After spotting vacationers parasail over Florida's beaches, the founder of Put in Bay Parasail decided to create a way for North Coasters to get the same thrill above Lake Erie's waters. Since then, thousands of parasailers have taken flight and sailed up to 300 feet over the water, enjoying beach views and attempting to touch the sun while USCG-licensed captains safely steer. Setting forth from South Bass Island, Captain Jason Hall outfits guests with life vests and valuable knowledge nuggets, gleaned during more than two decades of water adventuring. Alternatively, high-quality paddleboards send aqua explorers on adventures closer to Erie's water. Staff point boarders in the direction of great spots for sunbathing, bobbing, or surfing based on their skill level and fluency at communing with lake trout.
Vehicles leisurely roll across African Safari Wildlife Park's landscape, yielding to a host of friendly creatures. Camels, giraffes, zebras, forest-dwelling bongos, Asian sika deer, and Scottish highland cows await you. Guests can hold cups filled with feed, which exotic muzzles devour, and a walking area provides an up-close look at enclosed species such as the rare white alligator. Warm-weather months bring out additional activities, including animal rides, pig races, and educational animal shows where guests can interact with small animals. Food and beverages from African Safari's ice-cream shop, snack bar, and grill help sate midday hungers caused by watching a guanaco sneeze.
Snugly resting against the scenic shores of Lake Erie and the borders of a 500-acre nature reserve, Sawmill Creek Resort houses a 240-room lodge and a slew of fun-inducing recreational activities. Before or after catching 40 winks during a one-night stay, use a $25 amenity credit to sample the resort's numerous entertainment bone ticklers. Obliterate dimpled orbs on the 18-hole par 71 golf course, or smooth out knots and sass-mouthed grapes with a one-hour massage or winery tour. The resort's marina hosts the Sawmill Explorer, which guests can board for a Saturday-evening sunset cruise on the lake ($12/person), as well as rentable jet skis, kayaks, and curmudgeonly sea captains. Although the amenity credit is not valid for entertaining bored stomachs, the resort boasts a diverse smattering of restaurants teeming with seafood, steaks, and casual fare.
Fast1Charters' 35-foot, high-speed cigarette boat, helmed by Captain Greg, whisks passengers on an exhilarating and breathtaking jaunt over Lake Erie's tranquil waters. During your cruise west from Edgewater to Rocky River, you'll enjoy the rush of 70 mph speeds while the sun bobs atop the water like a perfectly safe yet radioactive buoy. On the way back, you'll get dramatic views of Cleveland's lit-up skyline pitched against the water. As you watch the sun melt into the ripply waters, pair your eye feast with an occasional cooling freshwater spritz. Fast1Charters' sunset cruise is BYOB, so bring along a couple of beers and toast your pals as you snuggle into the wind's exhilarating embrace. Daytime seafarers may enjoy the afternoon cruise, departing Saturdays from Kelleys Island or Catawba at 1 p.m.
Get cozy with Lake Erie on the back of a splishy-splashy water beast. North Coast Parasail launches waverunners from the sandy shores of Cedar Point Beach, directly behind Cedar Point's Hotel Breakers. Before taking to the open waters, riders will receive a brief equipment orientation and safety run-down. Your Groupon is good for a full hour of wave riding, during which you will feel the wind in your hair-piece as you rip along the Ohio coast, taking in views of Sandusky and Cedar Point while leaving that pesky paparazzo in the dust. North Coast's waverunners are big enough to seat two—twins and well-timed comedy duos are welcome to redeem their Groupons simultaneously and ride together, and sexy loners can opt to fly solo on the two-seater.
A 6-inch perch strikes a baited minnow, and then a 26-inch walleye inhales them both. The boy landing this prize catch—who also happens to be a first-timer—reels as his teammates cheer so loudly that Captain Alan Maier isn't even sure that his handling tips are audible over the excitement. Once the fish reaches the boat side, the captain nets the walleye and encourages the boys—all members of his grandson's little league baseball team—to capture the moment with a picture.
Maier charters fishing excursions for perch and walleye so that anglers of all ages can have memories like these, which prompt Maier to recall all of the trips he had with his dad that ended with one of them saying, "let's catch just one more." Welcoming parties aboard his roomy Thompson Fisherman boat—measuring 27 feet long by 10 feet wide and equipped with a sun-shielding hardtop—the licensed captain launches from various docks in the area and then heads toward the western basin of Lake Erie. Trips furnish all equipment, including bait, ice, and coolers to hold catches. Guests are also welcome to bring their own rods, reels, and lures shaped like BLTs.