” or “bag tied at the middle.” What this really represents is a community that welcomes all people to come together to grow spiritually, culturally, intellectually, and physically. Chautauqua focuses on four pillars which are religion, education, cultural arts and recreation.
Lakeside is truly such a unique place to visit. Founded by Methodist preachers in 1873, Lakeside soon became a faith-based summer resort and to this day, people still come to worship, rest and reconnect.
Since it’s founding, the coastal town has grown and become home to beautiful lakefront cottages, unique restaurants, and coastal inspired shopping boutiques.
You can read more about Lakeside and the Chautauqua movement here.
TIPS IF VISITING LAKESIDE
I had the advantage of visiting Lakeside with a friend who rented a home every summer growing up and she was able to give me the inside scoop about visiting! Below are some tips that will make your experience even more memorable!
Lakeside is a private community and a Chautauqua Pass and an Auto Pass is required in order to get in during the summer. You can choose to forego the auto pass and park outside the gated community, but you still have to buy a pass to get in. So here is a big tip! General admittance is $28 for the day. We bought the half day pass which gets you three hours for $6. Every additional hour you stay is $1. So if you plan on going for like 8 hours, the half day pass will definitely save you money!! We ended up going from 11-3:30 and it was much cheaper than buying the full day pass. Another tip: the price increases for the month of July. So I recommend going in June or August. But really, after Labor Day in September would be the best time to visit because they don’t have the admissions fee! You can read more about their fees here.
Wear comfortable walking shoes. You can drive your car in, but you will still be walking a lot so make sure you have on comfy sneakers or sandals! I wore my J.Crew Factory sneakers and they were perfect for walking around nonstop.
Definitely be sure to play shuffleboard! It’s free and a great way to relax and enjoy the lake views. I had never played before and was a bit skeptical but I actually really enjoyed it!
If you arrive early in the morning, you have to try a freshly baked donut from The Patio Restaurant- they are SO good.
If you need a yummy place for lunch or dinner, try out the Hotel Lakeside Dining Room! It has beautiful views of the lake and the food is delicious. They offer breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch and afternoon tea!! Plus the hotel was built in 1875 so the historic vibe is very cool.
If you have kids they have a kiddy pool right on the pier so bring your swimsuits!
Lakeside has a ton of waterfront recreational activities. Whether you prefer swimming, sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, or fishing, there is something for everyone. Or you can just bring a book and enjoy the view from a comfy lounge chair.
In addition to waterfront activities, visitors can play tennis, pickle ball, sand volleyball, and miniature golf, plus several playgrounds for the babes (including an inclusive one!).
Don’t forget to pack the sunscreen!!
I might be forgetting some insider tips so my plan is to update this post as needed.
If you are planning a trip to Lakeside I’d love to hear all about it!
If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen me posting about our trip to the beach this past weekend. I shared in my stories that we couldn’t swim in the lake because the algae toxin levels were too high from the algae bloom.
Lake Erie has been plagued with algae blooms for decades. Algae blooms are formed when warm water temperatures mix with light and nutrients. Since the 1950s, runoff from farms (manure and fertilizer), sewage and industry have caused these blooms to become toxic and harmful. Certain types of algae become abundant in shallow bodies of water and because Lake Erie is so shallow, it often is a catch basin for algae blooms. These blooms are extremely harmful to fish, animal life, and humans.
In 2014 the algae bloom was so horrific, residents in northwest Ohio were unable to drink or use the water for days (this actually fell on the weekend of my bachelorette party. Waking up to no water was not ideal after a night of fun). This incident in particular raised the alarm to the importance of cleaning up and preserving the lake.
As one of five fresh bodies of water (that make up 20% of the world’s fresh bodies of water), it’s really important we do our part to keep Lake Erie clean and free from harmful toxins. Not only do we love the lake for its sandy shores and recreational purposes, but Lake Erie has a huge impact on the local region. Lake Erie provides drinking water to 11 million people. It’s also a large tourism destination and produces the largest amount of consumable fish than all the other Great Lakes combined.
Recent years have seen many individuals, organizations, and brands fighting back and working to clean up and preserve this Great Lake. If you would like to learn more about how you can help conserve Lake Erie, the following organizations are a good place to start. This list is just a start, so if you know of more organizations fighting to preserve our lake, please message me and I will add them to the list.
And finally, you can do small things now that make a big impact later such as picking up after your pet, adopting a beach, becoming an ambassador to educate others, or volunteering to clean up streams.
Just by reading this post and being here you are already supportive of protecting Lake Erie and for that I thank you!
A few weeks ago we took a day trip to East Harbor State Park. I’ve written about this park that rests along the shores of Lake Erie before and thought a separate post about the actual public beach may prove helpful (as I’ve received several questions).
The 1500 foot beach is teeny tiny as beaches go. Although the beach is quaint, the views are incredible. We arrived at the park around 10:30 a.m. on a Friday and first spent our time exploring the coastal trails. We may have ventured off the sandy path, but I’m so glad we did, because the views along the rocky shore are magnificent.
We headed over to the public beach around 11:00 a.m. and already the beach was packed. It appeared as though no one was social distancing and no one was wearing masks, so trying to find a spot was a negative for us. Rob suggested we walk along the sandy trail above the beach and boy am I glad we did!!
Just past the public beach are pockets of smaller, “private” beaches. A family was leaving as we were walking along the sandy trail and offered to give us their spot. These small pockets can comfortably fit 6-8 people, which means they are perfect for a couple. There are probably about five or six of these “private” beaches past the public beach.
Because we are in the midst of a pandemic, below are some tips if you want to visit this public beach before summer ends.
Plan your arrival time for earlier in the morning. If you want a private beach or even a claim on the public beach, I would arrive by 9:30-10:00 a.m.
Pack your own beach chair and towels. The beach and state park are too small to offer beach chair rentals.
Pack your own snacks and beverages. I’ve heard that there are concessions, but I’ve never seen them open.
Bring a book, magazine, music, etc. to enjoy while watching the waves crash against the shore.
If you have kids, bring some beach toys. Note that flotation devices are not permitted in the lake.
Don’t forget your sunscreen and an extra change of clothes or beach coverup!
And maybe throw in some tennis shoes if you want to explore the walking trails after sunbathing.
I think that covers it! Just as an FYI, the beach does have newly renovated bathrooms and a changing area that are cleaned regularly.