Summer unofficially kicks off in Ohio when Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky opens for the season. Just thinking about it conjures the sound of wooshing rollercoasters followed by gleeful screams, and the heady scent of funnel cakes and scorched asphalt mingling in the air.
As a kid, the queue for the most popular rides seemed endless, especially for a daredevil who wanted a front-row seat for death-defying twists and turns. More recently, Cedar Point created an Early Entry program for serious coaster enthusiasts who purchase the Platinum season pass and for overnight guests of Cedar Point-owned hotels. An hour before the park opens to the general public, a handful of rides, including the new Steel Vengeance, get rolling.
But maybe Steel Vengeance isn’t your thing. Perhaps you prefer the classics or something a little less stomach churning and you want the hotel to match. That’s why I’ve gone ahead and matched some of the best Cedar Point hotels with one of the amusement park’s rides. Now you can match your thrills with your hotel stay.
10 Cedar Point Hotels and the Ride to Match
If you like Steel Vengeance, you’ll love Hotel Kilbourne
The waterfront Hotel Kilbourne in downtown Sandusky will leave you just as breathless as a ride on the new Steel Vengeance. And like the record-breaking hybrid coaster, which was built atop the wooden structure of the former Mean Streak, the urban boutique hotel occupies two adjacent buildings repurposed and decked out with all the modern bells and whistles. With exposed brick and high ceilings, rooms ooze urban appeal and feature spacious bathrooms.View Hotel
If you like Blue Streak, you’ll love Hotel Breakers*
An oldie but goodie, Blue Streak has the distinction of being Cedar Point’s oldest roller coaster in operation today. When the wooden coaster was built in 1964, the historic Hotel Breakers was already a classic in its own right. Built in 1905, the resort property has been renovated and updated many times over the years, most recently in 2015. The hotel itself is full of history and nostalgia everywhere you look, but its prime location right next to the park on Cedar Point Beach makes it one of the best options for families who want things to be easy and enjoyable.View Hotel
If you like Top Thrill Dragster, you’ll love Lighthouse Point Cabins*
Top Thrill Dragster launches riders at 120 miles per hour to the top of a 420-foot apex, which towers over Cedar Point like a beacon guiding ships in treacherous waters. Cedar Point Lighthouse once did the same, but now the historic structure is the centerpiece of Lighthouse Point Cabins, a collection of cottages and cabins on Cedar Point’s property. Designed to be your home away from home, all accommodations include outdoor grills and seating areas, plus access to the outdoor pool. New deluxe cabins can sleep up to 10 people, which can accelerate the fun in no time.View Hotel
If you like Gatekeeper, you’ll love Cedar Point’s Express Hotel*
Right out of the gate, Cedar Point makes a great first impression with the flight-inspired Gatekeeper, which sends riders rocketing through the air through two keyhole towers over the main entrance plaza. Want to jet off to the park in a hurry? Book a stay at Express Hotel, the closest Sandusky hotel to the Cedar Point Peninsula. The recently-renovated property features updated rooms, some of which connect to accommodate larger families, and they all surround a central courtyard with a resort-style pool and splash pad.View Hotel
If you like Thunder Canyon, you’ll love Castaway Bay Resort*
On a hot summer day, a rafting trip through the jungle-like Thunder Canyon will leave riders drenched as they bounce and twirl through the river rapids, waves, and waterfalls. For more wet and wild fun, plan your stay at Castaway Bay, a waterfront resort with its own indoor waterpark that keeps things steamy all year round. Kids can soak it up at Lookout Lagoon, a multi-level play structure with a giant 1,000-gallon tipping bucket that spills over those below. Meanwhile, parents will enjoy the adults-only spa with a much more relaxing waterfall.View Hotel
If you like Valravn, you’ll love Kalahari Waterpark Resort
Valravn, the tallest, fastest and longest dive coaster in the world, has a scream-inducing 90-degree drop just after a long suspense-filled pause. Keep the wave of adrenaline going when you dive into Ohio’s largest indoor waterpark at Kalahari Resort. The new Extreme Rush waterslide drops riders through a trap door into a nearly vertical free fall and through a 360-degree loop before its final splashdown. When it’s time for a break, rest your head in the African-themed guest rooms.View Hotel
If you like Magnum XL-200, you’ll love Holiday Inn Express
When it debuted in 1989, Magnum XL-200 broke the height and speed barrier and ushered in the era of the “hypercoaster,” loosely defined as a coaster whose height exceeds 200 feet and thrills include fast acceleration, G-forces, and maximum airtime. Just as Magnum set the standards for the future of coasters, Holiday Inn Express is part of a brand of hotels that pioneered and democratized roadside accommodations for traveling families more than 60 years ago. You can’t go wrong with a clean room, comfy bed, and complimentary buffet breakfast.View Hotel
If you like Woodstock Express, you’ll love Great Wolf Lodge
Located at Camp Snoopy, Woodstock’s Airmail delivers the little ones to new heights, bouncing up and down until they reach the ground again. For more larger-than-life thrills for kids of all ages, head to Great Wolf Lodge, home to the four-story Alberta Falls tube slide and the interactive Fort Mackenzie. Before it’s time to retire to one of the lodge’s Northwoods-style suites, head to the main lobby for The Great Clock Tower Show, followed by bedtime stories and appearances by the lodge’s resident animal buddies.View Hotel
If you like Maverick, you’ll love Farrell House Lodge
If Cedar Point allowed fishing, the carp-filled lagoon in Frontiertown would be a fisherman’s dream. Instead, Maverick twists and turns and performs inversions over the top of the lagoon. If you want to go with the flow after you leave the amusement park, plan a stay at the Farrell House Lodge, located on the grounds of Sunnybrook Trout Club. For a fee, guests can fish for trout in the legendary Cold Creek, a crystal-clear stream that snakes through the 65-acre property. It’s a thrill for the outdoorsy type.View Hotel
If you like the Sky Ride, you’ll love La Quinta Inn Sandusky
Rest your weary feet while gliding effortlessly above the centrally-located Main Midway on the 92-foot-high Sky Ride with its sweeping 360-degree views of the park. Just as practical and pleasant, Sandusky’s La Quinta Inn makes for a comfortable and affordable stay. With a central location in town, hotel guests are close to other attractions, including the Sandusky Mall. Right across the street, you’ll see Ghostly Manor Thrill Center, a favorite year-round haunt for kids. More than a haunted house, the entertainment complex includes an escape room, laser tag, roller rink and bounce houses.View Hotel
*Property features Early Entry access to Cedar Point.
Feature photo courtesy of Cedar Point