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The Lake Erie Circle Tour - Lorain, Ohio and Its Attractions

Ms. Inglish has 30 years experience in medicine, psychology, STEM instruction, history; and aerospace education for USAF Civil Air Patrol.

Lorain Lighthouse at Sunset

Lorain Lighthouse at Sunset

The North Shore of Ohio

Lorain is located on the North Shore of Ohio on Lake Erie at the mouth of the Black River. It is the scene of many battles faught during the War of 1812 - 1814.

Under the state governorships of Ted Strickland and John Kasich, the southern route of the Lake Erie Circle Tour - on the American side - has much improved and added attractions to please both tourists and residents. In fact, Lorain has always been one of the highlights of a tour along Lake Erie. Reenactments of the War of 1812 by Canadians and Americans through 2015 will please several thousand new visitors to the Great Lakes Region of the Midwest and Near East.

The area between the cities of Lorain and Avon Lake is a particularly lovely part of Ohio, the driving is smooth, the green spaces are many, and the people along the way are welcoming.

The Underground Railroad

Several Lake Erie towns were gateways to Canada and freedom for escaping slaves through the Underground Railroad in Ohio. Lorain features a large memorial site for Underground Railroad Station #100 at Lake Erie near Lorain Harbor.

Don't miss Lorain's Underground Railroad Tour and the Oberlin Underground Railroad Center, where you can learn about the Oberlin-Wellington slave rescues of 1858 - 1859. Oberlin College was the first to become coeducational in America and in 1834, the first college to admit students of color under a non-discrimination policy.

Routes of the Underground Railroad in and out of Ohio. Notice Oberlin on Lake Erie.

Routes of the Underground Railroad in and out of Ohio. Notice Oberlin on Lake Erie.

Lorain is at the Mouth of the Black River

North Shore Ohio Driving Distances

From Lorain toDistanceNotes


73 miles

Only 2 additional miles to Detroit, Michigan.


37 miles

Cedar Point Amusement Park is here.


10 miles

Also called Harbourtown and features the Festival of Fish each June.


10 milies

Oberlin College is here.


9 miles

Another site to visit for Civil War history and green space recreation.

Avon Lake

12 miles

To the east of Lorain. Many ships pass this point.


30 miles

Seafood catches daily from the lake, and any attrctions.

Erie, Pennsylvania

131 miles

Many historical landmarks and other attractions await.

American Side of the Lake Erie Circle Tour

  • Lake Erie Shores On The Great Lakes Circle Tour
    Each of the five lakes can be toured using Circle Routes, or a complete tour of all five at once is possible in one Great Circle. A great summer would be spent driving around the bays and inlets, stopping at islands, visiting historical sites, dining
Charles Berry Bascule Bridge at 103 East Erie Avenue, crossing the Black River.

Charles Berry Bascule Bridge at 103 East Erie Avenue, crossing the Black River.

Charles Berry Bridge Honors Serviceman

This is officially the Erie Avenue Bridge located on State Route 611, which crosses the Black river near Lake Erie. An unusual drawbridge, it is a great sight for the Lake Erie Circle Tour on the American Side.

Charles Berry Bascule Bridge

A Lorain Favorite Son, Charles Berry, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions as a Marine during a grenade battle in WWII on the island of Iwo Jima.

The bridge, the second largest bascule-type drawbridge in the world to date, honors Berry's service to his country and fellow man as a United States Marine.

Several additional historic and newer bridges are interesting to see in Lorain, including a railroad lift bridge across the Black River. A list of dozens of local bridges is maintained at the link below, with exact landmark locations and easy-to-follow maps.

The Black River

The Black River Historical Society in Lorain keeps text, image, and artifact accounts regarding the Black River and associated lake and river beaches in and around Lorain, Ohio. This collection includes studies of local Native American groups in prehistoric times, as well as railroading history. One passenger railroad line is still available across Lake Erie. It and one with a depot and museum complex in Cincinnati make up the only passenger rail transport in the state.

The Lorain Lighthouse is maintained by its own foundation after many years of guarding the North Coast, and the foundation expects boat tours to be offered in conjunction with visits to the lighthouse in the mid-2010s. The city is very excited about this, since it complements the sailing regattas and tall ship meets that residents and tourists enjoy in Lorain Harbor. People can also kayak on the lake at this point.

A variety of beaches are available for people to enjoy at no charge. Harmon Beach has been a public and private beach, with plans within the city to develop it into a city park.

Moore House Museum is located at 309 W. 5th St. near the Black River and commemorating the work of a major lumber company that was located at th river, along with lumber barons of a bygone era. The historical society is co-located in the museum.See also the Black River Reservation.

Lakeview Park Beach and Birding Trail

Lakeview Park Beach and Birding Trail

Bird Watching at the Lake

In addition to beaches and the lake, Lorain Harbor features excellent bird watching. The birding season peaks from November through some time in January, when the lake begins to ice over at the shore.

Lorain Port Authority; 611 Broadway Avenue, Lorain OH 44052: Picnic tables, restrooms, and beach or dock area. State Route 6 East goes straight to the harbor.

Types of Birds to See: Bonaparte’s Gulls, Herring gulls, Mergansers, and others.

Rare Birds: Heermann’s Gulls, Tufted Ducks, Cinnamon Teals, Snowy Owls and others.

Bring your binoculars!

The Tall Ship Niagra

National Register of Historic Places

  • 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Association Barracks - Located at 5501 E. Lake Rd. , Sheffield Lake near Lorain. -- Military camp and museum, special events.
  • Antlers Hotel - A closed hotel popuar from 1900 - 1949 and still appreciated for its exterior architecture. Located at Washington and SW Erie Avenues in Lorain.
  • Burrell Orchard Site - A prehistoric camp and village in Sheffield Lake, near Lorain. Late Woodlands and Late Paleolithic Native Americans; quite an old installation.
  • Dreamland Theater - 1930 Broadway, Lorain.
  • Eiden Prehistoric District - A 300-acre district once settled by the Middle Woodlands Native Americans, including segments of the Iroquois Confederacy nations from 1000 BC to 1500 AD. It encompasses a Native American camp and village in the City of Lorain, Ohio.
  • Historic Lakeview Park Rose Garden - Lakeview Park at 1800 East Erie Avenue, Lorain.
  • Lorain and West Virginia Railway District - About 3100 acres from Lorain to Wellinginton Ohio in Lorain County.
  • Lorain Lighthouse - Lorain Harbor.
  • Palace Theater Building - Broadway and 6th St. in Lorain.

Lorain features several dozen additional historic places preserved for visitors and residents to visit. They are often homes of city founders, business leaders, and other historical figures, along with Underground Railroad significance.

Additional Attractions

Free WIFI Hotspots

  • Eat'n Park at 1524 West River Road N; Elyria
  • Lorain Library Main at 351 Sixth Street; Lorain
  • McDonalds at 1725 Henderson; Lorain 44052

Local Coffee Houses that may also offer WIFI

  • Garden Of Charleston Coffee House at 610 Broadway -- Lorain started out as a town called "Charleston."
  • Cap'N Eddy's Coffee & Cones at 301 Lakeside Ave.
  • Pit Stop Coffee Shop at 1662 E 28th St
  • Dunkin' Donuts at 5494 Leavitt Rd

Lorain's Largest Employers: Health, Manufacturing, Education

1 Mercy Hospital - Catholic Health Partners
2 Lorain City School District - Education
3 U.S. Steel - This company is growing in 2013, with ads appearing in the Columbus Dispatch
4 Industrias CH - Another steel company, founded in 1938.
5 City of Lorain - City government jobs
6 Camaco - Auto Industry; maker of automotive seat frames.
7 Sprenger Health Care Systems
8 Walmart - Retail.
9 Lake Pointe Health Center
10 The Nord Center - Mental Health and Behavioral Healthcare services

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Patty Inglish MS


Jeremy Richmond from Hubbard on August 15, 2019:

Lorain is one of my favorite stops when on my way out for the world class walleye fishery. Good food, easily accessable from the toll roads, with a view of one of nature's best creations. Great article!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 27, 2015:

@TJ Godelewski - Thanks for the question! The City of Lorain website lists it as a city park with picnic shelters, tables, grills, an equipped playground, and rental facilities.

I don't see that the City Council or Parks & Rec has any further plans of development published yet, or that the Chamber of Commerce has any new information, but I will continue to check back. You might want to call the parks and rec department and see if they know anything new, if you are an area resident. I'll be interested to know.


TJ Godlewski on August 27, 2015:

"Harmon Beach has been a public and private beach, with plans within the city to develop it into a city park."

Can you elaborate on these plans? Or direct to where more information can be found on this city project? Says this article was updated on March 25, 2015

Interested to learn if this is still a current project... as I am sure local residence would like to know.

Ghaelach on February 02, 2013:

Hi Patty.


Now that's what I call a hub. It has everything. Info, maps, photo's, links in fact everything one needs to know.

Q. I must ask is, you wouldn't happen to have seen Mr. C. the "Epigramman" on your Lake Erie tour. lol

Take care Patty and have a great weekend.

LOL Ghaelach

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