This is it – the Great Lake. As big as an ocean, as personal as Ohio, the Lake Erie Islands are known locally as “vacationland.” And, for a good reason. Located less than 3 hours from Columbus, the Lake Erie Islands are yours to explore. Take a ferry to your island of choice and prepare to experience Island Life to the max. From birding to bicycling, wineries to windsurfing, these archipelagic islands are a vacationer’s paradise. At the end of the day, when you are pleasantly exhausted, you will rest easy in your camper trailer knowing that the experts at Road Adventures and AAA have taken care of all the details. Rock skipping is highly recommended.
FUN CAMPGROUNDS IN PUT-IN-BAY
South Bass Island State Park is the only Ohio state park on the island for families. The park features 120 non-electric sites, 11 full service sites with electric, water and sewer hook-ups, flush toilets, showers, and a dump station for daily or weekend rental. Also available are two picnic shelters, a boat launch ramp, picnic areas, a fishing pier, and a small stone beach area.
Fox’s Den Campground is privately owned and features many full service campsites with full electric, sewer, and water hookups as well as primitive camping sites for tent camping. The campground is located near the Put-in-Bay airport in the center of the island and is a short 5 minute golf cart ride from downtown Put-in-Bay.
Likely the most popular island, the atmosphere is definitively festive – especially at Put-in-Bay. Leave the car on the mainland and plan to rent a golf cart or bike to tour the island at your ease. Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial, a Doric column which rises 352 feet, gives you an eagle’s eye view of Lake Erie and the shorelines of Ohio, Michigan and Ontario. Be sure to catch the black powder demonstrations. Or, tour the historic South Bass Island Lighthouse – climb the stairs and take in the view of Put-in-Bay from above. If you are a science hound, check out the Aquatic Visitors Center to gain in-depth knowledge of Lake Erie’s complex ecosystem, then visit the Butterfly House for a close encounter with these amazing creatures. Walk through the world’s largest geode at the Crystal Cave at Heineman’s Winery during a combination-tour and learn about more than 100 years of winemaking history. If getting wet is more your style, try parasailing, rent jet skis or explore with a kayak. Simply strolling the boardwalk and taking in the Put-in-Bay atmosphere is relaxing. Enjoy a bowl of infamous lobster bisque on the Upper Deck at The Boardwalk Restaurant before heading back for a solid night’s sleep in your Road Adventures camper.
For a slower pace, ferry over to Kelleys Island. Take your own vehicle along or plan to explore via rented golf cart or bike. A big part of this island’s charm lies in the architecture and history along with the laid-back atmosphere. Kelleys Island State Park offers a small, clean beach plus kayak and paddleboard rentals (bring your swimsuit) or check out East Harbor State Park as an alternative. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy the trails across the 4.4-square-mile island. As one of the few remaining untouched Lake Erie wetlands, North Pond Nature Preserve is a birders’ paradise while the north shore offers a stone pier and shoreline fishing (bring your license) in the Walleye Capital of the World. Glacial Groves State Memorial demonstrates the power of nature with a close look at the impact of the glaciers. Toast life and “island time” with a glass at Kelleys Island Wine Company or Kelleys Island Brewery. Stop at the Village Pump for their renown Lake Erie perch and Brandy Alexanders before ferrying back to your Road Adventures camper trailer at the end of a relaxing day.
Kelleys Island State Park has 45 non-electric campsites and 82 with electrical outlets. Recreational vehicles have access to a dump station on site, and all campers can use the communal showers and flush toilets. This area of the campground has a volleyball court, playground and picnic shelter available on a first come, first served basis.
Lake Erie is known for its fishing; charter a boat to cast your line for perch, bass, steelhead or walleye. For a slower pace, charter a sailboat – you can sit back and relax or give the captain a hand with the rigging. Trek to Marblehead Lighthouse State Park to tour the oldest continually operating lighthouse on the Great Lakes. If you are a history or flying buff, visit the Liberty Aviation Museum in nearby Port Clinton. You will see WWII aircrafts and more. Grab lunch at the 50s-style tin Goose Diner before heading off for your next adventure. The kids will love the African Safari Wildlife Park – drive through for an up-close-and-personal encounter with camels, giraffes, bongos and bison. Move on to the pig races, ride a camel, wander through rabbit row to catch a furry friend or try your hand at feeding the kangaroos or giraffes. End the day with a tasty bowl of Cincinnati chili in your Road Adventures camper before falling into a restful slumber.
Are you ready for an adventure?