Kelleys Island is a small island located in Lake Erie, off the coast of Ohio in the United States. It is approximately four square miles in size and has a year-round population of around 300 people. The island is a popular tourist destination known for its natural beauty, outdoor activities, and historical landmarks. Visitors can explore the island’s glacial grooves, state park, winery, and butterfly house, among other attractions. Outdoor activities on the island include fishing, kayaking, hiking, and beach-going. Kelleys Island is accessible by ferry or private boat, and there are several restaurants, shops, and accommodations available for visitors.
Visiting the Glacial Grooves
Visiting the Glacial Grooves on Kelley’s Island is a must-do activity for anyone interested in geology or natural history. The Glacial Grooves are located in the Kelleys Island State Park, on the north side of the island. You can park at the State Park and walk to the grooves. The grooves were formed during the last Ice Age, about 18,000 years ago, when the glaciers that covered much of North America began to retreat. As the glaciers melted, they scraped across the bedrock, leaving deep grooves and scratches.
The grooves are up to 400 feet long, 35 feet wide, and 10 feet deep in some places. They are a remarkable example of the power of glaciers and the forces that shape our planet. When visiting the Glacial Grooves, wear comfortable shoes and bring sunscreen and insect repellent. There is no fee to see the grooves, and the park is open year-round. However, during the summer months, the park can be busy, so plan to arrive early in the day to avoid crowds.
Guided tours of the Glacial Grooves are available, which can provide more in-depth information about the history and geology of the area. Check with the Kelleys Island Chamber of Commerce or the State Park for information on tour options.
Explore the State Park
Exploring the State Park on Kelley’s Island is a great way to experience the island’s natural beauty and recreational activities. The State Park has several hiking trails that wind through the forest and along the shoreline. The North Shore Loop Trail is a popular option that offers stunning views of Lake Erie. You can rent a bike on the island and explore the park’s trails and roads on two wheels.
The State Park has a sandy beach where you can swim in the cool, clear waters of Lake Erie. There are several picnic areas in the park where you can enjoy a meal with family or friends. Lake Erie is known for its excellent fishing, and the State Park has several fishing piers and access points where you can cast a line. You can launch a boat at the park’s marina and explore Lake Erie’s waters. Kayak and paddleboard rentals are also available.
The State Park is home to a variety of bird species, including migratory birds that stop on the island during their journeys. It has camping facilities, including campsites and cabins, where you can stay overnight and enjoy the park’s activities. It is open year-round, but some activities may be limited during the off-season. Check with the park for hours and activity availability. There is a fee to enter the park, which varies depending on the season and type of vehicle.
Take a tour of kelleys island
Taking a tour of Kelley’s Island is a great way to learn about the island’s history, culture, and natural beauty. The island has a rich history dating back to the 1600s, and a guided historical tour can take you to see historic sites and landmarks. The Kelley’s Island Historical Association offers tours that cover topics such as the island’s geology, architecture, and maritime history.
Kelley’s Island has a winery, and you can take a tour of the vineyards and wine-making facilities. The Kelley’s Island Wine Company offers wine tastings and tours that include a visit to their cellar and vineyard. You can take a guided kayak tour and explore the island’s shoreline from the water. These tours are available for both beginners and experienced kayakers and include equipment rental. You can rent a bike and take a self-guided tour of the island. There are several bike rental options on the island, and some offer guided tours with stops at scenic spots and historic sites.
Golf carts are a popular mode of transportation on the island, and you can rent one and take a self-guided tour. There are several routes and maps available that highlight points of interest, including the Glacial Grooves, Inscription Rock, and the State Park. Some tours may require advance reservations, so check with the tour operator for availability. Tours may also be weather-dependent, so be sure to check the forecast before you book. Remember to bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and comfortable shoes.
Visit the Winery
Visiting the winery on Kelley’s Island is a popular activity for visitors. The Kelley’s Island Wine Company is located on Division Street, just a short walk from downtown. The winery offers wine tastings, where you can sample their award-winning wines made from locally grown grapes. You can taste a variety of wines, including reds, whites, and dessert wines.
The Kelley’s Island Wine Company offers guided tours of their winery and vineyards. These tours provide a behind-the-scenes look at the winemaking process and an opportunity to learn about the island’s unique climate and soil conditions. The winery has a wine shop where you can purchase bottles of your favorite wines. They also offer a variety of wine-related merchandise, including glasses, corkscrews, and wine racks. It has a beautiful outdoor seating area with views of the vineyards and Lake Erie. You can enjoy a glass of wine while taking in the scenery.
The Kelley’s Island Wine Company hosts special events throughout the year, including live music, food and wine pairings, and grape stomping festivals. It is open daily during the summer months, but hours may be limited during the off-season. Check with the winery for hours and availability. The wine tastings have a fee, but it includes a souvenir glass. You must be 21 or older to participate in the wine tastings.
Kayaking is a popular activity on Kelley’s Island, and there are several options available for visitors. You can rent them on the island from several local outfitters. Rentals typically include a kayak, paddle, and life jacket. Some outfitters offer guided tours, while others allow you to explore on your own.
Guided kayak tours are available, and they can take you along the island’s shoreline to see scenic views and wildlife. Some tours may include stops at historic sites, such as the Glacial Grooves or Inscription Rock. It can be a great activity for beginners and experienced paddlers alike. The waters around Kelley’s Island are generally calm, but it’s important to always be aware of changing weather conditions and potential hazards.
It’s important to wear a life jacket while kayaking and to stay within your skill level. Check the weather forecast and water conditions before you head out, and be sure to let someone know your planned route and estimated return time. It is a seasonal activity, with the summer months being the most popular time for paddling on the island. You can typically rent kayaks from May through September, weather permitting. Some outfitters may require reservations, so be sure to check ahead of time.
Visit the Butterfly House
Visiting the Butterfly House on Kelley’s Island is a unique and popular activity for visitors. It is located on Division Street, just a short walk from downtown. It features a variety of exhibits showcasing the lifecycle and behavior of butterflies. Visitors can observe live butterflies in a natural habitat and learn about their anatomy, feeding habits, and migration patterns.
The Butterfly House also has a beautiful butterfly garden where visitors can see a variety of plants and flowers that attract butterflies. The garden is designed to provide a safe and natural environment for the butterflies to feed and breed. It offers educational programs for all ages, including guided tours, interactive exhibits, and hands-on activities. Programs are designed to teach visitors about the importance of butterflies in the ecosystem and how to protect them.
The Butterfly House has a gift shop where visitors can purchase butterfly-related merchandise, such as books, jewelry, and clothing. All proceeds from the gift shop support the operation and maintenance of the Butterfly House. It is open from May through September, weather permitting. Admission fees apply, and group rates are available. The house may be crowded during peak tourist season, so it’s best to visit early in the day or later in the afternoon. Remember to wear comfortable shoes and clothing suitable for outdoor activities.
Fishing is a popular activity on Kelley’s Island, and visitors can fish from the shore or from a boat. The waters around Kelley’s Island are home to a variety of fish species, including bass, walleye, perch, and catfish. Fishing charters can take you to popular fishing spots and provide equipment and guidance. There are several fishing charters available for hire on the island. Charters typically include a licensed captain, fishing equipment, and bait. Some charters also provide snacks and drinks.
Visitors can also fish from the shore at several locations around the island, including East Quarry Beach and North Bay Beach. Shore fishing requires a fishing license, which can be obtained from the Ohio Division of Wildlife. Visitors can rent boats from local marinas for fishing or pleasure boating. Rental options include pontoon boats, fishing boats, and kayaks.
It’s important to follow fishing regulations and obtain any necessary permits or licenses. The Ohio Division of Wildlife provides information on fishing rules and regulations for the area. Fishing is a seasonal activity, with the best time for fishing on the island typically from May through September. It’s important to dress appropriately for the weather and bring sunscreen, water, and snacks. Remember to always be aware of changing water conditions and weather, and to follow safe boating and fishing practices.
Visit the Inscription Rock
Visiting Inscription Rock is a popular activity on Kelleys Island. It is located on the eastern shore of Kelleys Island, within the Kelleys Island State Park. It is a large limestone boulder that features Native American petroglyphs, or rock carvings, dating back to the 17th century. The carvings depict various images, including animals, human figures, and geometric shapes. The rock served as a landmark and meeting place for Native American tribes in the region.
Visitors can view Inscription Rock up close by following a short trail from the parking lot within Kelleys Island State Park. Interpretive signs provide information about the history and significance of the petroglyphs. Visitors are asked not to touch or deface the rock, as it is a protected historic site. While visiting Inscription Rock, visitors can also explore the Kelleys Island State Park, which includes several hiking trails, a beach, and picnic areas. The park is also home to other historic landmarks, including the North Shore Loop Trail, which features views of the island’s glacial grooves.
Inscription Rock is accessible year-round, weather permitting. Admission to the park is free, but a fee may be required for parking. Visitors are encouraged to wear sturdy shoes and bring sunscreen, water, and insect repellent. Pets are not allowed on the beach, and visitors are asked to follow the park’s rules and regulations.
Take a sunset cruise
Taking a sunset cruise is a popular activity for visitors to Kelleys Island. There are several options for sunset cruises on Kelleys Island, including private charters, group tours, and public ferries. Private charters can be arranged through local companies, and typically offer a personalized experience with a captain and crew. Group tours and public ferries are also available, and often offer narrated tours and refreshments.
A sunset cruise is a great way to take in the beautiful scenery around Kelleys Island, including views of Lake Erie and the island’s natural landscapes. The sunset itself can be a breathtaking sight, with the changing colors of the sky reflecting on the water. They are typically offered during the warmer months, from May through October. Visitors should check with local tour operators for schedules and availability. It’s important to dress appropriately for the weather, as it can get cooler on the water, and to bring sunscreen and sunglasses. Many tours offer snacks and drinks, but visitors may also want to bring their own. Finally, it’s important to follow any safety instructions provided by the captain or crew.
Kelleys Island offers a variety of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. From exploring the island’s natural beauty and historical landmarks, to kayaking, fishing, and enjoying the beach, there’s something for everyone. The glacial grooves, state park, winery, and butterfly house are popular destinations, and visitors can also take a tour of the island or enjoy a sunset cruise. With its scenic views and laid-back atmosphere, Kelleys Island is a great place to relax and unwind. Whether you’re visiting for a day or a week, there’s no shortage of things to see and do on this beautiful island in Lake Erie.