Life is Better at Lakeside; A week on “Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile”


This summer took us coast to coast – we were lucky enough to put our toes in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. But although the surf, sand and seaweed were more than satisfying, oddly enough one of the best weeks of the summer for us was less than two hours away from home, in my own personal little piece of heaven: Lakeside, Ohio.

Close your eyes for a minute. Picture the quintessential lakeside town. Where cottages replace houses and apartments, bikes and golf carts replace cars and SUVs, where laptops are closed and books are opened, desks are replaced with front porch swings and Zoom meetings are swapped for conversations over donuts and coffee. That’s Lakeside. For the past several years, my family has spent a week on Lake Erie, tucked away in a cozy cottage on “Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile”, truly making the sweetest memories.

While there’s nothing quite like summer at the lake, Lakeside makes for a perfectly quaint and cozy year-round getaway. 

Where To Stay

Lakeside is synonymous with cozy cottages. Every year we’ve gone, we’ve snagged a cottage from either AirBnb or through a Lakeside cottage rental company. The cottages fill up quickly in peak season (Memorial Day through Labor Day), so if Lakeside is on your summer 2024 list, late winter is a great time to start looking! There are two main hotels in the property – Hotel Lakeside,  and The Fountain Inn. Hotel Lakeside is a local landmark built in 1875 with gorgeous views of the lake and completely reminiscent of the Victorian era. The Fountain Inn is nestled in the heart of town with great walkability to all Lakeside has to offer! Whether a hotel or a charming cottage is for you, I can guarantee you’ll feel comfortable and welcomed wherever you rest your head!

Where to Eat

In the most adorable “town square,” you’ll find a variety of eats, sweets and treats – truly something for everyone (but be sure to bring cash – several of these cute cafes are cash only!) A must are fresh donuts from The Patio (cash only!) Once you have your donuts head across the street to Lakeside Coffee & Cream for your morning java. Pack a picnic lunch or grab a delicious panini from Bluebird and enjoy the lake or a snack at Poolside Hot Dogs & Treats after a swim at the pool. Need an energy boost after a day sailing or paddleboarding? Stop by SmoothieSide. Grab dinner at Lakeside Pizzeria (delicious pizza), Oh La La (salads and sandwiches) or at the Lakeside Table & Tearoom (so fun)! A trip to Lakeside isn’t complete without watching the incredible sunset on the dock with a cone from the Whistle Stop – truly a staple! 

What To Do

Although Lakeside is known for its calm, slow-paced way of life, it is also chalked full of activities and fun things to do – especially during the warmer months. (Seriously – shout out to the team who plans endless crafts, activities, and entertainment!) Take an art class at Rhein Center (Sam’s taken a few!); or learn a new hobby like sailing, shuffleboard or pickleball. Don’t miss the incredible Grindley Aquatic Center pool – complete with weekly swimming lessons for kiddos too! Lakeside brings countless musical and entertainment acts to the community – along with keynote speakers and lecturers. My favorite journalist, Steve Hartman, has ties to Lakeside and often returns to do keynotes – my mom and her husband had the chance to hear one of them! And then afterward he, and the majority of the attendees headed down to Whistle Stop for ice cream because that’s just what you do in Lakeside.

Tips & Tricks

  • This is super important, I’d hate for you to get caught off guard! -> Lakeside is a private, gated community and requires guests (and residents) to purchase a Lakeside Pass and Auto Pass to enter the grounds during the early spring and summer months. Complete pricing and information about the passes can be found here
  • Both the Fountain Inn and Hotel Lakeside offer a 50-week advance booking window to book hotel rooms. So for example, you’re able to reserve the date June 15, 2024, as early as June 30, 2023.
  • You’ll want to catch the sunset at least once (if not nightly) from the dock. Just trust me. It’s stunning.
  • As long as you have a Lakeside Pass, you can access the Grindley Aquatic Center/pool
  • You can drive your car in Lakeside but there’s really nowhere to park (aside from where you are staying). Walk, bring your bike, rent a golf cart or leverage the free golf car shuttle.
  • Lakeside is a dry community — meaning within the Lakeside gates, nowhere sells alcohol (stores or restaurants). But! You’re welcome to bring it inside and enjoy it at your hotel or cottage.
  • Lakeside is home to so many fairy gardens (naturally Sam was in heaven – we’d spend hours driving the golf cart checking out all the resident fairies). Grab a list at Marilyn’s Two of all the addresses of fairies listed.
  • Don’t forget cash! Many of the little shops are cash only (there are a handful of ATMs inside as well – don’t worry!)
  • For one afternoon head out of Lakeside and 15 minutes away you’ll find the African Safari Wildlife Park. I could write a post completely dedicated to how fun and hysterical this place is — but just trust me.

Here’s to life on the lake – even if it is for only one, magical week! If you are looking for other Ohio Beaches, check these out too!

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Amanda Decastro
Amanda DeCastro has called Columbus, Ohio home her entire life. She currently lives with her husband and four-year-old daughter Samantha in Grove City, where they love to share everything there is to do south of Columbus and beyond on their Instagram handle @BusyInGroveCity. In addition to sharing their favorite things to do around town, Amanda and Samantha stay busy making kids crafts - and they truly live by the motto “the messier the better!” When Amanda isn’t shuttling her daughter from activity to activity, she can be found working part-time at Spectrum News 1 OH where she heads up community relations. An elementary school principal’s wife, Amanda is also involved with the South-Western City Schools Educational Foundation board and serves on the advisory committee for the South-Western City Schools Career Academy Interactive Media Design program. A Capital University grad, she is also involved with her alma mater serving as a frequent guest speaker and mentor for current public relations and marketing students.