South Bass Island State Park – Perhaps The Prettiest Place on Earth
33-acres of wooded forest make up South Bass Island State Park. The park is perched atop the white limestone cliffs of South Bass Island. Located less than two miles from the downtown area of Put-in-Bay, it’s easily assessable from a Put-in-Bay Golf Cart Rental. South Bass Island State Park affords visitors panoramic views, quiet picnics on the lake, and a retreat from the active downtown entertainment zone.
South Bass Island State Park Particulars
From the dowtown area, you will leave on Catawba Avenue to the southern end of the island. The road will actually dead end at the state park and Saunders Golf Course on your left. The park is the largest park on South Bass Island. There is no entry fee, and a public launch ramp near the picnic and playground area is free for boats. Put-in-Bay Watercraft Rentals offers Jet Ski Rentals as well as a few small boats for rent. There is a small stone beach ideal for swimming or a little rock skipping.
The park also includes several cabins for rent and a campground. Reservations are recommended in advance. The picnic area includes grills as well. If you are camping at the South Bass Island State Park, you will want to have a Put-in-Bay Golf Cart Rental to get back and forth from town to avoid expensive hard to find taxis.
Things to Do At South Bass Island State Park
The small stone pebble beach is an excellent place for swimming in Lake Erie. Swimming is permitted in the designated areas. No lifeguard on duty. Nearby Put-in-Bay Watercraft Rentals offers several types of watercraft from powerboats to kayaks. Like most things on Put-in-Bay, reservations should be made in advance. Most items are only rented on a first-come, first-serve basis.
If you decide to have a picnic, there are ample tables throughout the park. Visitors may reserve the shelter house for larger events. The pavilion shelter house can accommodate around 50 people and includes grills, water, restrooms, electrical outlets, and trash cans. There is also an entertaining playground close by. Other free picnic tables dot the area.
There are four cabins in the park, and they are both rustic and comfortable. They rent for three-night-minimum stays from Memorial Day until September and accommodate up to six people. Each includes a living room, full kitchen with cookstove (no oven), refrigerator, coffee maker, microwave, pots & pans & dishes, & utensils. No pets are permitted.
The area for camping features 51 sites with electric and 9 with no electricity. Pets are permitted in this location. The campground also offers modern flush toilets, showers, and a RV dump station. Exciting youth camps are offered with advance reservations for groups.
South Bass Island State Park Wildlife
The shallowest of the Great Lakes is Lake Erie. The islands provide a safe harbor for boaters when occasional violent storms form. A variety of flora and fauna thrive in the park. There are numerous caves and collapsed caverns on the island, which creates a unique combination of dolomite bedrock and lake water. You can still tour Perry’s Cave, which is one of the few remaining caves with its roof intact.
The rocky pebble type shoreline along with native plants makes for the ideal habitat for the Lake Erie watersnake. This endangered species is unique to this part of the country, and they are harmless. The island is host to a variety of other amphibians and reptiles like the red-eared slider, painted turtle and common map turtles, mudpuppy, and the northern redback salamander.
Oak State Park
The sister park and smallest park in Ohio is Oak State Park. This 1.5-acre park overlooks the Put-in-Bay Harbor and is a perfect spot for a picnic or to relax and read a book while at Put-in-Bay. It features 20 docks that are available for public use as well as newly constructed restrooms. There is ample parking for your Put-in-Bay Golf Car Rental, the ideal way to see the island.