Inside: Step back in time with me as I explore Lakeside Chautauqua for old-fashioned, family-friendly fun! If you’re looking for the perfect Lake Erie getaway, the search is over.
When you think of an old-fashioned summer, what comes to mind? For me, it conjures up images of reading on the porch of a lake house, swimming in the lake, riding your bike to grab an ice cream cone, or fishing off the dock. But in today’s busy, always connected world, does that kind of summer still exist?
Confession: I’m a sucker for the movie Dirty Dancing.
In fact, my husband and I choreographed part of the sequence from “Time of Your Life” to dance together at our wedding. And I’m the girl who googles things like “does the resort from Dirty Dancing actually exist?” I’ll save you the time and inform you that yes, it does exist, and it’s actually called Mountain Lake Lodge – but it’ll always be “Kellerman’s” to me.
There’s something so nostalgic about spending time with your family at a resort.
The idea of disconnecting from technology and just relaxing and enjoying time with each other sounded so wonderful. So when I heard about Lakeside Chautauqua, in nearby Lakeside, Ohio (close to Marblehead), I couldn’t wait to check it out. We’ve had an exceptionally busy summer and really needed some time to unwind and relax together. My family is always on the hunt for weekend getaways in Ohio. I often feel like Ohio is underrated. We have so much natural beauty and there is so much to do in this state. Especially in the Lake Erie region! Wanna see why? Join along on our Lake Erie weekend getaway to Lakeside Chautauqua!
Stepping Back in Time: A Family-Friendly Lake Erie Getaway to Lakeside Chautauqua
Have you ever heard of Lakeside, Ohio? It’s a small resort town on Lake Erie and something of a hidden gem. I was born and raised in Columbus and over the years, I’ve taken lots of weekend trips to Lake Erie with my family. I’d never been to Lakeside or even heard of it. You guys – it’s only two hours away!
So I packed my family into the car and off we went to Lakeside Chautauqua for our own Lake Erie getaway!
To get to Lakeside from Columbus, you take 23 North to Marion, and then get on Route 4 towards Sandusky. Long road trips can be rough (more for me that my 6 year old) but this was an easy 2 hour drive. I may or may not have subjected my family to listening to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack the entire way…
When we arrived to Lakeside Chautauqua, we got our day passes at the gate.
The first thing we noticed is that Lakeside is incredibly walkable. Many people opt to park outside the gates as the parking options are a bit limited inside the community, and then catch complimentary rides on golf carts that are circling around.
What I loved about this is that it keeps the roads at Lakeside Chautauqua pretty clear so kids of all ages are safe walking and riding their bikes all over town AND it really helps if you are vacationing with your whole family because little ones or grandparents who aren’t as mobile can easily grab a ride to wherever they’d like to go.
We had a full two days to explore, so here’s what we did:
Sooner or later even the biggest technology addict (me, myself, and I) got caught up in the moment and forgot to take constant pictures. So, use your imagination on the rest of the really fun activities, like:
Art Classes – there were a variety of classes and projects for all ages with varying prices. (Kids can paint their own rocks for $1!)
Lakeside Symphony Orchestra
Lecture Series – there were lectures available on a wide range of topics from the “Legacy of F. Scott Fitzgerald” to the origination of the “Little Library Movement” to “Artificial Intelligence.”
Family and Youth Worship Services – Lakeside Chautauqua offers several services each week, in addition to hosting a guest preacher each Sunday.
Live Concerts and Entertainment – when we were there Wynnona Judd was live in concert. (Concert was complimentary with purchase of a day pass!) Other highlights included Amy Grant and Brian Regan!
We had such a fun time disconnecting and recharging at Lakeside Chautauqua. We’ve already planned our return trip for next summer!
Frequently Asked Questions about Lakeside Chautauqua
How much are passes? What does a pass include?
Day passes range from $24.50 – $30 for adults and are valid the day you purchase them through 7pm the following day. Children aged 13 – 24 are $16.25. Kids under 12, and adults over 90 are FREE.
Parking ranges in cost from $2 – $12.50.
You can also buy weekly or season passes, as well as partial day passes.
For more information on admission rates, or to purchase tickets, click this link.
At $24.50, the day pass to Lakeside Chautauqua is a steal! Your day pass includes most activities and entertainment, including the Aquatic Center and pool, all the games (mini golf has an additional fee), the concerts and live entertainment, the lecture series, the playgrounds, complimentary golf cart shuttle, and of course, the gorgeous views.
What does Chautauqua mean?
The name Chautauqua describes a type of summer resort that wants to offer families a “vacation with a purpose.” Originating in 1874, on Lake Chautauqua in New York, the movement was started by Methodist preachers and quickly grew to include over 300 Chautauqua resorts. These Chautauquas wanted to blend the summer season with education, recreation, cultural arts, and spirituality. Nowadays there are only a handful of Chautauquas left, and anybody is welcome to visit.
Is there a beach in Lakeside?
There is a small beach area near the dock. You can also swim in the lake. If your little ones love digging in the sand, there are also several sandboxes on site.
Where should I eat in Lakeside Chautauqua?
This is my FAVORITE question to answer. We had so much good food in Lakeside Chautauqua on our Lake Erie getaway! Best part? Everything was priced affordably!
Our favorite ice cream was at Coffee & Cream. In addition to the BEST soft serve I’ve ever had, they also had hand-scooped ice cream, coffee, espresso, cookies, sandwiches and salads.
My favorite was the orange and vanilla twist cone. It tasted like a dreamsicle and I won’t tell you how many times I came back. My little one alternated between vanilla cones and orange cones, because she’s a purist, apparently.
My hubby’s favorite was the soft serve affogato – deliciously creamy soft serve topped with espresso. I snuck a few bites and it was delicious!
For pizza, you can check out Sloopy’s! As a die hard Buckeye fan, I can tell you that I really appreciated the Ohio State Buckeye theme throughout the shop.
Check out Lago for some fun fusion dishes – tacos, burgers, nachos, and salads.
Oh man, the ribbon fries at Lago were so much fun. And delicious. She couldn’t get enough.
If you’re looking for something a bit nicer for a sit-down dinner, I recommend Hotel Lakeside. Their gourmet menu was delicious AND affordable. Hotel Lakeside also hosts a weekend brunch!
Dinner comes with a starter salad and I really loved my salad. A mix of greens instead of just boring iceberg and romaine like you get at a lot of places, topped with yummy cheese and crisp veggies.
Lakeside Chautauqua was so much fun for an old-fashioned, family friendly resort in Ohio! It really felt like stepping back to a time when summers were simple, families were present, and everyone ended the day with an ice cream cone.
You should keep this hidden gem in mind for your next weekend getaway in Ohio – I absolutely can’t wait to return.