RV campers looking for a unique camping experience should sleep under the stars, surrounded by the water of Lake Erie. Ohio’s South Bass Island State Park is different than most state parks in the nation because visitors must take a ferry to access the island facility.
The park is a scenic landmark that sits atop the white cliffs of South Bass Island. The elevated location gives visitors panoramic views of Lake Erie, which makes the wooded campground even more enticing. Should visitors want to experience more state-owned land, then head across the island to South Bass Island’s sister park, Oak Point State Park, for more outdoor adventure!
South Bass Island is a special place to visit. Once you and your RV arrive by ferry, there will be plenty of things to see and do during your stay. The small island is three miles long by two miles wide, but filled with places to eat, drink, and have a good time. The recreation is abundant on the island. There are many different places to rent recreational equipment like boats and bikes, or you can take a narrated tour on the island’s train. South Bass Island combines the serenity of a state park with fun and entertainment for the entire family. Your trip to the island will be one you will never forget.
This state park is located on an island in the middle of Lake Erie. It is conveniently located 54 miles east of Toledo and 83 miles northwest of Cleveland, Ohio.
Interested campers and guests should note that you must take a ferry to access the South Bass Island State Park. Take a ferry from Port Clinton or Catawba Island. Guests will need to make transportation arrangements to and from the island.
Before planning your trip, ensure your reserved campsite allows enough room for your rig and any slide outs you might have.
The South Bass Island Campground is a pet-friendly facility that provides campers with a unique campground experience. The park, located on an island, is surrounded by water. Campers pulling RVs, campers, and trailers, access the island by ferry and spend the night surrounded by the soothing sounds of Lake Erie.
The seasonally-operated campground has three types of spaces. Choose from the full hookup, electric only, or non-electric sites. The campground provides campground guests with access to hydrants, a dump station, restrooms, and showers. All of the campsites have a picnic table and a fire ring. Quiet hours are from 10:00 pm to 7:00 am. Please silence your generators during these hours.
If you love spending the warm days of summer on the water, then you will enjoy all of the boating opportunities on South Bass Lake Island. If you are unable to bring your own watercraft, rent kayaks, fishing boats, power boats, and other types of personal watercraft from many of the rental facilities on the island. If you bring your boat, the closest access point to the water is from the public boat launch located near the picnic area. Before heading out on the water, ensure you know the proper boating laws for the area. Contact Ohio State Parks and Watercraft for more information.
You don’t have to own or rent a boat to fish in Lake Erie. South Bass Island State provides its guests with access to a fishing pier and shoreline fishing area, as well as the use of the fish cleaning house. Bring your tackle and fish for walleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, white bass, and channel catfish, and then take your catch back to the cleaning house to prepare it for dinner. If you don’t have your own fishing equipment, there are many locations on the island that rent and sell fishing gear. If you plan on fishing, be aware that Ohio State Law requires that all anglers over the age of 16 own and possess a valid fishing license.
The park is so beautiful that you will want to spend the majority of your time outdoors. Pack a picnic lunch and head to the small picnic area. Enjoy eating your meal at one of the picnic tables overlooking the water. The picnic area is on the northwest side of the island near Put-in-Bay. Water and restrooms are nearby, so guests don’t have to go far to access those amenities. After lunch, take the family to the small stone beach and swim in one of the designated swim areas or play on the little playground outside of the park office. Everything in the day use area is closely located, so you can plan your day bouncing back and forth between activities.
South Bass Island was formed during the glacial period, and remnants of the glacial presence are still evident on the island today. During the formation of the Great Lakes, giant sheets of ice descended onto the land which is now present-day Ohio. When the climate warmed and melted the glaciers, the broken segmented ice chunks bumped into the earth and left behind huge gouges and indentations across the bedrock. The glacial grooves, now a permanent feature in the land, can be seen in many spots along South Bass Island. During your visit to the park, head to the area between the park office and the campground, and see these massive indentations in the land.
Although there are not any official hiking trails inside of South Bass Island State Park, that doesn’t mean that hikers won’t have a place to walk and sightsee during their trip to the island. The Jane Coates Wildflower trail, a half-mile trail owned by the Put-in-Bay Township and Park District, is a protected nature trail that offers visitors views of wildflowers and migrating birds along their hike. The blue ash, chinquapin oak, and hackberry woodlands shade the path and house many different bird species. The trailhead is located about .25 miles north of the Maple Leaf Cemetery on Put-in-Bay Road.
Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center, located in the Village of Put-in-Bay, is a half of a mile away from South Bass Island State Park. Perry’s Cave has activities sure to entertain everyone in your family. The Fun Center, known for its limestone cave, has plenty of activities for people of all ages and abilities to partake in. Visitors can rock climb, mini-golf, mine for gemstones, get lost in a maze, or visit the butterfly house. If snacking and visiting old cars are your thing, then pick up a treat and head to the Antique Car Museum. Contact Perry’s Cave for hours of operation and pricing.