Two islands in Lake Erie have attracted Midwesterners for decades: Put-in-Bay and Kelley's Island. Think of Put-in-Bay as the fun-loving college student looking to blow off steam after a tough semester, and Kelley's Island as her parents who need a respite from their college-age daughter who just got her first tattoo. It's true that the Great Lakes don't offer year-round sunny skies and mild temperatures like Hawaii or the Bahamas. They do offer excellent boating opportunities, terrific summer island vacations and no hurricanes.
Technically, Put-in-Bay is called South Bass Island, but no one will know what you are talking about if you call it that. Put-in-Bay is the name of the township and what the locals and regular visitors call this party island. It is a hotspot for young 20-somethings when they want to get out, party and enjoy the lake.
The island is accessible only by public ferry transportation. It's three nautical miles from the mainland of Ohio, and no bridge connects the mainland to the island. This means that the first portion of the trip is an adventure. Of course, the island can be accessed by private boats and private airplanes.
Photo of Put-in-Bay Ohio by Decumanus via Wikimedia Commons
The Put-in-Bay Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau lists accommodations for every type of traveler. Whether you prefer the quaint bed-and-breakfast atmosphere, or you want to live it up while camping in a tent, you'll find plenty of those, in addition to hotels, condos, cottages and gorgeous Lake Erie views.
Visitors can rent Jet Skis and boats. If you are not an Ohio resident, check to see if you need an Ohio boat license; many states offer reciprocity for boat licenses in the same way they do for driver's licenses. Renting your own boat gives you the freedom to explore the lake and enjoy the sunshine while you are staying on Put-in-Bay. Designate a sober driver if drinking is part of your day on the water.
Kelley's Island is the place to enjoy life at a slower pace. Kelley's Island has a relaxing atmosphere with a splendid state park complete with plenty of hiking trails, Touring-Ohio.com states.
The island is accessible only by ferry. It allows visitors to ferry their cars over as well, which is great for self-guided tourism. Travelers who don't want to bring their cars across on the ferry can rent golf carts and bicycles.
As a quiet destination, there are not a lot of hotels on Kelley's Island. Most of the accommodations are bed-and-breakfast facilities, cottage rentals and campgrounds. However, the Kelley's Island Venture Resort is one of the most recent additions to the island. This hotel boasts luxury suites and a brand-new swimming pool.
Kelley's Island provides visitors the opportunity to get outside and enjoy a life from a simpler time. The most popular things to do on Kelley's Island include bicycling around the area, boating and fishing, diving, hunting for fossils, kayaking and hiking the area trails.
Ashley loves to jog, play with her kids, go to the beach and write freelance articles.