Photos by OHventures
Kelley's Island is located in Erie County in the western basin of Lake Erie about 4 miles north of the Marblehead peninsula and 10 miles from Sandusky Measuring more than 4 square miles, Kelley's Island is the largest American island located in Lake Erie. Being that it is in the middle of the lake, you have to get either either by ferry (try the Miller Boat Line), private boat, or by airplane (via the Kelley's Island Land Field Airport).
I first visited Kelley's Island in the year 2000, when I was just a freshman in high school. I came to the island for a week-long stay at Camp Patmos, a summer Christian church camp. Back then, it felt like I was in an exotic location far away from home. We sailed, kayaked, swam, and rode bicycles built for two.
15 years have passed since that visit, and Kelley's Island still has just as much charm and excitement as I remember! I recently took a flight to the island with my buddy Alex on Labor Day Weekend. We decided to spend just a couple of hours at Kelley's Island, having some lunch and doing a bit of exploration!
Most of this tourist island is comprised of beaches, parks, and campgrounds, which are mostly toured by bike (available for rent at Kelley's Landing), golf cart (also available at Kelley's Landing - hourly, daily, or weekly), island taxi, or on foot.
After you have your mode of transportation down (which can be a fun activity in and of itself), it's time to explore the island! There is a lot to see - from restaurants, to bars, to natural wonders and landmarks!
The Casino Restaurant, Bar & Dockage
f the weather is nice and you're looking for some lakeside outdoor seating, your best bets are Dockers Waterfront Restaurant, and The Casino Restaurant, Bar & Dockage (pictured above). On our visit, Alex and I ate some great burgers and fries at The Casino, where we were able to soak up the sun and relax under some faux palm trees!
Other popular food and drink selections are The Village Pump (they are famous for their perch and their Brandy Alexander drinks) and the Kelley's Island Wine Company (established in 1872 - try their Inscription White, named after the island's Inscription Rock).
Being that I'm an OSU alum, the Buckeye Bar was a MUST on our short visit to Kelley's Island. You can get some good greasy bar food and choose from a vast selection of Ohio-made beers. In addition, the Buckeye Bar also has the Caddy Shack, where you can rent golf carts (on Labor Day weekend, it was so crowded on the island, that they were fresh out. A fun miniature golf course can also be found right next to Caddy Shack & The Buckeye Bar.
A large anchor found near Inscription Rock
On the Northern third portion of Kelley's Island is Kelley's Island State Park, a 676 acre park which includes hiking trail, campgrounds, a sand beach, and ruins of former a limestone quarry mining site (on the West Side). One of the most well known points of interest on Kelley's Island is the Glacial Grooves State Memorial, a rare set of glacial grooves which are the largest in the world (measuring 400 feet by 35 feet). These prehistoric glacial grooves are gashes embedded limestone bedrock, and are a remarkable sight to see, not far from the beaches of the state park.
There is an incredible amount to explore on this exciting Ohio island - so plan a trip soon!