The beautiful 33-acre South Bass Island State Park is perched high atop the white cliffs of South Bass Island. Located a little less than two miles from downtown Put-in-Bay, South Bass Island State Park affords visitors stunning views, serene picnic on the lake, and a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of downtown.
South Bass Island State Park Details
Found at the end of Catawba on the southern end of South Bass, this park is the largest park on the island. Entry is free. There is a public launch ramp near the picnic area for boats. Put-in-Bay Watercraft Rentals is also located in that area as well as a small swimming beach.
The park also includes several cabins for rent and a campground. Reservations are recommended in advance. The picnic area includes grills as well. Axel’s, a small restaurant, provides quick and hearty bites.
South Bass Island State Park Activities
The small stone beach provides a lovely spot for swimming in Lake Erie. Swimming is only allowed in designated areas and there is no lifeguard on duty. Swim at your own risk.
Put-in-Bay Watercraft Rentals offers a full range of watercrafts from kayaks to powerboats. As with most thing on Put-in-Bay, reserve in advance. Some items are only available on a first come, first serve basis.
As for picnicking, visitors may reserve the shelter house for bigger events. The shelter house accommodates up to 50 people and includes electric outlets, grills, water and flush restroom. There is also a very fun playground close by. Other free picnic tables dot the area.
The four cabins in the park are both rustic and cozy. Available for three-night-minimum stays from Memorial Day until mid-September, they sleep up to six people. Amenities include a living room with a DVD player, and full kitchen with cook stove (no oven), sink, refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, dishes, pots & pans, & utensils. No pets allowed
The camping area includes 51 electric sites and 9 non-electric. Pets are permitted here however. Campground also offers flush toilets, showers, and a dump station. A youth camps is available with advance reservations for groups.
The Wildlife of South Bass Island
Lake Erie, the shallowest Great Lake, and its islands provides safe harbor for a variety of flora and fauna. South Bass Island is full of collapsed caverns which forms a really unique combination of layered dolomite bedrock and lake water. Perry’s Cave is one of the few remaining caves with its roof intact.
The rocky shoreline coupled with native plants makes for an ideal habitat for the Lake Erie watersnake. This threatened species is unique to this part of the country and harmless so don’t be scared! The island is host to a variety of other reptiles and amphibians, including the red-eared slider, midland painted turtle and common map turtle, northern redback salamander, and the mudpuppy.
Oak State Park
The sister park to South Bass Island State Park, Oak State Park is the smallest park in Ohio’s state park system. This 1.5 acre oasis is a lovely spot to visit while on Put-in-Bay. It features 20 docks available for public use.