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Ohio State Parks

USA Parks
Northwest Ohio Region
Kelleys Island State Park
Kelleys Island State Park Kelleys Island © Jeff Hudak
Another view along East Lake Shore Drive.
Kelleys Island State Park Kelleys Island © Jeff Hudak
View along East Lake Shore Drive.
920 Division St
Kelleys Island, Ohio   43438
(lat:41.6144 lon:-82.7062)

Phone: (419) 746-2546
Reservations: 866-644-6727
The family campground contains 45 non-electric and 84 electric sites, showers, flush toilets, and a dump station. A volleyball court and playground offer more to do. The camp office loans games and sports equipment to registered campers. Pet camping is permitted on designated sites. A youth group camp is available by reservation for organized groups. Six miles of hiking trails lead to scenic vistas, historic sites and two nature preserves, North Pond Nature Preserve, and the North Shore Nature Preserve, offering excellent locations for watching wildlife. Picnic areas, a picnic shelter, launch ramps, fishing access areas and a 100-foot swimming beach are also available. Limited hunting is permitted in designated areas of the park. Check with the park office for details. Kelleys Island can be reached by ferry from Sandusky or Marblehead Peninsula. Two premium Yurts, complete with efficiency kitchen, bath with shower and furnished living area, along with two Rent-A-Camp units are available during the summer season.
Nature of the Area
Limestone cliffs, historic wineries, crystal caverns and a shimmering Great Lake greet visitors to the Lake Erie Islands state parks. These five state parks offer unique island retreats with an atmosphere both festive and casual. Fishing, boating and swimming can be enjoyed at each park.

Several parks comprise the Lake Erie Island group. The islands were formed during the glacial period when massive ice sheets entered Ohio. Glaciers gouged and scoured the bedrock; their tremendous weight left deep depressions which filled with meltwater, forming the Great Lakes.

Lake Erie, the smallest of the Great Lakes, is shallow--allowing for violent storms with high waves. The lake is divided into three basins. The western basin has an average depth of 25 to 30 feet; the central basin averages 61 feet; and the eastern basin shows an average depth of 120 feet.

Lake Erie has high nutrient levels and warm temperatures which produce greater numbers and varieties of fish than any other Great Lake. Annual catches nearly equal the combined catch of all other Great Lakes. Yellow perch, smallmouth bass, white bass, channel catfish and walleye are dominant species.

The islands are composed of limestone bedrock. Small scratches in the rock surface known as glacial striations are common while major grooves such as those found at Kelleys Island are rare but awesome. Vast stands of red cedar and the presence of underground caverns, both associated with limestone are found here. The islands and shoreline support a variety of reptiles including the state's highest concentration of the harmless fox snake. The timber rattlesnake was at one time quite prevalent on the islands but is now gone from the area. Rattlesnake Island was so named due to the presence of this reptile years ago.

Migrating songbirds rest here before winging across the lake. Hundreds of different species have been identified, making this one of the best birdwatching areas in the country. Several nesting pairs of the magnificent bald eagle are located in the area.
History of the Area
Prior to the War of 1812, the Lake Erie Island region had been occupied by Ottawa and Huron (Wyandot) Indian tribes at different times throughout the years. A testimony to their existence on the islands is carved in Inscription Rock on Kelleys Island. Pictographic writings over 500 years old are etched in this massive limestone boulder.The Ottawa and Huron were eventually moved out by European settlers. The War of 1812 ended the last Indian threat to the European settlement of Ohio. One decisive naval battle of that war was fought in Put-In-Bay, off the shores of South Bass Island. Oliver Hazard Perry with an inferior fleet defeated the British making famous his saying, "We have met the enemy and they are ours." The victory gave the Americans control of Lake Erie and led to the ultimate defeat of the British in that war.

The islands remained sparsely settled until 1854 when J.D. Rivers purchased five of the islands. At first he turned Put-In-Bay into a sheep ranch, having at one time a herd of 2,000, but eventually he converted the island into a fruit farm. Despite the extreme northern location, the islands have the longest frost-free period of any area in Ohio due to the stabilizing effect of the lake.

It soon became apparent to islanders that the cultivation of grapes was very profitable. The grape culture has had a dramatic influence on the islands, sometimes called the "Wine Islands." By 1887, more than one-third of the grape product and nearly one-half of the wine product of the entire state was credited to this area. Wines from these islands were once pronounced by the best judges as being comparable to the best productions of France. Several island wineries still exist today.

In addition to raising fruits, the islands supported other profitable industries. Logging of red cedar, quarrying for limestone and the propagation of fish provided additional means of support.

For over a century, South Bass Island has been famous as a summer resort. Ruins of the Victory Hotel, destroyed by fire in 1919, are still evident. Tourism thrives today making the islands one of the most popular vacation spots in the state. The five areas comprising Lake Erie Island state parks were added to the state park system in the early 1950s.
GeneralLand, acres677
 Water, acresGreat Lake
 Hiking Trail, miles5
 Swimming Beach, feet100
 Nature Programsyes
BoatingBoating LimitsUnlimited HP
 Launch Ramps, #1
CampingPrimitive, #45
 Electric Sites, #82
 Pets Permittedyes
 Flush Toiletsyes
 Rent-A-Camp Sites, #2
 Youth Group Camp, capacity50
 Rent-A-Yurt, #2
WinterCross-Country Skiingyes
 Ice Skatingyes
 Ice Fishingyes
Nearby Accommodations
Camp Patmos - Kelleys Island, OH
Conference Center
Week long youth camps. Located on the shores of Kelleys Island. Guests will learn to sail, wakeboard, waterski while enjoying the beauty of the Lake Erie island.
0.8 miles from park*

Area Attractions
Several other state parks are near the Lake Erie Islands. Crane Creek State Park, west of Port Clinton, is one of the state's foremost birding areas and is notable for its spring and fall bird migrations. East Harbor State Park on Marblehead Peninsula sports the largest campground in the Ohio state park system. Swimming, picnicking, boating and fishing are popular at East Harbor. Marblehead Lighthouse, built in 1821, is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation of the Great Lakes and Ohio's 73rd state park. It is located off S.R. 163 on the east side of the Village of Marblehead.

State nature preserves located in the area include Sheldon Marsh, Old Woman Creek, Erie Sand Barrens and DuPont Marsh. Contact the ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves for more information.

The Ottawa County Visitors Bureau is an excellent source for travel options and ideas all around the Lake Erie Islands area.
Things To Do in the Area
Camp Patmos - Kelleys Island, OH
Family Outting
Week long youth camps. Located on the shores of Kelleys Island. Guests will learn to sail, wakeboard, waterski while enjoying the beauty of the Lake Erie island.
0.8 miles from park*

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
August 28 A beautiful park
The park staff was knowledgeable of the history of the island and the entire staff from the manager to the maintenance crew pleasant and helpful. The park was well maintained and clean.
August 26 Excellent by mthcns
Best time ever, park employees excellent, especially Ron & Alice!
July 14 30 years of camping by Kelli
My family has met here every summer for the last 30 years. Some from Ohio, some from Maryland. We always have a great time. Lots to do. Golf carts, winery, minature golf, shopping, a few bars, island hopping, swimming, fishing, jet skis, and more. The lake is beautiful.

Area Campgrounds
Crystal Rock Campground
710 Crystal Rock Rd
Sandusky, OH
Plymouth Shore on the Bay
8010 East Bayshore Road
Marblehead, OH
Fox's Den Campground
P. O. Box 345
Put-In-Bay, OH
Bayshore Estates Campground
2311 Cleveland Road
Sandusky, OH
Traveland's Camp-Sandusky
3518 Tiffen Avenue
Sandusky, OH
Family Camping Center
2318 E. Harbor Rd.
Port Clinton, OH
Cedarlane RV Park
2926 N. E. Catawba Rd.
Port Clinton, OH
Camper Village
One Cedar Point Drive
Sandusky, OH
Surf Motel & RV Campground
230 East Main Street
Marblehead, OH
Tall Timbers Campground Resort
340 S. Christy Chapel Road
Port Clinton, OH
Shade Acres Campground & Cottages
1810 W. Catawba Rd.
Port Clinton, OH
Camp Sandusky
3518 Tiffin Ave
Sandusky, OH
St. Hazards Village on the Beach
1233 Fox Rd
Middle Bass Island, OH
Area Fishing Related Businesses
Herb's Sportsman's Supply
1713 NE Catawba Rd
Port Clinton, OH
(419) 797-2455
Fishermens Trading Post
255 Se Catawba Rd
Port Clinton, OH
(419) 732-2076
Area Cabins and Lodges
Fort Firelands RV Park
5650 East Harbor Rd
Lakeside Marblhd, OH
(419) 734-1237
Skippers Marina & Resort
7555 East Harbor Rd
Lakeside Marblhd, OH
(419) 734-3664
Beach Cliff Lodge
4189 NW Catawba Rd
Port Clinton, OH
(419) 797-4553
Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
Enjoy Southeast Michigan's Best Family Camping experience at our clean, quiet, friendly campground. Jumping Pillow, WiFi, Paddle Boats, Minigolf, Swimming, Bicycling and more
68 miles from park*

Catawba Island , 4049 E. Moores Dock Road, Port Clinton, OH 43452


Ohio State Parks