Where to Go Camping Near Lake Erie

The Inscription Rock Landmark, Kelleys Island, Ohio

Douglas Sacha / Getty Images

The Lake Erie Islands, Kelleys, Middle Bass, and South Bass islands are Ohio's summer vacation playground. If you've been to the area before, you know that cabins can fill up quickly and hotels can get expensive. One good alternative is reserving a space at one of the area's campgrounds. The Ohio state park system operates campgrounds on all three islands. In addition, there are campgrounds near the ferry ports in and around Sandusky.

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South Bass Island State Park

Aerial view of South Bass Island

daveynin / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

Located on the western side of South Bass Island, the state park offers 10 full-service campsites, 125 primitive sites, and four "​cabinets," a cross between a cabin and a tent. Facilities include picnic tables, a picnic shelter, a boat launch, a fishing pier, and a small stone beach. You can also rent golf carts at the park to help you get downtown and around the island.

1523 Catawba Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456, USA
Phone +1 419-285-2112
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Fox's Den Campground on South Bass Island

Located near the airport and the Miller's Ferry Landing on the south side of South Bass Island, Fox's Den Campground offers both full-service and primitive campsites. Facilities include a modern shower house. You can also rent golf carts at this site for the short ride to Put-in-Bay and the restaurants, attractions, and shopping there.

This small, family-owned facility is open from early May through mid-October. Sites are available for one night, one week, or the entire season.

140 Conlan Rd, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456, USA
Phone +1 419-285-5001
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Camp Sandusky Campground

Located just five minutes away from the Jet Express dock and 10 minutes from Cedar Point, Camp Sandusky offers Amish-built cabins, tent campsites, and RV sites—all on the shores of Lake Erie. The campground offers free Wi-Fi access throughout. Facilities include showers and restrooms, a children's playground, a bunny farm, a general store, a basketball court, a swimming pool, a restaurant, and a coin-operated laundry room.

Camp Sandusky is open from June 1 through the first week of October. Pets are welcome in RVs, pop-ups, and the campground's new pet-friendly cabins, but not at the tent sites. Discounts are offered to U.S. military personnel, AAA members, and Cedar Point season pass holders.

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Kelleys Island State Park

Lake at Kelleys Island State Park

James St. John, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Located on the east side of Kelleys Island, the state park campground offers 128 primitive tent campsites and four yurts (canvas-covered, circular tent-like structures.) Facilities include a shower/shower house, an amphitheater, a large beach, and a fish cleaning station.

920 Division St, Kelleys Island, OH 43438, USA
Phone +1 419-746-2546
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Crystal Rock Campground

Located just minutes from the Lake Erie ferries, Crystal Rock Campground offers RV and tent sites with no services, just electric, full hook-ups and electric, cable, water, sewer, and Wi-Fi. There are also several basic cabins on the property for rent. Crystal Rock is open from early April through October, and sites may be rented for the night, week, month, or season.

Facilities at Crystal Rock include restrooms/shower facilities, a general store, laundry facilities, a game room, and a playground.

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Middle Bass Island State Park

(Courtesy of ODNR)

Newer and quieter than the other two state park campgrounds, Middle Bass Island is located at the island's south end, just a short boat ride away from the action at Put-in-Bay. The campground offers both primitive campsites and overnight boat slips. Facilities include a 190-slip marina, a miniature golf course, picnic tables, a boat launch, and a small beach.

1719 Fox, Middle Bass, OH 43446, USA
Phone +1 419-285-0311
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Catawba Island State Park

This small park, located at the water's edge, just minutes from the Port Clinton ferry terminal, has a boat launch, plenty of room to picnic and pitch a tent, and dramatic views of Lake Erie and South Bass Island. It's also just minutes away from the beach at East Harbor State Park.

4049 E Moores Dock Rd, Port Clinton, OH 43452-9704, USA
Phone +1 866-644-6727
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Cedarlane RV Park

Open from May 1 through Oct. 15, Cedarlane offers RV sites, tent sites and cabins for one night, a week, a month or the entire season.Amenities include four pools, several modern shower houses, a gift shop and convenience store, basketball and shuffleboard courts, a games arcade and a laundromat.  

Cabins sleep either four or six people and have a kitchenette, outdoor fire pit, covered porch and room air conditioner.No smoking or pets are permitted in the cabins.

The campground is just a short drive to Miller's ferry terminal and is within walking distance to several Port Clinton restaurants and attractions.

2766 NE Catawba Rd, Port Clinton, OH 43452, USA
Phone +1 419-797-9907
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Tall Timbers Campground

Located on a wooded property near the shores of Lake Erie, Tall Timbers Campground offers 400 tent and permanent camping sites. The campground provides Wi-Fi throughout the property and a children's playground, a pond with its own sandy beach, a general store, an outdoor movie theater, a laundromat, and fish cleaning facilities. Tall Timbers is open from May 1 through Nov. 15. The campground also offers RV rentals. Campsites are available for the day, week, month, or season.

340 S Christy Chapel Rd, Port Clinton, OH 43452-2506, USA
Phone +1 419-732-3938
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Sandusky KOA Holiday Campground

One of the oldest and still one of the best campgrounds in the Lake Erie Island/Sandusky area, The Sandusky KOA Holiday Campground has welcomed campers for more than 40 years. Located right on Sandusky Bay, this campground is open from May 1 to the end of October each year.

Campsites include tent sites, RV sites, and even a few cabins. You can rent the sites for a day, week or the entire season. Amenities at KOA include a new pool area, a full basketball court, volleyball and horseshoe courts, a breakfast bar and snack shop, a swimming pool, and a fishing pier. Wi-Fi is available throughout the property.

E Shoreway Dr KOA, Sandusky, OH 44870, USA
Phone +1 419-625-1495
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River Retreat Campground

(courtesy of Ohio DNR)

Located in Port Clinton, the Walleye capital of the world, just minutes away by car from the Jet Express dock, River Retreat Campground offers nightly, weekly, and seasonal RV sites plus dockage for your boat along the Portage River (which connects to Lake Erie.) There are also a few tent sites. Amenities at this small family campground include modern restrooms and shower houses, a camp store, a fish cleaning station with electrical outlets, a children's playground, a fishing marina, and a full calendar of special events.

River Retreat Campground is open from May 1 through the end of October. Pets are welcome.

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Where to Go Camping Near Lake Erie