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Sitting just north of Sandusky, OH, in the waters of Lake Erie, is a cluster of idyllic islands. One of the largest of this archipelago is Kelleys Island, which is home to Kelleys Island State Park. Although remote, the island is accessible via daily ferries that run from Lakeside Marblehead. The ferry point is located just off I-90, the interstate that connects Toledo and Cleveland.
Kelleys Island is the only island in the United States to be recognized as a National Historic District. Originally inhabited by the Ottawa and Huron tribes, the park is littered with prehistoric mounds and petroglyphs carved into rocks. Additionally, the island is home to a number of unique geological formations. Molded by a glacier moving down from Canada, Kelleys Island has been scared with fascinating glacial markings.
This rare landscape should not be missed by anyone with an RV rental in Ohio. With plenty of opportunities for water sports on Lake Erie, six miles of hiking trails and a unique ecology to discover, search for an RV in Erie County today and set off on an amazing adventure!
Encompassing over 600-acres, Kelleys Island State Park is the perfect getaway for any water lover camping with an RV nearby. Surrounded by the freshwater of Lake Erie on all sides, there are countless opportunities for boating, fishing, and swimming!
Boating is one of the best ways to explore the island and the surrounding Lake Erie. For those that are motorhome camping with their own boat, there is a double-lane boat ramp conveniently located on the north shore of the island. Alternatively, rent a boat from the beach. Choose a paddleboat or kayak, both ideal ways to see the lake from a new perspective. Whilst out on the river, why not take your fishing gear with you. Lake Erie is known as the ‘Walleye Capital of the World," and guarantees a successful day of fishing whether it be from the safety of the shore, or out on the waters. For any avid fishermen with a Marblehead camper rental, there are even a number of private fishing charters that run from the city, offering visitors the chance to catch fish that live in the deeper waters.
Handily situated within the park is an idyllic 100-foot public swimming beach. Located just a short walk from the campground itself, campers can head to the beach during daylight hours for a refreshing swim. For anyone that prefers to venture into deeper waters, why not sign up for one of the scuba diving tours, that will take you deep into the lake to explore the underwater shipwrecks.
Although peak season is definitely during the summer months, there are some great opportunities to get out and about in the great outdoors during winter too! As the temperatures plummet, watch the huge Lake Erie freeze over, and turn into an icy playground! Ice-skating, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing are all popular during winter and, you will be sharing the island with fewer people!
For anyone that prefers to stay on dry land, there are just over six miles of hiking trails that wind through Kelleys Island State Park. The most popular of these trails is the North Shore Loop Trail, a leisurely stroll that showcases some of the unique glacial rock formations on the island. Look out for some of the native flora and fauna such as the resident bald eagles that nest in pairs in the limestone cliffs.
Camping in Kelleys Island State Park is a relatively primitive affair. With over 100 campsites to choose from, 80 of which offer electrical hookups for your RV, campers can expect a comfortable stay on the island. Despite the limited number of fully serviced sites, all campers have access to modern washroom complete as well as easy access to a dump station on site. In addition to the water and hiking activities, there is a volleyball court on-site to feed the family’s more competitive side. Bookings can be made online up to six months in advance, and if you wish to bring your pet, they are allowed only on specific sites!
If you would prefer to just spend the day on the island and camp back on the mainland, there are plenty of options for this. Not far from the ferry port is Lakeside Campground, a family-friendly site that offers full-hookup facilities from May through to October. This luxury site also offers campers site-wide WiFi, a laundry room, and a playground for the kids!
When you rent a camper near Kelleys Island State Park, city attractions are limited. On the island, take some time to wander around the small selection of independent shops selling unique gifts and maybe even pop into the Kelleys Island History Museum. This small history museum includes a stone church built-in 1866 and a parsonage built-in 1888 that now functions as a gift shop. Wander around the historic buildings learning about the island’ history from the fascinating exhibits on show.
Jump on the ferry back to the mainland, and pop into Lakeside Marblehead for a wider choice of attractions. Dominating the horizon, and even visible from Kelleys Island itself is the Marble Head Lighthouse. One of the oldest lighthouses on the Great Lakes, it rises over 65 feet into the air and has guided boats safely along the shore since 1822. During the summer, visitors are able to join free-tours of the lighthouse and climb the stairs to a viewing platform at the top, offering unrivaled views over Lake Erie and Ohio.
For any budding artists renting an RV here, it is worth perusing some of the independent art galleries that have opened here in recent years. One of the most popular is Desdemona’s Art Gallery; a showroom that houses a selection of Lake Erie inspired oil paintings by local artists. To witness a lost-art head to Ferguson’s Gallery, a glassblowing workshop full to the brim with unique pieces. Meet the man behind the work and even try your hand at glass blowing in one of his workshops!