The Cleveland Plain Dealer is having a reader poll/voter contest to see which tourist attraction is the most popular in the state Ohio (vote here).  It’s divided up by region and after day one of voting, Cedar Point, the Lake Erie Islands, Kalahari and the Marblehead MonumentView copyLighthouse comprise the top four.  Impressive right?  All of these fantastic spots are within minutes of us lucky residents of the Lake Erie Shores & Islands and the early voting shows just how lucky we are.

Sometimes it’s easy, speaking candidly, to take a few pot shots at Ohio.  Most notably harping on the Marble copyweather — “If you don’t like the weather in Ohio, just wait five minutes.”  Or the old “There’s nothing to do here.”  But the truth is, we have it unbelievably good.  Beautiful state parks, multiple freshwater islands, the world’s best amusement park and all of this for a quarter of the price of most locales.

So let’s take a quick look at the candidates in this contest, keep voting in the upcoming weeks and keep our area at the forefront of Ohio’s best attractions.

Cedar Point – World renowned, there’s no real need for much explanation.  Tallest, fastest, steepest.  You name the record, chances are Cedar Point has held it at one time or another.

Lake Erie Islands (Put-in-Bay, Kelleys Island, Middle Bass) – Five Great Lakes and there’s really no place like Put-in-Bay.  Michigan has Mackinaw, Ohio has Put-in-Bay.  No offense to Mackinaw, it’s a fantastic place, but we know who wins that fight.  And then just for good measure, throw in laid-back Kelleys Island and mellow Middle Bass.  All within 20-45 minute boat rides?  Paradise at our fingertips.

Kalahari – Yet another record holder, Kalahari is North America’s largest indoor water Kahalari_Outside copypark and it’s right down the road.  Whether it’s boogie boarding on a man-made wave, getting pampered at the resort spa or just getting away with the family for a night, Kalahari has a pretty sweet thing going on out there.

Marblehead Lighthouse – Perhaps the most photographed landmark in Lake Erie and the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation in the U.S., Marblehead Lighthouse is just cool.  Everyone who grew up around the area has driven out there to scope out a splashy Lake Erie during a big Nor’easter or to take picture of the ice floe during a bullish winter.  And it’s not just us locals who are eager to take photos, but people who come from world’s away.  A warm, humid night where you can almost see the air in the sunset slowly being taken

CP_Shoreline copyover by the light emitted from the lantern room, both wrestling each other for control of the Lake Erie reflection below — Now that’s Ohio.

Vote for your favorite area attraction here.  Remember, you can vote once a day.