Castaway Bay: Escape Winter Without Leaving Ohio

Are you done with Winter?

I’m a person who loves snow, but even I have my limits. The dry skin, the constant cold, slipping on the ice, dreading leaving my warm blankets each morning when the alarm goes off…there have been several times I’ve wished I could get away to a warmer climate for a few days. But Ohio isn’t all that close to Florida, so a trip to a warmer climate would have a hefty price tag attached to it.

The good news is that you don’t have to go all the way to Florida to escape the cold for a little bit. Our family was invited to spend two days at Castaway Bay recently, where it’s always 82 degrees with plenty of swimming and entertainment to forget about the snow outside. Castaway Bay is the indoor waterpark at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. Didn’t know they had an indoor waterpark? Of course they do, and Cedar Point puts just as much attention to detail into this indoor oasis as they do their world renowned amusement park.

The outside of the resort gives only a hint of what’s inside. It’s not until you walk in the front doors and are greeted with a roaring fireplace and a pirate ship that you start to feel far away from the cold outside.

Castaway Bay pirate ship

We didn’t want to waste any time, so we quickly checked in, stashed our stuff in our room, and suited up. (Bathing suits, that is.) The waterpark is unlike many of the other waterparks in the area. First, there’s one small entrance that has a staff member positioned to oversee everyone coming in and out. This narrow entrance/exit is ideal to prevent smaller children from wandering outside of the waterpark on accident.

Once inside, you’re immediately immersed in warm, humid air, with plenty of beach chairs all around to drop off your stuff. There are lockers if you’re daytripping it, but otherwise you can leave valuables in your room.

Castaway Bay map

The deepest water in the park is four feet, which means there are few areas where an elementary school age kid could find themselves in trouble in the water. There are also more lifeguards on duty than any other waterpark we’ve ever been to. I felt incredibly safe letting my two out of my sight for a few minutes.

Cordy, who worries about everything, was immediately put at ease by how everything was so kid-friendly. While she refused to ride some of the bigger water slides, she was thrilled that she could touch bottom in the deepest part of the wave pool. She wore a life jacket to feel more secure, but then ran right into the wave pool without hesitation.

Cordy in the wave poolLearning to ride the waves. (And I learned I need a waterproof case for my phone to take more photos!)

Mira liked the wave pool, but she was also determined to find some thrills, too. She and Aaron rode the Rendezvous Run, a water roller coaster, several times along with other water slides. Mira also really liked the Cargo Crossing, using her upper body strength to hold onto a cargo net while crossing the water on floating boxes and barrels.

Even though the water may not be deep, there’s plenty for adults to do, too. The wave pool works for everyone, with a zero depth entry for babies to sit and play, all the way out to the four foot section, where even adults will have to work against the waves. There are water slides for all ages, too. Even Cordy tried out two of the smaller water slides in the Lookout Lagoon Family Funhouse, although she kept going back to the wave pool with her new-found love of the waves. It made me a little weepy to see her enjoying the water so much.

My favorite part? The hot tub. But this isn’t just any hot tub. In case you want to remember what you’ve left behind, the hot tub flows to the outside, too. We moved through the hot tub to the outdoor portion, and the kids were amazed that they were wearing only their bathing suits in near zero weather, with snow all around, and yet felt toasty warm in the water. It was so relaxing, even if my hair froze after being exposed to the air for only a few minutes. (It thawed just as quickly by leaning my head back into the water.)

In case you get tired of the water (how?), Castaway Bay has plenty of other entertainment for you. There’s a huge arcade with games of all types, including games to earn tickets for prizes. Kids can also check out Camp Castaway to work on crafts and activities.

Coloring beach towelsMira’s color-your-own beach towel in progress

There are also different daily activities, including a family movie night with Snoopy and friends. Snoopy is a frequent visitor around the resort.

Snoopy at Castaway Bay

There’s plenty of food, too: three restaurants and two snack shops can provide nearly anything you need, including gluten-free options.

Gluten-free pizzaNot only did they have gluten-free pizza for Aaron, but it was GOOD gluten-free pizza!

For two days away from Winter, we couldn’t have asked for a better staycation. Our room was spotless and comfortable, the waterpark had something for everyone to enjoy, and the other resort activities ensured we were never bored. Getting the chance to put aside work, homework, and chores, and instead spend some time together as a family was a wonderful and much-needed break from everyday life.

Castaway Bay is also a great value – room deals start at only $99, which includes the room and four waterpark passes. (It’s usually a lot more at other local waterparks.) Day passes for the waterpark are also available if you’d rather include it as part of a larger trip to Sandusky or Lake Erie.

If you’re short on time or a trip to a southern climate just isn’t in the budget, Castaway Bay might be the perfect mini-vacation to forget about the wind and cold. And if this weather doesn’t get better soon, we may need a second trip to help us endure until warmer weather arrives.

Disclosure: We were provided with a one-night stay, including waterpark passes and one meal. Travel and other expenses (like my kids insisting they needed to win a stuffed animal in the arcade) were not compensated. As always, all opinions expressed here are my own, and your mileage may vary. Thanks to Cedar Point and Lake Erie Shores & Islands for a great trip!

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  1. Oh my gosh, look at how much fun she’s having!!! I see why you were so happy with how the trip went.

    My family has gone to Cedar Point but we haven’t tried Castaway Bay yet. I think my pre-teen would love it!

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