Middle Bass Island State Park

Middle Bass Island State Park on Lake Erie holds plenty of history and is just an enjoyable place to visit. The park is part of the Lake Erie island chain and has a history of being a wine-making island, but today offers so much more.

Getting There

Getting to Middle Bass Island is part of the fun. Most people will get to the island by a nearby mainland ferry. Miller Ferry runs ferry boats from the mainland at Catawba. Sonny-S Inter-Island Ferry runs a ferry from South Bass Island at Put-in-Bay to Middle Bass. Private boat rides can also be arranged.

Land Activities

Middle Bass Island State Park is fairly easy to get around. The entire island is about 800 acres. The state park is a little over 100 acres of this. On the ferry ride, there is a wonderful view of the Lonz Winery as you approach the island. Once docked, you are immediately at the entrance to the state park and to the Lonz Winery.

One option for getting around Middle Bass Island is to take or rent a bicycle. Using a bicycle does make it easier to get around, but it is not necessary. Historical markers with stories of the past are located throughout the park.

For campers, a primitive campground is offered during the spring to fall seasons.

Lonz Winery

Middle Bass Island has a history of wine production going back to the mid-1800s. In 1926, Peter and George Lonz merged their wine company with what was left of the Golden Eagle Winery that was on Middle Bass. Historically, this is smack in the middle of Prohibition in the United States. The Lonz’s business survived during this time by selling grape juice and including instructions on how to ferment the grapes at home.

After Prohibition, the Lonz family expanded their operation, but the winery was destroyed in 1942 due to a fire. The stone castle that we still see parts of today was built after this fire. Unfortunately, the terrace of the winery collapsed in 2000. The State of Ohio purchased the state park acreage, including the remnants of the Lonz Winery, after the collapse. The building has been restored as much as possible.

Water Activities

Being located on an island, the state park offers several water activities. The state park has a marina with boat slips available. Kayaks and canoes are also available for rent.

Middle Bass Island State Park

Have you gotten a chance to visit Middle Bass Island? If so, be sure to let me know about your trip in the comments below.

Ben’s Thoughts

Middle Bass Island was definitely worth the ferry ride. Obviously, the ride took longer than South Bass or Kelleys Island, since it is further off the mainland. It was an enjoyable 40 minute ferry ride. The history behind Lonz Winery and the island as a whole was very interesting. The park itself was small enough to get around on foot, but bicycles and golf carts are available for rental.

Ben’s Visit: July 2021

Other Nearby State Parks: South Bass Island, East Harbor, Marblehead Lighthouse, Kelleys Island

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *