I recently camped here at South Bass Island State Park. Because of current Covid-19 restrictions, the campground was pretty empty (which I hear is very unusual for summertime). I camped in a tent-only site on the edge of the 25 foot cliff. Great for adults, but no safety barrier for young children. Campsite #97 and#99 have fire rings right on the cliff. (I camped at #99.)
The facilities at the campground are clean and well maintained and the people who work at the camp store are friendly.
The campground is well shaded with mature trees throughout and it over looks Lake Erie to the West making for great views of the sunset. Some sites are right on top of each other and others are well spread out.
Both tent camping and RV/Trailer camping. A few Yurts to rent also which are somewhat isolated from the other camping areas. Reservations can be made exactly 6 months in advance and only a few sites are kept open for walk ins anymore. The sites along the cliff overlooking the lake have fabulous views but are ONLY for tents and one should NOT camp there with small kids.
The RV camp sites and many of the other camp sites are inland from the cliff and while wooded are generally very close together and most do NOT have a lake view. The ONLY quiet areas in the campgrounds on the weekends are the cliff tent areas since it is a party island and the young people camping in the interior areas seem to never go to bed.
The Park has a rocky beach (shoes NECESSARY) which is actually a nice swimming area if you aren't looking for sand under your feet or blanket. That beach is the only free public place to swim on the island (some hotels do have pools). That beach area is a great area though to launch a kayak or sailboard to use in the cove. There is also a regular boat ramp for larger boats or jet skis. NO overnight boat tie ups at this state park dock (some at the downtown state park, but those are hard to snag)
The town is about 1.5 miles down the road and easy to get to via bicycle or island taxi - vehicle parking very limited if you try to drive into town. and the town has numerous bars and restaurants with lots of live entertainment on the weekends.
The town is definitely a"party" location on the weekends during the summer months. and there is a very pretty and active harbor there, usually with 100 to 200 boats including some in the 40 to 50 foot range in the harbor on the weekends.
The slow ferry to the island (Miller) is the car ferry and it has free parking if you can leave your vehicle behind on the mainland and transport your stuff to the campgrounds via a bike trailer or some other way (about a mile+ from the ferry dock to the state park). If you do take your vehicle over note that the wait time to bring it back on a Sunday while usually 2 to 3 hours can also be up to 6 hours from when you get in line (beware the Miller ferry stops running about 8pm, ie: near sunset). Usually little or no wait time when bringing a vehicle or RV back mid week.
Pick when you want to go depending upon how much you enjoy noise and partying. Mid week during the summer season is the best time for those who aren't into 24 hour partying and weren't able to snag a cliff side camp site. Kelly's Island is quieter and has a nice natural sand beach, so better for weekend trips if going with a family, or if you definitely need a sand beach. If bands, noise, drinking, and people watching are your desire, well this is the place to go on a summer weekend (ala Key West party atmosphere)
Beautiful place, well kept, lots of sites overlooking the lake and a lot of shade. The island is pretty well known as a party island so we generally only camp here off-season now. There is a lot to see and explore like the caves, the monument in the world famous bars. The entire island is pretty rowdy during the summer so plan accordingly. We usually do kelleys island in the summer and Put-in-Bay in the offseason if we're headed this way. Wifey says the bathrooms were below average (most important for her).
We stayed at one of the primitive tent sites at South Bass Island State Park and had the most enjoyable time. The site was on a cliff overlooking Lake Erie. The campground was very well kept and clean. The park staff was friendly and helpful, and the park office was stocked with necessities at a decent price. If I had any complaint at all, it would be that the sites are really close together, which could be a problem at busy times. Fortunately we only had one neighbor directly beside us, and they were very nice folks. Would highly recommend this campground!
Accessible from ferry, this camp ground offers stunning views of Lake Erie. With clean running water and facilities, the only downside is that the camp grounds are a tad too crowded for my preference.
This small park is laid out on the grounds of the former Victory Hotel, in it’s heyday the largest wooden structure in the US.
Tent campers can choose a site directly on the lakefront; trailers & RVs must camp in the second tier but some sites still have Lake views. The property has mature trees for good shade & there is easy water access for paddling & fishing.
Thwre is a small onsite restaurant/ bar, with many more eateries, bars, and wineries a short bicycle or golf cart ride away. The bath houses are tidy & well kept by volunteers that trade work for camping time. A few sites have electric, water, & sewer; more have just electric (lake shore sites have no hookups).
Access is via ferry, If you chose to leave your car on the mainland (free parking there) & pack in there are multiple sources for golf cart & bike rentals. For a quiet visit camp Monday thru Thursday; if you like crowds & parties reserve weekend time in advance.
We enjoyed our stay & plan to return- it’s a very dog friendly place!
This campground has beautiful, cliff-side sites right on the water, which is probably not good for small children. The interior sites are just ok, but most are level with a bit of shade.
There is a rocky beach, boat rentals, and lots to do all over the island. There are shuttles from the campground into the main part of town.
What you need to be aware of here is the party atmosphere. Many young people camp here so that they can party in Put-In-Bay all day and night. Last time I was here, a group of 20-somethings came home at 2am and blared their music til 5. They quieted down a bit but started right back up at 7am. Not fun at all. This made me reluctant to return to this campground in the summer, as beautiful as it is. I'd try it in mid-September or October, but never summer again.
Most sites are strictly for pull behinds. Can be tent way off site. Watch for the sharp stones, this is a stone island so plenty of stone vs dirt. Awesome camp store if you catch while open..
Overall good campsite on South Bass Island. It's close to Put in Bay - famous for it's bar scene. If you're good at trekking, everything on the island is walking distance, but if you can bring it a bike would make for much quicker trips. There are also a number of taxi services or golf cart rentals available.
The sites are very small, but have very nice views of the lake. It stormed while I was there and the winds got strong, so make sure your tent is sturdy, or choose an in-land campsite.
Great sites, clean and modern amenities. Gets crowded, so book early. Easy access to town many island attractions.