Escape to Put-in-Bay: A Camping Experience Like No Other

Put-in-Bay, an island so unique, it’s often dubbed the “Key West of the North.” This isn’t your typical Ohio getaway; it’s an escape into a world where nature and fun coexist. At the heart of this experience is the Put-in-Bay Campground in the South Bass Island State Park, offering a perfect blend of outdoor living and easy access to island adventures.

Camping here means more than just setting up a tent. You’re stepping into an island filled with historical landmarks like Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial, lively nightlife, inviting swim-up bars, and an amazing selection of local restaurants. Every moment at the campground connects you with the vibrant spirit of Put-in-Bay.

And there’s more. Your campsite is a stone’s throw away from some of Put-in-Bay’s treasures, such as Perry’s Cave and the renowned Heineman’s Winery. Whether you’re exploring the island’s history, savoring local wines, or simply relaxing under the stars, your tent camping trip at Put-in-Bay is more than a getaway; it’s an experience that stays with you, filled with memories of an island that truly stands out in Ohio. Pack your camping gear and get ready for an adventure that combines the tranquility of nature with the excitement of island life.

South Bass Island State Park

South Bass Island State Park

Perched high atop the white cliffs of South Bass Island sits the beautiful 33-acre South Bass Island State Park. Located just under two miles from downtown Put-in-Bay, this park provides visitors with a stunning array of options. Breathtaking lake views, serene picnic spots, and lots of water fun are all on deck here. The wooded campground and serene picnic spot on the lake give a relaxing escape from Put-In-Bay’s bustle. Oak Point, the companion park of South Bass Island, offers boaters and picnickers facilities near the heart of the city. South Bass Island State Park Details Far from the hustle...

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Step Back in Time at South Bass Island State Park Campground

Welcome to the South Bass Island State Park Campground! This special spot on South Bass Island was once the proud location of the Victory Hotel, a grand establishment that sadly succumbed to a fire in 1919. Today, remnants of its past, like the first co-ed swimming pool in the U.S. and the old hotel foundations, are just a leisurely walk from your campsite, inviting you to wander through the pages of history.

The State Park today is a world apart, offering stunning waterfront views of Put-in-Bay that you won’t find anywhere else on the island. Staying here, you’re not just camping – you’re creating unforgettable memories under the canopy of stars and witnessing some of the most spectacular sunsets in the country.

Choosing to camp here transforms your Put-in-Bay vacation into an immersive natural experience. While it might not be a stay in a waterfront condo with a luxurious balcony, camping at South Bass Island State Park offers its own kind of luxury. Surrounded by the tranquil beauty of Put-in-Bay’s nature, you’ll fall asleep to the soothing sound of Lake Erie’s waves crashing against the cliffs and wake up to the gentle chirping of birds. It’s a camping experience that creates lasting memories, where the beauty of the past and the tranquility of the present meet. This is more than just a place to stay; it’s a journey into the heart of Put-in-Bay’s natural and historical splendor.


Put-in-Bay Camping

A Haven of History and Natural Beauty: South Bass Island State Park

Located on the quiet side of Put-in-Bay, away from the bustling downtown, lies the South Bass Island State Park. This 33-acre sanctuary is more than just a campground; it’s a slice of paradise for those who cherish nature and the beauty of sunsets. Known for being home to Put-in-Bay’s only public beach, the park is a favorite among nature enthusiasts and sunset chasers.

The State Park offers a variety of camping experiences, from the simplicity of 9 non-electric sites to the convenience of 51 electric campsites. For those seeking a more comfortable stay, the park provides four charming lodging homes. The campground itself is thoughtfully equipped with amenities like restrooms and showers, blending outdoor adventure with comfort.

Beyond camping, the park is a treasure trove of activities and relaxation. Scattered picnic areas invite families and friends to gather and enjoy the island’s natural lakeside beauty. The stone beach dominates with its cool, refreshing waters, perfect for a swim on a warm day. For thrill-seekers, jet skiing and kayaking are available right within the park, thanks to Put-in-Bay Watercraft Rentals. And if you wish to explore the island, golf cart rentals are conveniently available, allowing you to discover Put-in-Bay’s wonders at your own pace.


The History of South Bass Island State Park

Stepping into South Bass Island State Park is like walking through the pages of history. The site of the once-grand Victory Hotel, lost to a fire in 1919, still whispers tales of its past glory. Visitors can explore the remains of what was the United States’ first co-ed swimming pool and the hotel’s foundations – relics that tell stories of a bygone era.

The park’s history stretches back further, to times when it was inhabited by Native American tribes and later played a critical role in the War of 1812. The transformation of the island into a tourist haven began in the 1870s with the establishment of Hotel Victory, marking a new chapter in its storied past.

Today, South Bass Island State Park stands as a testament to both its natural splendor and its rich historical past. It’s not just a place to pitch a tent or park an RV; it’s a retreat where the past meets the present, where you can boat, fish, picnic, jet ski, swim and practice other water sports. It’s a place where every visit is a journey into the heart of Put-in-Bay’s story – a story of resilience, beauty, and an enduring call to adventure and tranquility.


Frequently Asked Questions about Put-in-Bay Camping

Can you bring your car to Put-in-Bay?

You can bring your car to Put-in-Bay via the Miller Ferry, which provides both vehicle and passenger transportation from Catawba for $18 each way. The ferry ride is a brief 18-minute journey, but if you prefer not to bring a car, free parking is available at the Miller’s Ferry dock. Conveniently located, the ferry is about an hour from Cleveland and Toledo, and 20 to 30 minutes from Sandusky and Port Clinton respectively.

Is there parking at the South Bass Island State Park Campsite?

The State Park offers ample parking facilities, including spaces for extended trailers and regular vehicles, conveniently located near the entrance and the public beach area. Whether you’re coming for a day picnic or an extended camping stay, parking is easy and accessible.

How much is a night at the South Bass Island State Park campground?

Accommodation options vary, with “tent only” sites, electric campsites, and non-electric campsites available around $30 per night, plus a park fee of $6.50. If you prefer a more solid structure, rental cabins start from $100 per night, with prices varying seasonally.

Is there a pool at the State Park Campground?

While there is no pool at the State Park Campground, a beautiful public beach offers a refreshing swim in Lake Erie. For more swimming options, downtown Put-in-Bay features swim-up bars and hotel pools.

Are there any outdoor grills available onsite?

The park is also equipped with several charcoal grills for the perfect barbecue picnic, just remember to bring your own charcoal or pick some up at the downtown Island General Store.

For detailed information about camping at South Bass Island State Park, contact 419-734-4424 or visit their website. For other lodging options, including resorts or vacation rental homes, call 216-889-9951 or explore the Hotels & Lodging page on our website.

Camping & Lodging Inquiries

For any camping inquiries at the South Bass Island State Park, call 419-734-4424 or click here to visit their website. Any other Put-in-Bay lodging, Put-in-Bay Resort, or Put-in-Bay vacation rental home inquires, call our office at 216-889-9951 or visit our Hotels & Lodging page.

Put-in-Bay Camping is a fabulous way to experience this special Lake Erie Island in a natural setting. Reserving a campsite and staying on the island in the State Park is one of the most economical ways to visit the Bay. Also, the Lake Erie breezes, fun on the water and fishing opportunities will make this a trip you won’t soon forget. Rent a jet ski, cast a line and live the island life! Remember, the South Bass Island State Park books up fast, so don’t delay. Are your dates booked? Don’t fret, there are several other Put-in-Bay Lodging options!