This Quaint Midwest Island Features A State Park With Perfect Shoreline Views

Ohio might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of an island getaway. That's about to change. There is a wonderful site on Lake Erie with everything you need for the perfect respite. This stunning vacation spot offers camping and fishing, a lovely state park, 12 miles of shoreline, restaurants, boating, and much more. Meet Kelleys Island, which sits 3.5 miles north of Ohio's Marblehead peninsula. You can pack a lot of vacation into this 2,800-acre island getaway.

On your trip to Kelleys Island, visit Crooked Tree Vineyard for a wine tasting, get a vineyard tour, and bring some wine home. Take the kids and try cake batter ice cream at Dipper Dan's. Lounge on one of three beaches on the Island: Scheele Preserve, State Park Beach, and Rocky Beach. Dine out and try the walleye the island is famous for, or better yet, fish for it and fry it up yourself. Here's what to know about Kelleys Island, the state park, and the outdoor activities this incredible place offers.  

What to know about Kelleys Island

During the summer, Kelleys Island attracts around 5,000 visitors, while about 300 people live on the island year-round, according to the Kelleys Island Chamber of Commerce. There are a few ways to get there. You can fly into Kelleys Island Land Field Airport. Another option is to bring a boat and dock it in one of the island's three marinas. But it's easiest to take the Kelleys Island Ferry from Marblehead, Ohio, which allows you to bring pets, cars, RVs, motorcycles, and more. Currently, the fare for adults is $12 per trip. Seniors pay $10, children aged 5 to 11 pay $8, and kids under 5 ride for free. Cars are $20 each way, and there are different rates for vehicles like RVs. If you tend to get seasick, there's a delicious snack combo that can help.

The downtown area of Kelleys Island comprises breweries, restaurants, a mini-golf course, and a Memorial Park. You can rent a golf cart or a bike to explore the area. The island's state park has a double-lane boat launch, courtesy dock, and kayaks that can be rented from Memorial Day through Labor Day. There is even a stone pier for fishing for those walleyes, with a fish cleaning house and grinder at the campground. Just make sure you have a current Ohio fishing license. Hunting is also permitted in designated areas with a license. In the winter, you can do some cross-country skiing and ice fishing.  

Camping and hiking

The beauty of Kelleys Island State Park is best seen at the shore, and many of the campsites are right on it. Five picnic areas with tables and grills and a 150-foot swimming beach are within walking distance from the camping area. There are plenty of sites and types to go around. For instance, 45 non-electric sites and 84 sites with electricity, most of which have water. Campers will also enjoy a dump station, showers with flushing toilets, a playground, and a volleyball court. 

If you want to try something different, two Sherman cabins sleep four guests and have a microwave, heating, AC, and a refrigerator, though no restroom. You can also try the yurts, which have a full kitchen, complete with cookware and kitchen amenities, a full bath with a walk-in shower, and heat. They sleep six, and there is even a patio with a lake view. The cabins and yurts can be booked up to six months in advance with a deposit. 

Hikers can try the easy 1-mile North Pond Nature Preserve hike, which has a boardwalk and observation deck. You can also attempt the North Shore-Alvar Loop, a rocky, 3-mile trail you can bike on. The East Quarry Trail is 5 miles and, while rocky, is still considered moderate. More national parks await adventure seekers in the Great Lakes region, and if you're up to it, consider the best Great Lakes towns to visit for your next vacation!