The nearby Veluwemeer allows for recreation on the water or beach.The town centre is home to various bars and restaurants and a tourist information centre.
Human presence in the area goes back further however, with many archaeological finds of the Bell-Beaker culture having been made in the area.
For a long time the town most likely consisted of little more than a few farms and some other buildings like a windmill and a church and it didn't really grow much until the 19th century; in the year 1830 a road was made to make this part of the Veluwe more accessible and at the end of the 19th century the town got a railway station.
Because the railway station was some distance away from what was then the town centre a road was constructed, the Stationsstraat, which is now considered to be the centre of the town.
After the second world war a shortage of houses resulted in a rapid growth of Ermelo.
In 1973 Nunspeet became its own separate municipality after having been part of Ermelo before.
In 2005, Ermelo celebrated its 1150-year-long existence.
Various artists from across the country performed during the festivities.
A classic windmill dating from 1863 located in the town centre, named De Koe (The Cow), partially burned down in 1990 after having been hit by lightning, but was restored to working order in late 2008.
A nightclub moved out due to the complete renovation.
There are many campsites in the forests surrounding Ermelo which are popular place to stay for mainly Dutch and German tourists.
Cycling through the forests and heaths is a popular activity, especially during the summer.