South Bass Island State Park
South Bass Island State Park, located on Lake Erie, offers many of the same activities as other Ohio state parks. Being on Put-in-Bay, however, gives a different scenery and more offerings in and around the park. Be sure to plan ahead for how you want to get to the island!
Getting to South Bass Island State Park
Part of the enjoyment of South Bass Island is simply getting there. Located about three miles off of mainland Ohio, the typical way people get to South Bass Island is by taking a ferry to the island. Miller Ferry and Jet Express both offer regular ferries to South Bass. Depending on which ferry you take, the trip will take 20-30 minutes from the mainland. If you are going to the state park, the Miller Ferry drops you off on the southwest corner of the island, closer to the park than the Jet Express ferry.
With the ferries, I would highly suggest NOT taking your vehicle with you (Miller Ferry is the only one that offers vehicle transport on their ferries). The entire island is only about four miles long by two miles wide. Parking with your own vehicle is difficult, and then leaving South Bass will take longer since you have to wait in the “car line” instead of the “walk on line.” Once on the island, there are several ways to get around. Taxis can take you where you want, or you can rent a golf cart or bicycle to get around the island.
Typical State Park Offerings
Like many of Ohio’s state parks, South Bass Island offers camping, swimming, boating, and fishing.
The campground at South Bass Island offers about 130 sites. About half of them are tent only campsites, but the park offers electric sites and 10 full hookup sites. Several cabents and a cabin are also available for rental.
A pier and public boat launch are also available in the park for those wishing to boat or fish on the lake. The park provides a designated swimming area in the lake as well.
Additional Offerings at South Bass Island
Being on an island in the middle of Lake Erie provides opportunities different from many other state parks. The town of Put-in-Bay is a short drive or bike ride from the state park. Many shops and restaurants call the town home.
For those who enjoy history and historical markers, a stop at the Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial is a must. The memorial commemorates the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. It is easily seen from the mainland and during the ferry ride over. It is located nearby the main parts of the town of Put-in-Bay.
The state parks on and near Lake Erie are so fun to visit! South Bass is especially a neat place to go. It offers the park atmosphere on one end of the island (with awesome views of cliffs of the island and Lake Erie) with the town of Put-in-Bay on the other. I’d highly suggest renting a vehicle when you get on the island. We rented a golf cart for our family of four (our two kids were 5 and 3 at the time!) and we did just fine getting around. Taking the ferry ride is definitely worth the trip to see South Bass, Oak Point, and Put-in-Bay!