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Fall is the perfect time to camp in Ohio’s Lake Erie Islands – The Columbus Dispatch | Gmx Pharm

A cliff-top campground in South Bass Island State Park offers beautiful views—just watch what you're doing.

SANDUSKY — Summer may be almost over, but don’t stow that tent in the attic just yet.

Early fall is a great time for camping in Ohio, particularly on or near the state’s Lake Erie Islands. At this time of year, cooler weather, smaller crowds (both human and bug) and beautiful fall foliage add to the allure of crashing waves, abundant wildlife, and a delicious sense of seclusion, all just a few hours from home.

Several Ohio State Parks offer camping on the islands or on the adjacent shore. Reservations can be made at

Most Ohio State Park campgrounds have sites for large and small RVs, some with full hook-ups.

Opportunities on South Bass Island

South Bass Island State Park ( is on the quiet side of the island across from Put-in-Bay , the island’s fun and sometimes rowdy little town.

Though a slower pace sets in on cool evenings, there’s still plenty to see and do in South Bass in the fall, including two wineries, numerous bars and restaurants, and Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial, a National Park Service site.

More:“Come Taste History”: Hocking Hills Orchard offers unusual apple varieties

And the state park campground is the perfect base for exploring.

There are approximately 130 RV sites available, with or without electricity, as well as fully equipped RV sites, with approximately half the sites reserved for tent camping.

The sun sets behind Green Island as seen from the campground at South Bass Island State Park.

The campgrounds along the park’s sea bluffs offer some of the best views in the entire park system, with panoramic views of Lake Erie; the mainland around Port Clinton; and nearby Green Island, a national wildlife sanctuary. (Campsite 97 might be my favorite.)

Campsites are available until October 24th and must be reserved in advance.

Getting to South Bass is easy aboard the Jet Express (, a passenger ferry from Port Clinton (service limited to Friday, Saturday and Sunday from September 25th to October 30th); or Miller Boat Line (, a passenger and vehicle ferry service that departs Catawba several times a day.

A tent perched on the bluff at the lakefront in South Bass Island State Park.

What’s happening on Kelley’s Island?

Kelleys Island, the state’s largest island, has a reputation for being more low-key than South Bass Island but, like its neighbor, offers wineries, restaurants, museums, and shops in abundance.

More:Get reeled in while fishing on Lake Erie – hook, line and sinker!

Kelley’s Island State Park ( has a lakeside campground with more than 120 powered, wired and fully wired sites . Like South Bass, Kelleys Island Campground offers shower stalls with flush toilets.

Updated: September 17, 2022 — 12:32 am

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