Port Clinton is a city in and the county seat of Ottawa County, located at the mouth of the Portage River on Lake Erie, about 44 miles east of Toledo. The city has been nicknamed the “Walleye Capital of the World”, due to the productive fishing waters for the species lying offshore in Lake Erie’s Western Basin.
Residents established the community in 1828 on the shores of the Portage River and Lake Erie. The town remained relatively small throughout the nineteenth century, with a population of 1,600 in 1880 and 2,049 residents in 1890. During the twentieth century, Port Clinton’s population grew. Many of these new residents had left nearby Toledo, hoping to find a quieter lifestyle in Ottawa County. Numerous Port Clinton residents work in the tourism industry, operating restaurants, owning antique stores, or providing tourists with lodging in various inns and bed and breakfasts.
Port Clinton’s economy benefits from its lakefront situation, with its fishing, boating, and recreational tourism industries providing employment opportunities to many locals. Port Clinton and surrounding attractions in Ottawa and Erie County are collectively known to visitors as “Vacationland”, or more recently, Lake Erie’s “Shores and Islands”. The regional tourist economy is anchored by attractions like Cedar Point, Put-in-Bay, and Kelleys Island. Several hotels are located within the city, which provide lodging for visitors to these and other attractions. Port Clinton is the primary mainland port of the Jet Express, a passenger ferry service to Put-in-Bay.
Port Clinton is served by the Port Clinton City School District.