Kelleys Island, Ohio is situated on the western side of Lake Erie and within a stone’s throw of Canada. Among the things to do include fishing off the piers, kayaking, bicycling, or taking a boat to go fishing on the lake. Head out to Sandy Beach to soak up some rays in the sand, or take the kids to the historic society to learn about the island’s past. Enjoy the island’s amazing restaurants and bring some bottles of wine from the Kelleys Island Wine Company back to your accommodation. Book a stay at a Kelleys Island vacation rental today. Here are the most unforgettable attractions on Kelleys Island.

1. Lakeside

Source: Pixabay/JuergenPM

Lakeside has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places for the wealth of historic buildings there, including the Hoover Auditorium, Orchestra Hall, and the C. Kirk Rhein Jr. Center for the Living Arts. Be sure to visit at least some of these beautiful buildings as well as Heritage Hall, the museum on Maple and Third. As its name implies, Lakeside is right on Lake Erie, so take the kids fishing off the pier, swim every day and rent kayaks. When the sun goes down, come back to your cozy vacation rental cottage and catch some well-deserved rest.

2. Marblehead

white lighthouse
Source: Flickr/Jim

Found at the very end of its own peninsula, Marblehead has long been associated with Lakeside. It is home to the Marblehead Lighthouse, which has been in operation since 1822. It sits on its own 9-acre state park. Have a picnic at one of the picnic tables with views of Lake Erie and Sandusky Bay, and visit the museum.

3. Put-in-Bay

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This interesting little town gets its name because sailors would put into its harbor to wait out storms. Happily, there’s ferry and airline service between Put-in-Bay and Kelleys Island. An important part of the history of the War of 1812, the town holds the Victory and International Peace Memorial raised in honor of Commodore Perry’s victory over the British in the Battle of Lake Erie. It is a good place to take the kids for a quick history lesson, but don’t forget to visit the cave Commodore Perry sent his men to during the war. The waters of a lake there restored their health after they’d been sickened by the polluted water of Lake Erie. You and the husband should visit Heineman’s winery and bring some bottles back to your vacation rental to enjoy as the sun sets.

4. Middle Bass

beautiful house on the island
Source: Flickr/snarky arch

This little town on Middle Bass Island has a big, old winery. The winery was established in 1875, passed to the Lonz family in 1884 and is still producing wines you’ll need to sample. Middle Bass also has a little airport and ferry service to Put-in-Bay. Basically, the whole island is a state park, with a spiffy marina with 184 slips, campgrounds, launch ramps, picnic areas, and places to fish.

5. Catawba Island

seafood
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Beautiful Catawba Island, which is not an island but a peninsula, has ferry service to Middle Bass Island and Put-in-Bay. If you’ve brought your car, the Miller Ferry is able to accommodate it, but call ahead for reservations. Catawba Island is the home of both the Catawba Island and the Cedar Meadow Preserves. Charter boats from the many marinas and have the best seafood dinners at establishments like Crabby Joe’s Dockside and the Crow’s Nest.

6. Danbury

people on the boat
Source: Flickr/clarinetgirl

Named for settlers who’d come up from Danbury Connecticut, Danbury welcomes you and your family with its lovely vacation rentals which can be condos or private cottages. Enjoy the campgrounds and the marina, the shopping, and restaurants and take the kids to the nearby Liberty Aviation Museum.

7. Castalia

unique bird
Source: Flickr/Barb Dorsey

What more needs to be said about a town with a sign that reads, “Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos”? Besides the necessary ice cream scoops, enjoy the Castalia Quarry Reserve and the Resthaven Wildlife Area. This is where the kids might be able to see such creatures as bald eagles, deer, pheasants, grouse and maybe the elusive chukkar partridge. Hunting and fishing are also allowed. Be sure to take an excursion to the famous Castalia State Fish Hatchery, which is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

8. Sandusky

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The seat of Erie County is nothing if not a fun place to visit. Spend a day at Cedar Point amusement park with its collection of crazy roller coasters, including the Millennium Force, the Corkscrew, the Gemini , and the Mean Streak. If even the thought of roller coasters makes you queasy, attend at least a few of the many parties Sanduskians seem to throw at the drop of a hat, including the annual Barge Party. This bash is so nice they throw it twice, at the end of June and the end of July. There are also a good variety of water parks, including the Monsoon Lagoon, Cedar Point Shores, Castaway Bay, and Kalahari. Sandusky offers ferry service to Kelleys Island and South Bass Island. If you want to be a bit adventurous, there’s a ferry to Pelee Island, which is in Canada.

9. Crystal Rock

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Crystal Rock takes pride in its campground, which is near local attractions such as Cedar Park. The campground has restrooms, a variation of beach volleyball, basketball, a pavilion, fire pits, grills, playground, and a recreation hall.

10. Port Clinton

zebra eating carrot
Source: Flickr/compute24u

Visitors find the vacation rentals in Port Clinton especially lovely, with window walls that offer beautiful views of Lake Erie. Your kids won’t forgive you if you don’t visit the African Safari Wildlife Park with its zebras, giraffes, buffalo, antelopes, and other exotic animals that can be fed by hand.

11. Wightmans Grove

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Begun as a summer resort named after and owned by a chap named Thelismer O. Wightman, this tiny hamlet still has convenient vacation rentals on offer. Set among meandering creeks ad streams that connect to Muddy Creek Bay, it’s a great place for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. Make sure to visit the nearby Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area.