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Put-in-Bay sign at South Bass Island State Park

Put-in-Bay sign at South Bass Island State Park. Photo: Park Facebook Page.

Located in the western basin of Lake Erie, South Bass Island State Park is a natural oasis that offers visitors a unique and unforgettable outdoor experience.

Nestled on South Bass Island, one of the many islands that make up the Lake Erie Islands, it is accessible only by boat or plane. So it does involve a bit of an effort to get there.

However, if you do go there, you will be rewarded by a landscape rich in natural beauty and history that is a must-visit destination for nature lovers, history buffs, and outdoor enthusiasts.

Established in 1897, this Ohio state park covers 33 acres of pristine wilderness and shoreline. It is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, including rare bird species, wildflowers, and old-growth trees. The park also has several historical landmarks and structures of note, including the South Bass Island Lighthouse, which was built in 1897 and is now a museum.

Guests at the park can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including boating, fishing, hiking, picnicking, and camping. To help you to engage in these activities, it also has a marina, beach, campground and several-miles of hiking trails.


Guests at the park, can choose to enjoy its wonderful landscape in a variety of ways.

Showcased below is a quick overview of some of the main outdoor leisure activities you can do while at South Bass Island State Park.

Lighthouse at South Bass Island State Park

At the south end of the island, you’ll find the iconic South Bass Island Lighthouse, which is a popular landmark in the area.

First built in 1897, it has been guiding ships through the treacherous waters of Lake Erie for over a century. The lighthouse is a classic example of a Great Lakes lighthouse, with its brick tower rising 60 feet above the lake level.

Today, the lighthouse is no longer in active service and has been replaced by a modern automated light. However, the South Bass Island Lighthouse is still an important part of the island’s history and is a popular attraction for visitors to the state park.

Visitors can climb to the top of the tower for stunning views of the surrounding lake and island. There’s also a small museum in the keeper’s house that showcases the history of the lighthouse and the important role it played in keeping ships safe on Lake Erie.

Boating at South Bass Island State Park

Boating is one of the most popular activities at South Bass Island State Park.

The park has a marina with 124 boat slips, making it an ideal destination for boaters. This marina has a fuel dock, a pump-out station, and a marine store where boaters can purchase supplies and equipment.

South Bass Island State park also has a boat launch ramp that can accommodate boats up to 26 feet long.

Boaters can explore the island’s many coves, bays, and beaches, and enjoy the stunning views of Lake Erie. The park also offers kayak rentals, which is a great way to explore the island’s shoreline.

Fishing at South Bass Island State Park

For those who enjoy fishing, South Bass Island State Park is a terrific destination. The island is located in the heart of Lake Erie, which is known for its excellent fishing opportunities.

To help anglers, the park has a fishing pier, which is a great place to catch perch, bass, and walleye. The park also has a fish cleaning station, thus providing a convenient place to clean your catch.

If you are looking for a more challenging fishing experience, you can hire a charter boat and head out into the lake in search of larger fish.

Hiking at South Bass Island State Park

South Bass Island State Park offers visitors several hiking trails that provide stunning views of Lake Erie and the surrounding wilderness.

The most popular trail in the park is the South Bass Island Lighthouse Trail, which is a one-mile loop that takes visitors through the woods and along the shoreline. The trail starts at the campground and leads to the South Bass Island Lighthouse.

Alternatively, visitors who want to learn more about the history and ecology of the park can take a guided hike with a park ranger.


South Bass Island State Park is a great place to bring pets and enjoy the outdoors together. However, there are certain rules and regulations that pet owners must follow to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors.

If you intend to bring your pooch with you to the park you should contact the main office for a full rundown of its pet policy prior to your visit.


South Bass Island State Park offers a unique camping experience that allows visitors to enjoy the beauty of the island while staying in the great outdoors. This takes the form of a campground that offers several camping options, including tent camping, RV camping, and cabin rentals.

The campground has 120 campsites, each with a picnic table and fire ring. The campsites are located throughout the park, and visitors can choose from sites with electricity and water or those without. The park also has a dump station for RVs.

In addition to traditional tent and RV camping, the park offers six cabins for rental. They are equipped with electricity, air conditioning, and heating and can accommodate up to six people, coming with a double bed, a set of bunk beds, and a futon. However, visitors must bring their own bedding, towels, and cooking equipment.

The campground has several amenities that make camping at South Bass Island State Park comfortable and convenient.

The campground has modern restrooms and showers, a laundry facility, and a camp store that sells supplies and snacks. The park also has a playground for children, which adds to its family-friendly nature.

Park Location

South Bass Island State Park
1523 Catawba Ave
Put-In-Bay, OH 43456
Phone: 419.285.2112

Park Website



Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at South Bass Island State Park: