The solar eclipse is already becoming big news around Ottawa County and Vacationland, and for good reason. If you’re eager to find the perfect place to watch it all happen, a premier spot will be right in our own backyards on Monday, April 8.
Ottawa County is on a direct path of the solar eclipse. Even though it is still three months away, visitors will need a game plan in order to enjoy the unique event. Shores & Islands Ohio, our local tourism agency, and the state’s TourismOhio are ready to help, and they want people to get the message that they need to make plans now.
The solar eclipse itself will only last for about three minutes and 30 seconds, but smart folks are making reservations to watch it happen in places where there will also be lots of other enjoyable things for friends and families to do both before and after the grand event.
Ottawa County is on the direct path of the solar eclipse, and what area has more to offer than the Ohio shoreline of Lake Erie? Already well-known as a vacation destination, the area has many motels and hotels, as well as camp sites, campgrounds and state parks.
While visitors are here, they’ll be able to enjoy the truly outstanding fishing on Lake Erie, beautiful boating waters and swimming beaches, lovely islands, restaurants, attractive shopping areas and a wide range of music venues, including the popular outdoor District Stage in downtown Port Clinton.
“There is so much to see and do here before and after the solar eclipse,” said Larry Fletcher, the director of Shores & Islands Ohio. “We’ve created a website — shoresandislands.com/eclipse — with a lot of information about the eclipse, from the time of day and the maximum amount of darkness to the many special events being held.”
Fletcher said local groups and organizations are already scheduling events at a wide range of venues, from the Perry Monument on South Bass Island to Waterworks Park in downtown Port Clinton.
“We anticipate that thousands of visitors will come to Ohio to join our residents in having a front-row seat to the solar eclipse,” said Gov. Mike DeWine. “The solar eclipse is sure to be an educational and memorable experience, and Ohio will be ready to host visitors with a wide variety of activities, dining, and entertainment options.”
“The eclipse won’t last long, but there is plenty more to experience when you extend your stay here in Ohio,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development, which oversees TourismOhio. “From stargazing at one of our many state parks to exploring space at one of our many museums, you’ll discover all kinds of adventure here in the Heart of it All.”
TourismOhio wants to make it a little easier for the expected crowds arriving to see the once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse with a new all-in-one landing page featured at Ohio.org/Eclipse.
Some of the most advantageous locations for solar eclipse watchers will be Ohio State Parks, and Ottawa County has plenty of them. If that’s your style, don’t wait until tomorrow to make a park reservation. Lodges, cabins and campsites are already being overwhelmed by bookings, according to reports.
The largest State Park Resort in the area is Maumee Bay State Park. The prime state park campgrounds in the Lake Erie Islands Area, a top spot for watching the solar eclipse, include East Harbor State Park on the Marblehead Peninsula, Kelleys Island State Park and South Bass Island State Park, which also features the Put-in-Bay party scene on South Bass Islands.
The amazing Lake Erie fishing for walleye, yellow perch and smallmouth bass fishing attracts spring anglers from all over the United States. About 900 fishing charters ply the productive waters of Lake Erie, where record numbers of walleye have earned the big lake the title of the Walleye Capital of the World.
Also helping to crowd state wildlife areas and parks along the Lake Erie shoreline of Northeast Ohio is the amazing birding to be found here. The Biggest Week in American Birding takes advantage of the spring migration of songbirds, waterfowl and a plethora of bald eagles to bring more than 100,000 birders to Northeast Ohio. This year the birding exposition, and all of its tours, treks, seminars and such, will be May 3-12.
The eclipse is just the start of many must-do activities this coming April,” said Sarah Wickham, TourismOhio Director. “Ohio promises something for everyone in the family. Our updated website is the essential road map to navigating all there is to do before and after the eclipse—and we know it can’t be done in one trip! We hope the memories made this spring inspire return visits for years to come.”