Why Cedar Point is Well-Worth the Trip

Why Cedar Point is Well-Worth the Trip

Located on the shores of Lake Erie, in the city of Sandusky, Ohio, is Cedar Point — America’s second oldest amusement park and one of the world’s largest. Cedar Point boasts a whopping 18 roller coasters — more than (almost) any other park in the USA (only Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, CA has more, with 20 coasters). Although the park is about 1,000 miles away from New Orleans (a 15 hour drive by car), there are many reasons why you should consider this roller coaster metropolis as a must-see destination the whole family can enjoy.

My family and I visited Cedar Point earlier this summer, “on the way home” from Upstate New York on our annual road trip. My 14 year old son, who is a roller coaster aficionado, has been dreaming about visiting the park since he started riding roller coasters at age 6 (Carousel Gardens’ Ladybug was his first one). Having been to several Six Flags parks, as well as Hershey Park and Florida’s Disney parks and Universal, we weren’t sure what to expect with Cedar Point (run by the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, which also owns other famous parks such as Carowinds, King’s Island, and Knott’s Berry Farm). Would the lines be long? Would there be enough rides for my less daredevilish daughter (age 10) and medium thrills for wusses in denial (like me)? Would it be super expensive and super hot (like Disney)? Would 2 days be enough time to ride everything? 

Cedar Point did NOT disappoint. In fact, it surpassed our expectations. Read on to learn why you and your family should make it a point to visit (or return) soon:

Cedar Point offers something for everyone

Cedar Point isn’t just coasters and thrill rides. The park is home to 71 rides — dozens of these are kid and family friendly. There are also arcades, a barnyard area with petting zoos, and daily live performances. Peanuts characters and theming are prevalent throughout the entire park. Camp Snoopy is one of the kid-friendly areas featuring rides and play spots with Peanuts characters. You can even take a photo with Charlie Brown, Snoopy, or Lucy at the Camp Snoopy theatre or Planet Snoopy shop. If you get overheated or tired of rides, Cedar Point Shores Waterpark is also right next door (and features 20 acres of rides, slides, and splash pads).

My daughter and I easily entertained ourselves while my son and husband were off thrill-seeking. We also rode several rides as a family (which the teenager actually enjoyed). Our favorites were the scenic Cedar Point and Lake Erie Railroad, Thunder Canyon (a drenching rapids ride), Wave Swinger (classic swing ride), and Cedar Downs Racing Derby (rows of 4 horses “race” each other to the finish). The kids also really enjoyed the Atomic Scrambler and Himalaya.

“Roller Coaster Capital of the World”

Looking at the 214 foot drop of Valravn

Cedar Point calls itself the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World.” T-shirts for sale in souvenir shops say: “Cedar Point: America’s Roller Coast,” and with good reason. The 18 coasters at this 364 acre park are visible at every turn — and it’s the only amusement park that features 6 coasters over 200 feet tall. Cedar Point was also the first park to feature a coaster more than 300 feet tall (Millennium Force). Many of these coasters — Gate Keeper, Steel Vengeance, Magnum XL-200, Valravn, and Top Thrill Dragster (currently closed for repairs)– are world famous. (My son and husband raved about Steel Vengeance, a “hybrid” coaster, while I loved the smooth flying feel of Gate Keeper.)

Still, there are plenty of lower-thrill coasters also. All four of us loved Iron Dragon (where the coaster cars sway like boats over water). My daughter’s favorite ride in the entire park was the Cedar Creek Mine Ride (we rode it 3 times in one day). The Wild Mouse (a new “zippy” coaster with adorable theming and music), can seat 2-4 people in each “mouse car,” which also spins as it speeds away from a menacing cat (think Tom and Jerry, but on coaster tracks).

If you’re not a roller coaster person, but still a thrill seeker, there’s plenty for you too: the Power Tower, Skyhawk, Sling Shot, Wind Seeker, and maXair will all get you screaming high up in the air — just without a coaster track.

Breathtaking views and weather

Besides the wide variety of rides, my favorite thing about this park was its location. Cedar Point is literally on a beach. The park is situated on a skinny peninsula in the middle of Lake Erie, the smallest of the five Great Lakes. Beachy coastline surrounds the park, and cool, refreshing (often chilly) breezes waft off of the lake throughout the day. As you look out at the lake, it really feels like you are looking out into a vast ocean (there are even waves not unlike those along the Gulf coastline). These views are what motivated me to ride two of the tallest coasters in the park (Gate Keeper and Valravn). No matter how scary it was, I’d have a gorgeous view at the top, right? Truly. Of course, these same dreamy panoramas are visible from the Great Ferris wheel and other tall thrill rides.

Because this park is much further north than many other American parks, it doesn’t get nearly as hot. I needed a sweatshirt at night, even in late June. Still, you will definitely appreciate sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat while standing in line.

More affordable than many parks

Cedar Point is definitely less expensive than Disney and Universal. It costs about as much as a visit to Six Flags, Busch Gardens, or Hershey Park. Food inside the park also costs about the same as these other parks. If your family opts for a meal plan, you can eat sit-down meals inside the park at a discounted rate. Staying at a Cedar Point property is also a great way to get early access (one hour before the park opens) and other discounts (such as free all-day drinks).We stayed at Cedar Point Express, located just 5 minutes away from the park, right at the entrance to Cedar Point Causeway (which connects to the peninsula).

Close to many cities and attractions of interest

Walleye tacos and Great Lakes beer from Dockside Cafe

Cedar Point is just an hour away from Cleveland, two hours from Detroit, and three hours from Pittsburgh. Chicago and Indianapolis are within a day’s drive. It’s very easy to combine a visit here with a visit somewhere else (we even drove 7 hours to Nashville after visiting here). Alternatively, you could choose to linger in one of the smaller, scenic towns along the shores of Lake Erie. If time allows, be sure to take some time to explore the quaint city of Sandusky. Watching the sunset on Lake Erie is a must! We enjoyed delicious food and live music right on the lake at the Dockside Cafe, and walked along the pier after.

Pro tips:

Cedar Point’s season runs from May through October. The best times to visit are definitely in late May or early / mid June, when area schools are still in session. This is also a good way to keep costs down (for hotels and admission), as visiting before July is considered “off peak.” We visited in late June, and the park was moderately crowded — most wait times weren’t bad at all. The park is most crowded after 4pm until closing, when half day visitors arrived (there were a few 45-90 minute waits for the top thrill coasters, especially late in the day).

Be sure to plan on at least 2 days at the park (especially if you want to ride every roller coaster). I highly recommend staying until dark at least once — the sunsets are exquisite! As always, choose your footwear wisely (I wore my half marathon sneakers, as we walked nearly 20,000 steps each day)! I recommend also bringing a backpack to store sunscreen, valuables, sweatshirts/ponchos in case of inclement weather, and a phone battery (Cedar Point’s app uses a lot of battery). The park is also cash-free, so make sure you have your credit/debit card ready.

My family has been to a lot of amusement parks, but Cedar Point is a place like none other. Whether you’re returning to Cedar Point for more thrills, or visiting for the first time, your time here is guaranteed to be unique.

For readers who have visited Cedar Point: which roller coaster is your favorite and why? 

Brittney Dayeh
Brittney Dayeh grew up in the Catskills of Upstate New York but considers herself a New Orleanian. She moved to New Orleans in 2006 with her husband, whom she met while teaching English in Japan. She immediately fell in love with the culture, history, and vibe of this city. Brittney is a high school librarian at a local public school and lives in Algiers with her husband, who is also a local teacher, and her two children, ages 14 and 10. Brittney is also a Girl Scout troop leader and avid runner, a fan of young adult literature and true crime podcasts. She dreams about traveling to new countries and one day writing a book, but kayaking with manatees is at the top of her bucket list.


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