Marine News from the Great Lakes

Kelleys Island, Ohio

Published: Thursday, January 11, 2018

Calling Kelleys Island “Ohio's best kept secret” might sound cliché, but it’s certainly not far from the truth. Many have never heard of Kelleys Island, despite it being America’s largest Lake Erie island. That’s especially surprising given its location, between Cedar Point and Put-in-Bay, in the western basin of Lake Erie.

Although vehicles are permitted, rented golf carts, bicycles, and kayaks are the most popular ways to explore what Kelleys Island has to offer. Roughly one-third of the island is preserved in its natural state. Trails and boardwalks wind through woodlands, around abandoned quarries, and along the shore. Two beautiful beaches also allow visitors to sunbathe and swim in the refreshing lake water.

Must-see attractions draw visitors from near and far. The most well-known are the Glacial Grooves, which are the largest and most significant examples of glacial scoring in the world. The Grooves are the centerpiece of the 677-acre Kelleys Island State Park, also popular for its lakefront campsites, fishing pier, boat launch, and nature trails.

Kelleys Island is so rich with history, that the entire island has been added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. There are no traffic lights, corporate chains, or fast-food restaurants. Instead, visitors experience a small-town atmosphere with eclectic shops and services.

In addition to a brewery and winery, there are many restaurants, each offering unique food and drink specialities. Dining destinations often feature live entertainment, outdoor patios, and lakefront views. Lodging ranges from private rooms to historic bed and breakfasts, inns, cottages, private homes, condos, marinas, and even a small lakefront resort.

The island offers something for everyone. Fisherman from across the country return year after year to fish the “Walleye Capital of the World.” Birding is also popular, as the island is a welcome rest spot on the migratory path. Art lovers visit the gallery and wander the delightful sculpture garden. Additionally, the local Historical Museum offers grand glimpses into the island’s industrial past.

Are you ready to plan your next island adventure or getaway? Visit where you’ll find detailed information on how to get to Kelleys Island, where to stay, the best places to eat and drink, and all of the events and activities that can be enjoyed during your stay. If you have further questions, send an email to [email protected], or call 419-746-2360. The Kelleys Island Chamber of Commerce is happy to help you discover how Kelleys Island can become your new favorite vacation destination!

This article first appeared in the Winter Issue (Jan/Feb) 2018 of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine.

tags: Lake Erie, Destination


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