put in bay camping

The Ultimate Put-In-Bay Camping Guide

By Kyle & Olivia Brady | Founders of Drivin' & Vibin' | We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

The Ultimate Put-In-Bay Camping Guide

It’s not often that trips through the Midwest involve island hopping and golf cart tours. But it seems Ohio is hiding a well-kept secret with Put-In-Bay camping, where these activities rival those of any Caribbean archipelago.

Located in Lake Erie just 35 miles from Toledo, South Bass Island is home to the village of Put-In-Bay.  

Today’s visitors come in droves to enjoy cooler summer days and the charm of this quaint community. 

Historic Put-In-Bay camping

History of Put-In-Bay

History has documented that the bay was an essential participant in the War of 1812, as the base for naval operations.  

From here, Commander Oliver Hazard Perry launched an assault on the British during the Battle of Lake Erie, securing victory and becoming a significant turning point in the war.

More than 200 years later, visitors today can reflect on that historic event at the Perry International Peace Memorial.  

Getting Around Town when Put-In-Bay Camping

Transportation by golf cart on town streets is the vehicle of choice in this island hamlet known as “the Key West of the North.”  

Tourists make their way to downtown shops and restaurants, a winery cave, or the ruins of what was once the largest hotel in America. And many set out to explore the surrounding islands of Buckeye, Gibraltar, and Green by sailboat or on private fishing charters.

Put-In-Bay camping waterfront

If you consider Put-In-Bay camping, here’s a list of the best campgrounds in or near the village:

South Bass Island State Park

Housing the best-known campground in Put-In-Bay, South Bass Island State Park is located at 1523 Catawba Avenue on Lake Erie’s bluffs.

Current prices run from $27 to $43, and campsites are suitable for tents and RVs. Several bathhouses are on site, and views of the lake make the campground extremely popular.

South Bass Island Campground is a crowd favorite, as the state park offers a boat ramp, rock beach, and historical ruins to explore. And it’s a good idea to leave the RV at your site, as golf cart rentals are close by, providing easy access to town and various activities.

If you can score a reservation, we think this is the best Put-In-Bay camping option!

fishing at Put-In-Bay camping spots

Fox’s Den Campground

Situated at 140 Conlan Road, Fox’s Den is just a 5-minute golf cart ride from downtown Put-In-Bay. It has 60 campsites, ranging from tent accommodations to sites with electric and water hookups. Hot showers and flush toilets are available, along with a laundromat and swimming pool.

Those craving a quiet, shady retreat will find Fox’s Den to their liking, and fishers will appreciate a dedicated fish cleaning station for their days’ catch!

Kelleys Island State Park

Just a ferry boat ride away from Put-In-Bay lies Kelleys Island State Park Campground. It’s located at 920 Division Street on Kelleys Island, and the campground is perfect for both tent camping and RVers.  

Nightly prices are $45, with paved sites situated among the trees. Showers, water and electricity are available, and fire rings and picnic tables round out each campsite.  

Lake Erie is ever-present here, with a swimming beach and fishing pier enticing outdoor adventurers to this campground. The state park offers kayak rentals, hiking trails and historical sites as a bonus!

Even though it’s not exactly “Put-In-Bay camping,” it’s a great, nearby alternative.

The Secret’s Out

Put-In-Bay is a destination that, once visited, will capture the heart.  

Time spent on the lakeshore and in the village’s many historic and unique locations draw visitors back time and time again, assuring us that Put-In-Bay’s charm won’t be a secret much longer.

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You should give it a try!

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One comment

  1. You need to tell your readers that they are looking at around a $100 round trip ferry fee, to South Bass Island/Put-In-Bay, depending on length of rig.

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