Ready for a Shores & Islands Ohio getaway? Jump on the next ferry or charter flight to Kelleys Island, the largest of Ohio’s Lake Erie Islands. This island includes 2,800 acres of state parks, nature preserves and a cozy downtown to unwind with local food, drinks, and shopping.
Ferry services offered by Jet Express, Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Line, and the Goodtime Lake Erie Cruises depart from the mainland on a daily schedule during their open season. You can also jump on a charter flight offered by Griffing Flying Service or Island Air Taxi to Kelleys Island Airport for your stay. Rent a bike or golf cart to quickly hop around the island at Caddy Shack Square or Portside Marina, among other rental spots. You can also bring your own bike on the ferries for a small fee.
Experience all that nature has to offer at one of Kelleys Islands’ many natural areas. Kelleys Island State Park offers great Lake Erie views, easy access to the shoreline, and scenic overnight accommodations. Kelleys Island State Park adjoins the North Shore Alvar State Nature Preserve with the North Pond State Nature Preserve. The North Shore Alvar Nature Preserve boasts unique natural features like barren limestone and dolomite. The North Shore Loop is also a great place to hike or bike within the North Shore Alvar Nature Preserve. The North Pond Nature Preserve is the perfect place for birding with hundreds of different species of migrating songbirds, and dozens of waterfowl species resting here before winging it across the lake.
For those looking to stay a few days in nature, Kelleys Island State Park offers 129 shaded campsites, as well as group, rent-a-camp sites, yurts, and pet sites. Some sites include electric hookups and several main shower houses are available throughout the park.
Glacial Grooves Geological Preserve is the most famous glacial groove occurrence in the world based on the size and accessibility of the feature. Inscription Rock shows Indigenous symbols carved in rock on the south shore of the island, the feature was rediscovered partly buried in the shoreline in 1833. The East Quarry is one of the most popular fishing locations on the island, hosting abundant aquatic and plant life at Horseshoe Lake. The East Quarry Trails are also the best place on Kelleys Island to go fossil hunting, and welcome both hikers and bikers on the trails.
Need to cool off? Kelleys Island Kayak Rental located at Kelleys Island State Park offers kayak and standup paddle board rental during the summer months. Put your kayak or SUP in right at the beach! Make sure you wear your life vest when you explore the Kelleys Island Water Trail, a 12-mile water trail across points at Kelleys Island State Park, North Pond State Nature Preserve, Scheele Preserve, Woodford Rd. Access, and Inspection Rock Petroglyphs.
Looking to find your next catch on the island? Fishing is allowed at Kelleys Island State Park, make sure you have a valid Ohio fishing license before dropping a line for one of the many species of fish including walleye, bass, perch and many others. Bait and tackle are available at several locations, including Uncle Dik’s, Crafts Lakeview Lane, and Portside Marina.
Kelleys Island is home to several fantastic wineries where you can enjoy some fine wine and take in the natural beauty of the island. Crooked Tree Vineyard is a three-acre working vineyard on the island with a small tasting room serving wines made on site. The Kelley’s Island Wine Co. is the place to have a friendly competition while you enjoy up to seven island wines and small local dishes made in house. Toss a game of cornhole, bocce or horseshoes while you sample some of the islands finest local fare.
The Monarch Winery specializes in fruit wine and wine slushies, also offering an array of wine-related gifts, souvenirs, and snacks as well as a beautiful wine garden to explore. Monarch also hosts live musicians throughout the summer months.
No matter your age or familiarity, Kelleys Island promises fun for all to enjoy. Learn more about exciting events and all other happenings at SHORESandISLANDS.com.