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A Small Town On A Great Lake



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Discover Vermilion Ohio: A Small Town On A Great Lake

Vermilion, Ohio is the crowning jewel of the south shore of Lake Erie. From quaint shops to fine dining, the arts, entertainment and unmatched festivities, Vermilion truly has it all. Be reminded of a simpler time when an afternoon at the beach, a hand-dipped ice cream cone and a stroll along Main Street made your day special. Stay for a day, maybe two, and take home a memory that will last forever.

This enchanting little town has always been a sea side community with New England style atmosphere. This is the kind of town that still has a working soda fountain, a town square and summer concerts on the green. People here actually sit on their front porches on a summer evening. Visiting boats are not only welcomed, they are an important part of the ambiance of what locals call "Harbour Town."

Vermilion is situated along the Southern shore of Lake Erie and embraces the Vermilion River. Vermilion was once known as the “Village of Lake Captains,” and no other place in Ohio has so many beautifully maintained captains’ homes in its historic district. Our Harbour Town Historic District also features housing styles from the Victorian, Italianate, Arts and Crafts, and Queen Anne eras. Take an evening stroll in our gracious neighborhoods and experience the quality of life of a bygone era. Other neighborhoods retain the charm of Summer Lake cottages nestled along the shore, while contemporary construction blends with yesterday's heritage.

The Vermilion River, which flows into Lake Erie, endows marina facilities with more than 1,000 boat slips and ramps for easy access to the Lake, earning Vermilion the title of the  “Largest Small Boat Harbour on the Great Lakes.” Lake freighters are also a regular sight on Lake Erie making their way through the Great Lakes nine months out of the year.

Public docks are within walking distance of attractions, Bed & Breakfasts, dozens of retail stores and restaurants ranging from family style to fine French cuisine, a beach and several parks, and a variety of art galleries. The wealth of attractions so close to protected dockage makes Vermilion a very popular cruising destination.

Rare is the port of call with as much to offer. The Harbour Town 1837 Historic District is the center of our attractive Vermilion community. Located in the heart of this district is Historic Downtown Vermilion. Our picturesque and quaint Historic Downtown Vermilion is the focal point for offices, the City Administration, the Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Vermilion, restaurants, shops, galleries, marinas, the Vermilion Mainline and tourist activities.

Our community is dedicated to making Vermilion your destination for a day, a week, or an entire lifetime. Community wide revitalization efforts have encouraged property owners to retain the unique charm of their businesses and homes while maintaining high standards of care and construction. Nowhere will you find a community with such a diversity of housing, reasonable tax base, educational excellence, and New England style charm.

Play On The Lake

Swimmers of all ages enjoy our sandy beaches located in Historic Downtown Vermilion and either side of the city.  Recreational boating of every kind, jet skis, canoeing, and sail boats adorn the Vermilion harbor, where ship building was once the major industry. On summer nights, residents and visitors congregate on the large deck at Main Street Beach to watch boats sail back and forth in front of the beautiful Lake Erie sunset and enjoy the Mystic Belle, a small paddle wheeler, offering rides on the Vermilion River. Musicians entertain in numerous outdoor locations in the downtown area. Art galleries offer continuously changing exhibits. Children attend Sail Camp where they learn water safety and sailing supervised by members of our world-renowned women’s sailing crew. Vermilion is home to two golf courses, a history museum, cooking school, lighthouse and a vineyard.

Lake Erie Shores & Islands is the Midwest's hottest, most exciting vacation destination. Located on the southern shore of Lake Erie, the area offers all the calm and relaxation of a coastal vacation as well as many exciting and diverse amusements to please the whole family.  Located halfway between Toledo & Cleveland, on the southern shore of Lake Erie, Lake Erie Shores & Islands offers so many attractions for the whole family!  From amusement parks, to museums, to watersports, to natural areas and more - everyone will find a great reason to...Explore the Shore Next Door! 

In The Heart Of It All

The City of Vermilion, population 10,927, is nestled in both Erie and Lorain Counties and borders Lake Erie and the scenic Vermilion River.

Our 16 block Historic Downtown Vermilion serves as the Central Business District (CBD), which consists of City Administration Offices and Municipal Court, many retail businesses, professional offices, waterfront restaurants, marinas, and cultural entertainment and activities.

The City of Vermilion is located just 35 miles west of Cleveland with world class cultural activities and within close proximity of Interstate 80-90, State Route 2, US Route 6, State Route 60, State Route 113, and rail, water, and air transportation.

Cedar Point, the most popular tourist destination in Ohio, is only minutes away to the west and ferry services provide hi-speed passenger service to Kelleys Island and Put-in-Bay. The city is also adjacent to the Lorain County Metro Park system and the Erie County Metro Park system.

Just outside Vermilion you'll discover gently rolling hills of picturesque countryside. The area is known for its many orchards, wineries, alpaca farms and roadside fruit and vegetable stands.

Visit Our Attractions & Events

Vermilion is recognized for its festivals and community events. The Woollybear Festival is a one-day gathering that draws over 150,000 visitors to our city and includes the longest parade in Ohio. The Festival of the Fish, held each June, is a three-day event drawing visitors to take part in our celebration of the sea. Historic SummerFare - Antiques, Collectibles & Artisans in the Park brings thousands of visitors for the annual car show, street dance and Antiques in the Park. Hundreds of athletes and spectators descend upon Vermilion to compete in the Vermilion Harbour Triathlon/Duathlon each year. Third Thursdays provide an array of live music for your listening enjoyment in several different locations throughout town. The Vermilion Farmers Market offers locally grown produce and products, local cottage industry products, art, and local crafted items. Thousands of muscle cars, hotrods, vintage and custom trucks, ‘vettes, vans, motorcycles and more take part in the area's largest, Annual Car Show each August at Vermilion Reservation. Watch as the roads and walks along Vermilion's Main Street fill up with bright chalk drawings created by local artistic talent at Chalk it Up! Outdoor movies and concerts are offered all summer long. Christmas in July celebrates winter in summer with Santa arriving by riverboat. Santa returns by way of the Christmas tree ship, Vermilion's re-enactment of the 1887 Rousse Simmons, in December. Celebrate Pioneer Days with food, an open fire, crafts, demonstrations, music entertainment, and touring the historic Benjamin Bacon Homestead of 1845. The Annual Vermilion Ice-A-Fair is a day-long winter event for the entire family filled with glistening sculptures, ice carving demos and more! Art shows are planned throughout the year. Additional events include Scavenger Hunts, the Annual Chocolate Festival, the Annual Gardeners Fair, the Annual Duck Dash 500, the Vermilion River Watershed Open House, and much, much more.

Vermilion is located on the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail, the Wing Watch & Wine Trail, the Back Roads & Beaches Bike Route, the Lake Erie Circle Tour and the Shipwrecks & Maritime Tales of Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail. The area's largest vineyard and winery is located on Vermilion's South Side.

Vermilion River Reservation is home to the the picturesque Bacon House Museum at Mill Hollow. Walk through the original settler Benjamin Bacon's house, built in 1845. The museum features themes of daily living and puts an emphasis on the community life, including the profound effect the railroad had on the economy and on people's lives.

The Vermilion News Print Shop Museum, former home of Vermilion’s weekly newspaper 1905-1964, houses two linotypes and four letter presses as well as a collection of Vermilion photographs, signs, and other materials. The Vermilion Area Archival Society stores and indexes archival materials for research from the Vermilion area and provides assistance, as well as monthly programs, regarding the history and records of the area.

The Arts Guild features rotating exhibits of a new Artist of the Month, as well as special art shows and events. A wealth of art galleries abound in the Harbour Town district. The Vermilion Community Music Association, which features the Community Band, Community Chorus, and the Wind Jammer Dance Band, provides professional music services to numerous events throughout the year. The Vermilion Opera House, built in 1883 in the Vermilion Town Hall, is being restored to house a premier performing arts center featuring high quality touring performers, local theater, music and community events. Ritter Public Library, which is the jewel of our community, provides cultural events, plays, speakers, book clubs, and educational programs to all levels of our community. Meeting and housing space is provided for the many non-profit activities and events in town.


Experience Our Village

Harbour Town is home to dozens of retail shops, restaurants, professional businesses, marinas, accommodations and tourist activities. Visit Harbour Town by car or boat. Downtown public docks are within walking distance of a museum, dozens of boutiques, art galleries and fine dining. Harbour Town is also home to a beach and several parks. Enjoy the sandy beach, recreational boating of every kind, jet skis, canoeing, sailing and more where ship building was once the major industry. On summer nights, residents and visitors congregate on the large deck at Main Street Beach to watch boats sail back and forth in front of the beautiful Lake Erie sunset and enjoy the Mystic Belle, a small paddle wheeler, offering rides on the Vermilion River.

Harbour Town features events and entertainment throughout the year including sidewalk entertainment, artists, grand parades, festivals and bazaars. Summer months feature outside music and movies and weekly events. Winter offers an array of holiday activities and fabulous shopping bargains.

It doesn't get any better for rail buffs than Vermilion's historic downtown, with at least 5 trains racing through town every hour. The railroad action in Vermilion is virtually non-stop, and no other railroad town offers a more beautiful location in a picturesque town on the shores of Lake Erie.

Learn & Grow

The Vermilion School System provides quality education for the children of our community from ages K through high school with countless vocational and professional education opportunities at Lorain County Joint Vocational School (LCJVS) and at EHOVE Career Center. Lake Ridge Academy, a private grade school and high school in nearby North Ridgeville, offers daily school bus service for Vermilion students.

We are also fortunate to have many exceptional day care educational programs in our community for preschoolers, as well as St. Mary’s parochial school, which serves grades 1-6.

The Lucy Idol School, located on the edge of town, offers non-residential care for multiply handicapped children and adults.

Bowling Green State University (Firelands Campus) and Lorain County Community College, both accredited schools offering four-year and advanced degrees, are located within a twenty-minute drive of our community.

Just southeast of Vermilion, Oberlin College is one of the finest liberal arts colleges in the country and offers world class concerts, recitals, dance, theater and opera.

Play In Our Parks & Beaches

Exchange Park

A refreshing place to relax in downtown Vermilion. The beautifully landscaped Exchange Park is located at the northeast corner of Liberty Avenue and Main Street in the shape of a triangle.  It was here that the village founding fathers erected a small clapboard warehouse. One room was leased to area farmers and was used for selling or exchanging products.  A path wanders down to the river below, where the fish shanties once stood.  Visitors will find seasonal plantings, trees, sitting areas and swings for children.  A fantastic view of the Vermilion River awaits you.  The park is home to a public comfort station housed in an historic building that once served as Vermilion's Police Department.

Victory Park

Locals and visitors alike enjoy many a concert and festive events at Vermilion's "town square."  Weddings are always popular at the grand gazebo.  Victory Park is located at the northeast corner of Main Street and Ohio Street.  The Park was formerly referred to as “The Village Green” where people came to relax and meet with friends and neighbors.  Across the street sits the historic Old Town Hall and Vermilion's famous Auction House.  Beautiful rose gardens and other plantings will enchant you.  An historic Firelands marker details the history of the area.  This park continues to be the most widely used in the area, hosting the concessions for the annual Fish Festival, Woollybear Festival and Local Market.  Locals and tourists enjoy “Concerts in the Park” at the Gazebo on Sunday evenings in July and August.

Main Street Beach

Main Street Beach is next to the Inland Seas Maritime Museum at the north end of Main Street. The beach features an observation platform and the Vermilion Lighthouse. Let the cool waters of Lake Erie splash on your feet as you stroll on the sandy beach. Stay awhile and watch a beautiful sunset over the lake at Main Street Beach.

Friendship Park

Friendship Park offers performance venues and maritime history in this beautiful pocket park in Downtown Vermilion. The park is located on the northwest corner of Liberty Avenue and Grand Street across from Ritter Public Library.

Sherod Park

Located approximately ¼ of a mile to the west of the city, on Lake Erie, this park was donated by the Bessie Sherod Family - a founding family of Vermilion.  Featuring green space, trees, natural areas and beaches, Sherod overlooks the breathtaking Lake Erie. This park boasts 2 ball diamonds, 2 picnic shelters, 2 playgrounds, a soccer field and a walking track. Plans have been created to develop this park into a "passive" park.

Hanover Square Park

Nestled in Harbour Town, this park is located at the corner of Ferry and Grand Streets. The park includes a swing set and benches. Located adjacent to the Ritter Public Library, this park attracts many visitors with a book in their hands.

West Breeze Park

Located off of Rt. 60, this pocket park provides a pavilion and playground along with a sand volleyball court and soccer field.

Showse Park & Beach

Located in Vermilion on the Lake, this park contains a beach, two ball diamonds, a basketball court, tennis courts, a soccer field, a pavilion and a playground. Located along the shore of Lake Erie, Showse Park gives people the opportunity to stop for a rest or to enjoy the boats and scenes of the waterfront.

Sailorway Complex

This park is used by thousands of people each year. Sailorway Complex includes 5 ball diamonds, 5 tennis courts, soccer field, basketball court, football stadium, restroom and concessions stand. These facilities are along Sailorway Drive, which is accessed from Rt. 60 and from Sanford Street.

Vermilion Skateboard Park

Located on the corner of Douglas Street and Devon Drive, this facility is open dawn to dusk and has ramps, bars for sliding and can be used by those with bikes and and skateboards.

Schoepfle Garden

Schoepfle Garden is a truly unique park in the Lorain County Metro Parks system—70 acres of botanical gardens and natural woodland bordered on one side by the Vermilion River. The garden features collections of rhododendrons, roses, cannas, hostas, various shade plants, along with many varieties of shrubs, topiaries and trees. Whether you choose to follow one of the guided tours available throughout the year, or just wander freely at your own pace, it's a wonderful way to spend a morning or afternoon. Be sure to bring a camera!

The formal garden is highlighted by a wide central path lined in part with hedges and topiaries. Side paths wind through colorful arrays of exotic flowers, dogwood and European beech trees. The garden’s colors change every few weeks in the warmer months as new species come into bloom. This is truly a place to been seen over and over again.  The shade garden runs alongside the formal garden, draped in a cool canopy of pines. You’ll find a nice contrast here to the bright and open areas. Various species of shrubs and shade plants line the floor including ferns, hostas and astilbes. There are places to sit and relax, and plenty of room to roam.

In contrast to both the formal and shade gardens are the nearly fifty acres of natural woodlands that lie between the gardens and the Vermilion River. This natural area offers a seasonal display of indigenous trees and wildflowers—a great place for wildflower hikes, birding and tracking. There’s plenty of wildlife here as in other parks in the Lorain County Metro Park system, including deer, wild turkey and fox.

Schoepfle Garden is off State Route 113 on Market Street in Birmingham, Ohio.  Take St. Rt. 58 north to St. Rt. 113. Go west on St. Rt. 113 to Birmingham. Cross bridge over Vermilion River and turn onto the first road on the left, which is Market Street. The garden is on the left.

Vermilion River Reservation

Spanning two adjacent areas separated by the Vermilion River—Mill Hollow on one side and Bacon Woods on the other—this immaculate park is a favorite of picnickers, naturalists and anyone who just wants to enjoy its natural beauty.  If you're looking to picnic in a beautiful place with plenty of activities for both adults and children, this is an ideal place to come. With 273 picnic tables and four reservable shelters, the Vermilion Reservation draws over 230,000 people a year—making it the number one picnic area in the Lorain County Metro Parks system. It's not surprising considering the spotless maintenance, plenty of open space, 5 miles of wooded trails, a playground and two ponds that attract visiting waterfowl year-round.

Surrounded by tall trees and a split-rail fence, you can't miss the picturesque Bacon House Museum and Carriage Barn at Mill Hollow. During museum hours you can walk through the original settler Benjamin Bacon's house, built in 1845. The museum features themes of daily living and puts an emphasis on the community life in Brownhelm, including the profound effect the railroad had on the economy and on people's lives.  Just next to the Bacon House Museum, the Carriage Barn offers visitors information about the park and hosts nature programs throughout the year. A large rustic meeting room can be reserved for groups and includes a kitchen and large fireplace.

There's more than natural beauty at Vermilion Reservation. Bacon woods hosts a sizable amphitheater for musical concerts during the warmer months, and the park in general features several special programs including the Annual Car Show (which shows over 1000 cars.)  Perhaps the most striking feature of this reservation is the winding ribbon of shale cliffs carved by the Vermilion River. Millions of years old, these cliffs reveal layers of the past and drop bits of sandstone, shale and turtlerock along the riverbed. Since the Vermilion River has no industry along its banks, it is especially rich in wildlife. Aquatic life includes freshwater clams and several species of darters (small fish that feed along the bottom of the river) that turn brilliant colors during the mating season. Some insect species include mayflies, cadis flies and water pennies (beetle larvae that lie flat against a rock surface and look like pennies.)

The park naturally hosts a range of wildlife, but perhaps most singular at Vermilion River Reservation are the bald eagles. These magnificent creatures can be seen almost daily at Mill Hollow, perched in one of the tall trees near the center of the park. Other wildlife at the reservation is more typical of the area and includes Great Blue Heron, Greenback Heron and various geese and ducks.  Wildflower lovers come from all over in spring and early summer to see the color and variety of these indigenous species which include Dutchman's britches and Blood Root along with a long list of other species found throughout northeast Ohio.

Rotary Centennial Park

This beautiful new addition to Vermilion's park system overlooks the Vermilion River under the historic water tower on West River Road in Harbour Town.  This award winning park features flowering trees, plantings, benches, picnic tables and breathtaking views of the river.  The site also features an historical marker plaque highlighting Vermilion's railroad history.

Community Swimming Pool

The Community Swimming Pool at 4846 Pineview Drive is typically open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, noon to 8 pm daily, weather permitting. Children 3 and under are free. Ages 4-17 $5.00. Ages 18-64 $6.00. Ages 65 and over are free. Membership: Vermilion Residents $250.00 for a family membership, $150.00 for an individual; Non-Residents $275.00 for a family membership, $175.00 for an individual. Call the pool at (440) 967-9071 for more information.

Nokomis Park

Nokomis Park offers Lake Erie beach access at the end of Minnie Wa Wa Street off Liberty Avenue.

McGarvey's Landing

McGarvey's Landing features breathtaking views from the Vermilion River boardwalk in historic Harbour Town.  Trees, beautiful planters, benches, picnic tables and more provide a wonderful park-like setting to watch boats sail along the river.  Public boat docks are available along McGarvey's landing by the Vermilion Port Authority.  Many festivities take place at the boardwalk including rubber ducky races, lighted boat parades and watercraft races.

Linwood Park

Featuring one of the most beautiful beaches along Lake Erie, this private park is open to the public. A family car pass is offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays for $30 and daily room rentals are available above the Stand June 10 through Labor Day. Historic Linwood Park features great picnic areas, basketball and volleyball courts, tennis, shuffleboard and an ice cream stand.  Historic cottage rentals are also available. Located at 4920 Liberty Avenue. For more information call (440) 967-4237.

Old Woman Creek

Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve, a National Estuarine Research Reserve, is located just west of Vermilion on the south-central shore of Lake Erie.  Old Woman Creek is one of Ohio’s few remaining examples of a natural estuary. As a transition zone between land and water, the site contains a variety of habitats including marshes and swamps, upland forests, open waters of the estuary, tributary streams, barrier beach and near shore Lake Erie. The Reserve supports a diverse and important assemblage of native plants and animals representative of freshwater estuaries. Old Woman  Creek estuary is of particular regional and national significance because it is the only National Estuarine Research Reserve on the Great Lakes and the only freshwater estuary in the National System.  The Visitor/Research Center overlooks the eastern shore of the estuary. The Center also provides laboratories for ecological research and serves as a focal point for public visitation and educational programs.

Erie MetroParks

The mission of Erie MetroParks is to preserve, conserve, protect, and enhance the natural and unique historical resources of the park district.  Further, to provide opportunities for visitors and residents to use, enjoy, understand and appreciate these resources in a responsible, sustainable manner. Over fourteen Erie Metroparks and reservations are found near Vermilion, Ohio.

Vermilion Lakefront Park

The Lorain County Commissioners released a comprehensive Lakefront Connectivity Plan on May 2, 2018. Proposed development projects in several communities along Lorain County’s 23 miles of lakefront are detailed in the plan. Vermilion’s east entrance on Route 6 is the site of a proposed lakefront park, walking trail and train observation platform.

View The Lakefront Connectivity Plans

The development site put forth by the City of Vermilion sits along the eastern border with the City of Lorain. The 26-acre site is comprised of two individual parcels, with the eastern parcel in Lorain and the western in Vermilion.

Vermilion Lakefront development would include a Lakefront Park and Nature Center on the Vermilion side of the site. Connecting a bikeway to the nature park would open up the opportunity for the public to experience the beauty of Lake Erie as well as connect with nature. A woodland nature walk would meander through existing and newly planted forest and meadow, and a wetland pond. A 60-foot tall watchtower would invite birders to view migrating species, and visitors to take in the Lake Erie vista.

The current use of the site is as a salvage yard for automobiles. Prior to this the property was used as a holding area for vehicles produced at the former Ford plant to the south, which closed in 2005.

The property is bordered to the north by an active rail line and the bluffs overlooking Lake Erie. To the south is the Route 6 corridor and the aforementioned Ford plant, now occupied by Trademark Global, Inc., Heidelberg Distributing, and a majority of the property is owned by IRG Lorain LLC. An overpass used by Ford to move inventory from the plant to the holding lot forms the eastern gateway. Wooded vacant property occupies several acres to the west of the property before transitioning to low-density residential lots.

Returning this site back to a more natural state and creatively implementing bioretention elements, it may also serve an educational purpose to understand how nature can filter rain and stormwater runnoff.

The proposed Vermilion Park transforms the existing automobile salvage yard into a lush, green space for active recreation, peaceful observation, and immersion in natural surroundings. A shared use path, accented by a painted blue dotted line guide, would travel the inner perimeter of the park space between the railroad and U.S. Route 6. Parking for 70 vehicles serves visitors seeking use of the open-air pavilion, community rooms, Nature Center, and outdoor facilities. Paved space adjacent to the building would provide placemaking with a fire pit and seating, full size individual swings under pergola shade, and access to the pier over an approximate half acre lily pad pond.

Additional elements enhancing the park would include:

  • approximately one and a half acres of a newly created forest
  • two acres of wetlands traversed by a pedestrian bridge
  • small rain gardens
  • and over five acres of prairie grass meadows.

These elements serve as green stormwater infrastructure to collect, attenuate, and treat stormwater while also providing natural habitats for insects, birds, and other species.

A railroad inspired overlook is proposed along the northern edge of the park, providing ADA accessible space to take in views of not only passing trains and ships, but of the stunning vista of Lake Erie spanning the horizon.

View The Lakefront Connectivity Plans

Pedal Our Back Roads & Beaches

A bike and multi-sport tour of Lorain County, the Back Roads & Beaches Bike route, takes cyclists through Oberlin, Vermilion, Lorain and Avon Lake and past farms, the Lake Erie shore and scenic hills and dales.

Lorain County Heritage and the Lorain County Visitors Bureau welcome you to the Back Roads and Beaches bike and multi-sport tour of Lorain County. Here you'll find miles of rolling, rural roads with beautiful scenery ranging from pastoral farmland and forest to the nautical flavor of the Lake Erie shoreline.

The Back Roads and Beaches route was formed to provide the most scenic and low-traffic roads and bike paths that lead riders through some of Ohio's best landscape. The route highlights some of the area's most relevant history, culture and arts and cutting edge environmental initiatives. You'll find the entire route has bright green bike route signs to guide you easily on your way.

Triathletes and multi-sport enthusiasts can combine biking the Back Roads and Beaches route with any number of challenging, adventurous activities. Use these options to set up your own multi-sport adventure challenge or use as a guide for your group's ride/race.


Launch & Dock At Our Ramps & Docks

South Street Municipal Public Boat Ramp

Phone: (440) 204-2474 

Location: The boat ramp is located on the west side of the Vermilion River, and is adjacent to the Water Pollution Control Center. Directions from Rt. 6: On the west side of the bridge over the Vermilion River, by Vermilion Deli & Grocery, turn south onto West River Road. Then in about ¼ mile at the stop sign, turn left (east) onto the Boat Ramp access road. Watch for oncoming traffic on West River Road from the south which does not stop and has the right of way. Directions from Rt. 60: From the traffic light where State Rt. 60 intersects South Street, turn right (east) onto South Street and go east about ½ mile. Where South Street dead-ends at West River Road, there is a stop sign. At this intersection, watch for traffic coming from the right (south) which does not stop and has the right of way. Cross the street by making a jog to the left (north) onto West River Road, then immediately turn right onto the access road leading downhill to the river and Boat Ramp.

Lauch fees: $7 boat/jet ski | $3 kayak/canoe

Facilities

  •     2 launching ramps
  •     2 holding docks
  •     ADA kayak and canoe roller launch facility
  •     trailer and car parking
  •     disabled & handicap accessible facility
  •     open 24 hours year round
  •     bait and fishing supplies available from local suppliers
  •     minutes north to Lake Erie no dockage available

Water Works Public Guest Docks

Dockmaster: (440) 204-2474

We invite you to visit our Vermilion Public Guest Docks. You are in the center of Vermilion's historical district and within easy walking distance of many quaint specialty shops, groceries, ice, restaurants, fast food, historical homes, overnight accommodations, professional services and the beach.

Location: Just inside the Vermilion River harbor on the starboard side (West) you will find The Vermilion Municipal Water Plant. The docks are adjacent to the water plant.

Dockage

  •     Reservations suggested (contact Dockmaster (440) 204-2474)
  •     20 guest berths accommodating both power and sail up to 45 ft.
  •     Dockage Fee: $1.75 per foot for overnight dockage, with check out at noon. Day tripper rates available upon request.
  •     Facilities: water and electricity available, restrooms, showers, pump out
  •     Season: mid-May to mid-October

Nearby Facilities

There are additional public docks at McGarvey's Landing (further up the Vermilion River, on the east side, just north of the bridge, at McGarvey's Landing next to the Quaker Steak & Lube Restaurant).  Along the river, you will find marinas that provide fuel and services, as well as restaurants that cater to boaters' needs.

Harbor Info

  •     Harbor Master: (440) 204-2474
  •     Harbor Patrol: (440) 967-6116, Emergency 911
  •     U.S. Coast Guard: (440) 288-1206
  •     Local Police Monitor Marine Channel 16: CB 9
  •     Hospital: 20 minutes to Mercy Hospital (440-960-4000)

McGarvey's Landing

McGarvey's Landing features breathtaking views from the Vermilion River boardwalk in historic Harbour Town. Trees, beautiful planters, benches, picnic tables and more provide a wonderful park-like setting to watch boats sail along the river.  Public boat docks are available along McGarvey's landing by the Vermilion Port Authority. All Port Authority guest docks are painted white with the top two feet painted a dark, royal navy blue. Many festivities take place at the boardwalk including rubber ducky races, lighted boat parades and crazy craft regatta.

Harbor Ordinances

  •     No wake
  •     84 Decibel Noise Level Limit 24 Hours a day

Kayak Our Water Trails

A water trail along the Vermilion River, Black River and Lake Erie makes kayaking and canoeing accessible and user-friendly.  The trail provides a unique paddling experience in that it offers both river and open water travel along the lakeshore.  Users can paddle portions of both the Vermilion and Black rivers and a connecting section of waterway along the Lake Erie shoreline.  The trail map is available online or through Lorain County Metroparks.  Call (440) 967-7310.

Also called a blueway, the trail is a designated 27 miles of waterway along the Vermilion and Black rivers and Lake Erie.  It is a gateway between the civilized and natural realms, a place where individuals can enjoy all the beauty and excitement that nature has to offer in a safe and fun environment.  The trail starts at Mill Hollow in the Vermilion River Reservation, 51211 North Ridge Road in Vermilion, goes up to Lake Erie, follows along the lake-shore for 11 miles, and then heads down the French Creek and Black River.  The trail features markers denoting miles traveled, places to launch and areas of interest.

Never before have the county’s waterways been so easy to utilize. And because the different segments of the Water-Trail are so diversified (it’s the only state designated water trail to combine rivers and open water) the fun is open to all different ages and experience levels. And it’s the perfect complement for the Back Roads and Beaches Bike and Multi-Sport Route.  With little planning or effort, that day-long bike trip you’ve been planning can turn into weekend-long multi-sport adventure.

The Vermilion-Lorain Water Trail is free.

Access Points

  •     Vermilion River Reservation
  •     Lakeview Park
  •     Black River Reservation
  •     City of Vermilion South Street Beach Boat Launch
  •     City of Vermilion Main Street Boat Launch
  •     City of Vermilion Showse Park
  •     City of Lorain Port Authority Lakeside Landing Park
  •     City of Lorain Port Authority Black River Wharf Boat Launch
The Lorain-Vermilion Water Trail is a partnership between the Lorain County Metro Parks, the City of Lorain, City of Vermilion, Lorain Port Authority, Vermilion Port Authority, Vermilion Shores, Beaver Park Marina, and the Ohio Division of Natural Resources, Division of Watercraft and Division of Wildlife.

Wing Watch & Wine Trail

Vermilion sits in the heart of Ohio's Wing Watch & Wine Trail.  Come and discover Ohio’s western Lake Erie shoreline region. Vast marshlands, deep forests and the lake have provided a fertile crescent with diverse habitats for over 300 bird species. The area is home to majestic bald eagles, colorful migratory warblers and graceful great blue herons. Located at the junction of two major waterfowl migratory paths, natural sights change with the seasons.

Spring migrations provide excellent bird watch opportunities as early as March, as birds pile up on Ohio’s Lake Erie shoreline beaches before crossing the lake. When birds have recharged their energy levels by feeding and resting, they move north either by flying west around the lake or by island hopping across the lake. Summer brings shore birds, gulls, herons, ducks, raptors and others who choose the shoreline for permanent breeding grounds. When the leaves turn to yellow, orange and crimson, the migratory songbirds and waterfowl return. Swans, geese, wintering waterfowl, owls and others winter in the region.

In the nearby farm fields and vineyards, depending on the season, Eastern bluebirds, red winged blackbirds, sparrows, cardinals, woodpeckers of all kinds and other common North American species abound. This fertile crescent also provides the natural microclimate for vineyard excellence. A wide range of soil types deposited by years of glacial movement and temperatures moderated by the most shallow of all the Great Lakes allows vintners to grow the traditional native varieties, French American hybrids, and the finest of European varietals.

Ohio has a history steeped in wine industry. The first cultivated grapevines in the U.S. were grown in Ohio, making Ohio the oldest wine-producing state in the country.  Wines from this region have won medals around the country and produce a range of wines to suit any palate.

Northern Ohio ’s chillier climate is ideal for producing grapes for white Germanic wines like Riesling and fruity wines. Ohio is quickly becoming one of the top wine-producing states in the country, boasting nearly 3,000 acres of grapes, a yearly production of over 800,000 gallons, and more than 80 wineries - growing from 37 just nine years ago - that bring in an estimated $70 million a year.

Grapevine buds appear about mid-April. Blossoms and fruit development occurs in June. Fruit color and sugars develop in August. Harvest begins in mid-September and lasts though late October. Discover the beauty of Vermilion's Wing Watch & Wine Trail.

Experience Lake Erie & The Vermilion River

The Vermilion River, which flows into Lake Erie, endows marina facilities with more than 1,000 boat slips and ramps for easy access to the Lake, earning Vermilion the title of the “Largest Small Boat Harbour on the Great Lakes.” Lake freighters are a regular sight on Lake Erie making their way through the Great Lakes.

Lake Erie is the 10th largest lake on Earth.  It is bounded on the north by the Canadian province of Ontario, on the south by the U.S. states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, and on the west by the state of Michigan. The lake is named after the Erie tribe of Native Americans who originally lived along its southern shore.

Ohio Magazine chose Vermilion, Ohio at the "Best Port Stroll" in Ohio.  The wealth of attractions so close to protected dockage makes Vermilion a very popular cruising destination. Rare is the port of call with as much to offer.

Several Vermilion marinas and boating supply stores cater to your nautical needs. The Vermilion Marine Business Association members offer a wide array of services to meet the needs of the boating public.

The Vermilion Port Authority invites you to visit our Vermilion Public Guest Docks. You are in the center of Vermilion's historical district and within easy walking distance of many quaint specialty shops, groceries, ice, restaurants, fast food, historical homes, overnight accommodations, professional services and the Main Street Beach.

Swimmers of all ages enjoy our sandy beaches located in Historic Downtown Vermilion.  Recreational boating of every kind, jet skis, canoeing, and sail boats adorn the Vermilion harbor, where ship building was once the major industry.

On summer nights, residents and visitors congregate on the large deck at Main Street Beach to watch boats sail back and forth in front of the beautiful Lake Erie sunset and enjoy the Mystic Belle, a small paddle wheeler, offering rides on the Vermilion River. Also, in the summer the children of our community attend Sail Camp where they learn water safety and sailing supervised by members of our world-renowned women’s sailing crew, Team Flamingo, winners of the Japanese Invitational J24 in 1994 in Japan.

Lake Erie Shores & Islands is the Midwests hottest, most exciting vacation destination. Located on the southern shore of Lake Erie, the area offers all the calm and relaxation of a coastal vacation as well as many exciting and diverse amusements to please the whole family.  Located halfway between Toledo & Cleveland, on the southern shore of Lake Erie, Lake Erie Shores & Islands offers so many attractions for the whole family! From amusement parks, to museums, to watersports, to natural areas and more - everyone will find a great reason to...Explore the Shore Next Door!

Visit The Lake Erie Islands

Did you know you could escape to an island, just off the shores near Vermilion? The islands are a Midwest vacation hot spot. Just a short drive to a ferry ride from the mainland, or visit by boat, and you'll forget you are in Ohio!  Whatever your pleasure, coastal relaxation or on-the-go excitement, the islands have got it covered!  And it's all just minutes away from historic Vermilion, Ohio.

Kelleys Island, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is an outdoor-lovers paradise, while Put-in-Bay, on South Bass Island, appeals with abundant shopping and entertainment. You can also visit Middle Bass Island, which is dominated by vineyards, old homes, summer cottages, and a campground.  Canada's Pelee Island is also accessible by ferry from Sandusky, but does require planning for an overnight stay - the ferry visits Sandusky only once a day in peak season.

The Lake Erie Islands can only be reached by boat or plane. Cars are permitted on all the islands; however, you’ll have greater freedom to discover each island’s natural beauty by bicycle or golf cart. Rental shops are located within walking distance of the islands’ ferry docks.

Kelleys Island

Kelleys Island is a nature-lovers’ paradise, whose modest commercial development lends to its appeal. Rent bicycles or golf carts to explore the scenic countryside, visit the largest prehistoric glacial grooves in existence, catch a bite to eat at an island eatery, or simply lounge at the Kelleys Island State Park beach. The island’s appeal ranges from natural spaces to rousing nightlife. Birds, wildlife, and hiking trails are abundant,. Enjoy miniature golf, volleyball, horseshoes, one-of-a-kind island shops and confectioneries, and making memories that will last a lifetime.

South Bass Island (Put-in-Bay)

Put-in-Bay is a colorful, Victorian village on South Bass Island . Nightlife and live entertainment rule the summer weekends on this festive island, with national and regional musical acts and comedians. The island boasts a waterfront park, unique shops, eateries, and historical attractions. Explore caves, take a spin on a carousel, and sample the local vintage. Don’t miss Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial, a 353-foot Greek Doric column that is the second tallest free-standing monument in the U.S. It commemorates Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s defeat of the British in the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie and stands as a memorial celebrating lasting peace between the U.S. and Canada . Take the elevator to the observation platform for a spectacular view.

Middle Bass Island

Explore this island dominated by vineyards, old homes, summer cottages, and a campground. There are few man-made diversions here; instead, many attractions are nature-made: a rocky shoreline, expansive views, and interior wetlands. The Kuehnle Wildlife Area protects a variety of plants and animals. Its 20-acre pond is a favorite spot with bird watchers and fishermen. Still in development, the new Middle Bass Island State Park currently provides limited marina facilities and hiking trails.

Just minutes from Vermilion, discover the Lake Erie Islands.

Shop Our Farm Markets & Roadside Stands

There is something special about preparing home-cooked meals with fresh fruits and vegetables picked up at a farm market within hours of harvest. Discover farm fresh foods at Vermilion's farm markets.  Vermilion markets and roadside stands offer the freshest produce and seasonal favorites.  From homegrown apples, lettuce, corn, beans, cucumbers, brocholi, radishes, cider, gourds, and fall squash - to a vast array of tropical fruits - you'll find everything you need for your cooking needs at Vermilion's own farmers markets and roadside stands. Visit area farms during one of the Pick Your Own seasons.  Families and children gain the learning experience of where food comes from by Picking Your Own.  Relax in the rural setting and soak in the fresh air and sunshine.

Play A Round Of Golf

Vermilion is home to two golf courses.

The 18-hole "Willow Creek" course at the Willow Creek Golf Club facility in Vermilion, Ohio features 6,356 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72. The course rating is 68.1 and it has a slope rating of 108.  Designed by Dick Palmer, the Willow Creek golf course opened in 1945.

The 9-hole "Vermilion" course at the Vermilion Country Club facility in Vermilion, Ohio features 3,285 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 36. Vermilion golf course opened in 1914.

Walk Through History

Surrounded by tall trees and a split-rail fence, you can't miss the picturesque Bacon House Museum and Carriage Barn at Vermilion River Reservation's Mill Hollow. Walk through the original settler Benjamin Bacon's house, built in 1845. The museum features themes of daily living and puts an emphasis on the community life in Brownhelm, including the profound effect the railroad had on the economy and on people's lives.  The museum is located at 51211 N. Ridge Road in Vermilion and is typically open on Sundays during during the Spring and Summers and during special events during the Fall and Winter.  Call (440) 967-7310 for more information.

Spanning two adjacent areas separated by the Vermilion River—Mill Hollow on one side and Bacon Woods on the other—Vermilion River Reservation is a favorite of picnickers, naturalists and anyone who just wants to enjoy its natural beauty. Just next to the Bacon House Museum, the Carriage Barn offers visitors information about the park and hosts nature programs.  Vermilion River Reservation is located at 51211 North Ridge Road,  just 4 miles south of downtown Vermilion, by the intersection of North Ridge and Vermilion Roads.

The Brownhelm Historical Association is renovating the former Brownhelm School (1889-1988) located at 1940 North Ridge Road. The Historic Brownhelm School & Museum offers a place for meetings, hosts the annual Brownhelm Community Christmas, provides events for the community, and hosts fundraisers such as the annual Grandma’s Attic Sale. Upstairs classrooms house museum space displaying historical artifacts from the school’s past and from notable historical locations such as Swifts Mansion and the Light of Hope Orphanage. The Brownhelm Historical Association also maintains the Brownhelm Heritage Museum at 1355 Claus Road, Vermilion. Built in 1870, it was formerly the German Evangelical and Reformed Church and was given to the association by its last 3 remaining members. The church was restored and it now houses many artifacts of Brownhelm history.

The Vermilion News Print Shop Museum, in Downtown Vermilion, served as a print shop and a weekly newspaper from 1905 to 1964. The print shop houses two linotypes (c.1915), and 4 letter presses: A Stonemetz 2 revolution newspaper press (c.1919); a Kelly press (c.1917); a Chandler & Price 8"x12" Gorden Jobber Press (c.1900); and a Heidelberg windmill Press (c.1954). There is a book bindary and storage room with a manual paper cutter, electric stapler, and a manual hole punch machine.

The building was built in 1904 by Caselton Roscoe of Milan, Ohio for his son and daughter-in-law, Pearl and Bessie Roscoe, to house the business. There is an apartment above the shop where the Roscoe's lived and raised their two daughters. Today the apartment has become part of the museum featuring historical artifacts from the printer's family, as well as those from Vermilionites of the past. 

The Ultimate Railfan Destination

Trains began running through Vermilion, Ohio starting in 1853. For over 140 years the rumbling, roaring, shaking, screaming tornados have rushed through the quiet village. Ships have come and gone in this little city by the sea, but they were never the acoustic monsters like the trains which roll along like wild demons in a race. Freight of all kinds flies through the city, and as far as we can foresee, it will continue for 140 more years. Such is life in a railroad town.

While the sites and sounds of the railroad have long faded in many towns and cities, Vermilion's train traffic continues to increase. Following a joint acquisition of Conrail lines by Norfolk Southern and CSX Railroads in 1997, our historic Harbour Town saw a threefold increase in freight train traffic. A 2003 agreement rerouted 97 trains a day traversing the center of Vermilion.  With over 120 trains per day, expected to increase too 200, Vermilion Ohio is a railfan paradise.

The railroad action in Vermilion is virtually non-stop, and no other railroad town offers a more beautiful location in a picturesque town on the shores of Lake Erie.  Local shopkeepers welcome railfans in the historic downtown, while a variety of exceptional dining choices are all within walking distance to some of Vermilion's best railfan viewing areas.  A public comfort station, located in beautiful Exchange Park, is conveniently located downtown.  Three additional historic train depots provide a wealth of photo opportunities.  Bed and breakfasts and cottages are within walking distance to Vermilion's Mainline viewing areas and several campgrounds are nearby.  The public library and several area businesses offer free internet access.


Best Vermilion Railfan Locations

Visit Our Ballroom

In 1919 a group of investors from the Cleveland area purchased a wooded property with 600 feet of Lake Erie frontage in tiny “Vermilion-on-the-Lake”, Ohio. They cleared the land, and using the very logs they felled, built an approximately 10,000 square foot private community center known as the Vermilion-on-the-Lake Clubhouse.

The big bands of that era were soon accompanied by couples dancing on polished hardwood floors beneath a glittering globe.  Those original hardwood floors, framed by the original log walls, are still there today.  Soon, “Vermilion-on-the-Lake” became a summer playground and a sparkling jewel for well-to-do residents of western Cleveland.

These pre-Depression era high rollers purchased summer cottages throughout the area and shared access to the clubhouse’s 600-foot pristine and sandy beach.  Ladies with parasols strolled the boardwalk of the “Atlantic City of the Midwest”.  As late as the 1950’s, top-notch entertainment attracted society’s elite to the “V.O.L.” to see the big bands of the day, including the leading edge sounds of the “Chuck Berry Trio” performing their hit “Maybellene” one summer Tuesday night in 1955.

But, alas, the luster faded.  Rising lake levels reclaimed the pristine beach, the economy turned sour and many lot owners looked to sell. Maintenance waned and the original owners agreed to deed the property over to the “Vermilion-on-the-Lake Lot Owners Association”.

During the 1960’s “Vermilion-on-the-Lake”, which had been an incorporated village, was annexed by the then “Village of Vermilion” to create the current “City of Vermilion”.

The VOL (Vermilion-on-the-Lake) Historic Community Center remains today one of the only wedding venue's still situated on Lake Erie's shore.  The 'VOL CLubhouse', as it has been called, demands only modest rental fees which assist the effort to save and renovate this historic building.

The Vermilion-on-the-Lake Historic Community Center Charitable Trust is a non-profit corporation formed under the laws of the State of Ohio as a service organization.  Besides the restoration and operation of the Historic Community Center, their mission includes community service, involvement in the security of the area through our "Block Watch" program, providing a venue for community fellowship and political discussion, and providing education to our citizens about the history and culture of our area.

Through an affiliation with the Lorain County Historical Society, they seek to emphasize the historic nature of this unique building and encourage the businesses and foundations tasked with preserving our heritage to lend a hand in restoring the Historic Community Center to its once glorious condition.

VOL Historic Community Center is located at 3780 Edgewater Blvd, Vermilion, Ohio 44089. Phone: (440) 967-4118.

Brownhelm Township Ohio

Rich In History

Brownhelm Township is located on Lake Erie between Cleveland and Toledo. Much of the township resides in Vermilion, Ohio. Rich in history, the stunning beauty of this country hamlet features picturesque farms, historic homesteads, gently rolling hills and scenic nature. Orchards, farms, berry farms, vineyards and roadside stands dot the countryside.

Brownhelm is home to: Historic Brownhelm School & Museum, Brownhelm Heritage Museum, World Animal Foundation, Benjamin Bacon Museum, Vermilion River Reservation, Mill Hollow, Bacon Woods, Brownhelm Schoolhouse Park, Brownhelm Lakefront Park, Historic Brownhelm Cemetery, Historic Brown’s Lake Road Cemetery, Rugby Cemetery, an Ohio historical marker honoring John Mercer Langston and the Vermilion on the Lake Historic Community Center.




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