Lake Erie is the shallowest of all the Great Lakes with an average depth of 62 feet. The area with the least depth is on the western side of the lake, where depths of 25 to 30 feet are common. Due to this shallow depth, waves build quickly on that end of the lake when the breeze picks up. Those who boat regularly around Cedar Point, the Bass Islands and Maumee Bay can attest to this phenomenon. The Iroquoian people who lived along the south shore of the lake are believed to have called the lake “Erige” or “cat” due to its unpredictable and sometimes dangerous nature. Lake Erie was carved out by a series of glacial advances and retreats over three Ice Ages. The glaciers left high sand ridges south of the current shoreline, this high ground served as trails for both Native Americans and pioneers as they traversed what was to become northern Ohio. The major naval battle in the upper Midwest during the War of 1812 took place on Lake Erie, near Put-In-Bay, in September 1813. The American commander Oliver Hazard Perry, who won the day over the British, is most famously known for his battle flag with the motto “Don’t give up the ship”. His brief battle report of his success at Put-In-Bay read, “We have met the enemy and they are ours…” This cruise begins in Cleveland and the estimated mileages between destinations for this itinerary are calculated running clockwise around Lake Erie. This cruise alternates between U.S. and Canadian ports of call, please follow all customs and immigration rules for both the U.S. and Canada while boating on Lake Erie.

  1. - Estimated Mileage: 0

    Lakeside Yacht Club

    Cleveland, OH



    Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed popularized the term “rock ‘n’ roll” on his radio show and organized the country’s first official rock ‘n’ roll concert, a shindig. It is very fitting then that the Cleveland waterfront is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame which tracks the evolution of this musical and cultural phenomenon through more than 50 exhibits. There’s Janis Joplin’s psychedelic Porsche, Michael Jackson’s sparkly glove, and the scribbled lyrics of ideas that morphed into classics, and dozens and dozens of iconic instruments. What’s it like to travel to space? Can you really create a mini tornado? How do MRI machines work? The Great Lakes Science Center tackles these and other questions through hundreds of cool exhibits that make science, technology, engineering and math come alive for people of all ages. Other attractions include the historic steamship William G. Mather, a floating maritime museum.

  2. - Estimated Mileage: 46

    Oasis Marinas at Battery Park

    View of Docks - Oasis Marinas at Battery Park - Sandusky, Ohio - Marinalife

    Sandusky, OH



    Sandusky is all about amusement. Cedar Point amusement park is in the best tradition of Coney Island and is the Roller Coaster Capital of the World. At last count, eighteen roller coasters, including a few vintage wooden varieties and ones for young coaster lovers in training, make for a full day of thrills and screams. The nearby Merry-Go-Round Museum was opened with the mission, “to preserve and promote the art and history of the carousel.” To share the joy of carousels, the museum has a working woodcarving shop and an armored horse carving on display. This particular horse is considered to be one of the rarest and most beautiful of all carousel figures.

  3. - Estimated Mileage: 9

    Portside Marina

    Kelleys Island, OH



    Kelleys Island State Park Beach is a popular Ohio beach with a kid-friendly, gradual water depth and a walking and fishing pier. Within the park are the Glacial Grooves that are the most popular natural destination on the island. The glacial grooves are 400 feet long, 35 feet wide, and up to 15 feet deep. The slow movement of the massive glacier that formed the Great Lakes created these grooves. When glaciers move across the earth, they pick up rocks, soil, and other debris, and drag them along. As the ice crept over the soft limestone bedrock of Kelleys Island, these harder bits of rock gouged the grooves seen today. 

  4. - Estimated Mileage: 10

    The Crew’s Nest

    Put-in-Bay, OH



    Put-in-Bay Winery offers a guided, wine-tasting tour of the historic Valentine Doller Estate that showcases award-winning local wines, while transporting one back the Gilded Age and the winemaking tradition on South Bass Island. In commemoration of the American victory over the British during the War of 1812 stands Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial. This monument rises 352 feet above Lake Erie and can be seen from many vantage points around the island.

  5. - Estimated Mileage: 2

    Middle Bass Island Yacht Club



    The Bass Islands were called the Wine Islands back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. And the most photographed spot on Middle Bass is the Gothic castle-like building that housed the former Lonz Winery. First opened during the Civil War as the Golden Eagle Winery, by 1875 it was the largest wine producer in the United States. This former winery looms like a fortress along the beach that is now part of Middle Bass Island State Park.

  6. - Estimated Mileage: 30

    Trout’s Yacht Basin

    Monroe, MI



    Monroe is one of the most historic cities in Michigan. Well known as the home of Gen. George A. Custer and having the River Raisin run through it, Monroe is fast becoming an arts and cultural hotspot. The River Raisin Jazz Festival that takes place the 2nd weekend in August each summer attracts over 40,000 music lovers per year. The River Raisin National Battlefield Park is the site of the bloodiest battle of the War of 1812 and the largest conflict ever fought on Michigan soil. Downtown Monroe is home to the Monroe County Historical Museum and wonderful dining, shopping and entertainment venues.

  7. - Estimated Mileage: 34

    Scudder Marina

    Pelee Island, ON



    This island is just about as far south as one can get in Canada. Pelee Island is the largest of the nine lake islands of provincial Ontario on the western half of Lake Erie. While the other islands, including Big Chicken, Little Chicken and Hen, are not much more than hazards to navigation, Pelee is surrounded by beaches that are connected by its 20-mile circular Waterfront Trail. Pelee Island has a tradition richly steeped in winemaking. Beginning in 1866 with Vin Villa Winery, an industry was born on the Island that would flourish until the early 1900’s. Today, the Pelee Island Winery carries on that tradition, and with over 600 acres of grapes, it is the largest estate winery in Canada today. The Wine Pavilion operates from mid-May until mid-October, offering tastings, tours, and live weekend entertainment in the wine garden.

  8. - Estimated Mileage: 13

    Leamington Municipal Marina

    Leamington, ON



    Due to its location in the southernmost part of Canada, Leamington goes by the tagline "Sun Parlour of Canada". It has also been ranked as the number one best place to live in Canada. Leamington is also known as the "Tomato Capital of Canada", as it is the location of a tomato processing factory previously owned by the H. J. Heinz Company. The town's water tower, visible for miles in the flat southern Ontario landscape, is in the shape and color of a giant tomato.

  9. - Estimated Mileage: 51

    Erieau Marina



    Erieau, a small fishing port and resort village, is on a peninsula located on the north shore of Lake Erie and the south shore of Rondeau Bay. It boasts some of the warmest waters on Lake Erie as well as some of the region’s best fishing. Stop by the Galley Grille Pub to sample the “Bucky” burger and Friday’s yellow perch dinner. If you're looking to absorb some local knowledge and current events, the Galley is the place to be, where they also regularly host the “Circle of Wisdom".

  10. - Estimated Mileage: 46

    Kettle Creek Marina

    Port Stanley, ON



    A settlement named Kettle Creek was founded here in 1812. Around 1824, it was renamed Port Stanley after Edward Smith-Stanley, Earl of Derby. Lord Stanley later became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the father of Frederick Stanley, Governor General of Canada, ice hockey enthusiast and donor of the first Stanley Cup in 1893. The Port Stanley Terminal Rail is a heritage railway that passes over the historic tracks of the London and Port Stanley Railway between Port Stanley and St. Thomas, to the north. Currently, the railway has five classic diesel electric locomotives from the 1940’s and 1950’s and nine passenger cars. Trains leave the Port Stanley railway station for an hour-long ride to St. Thomas.

  11. - Estimated Mileage: 79

    Bayview Harbour Marina



    During the 18th century fishing, milling, and timber processing were the main industries in Port Rowan. Today, that history is remembered at a restored village in the Backus Conservation Area. The village is an open-air museum and contains the Backhouse Grist Mill that was built in 1798. It was one of the few mills to not be burned during the War of 1812. Port Rowan’s proximity to Long Point, a major bird flight-path, makes it a popular destination for bird-watchers. Bird Studies Canada is Canada's national bird conservation organization. Its mission is to advance the understanding, appreciation and conservation of wild birds and their habitats and is headquartered in close proximity to Port Rowan.

  12. - Estimated Mileage: 57

    Sugarloaf Harbour Marina

    Port Colborne, ON



    The Welland Canal is a ship canal connecting Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, bypassing Niagara Falls, has its southern terminus at Port Colborne. Approximately 3,000 ocean going vessels from the St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes freighters pass through Port Colborne each year. Ship spotting is a favorite pastime at the port. And the Port Colborne Historical & Marine Museum is well worth the visit.

  13. - Estimated Mileage: 20

    Erie Basin Marina

    Buffalo, NY



    Buffalo grew significantly in the 19th and 20th centuries as a result of the Erie Canal, railroads and Lake Erie, providing ample trade routes to the Midwest. The city has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years, from a redeveloped waterfront and revitalized neighborhoods to a burgeoning craft beer scene. Spend the day at the breathtaking Niagara Falls and for dinner try some Buffalo wings that were invented at the city’s Anchor Bar.

  14. - Estimated Mileage: 24

    Hidden Harbor Marina

    Irving, NY



    Irving is home to Evangola State Park whose major attraction is its beautiful arc-shaped shoreline and natural sand beach on Lake Erie. Low shale cliffs line the edge of the beach. The Seneca nation's governmental headquarters on the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation is nearby. The Thomas Indian School of Irving is listed on the National Register of Historic Places denoting its importance in Seneca heritage.

  15. - Estimated Mileage: 52

    Wolverine Park Marina

    Erie, PA

    (814) 874-0698


    The people of the Erie nation occupied this area before being defeated by the five nations of the Iroquois Confederacy in the 17th century during the Beaver Wars. Present-day Erie is situated in what was the disputed Erie Triangle, a triangle of land claimed after the American Revolutionary War by the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. In 1792 it officially became part of Pennsylvania. Erie was an important shipbuilding, fishing, and railroad hub during the mid-19th century. The Presque Isle Lighthouse, across the bay from downtown, was completed in 1873. The square brick tower is actually circular on the inside, using 78 steps in a circular path to the top of the lighthouse tower. Presque Isle Lighthouse still serves as a working aid to navigation today, and is open for tours.

  16. - Estimated Mileage: 45

    Riverside Yacht Club

    Ashtabula, OH



    The city of Ashtabula became an important destination on the Underground Railroad in the middle 19th century, as refugee slaves could take ships to Canada and freedom. Even in the free state of Ohio, they were at risk of being captured by slavecatchers. Beginning in the late 19th century, the city became a major coal port on Lake Erie. Coal and iron were shipped here, the latter from the Mesabi Range in Minnesota. The city attracted immigrants from Finland, Sweden and Italy during the industrial period. The area inland from the lake has the largest collection of covered bridges in Ohio. A perfect day trip is the 69-mile tour of 13 historic covered bridges with some built as early as 1867.

  17. - Estimated Mileage: 28

    Grand River Marine



    Fairport Harbor's location at the mouth of the Grand River made it an ideal place for a settlement. The town of Grandon was platted there in 1812, When the town incorporated in 1836, the name was changed to Fairport. After receiving federal sponsorship, the village's port flourished, and an influx of Finns, Hungarians and Slovaks arrived there to work at area steel mills. To this day, Fairport’s population has a strong Finnish heritage. The Finnish Heritage Museum has rotating exhibits and a coffee shop featuring nisu, the Finnish coffee bread flavored with cardamon. The Fairport Harbor Marine Museum is located at the mouth of the Grand River. A spiral staircase leads to the top of the 60-foot sandstone lighthouse, built in 1871. The adjacent museum features lighthouse lenses, relics from Native American settlements along the Grand River, and artifacts pertaining to life on the Great Lakes.