Cabin-Style Suites Above Massive Indoor Water Park
High above Fort Mackenzie—a four-story, waterlogged treehouse with swinging cargo nets, suspension bridges, and treetop slides—a 1,000-gallon bucket slowly fills with water. Eventually, the bucket topples, drenching those gathered below in a torrent of water. It's just one of the many attractions at Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky’s indoor water park, which is connected to a comfy resort filled with spacious suites. You can spend the day careening down tunnel slides, lounging in jumbo whirlpools, and playing water basketball in the Raccoon Lagoon before ending the night relaxing by the Grand Lobby’s fireplace.
The temperature-controlled aquatic arena is one of several onsite activities available. At Scooops Kid Spa, staff members offer manicures, pedicures, and free ice cream to pintsize guests sitting on banana-split thrones. The Northern Lights Arcade features more than 100 games catering to kids and adults alike. And MagiQuest is a live-action adventure that takes place in an enchanted kingdom filled with goblins, dragons, and pixies.
Suites comfortably accommodate up to six people; each Wolf Den unit comes with a mini cave themed den for the kids. For dinner, head to one of Great Wolf Lodge’s onsite restaurants, which serve everything from classic American fare at Gitchigoomie Grill to snacks and sodas at the water park’s Klondike Cafe.
Sandusky, Ohio: Roller Coasters on Lake Erie
Located on the banks of Lake Erie and almost exactly halfway between Cleveland and Toledo, Sandusky earned a spot on Forbes’s list of Best Places to Live Cheaply for its picturesque lake views and premier theme parks. Foremost among the latter is Cedar Point, the self-proclaimed roller-coaster capital of the world (the park has 15 of them). For an unforgettable 40-second thrill ride, climb aboard the Wicked Twister, which reaches speeds of up to 72 miles per hour as it whips into a series of spirals.