Things to Do in Marblehead, Ohio

Posted on: April 25, 2024

This blog was originally published in 2021 and updated in 2024.

An accurate description of life at Otterbein Marblehead is, “It’s like being on vacation every day.” Situated on 46 acres of woods just a few blocks from the shores of Lake Erie, residents here experience the charm of lakeside living within their campus and the nearby Marblehead community.

About Marblehead and Lakeside Chautauqua, Ohio

Marblehead, a village in Ottawa County, is located at the tip of Marblehead Peninsula, which divides Lake Erie from Sandusky Bay. Marblehead lies halfway between Port Clinton and Sandusky, Ohio, and is a short drive from each.

Neighboring Lakeside Chautauqua, also known as Lakeside, is a unique community that invites families of all ages to experience organized spiritual, educational, cultural, and recreational activities each summer. For 150 years, Lakeside has been focusing on the mind, body, and spirit to enrich the lives of all who visit.

Lake Erie

9 Places to Visit Near Marblehead, Ohio

Despite its small size, Marblehead and the surrounding areas offer much to discover. The quaint shops, historical sites, and hometown restaurants offer a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life—an ideal option for retirees. You can almost feel a sense of calmness in the air, or perhaps that could be the refreshing breeze from Lake Erie.

Let’s look at some of the most popular senior-friendly attractions just a shuttle ride from our Otterbein Marblehead campus.

1. Marblehead Lighthouse

As you visit the Marblehead Lighthouse, make sure you check out the shoreline. You’ll likely notice an abundance of limestone, mistaken for marble by the earliest settlers in the area, hence the name Marblehead. In operation since 1822, this lighthouse is the oldest continuously running lighthouse on the Great Lakes. 

If you travel to the Marblehead Lighthouse during the summer months, you can climb the 77 steps to the top and also visit two museums located on the grounds: the Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society Museum (located in the Keeper’s House) and the Lifesaving Station Museum. The grounds offer spectacular views year-round of Lake Erie, including Kelleys Island, South Bass Island, and Cedar Point. It’s also a great place for a picnic and ample photo opportunities.

2. Red Fern Inn at Rocky Point Winery

Just down the road from the Marblehead Lighthouse and the Lake Erie shoreline sits the Red Fern Inn and Rocky Point Winery. Formerly one of Marblehead’s schools, the inn was built with limestone quarried from the nearby Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve. This five-star inn not only offers overnight accommodations but also local wine, a full bar with food options, and live music. Guests can take advantage of complimentary bicycles on warm days and a fire pit on cool nights.

3. Kelleys Island State Park

It’s likely not often that you have the opportunity to visit a state park on an island. This is something we highly recommend adding to your travel itinerary. Kelleys Island State Park, located on the northern side of Kelleys Island, is only a ferry ride away from the mainland at Marblehead. 

You will find yourself immersed in wildlife while on the island with plenty of options to suit everyone. Hiking, camping, boating, fishing, birdwatching, swimming, and cross country skiing are some of the most common activities visitors will enjoy on the island. The North Pond Nature Preserve trail offers an easy one-mile walk featuring a boardwalk with observation deck.

4. East Harbor State Park

East Harbor State Park

If you’d rather not travel by ferry to reach a state park, look no further than East Harbor State Park, located off SR 269 in Marblehead. Here you’ll find a beach for swimming, a marina, and many scenic picnic spots along Lake Erie. Overnight accommodations are available in the campground. With over 10 multi-use trails, park visitors can watch for migrating songbirds and other wildlife. You can view the hiking trail map here to find the trail that’s right for you.

5. Great Egret Marsh Preserve

Just across the road from East Harbor State Park sits the Great Egret Marsh Preserve. This serene setting provides a 1.2-mile walking trail that loops around the marsh of water lotus, egrets, and other wildlife. It’s a peaceful place to do birdwatching, hiking, kayaking, and canoeing. It’s open year-round, from dawn to dusk.

6. Lake Point Park

Another tranquil spot to picnic with shoreline views is Lake Point Park in Marblehead. A former roadside park, Lake Point Park has a bridge over a stream that connects you to both the quarry and Lake Erie. Additionally, the park offers athletic fields, a playground, and a short scenic walking path.

7. Johnson’s Island

To learn more about the history of Marblehead, you’ll want to consider a stop on Johnson’s Island. The U.S. federal government held more than 10,000 Confederate officers at a prisoner of war camp on Johnson’s Island in Sandusky Bay. Over 200 Confederate soldiers died while imprisoned at the camp and were buried in the cemetery on the northern side of the island. You’ll have free admission year-round to the cemetery, but there is a vehicle fee to access the island via a causeway.

8. Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve

Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve

If you happen to visit Marblehead in early to mid-May, add in a stop to the Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve. The preserve includes 136 acres of old limestone quarried land to protect the only natural population of the Lakeside Daisy in the U.S. These bright yellow wildflowers are a brilliant sight to see as they bloom and cover the limestone landscape.

9. Visit Us at Otterbein Marblehead

Schedule a tour to get get a glimpse of what carefree senior living in the heart of Marblehead looks like. You’ll live close to unique attractions, parks, lighthouses, and more. Plus, you’ll have access to a variety of amenities and activities right on campus. Enjoy a personalized visit and picture yourself living here.


Otterbein Marblehead resident gardening.

Bonus:  Download your short guide to must-sees in Marblehead >>

Amenities and Activities at Otterbein Marblehead

Because residents at Otterbein Marblehead are encouraged to engage in active lifestyles, partners (employees) plan a wide range of activities. Here’s a sample of amenities and programs available on campus:

  • Exercise classes
  • Library
  • Social events and parties
  • Worship services
  • Fitness center
  • Firepit and outdoor seating
  • Games: bingo and Wii bowling
  • Woodshop
  • Art studios
  • Beauty/barbershop
  • Banking services
  • Prayer/meditation room
  • Birdwatching and nature walking trails
  • Outdoor bocce ball and other lawn games
  • Indoor shuffleboard
  • Musical programs and concerts

As you can see, there’s truly something for everyone on our campus.

Watch this video to learn why life is better near the lake at Otterbein Marblehead >>

If you enjoy exploring and going on new adventures, you’ll love checking out all the things to do in Marblehead and Lakeside Chautauqua. Otterbein Marblehead offers a convenient campus shuttle for organized activities in the neighboring villages.

Learn More About Life at Otterbein Marblehead

As a resident of Otterbein Marblehead, you are free to fill your days with activities both on and off campus. You may also choose to sit back and enjoy the lake breeze and wooded views. It’s entirely up to you. With maintenance-free living and nursing care available if and when you need it, you will feel like you are on vacation every day in this caring lakeside community.

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