Lakeside Chautauqua — A Family Friendly Lake Erie Weekend Getaway In Ohio

Guest Blogger: Katie Seemann-Zen Life and Travel blog

For the original blog post, please visit Zen Life and Travel blog:

A vacation with the whole family is a great way to enjoy the summer. There are lots of family vacation spots in Ohio, so it can be hard to know which one to choose. But, I’m here to help you out with a great idea for a Lake Erie weekend getaway — in Lakeside, Ohio!

I love checking out family vacation spots in Ohio. It’s so fun to be able to vacation in your home state for a lot of reasons:

  • It’s just a quick drive to get to your vacation spot.
  • You can fit a lot of fun into just a few days.
  • It’s often less expensive than traveling far away.
  • It’s easier to bring the whole family, especially if you have multiple generations that will be traveling together.

Even though I’ve lived in Ohio for a lot of my life, I haven’t spent that much time on Lake Erie. That’s one of the reasons I was thrilled when I was invited to check out the community of Lakeside Chautauqua.

This family friendly spot is perfect for a quick Lake Erie weekend getaway.


Lakeside Chautauqua: A Lake Erie Weekend Getaway For The Whole Family

You might be thinking, “Lakeside Cha-what?” Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered — It’s pronounced  “Shuh-taa-kwuh”.

The first Chautauqua community started in New York and aimed to bring entertainment and culture together for all generations in one place. These communities were popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and there are still many thriving communities around today, including one right here in Ohio.

Lakeside Chautauqua is a family vacation spot in Ohio on the Marblehead Peninsula that’s been around since the 1870’s. It’s located on the south shore of Lake Erie and makes a great vacation spot for families. The aim of the Chautauqua Experience is to nurture mind, body, and spirit.

While this gated community is most active in the summer, Lakeside Chautauqua is open year-round.

Where Is Lakeside Chautauqua

Lakeside Chautauqua is located on the Marblehead Peninsula on Lake Erie’s south shore. It’s about halfway between Toledo and Cleveland which makes it an easy drive from many locations.

Approximate Driving Time To Lakeside Chautauqua From Nearby Cities:

  • Cleveland, OH: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Toledo, OH: 1 hour
  • Columbus, OH: 2 hours, 25 minutes
  • Cincinnati, OH: 3 hours, 45 minutes
  • Detroit, MI: 1 hour, 50 minutes
  • Pittsburgh, PA: 3 hours
  • Ft. Wayne, IN: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Indianapolis, IN: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Things To Do In Lakeside Chautauqua

You might be wondering what there is to do in Lakeside, Ohio. The answer? So much!!!

Lakeside Chautauqua Pool

The pool in Lakeside is only a few years old and it’s a great place to cool off during the summer months. This huge pool has a zero entry feature that’s great for little ones who can’t swim yet plus plenty of space to splash. The rest of the pool is open space for bigger kids and adults. Plus there are 2 water slides!

Arts and Culture in Lakeside

Lakeside Chautauqua is known for its arts and cultural programs along with educational lectures. The calendar of events is enormous and includes things like:

  • Concerts
  • Family nights
  • Lectures
  • Movies
  • Shuffleboard tournaments
  • Arts & crafts
  • Parades
  • Lakeside Symphony Orchestra (yes, they have their own orchestra!)
  • Comedy and magic shows
  • Farmer’s market
  • and more!

Recreation in Lakeside

There are so many activities that are available all summer long. The great thing is that the majority of these activities are included in your entrance fee.

Here is just some of what you will find on any given day in Lakeside Chautauqua:

  • Tennis
  • Pickleball
  • Shuffleboard
  • Mini-golf (extra charge)
  • Basketball
  • Playgrounds
  • Walking path (Part of this path runs along Lake Erie and has been dubbed, “Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile”.)
  • Biking

Lakeside Chautauqua App

Yes, Lakeside Chautauqua even has their own app! You can download the Do the Mambo app for Apple or Android. You can register on the app to search different interests and groups, follow your favorite events, and meet new people in the community.

Restaurants In Lakeside Chautauqua

There are plenty of places to eat in Lakeside too. You’ll find most of the restaurants in the downtown area.

  • If you are looking for coffee and a pastry or even ice cream, check out Lakeside Coffee and Cream.
  • If you are looking for a quick lunch or casual dinner, try Ooh La La. You’ll find salads, sandwiches, and baked goods as well as gelato.
  • The Patio Restaurant is known for burgers and donuts.
  • If you are in the mood for pizza, check out Sloopy’s Sports Cafe. 
  • If you are looking for a traditional breakfast at a reasonable price, be sure to stop by Hotel Lakeside Dining Room & Cafe.

Lago Coastal Cafe

My favorite spot to eat in Lakeside was Lago Coastal Cafe. This restaurant opened at the beginning of the 2019 season and is located right across the street from the pool.

The menu is a mix of Hawaiian, Cuban, American, Asian, and Mexican cuisines. You can dine in or order take out from their walk up window.

I would highly recommend starting with the Wonton Tacos. These crispy asian inspired tacos were so good! My husband tried the Aloha Burger Sliders which features local grass fed beef, bacon, BBQ, pineapple, fresh mozzarella, and greens. The meal came with 2 very large sliders plus Lago fries. These fries are like super skinny steak fries, and they were excellent.

I tried the Southwest Fiesta Salad which was fresh and crisp — full of romaine, tomatoes, queso fresco, guacamole, corn, black beans, and tortilla strips. It’s served with sour cream and salsa. My daughter got a plain cheeseburger, and it was delicious (I’m not a huge fan of burgers, but this one was great.)

And do not go to Lago Coastal Cafe without trying a Lago Fizz drink. It is a mixture of soda water, mint, and your choice of flavor. We tried the passion fruit and watermelon — both were fantastic, but the watermelon was our favorite. It was refreshing and not too sweet!

Accommodation in Lakeside Chautauqua

There are many different places you can stay in Lakeside Chautauqua from hotels to campgrounds. There are 2 hotels in Lakeside — The Fountain Inn and Hotel Lakeside — plus numerous B&B’s, guest houses, and condos.

We stayed at the Fountain Inn, but to get the full Chautauqua Experience, I would recommend renting one of the hundreds of cottages that line the streets of Lakeside.

These cute cottages ranged from teeny-tiny to large enough for a big family. I loved walking the streets just to check out all of these adorable lakeside cottages (with some amazing porches).

Click here for more information about all of these accommodations from the Lakeside website.

FAQs About Lakeside Chautauqua

1. How much does it cost to enter Lakeside Chautauqua?

The cost of Lakeside admission varies depending on how long you stay. Daily passes are available for $24.50-$30 for adults and $16.25 for ages 13-24. Kids 12 and under and guests 90 and older are always free.

There are separate charges for parking ranging from $2-$12.50 per day.

Click here to purchase tickets.

2. What’s Included in my Daily Chautauqua Pass?

Most of the activities and entertainment available in Lakeside are complimentary once inside the gates. This includes the pool, Hoover auditorium events, Lakeside Symphony Orchestra concerts, Chautauqua lecture series, concerts in the park, kid’s programs, playgrounds, shuffleboard, tennis, pickleball, basketball, golf cart shuttle service, and more.

A few of the exceptions are mini-golf which is available for $3.50/game, arts and crafts in the park which come with a $1-$2 charge per project, and movies which are $7 for adults and $3 for children.

3. Is alcohol allowed in Lakeside Chautauqua?

Alcohol is not allowed outside the private dwellings of lessees/privately-owned cottages.

4. What’s the best way to get around Lakeside Chautauqua?

Once inside Lakeside Chautauqua you can easily get around by foot, bike, or golf cart. Golf cart rentals are available and there is a daily complimentary golf cart shuttle. Bikes are also a popular mode of transportation and there is plenty of bike parking available.

5. How does parking work in Lakeside Chautauqua?

There is limited parking within the Lakeside Chautauqua gates. You can park your car inside the gates (if available) or in one of the 2 parking lots outside the gates. There is an additional fee for parking.

6. Is there a beach in Lakeside Chautauqua?

There is a very small beach area in Lakeside Chautauqua, but if you are looking for a beach vacation, this probably won’t be it. When we were there the lake was very high and rough which made the beach area un-usable.

Photos by Katie Seemann

One thought on “Lakeside Chautauqua — A Family Friendly Lake Erie Weekend Getaway In Ohio”

  1. Thank you for providing so much information about Lakeside Chautauqua. My family and I are going on a short vacation, but because of Covid, it’s difficult to plan anything, so we choose places nearby. Lakeside Chautauqua is perfect for us!

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