Kelleys Island State Park

Kelleys Island State Park: Address, Phone Number, Kelleys Island State Park Reviews: 4.5/5

Kelleys Island State Park
4.5
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

4.5
107 reviews
Excellent
59
Very good
33
Average
10
Poor
4
Terrible
1

A Wanderful Plan
Ohio453 contributions
We stopped here for some beach time with our family. The parking area is right across from the Glacial Grooves. We arrived about noon on a Friday (July 4th holiday weekend) and was able to find great parking. We also found a great shaded spot to setup our area. This beach is perfect for families with little ones, the grade is very gradual and shallow throughout most of the beach area. We also have teens who had a lot of fun in the lake as well so great for all ages. There is a kayak rental stand right on the beach, bring cash though for it!!! It's $30 per hour for a double and $19 an hour for a single. They have a port-a-john style restroom and kind of a changing area, my son described it as pretty much a large bird house with some doors on it because there was a lot of bird feces everywhere.
Written July 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Joe C
Reynoldsburg, OH75 contributions
We went to the park strictly for the beach. They did have a changing area which was nice, however there is no running water. The bathrooms, well, don't expect luxury. The toilets fall to the other side of the earth and there is no sink. At least there is hand sanitizer. The beach is very small. We did get pretty good parking, but I was expecting a big beach. Thankfully, it was not very crowded the day we went. As others have said, the slope is almost none which is great for kids. There were no waves that day, but the water was still relaxing. This is Lake Erie, so expect debris to wash ashore. It appeared everybody was enjoying themselves and we were able to stay 6 feet apart that day.
Written July 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ukienomad
Fleming Island, FL6,360 contributions
Friends
I instantly fell in love with this island; the stillness of nature, the vegetation, lake, rocks, views, sunsets, the quaint downtown area, the quarry, ALL OF IT AND MORE. It might be small but there are so many nature trails and beaches are wonderful. You can go kayaking, biking, hiking, shopping, and just standing still for a bit on this gem of an island and relax and enjoy.
Written September 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

davez127
Fremont, OH20 contributions
Couples
We've been coming to the island for years and Kelly's Island itself was as beautiful as always. I know some people stay in this state park with no issues, so I will try to be as objective as possible for those thinking of staying. This is a small state park on a quiet island in Lake Erie near Cedar Point that is mostly residential, not at all like the neighboring Put-In-Bay island. This park has a small beach, bathrooms, and access to boat ramps, etc. My observations:
1. The office hours are not posted and seemed very arbitrary - they were gone long before 4pm and did not arrive the next day until 9:10am. OTHEWISE,THERE IS NO ONE IN THE PARK TO SUPERVISE, HANDLE COMPLAINTS OR EMERGENCIES, OR BE AVAILABLE FOR ANY REASON. The contact number on the door is a Columbus ODNR number.
2. There is NO cell phone service. No cell bars at all, and no land line available to contact local police is case of an emergency (remember, no park employees are available).
3. They claim Wi-Fi but my phone only picked up the network once but the password did not connect me.
4. The site was not cleaned, bottle caps, beer caps, and wood half burned left in the pit.
5. The website instructed not to bring firewood but none was available for sale, nor was there ice - I was told it "was very difficult to figure out how much of each to have on hand" so they often ran out. When it did get delivered, I was told there was no limit on purchases so it all sold out quickly to a few selfish campers. (No firewood was a big issue in this park and many were VERY unhappy.)
6. The camper next to me drank until he passed out in a chair, after which his very large coon dog howled at length (hours)- there was NO ONE to complain to or handle the issue. A nightly routine.
7. Two campsites away was another couple with two HUGE Dobermans wandering with minimal control - no apparent dog restrictions made those of us with smaller dogs very careful where we walked our dogs.
8. My first early morning bike ride revealed empty beer bottles in the only shelter house and campsites with liquor bars set up on card tables - strange for a state park.
9. The rules said no pets on the beach so, of course, there were dogs on the beach.
10. I was told they were short handed to handle some of these issues, but the entire time we were there staff were mowing dead grass and dirt with no noticeable result except to blast dust on all the sites.
The staff was genuinely nice and seemed as bewildered as I was about my observations and safety concerns with the lack of any supervision - I was told several times it was a "budget issue". If staying here to enjoy the beautiful island, hopefully I have eliminated some "surprises".
Written August 16, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Steve5863
Avon, OH13,020 contributions
Friends
This is a great state park offering relaxing, island camping; RV, tent, group, cabin or yurt; a wonderful, nationally ranked swimming beach, a fishing pier and a boat launch. The famous Glacial Grooves are a short walk away. The campground is equipped with electrified sites, flush toilets, shower house, dump station, amphitheater, shelter with picnic tables and small nature center in the park office. Pets are allowed at some sites. The beach area has a changing booth, latrine and fish cleaning house. The best part of the beach is up near the group campsite. I have camped here at least once a year for the last five years from July through November. The beach is wonderful in the mid to late summer as the Lake Erie water warms-up and the beach is along a small harbor opening to the northeast which keeps it warm water as it is sheltered from virtually all storms. Lately, I have enjoyed tent camping in late October to early November. The park is closed but access is still possible, simply pick your spot and pitch your tent. With the still warm water of Lake Erie, the weather for camping is surprisingly pleasant and generally dry through early November although it occasionally gets cold at night; best of all the relaxing island life is even more relaxing with only a few other campers and the locals that remain all year. The park is reached by taking the ferry from Marblehead to Kelleys Island, after disembarking the ferry, take the road west towards the center of town and take the main inland road, Divisional Street, north about 1.5 mi (2.4 k) nearly to the end and the park is on the right.
Written October 30, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Lorie C
Cortland, OH1 contribution
Family
I don't know where to start. My husband and I began tent camping on the beach in the 70's through the 1990s. We started with just the two on us, then one child, then another. We have brought many friends up there who have returned many times as well. Now that we have grandchildren we are planning another trip this summer. You can stay there in a tent, hotel, B&B or cabin...very versatile. You don't need a car but there are plenty places to park wherever you go if you take it. When you get off the ferry there is a location to rent bikes or golf carts. There is a little town with the best Lake Erie Perch you will ever eat...The Village Pump. For kids there is putt putt, a playground at the school & beach...even a place to play at the winery. I can highly recommend this as a family weekend or vacation without hesitation. Other places to visit are the Glacial Groves, the beach is clean, hiking trails,..... For adults there are a lot of taverns and boat dock bars.
Written April 29, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Gryfudd
North Carolina Mountains, NC849 contributions
Couples
I’ve been camping on Kelleys Island for 40 years - there’s just something about an island - it’s quiet, it’s pastoral, it is the perfect combination of water and land. The state park has always done a great job of providing camping facilities with electrical hookups, hot showers and flush toilets. No sewer or water hookups though - remember it’s an island and it is expensive to provide those kinds of things. There are several loops for camping, including a couple of pet loops. Four of the loops angle away from the lake and are smaller, some intended for tents. The best loop is the one directly fronting on the lake because of the views, the spacious sites, the grassy lawns and sunshine interspersed with shade trees. The park has become so popular in these last few years that you have to have a reservation to get a campsite - it’s a good idea anyway because you don’t want to pay the big ferry charge if you don’t have a place to camp. There are nonelectric sites on the shore and full electric on the main part of the loop. Two swimming beaches are available, one for the general public - it can get crowded on summer afternoons - and one through the trees that is only for campers. The campers’ beach is long and narrow so it’s never crowded. Neither beach has much shade so if you don’t like a lot of sun, bring along an umbrella. Both beaches have sand bars and are pretty safe - just be aware the Lake Erie Water Snake is a protected species so some may swim toward you - just splash around and they’ll swim away. There’s so much to do on Kelleys Island, even though it’s characterized as the “quiet island” as compared to South Bass with it’s partying and drinking crowds at Put-in-Bay. A couple of days at the campground is never enough because you’ll try to crowd in too much when the best thing to do is to relax in the sun, listen to the lake, read a book, take a long walk down the beach to hunt for fossils, or build a campfire and gaze at the million stars overhead. If you don’t like crowds, the best time to come is before Memorial Day or after Labor Day. Our favorite time is early October when the nights are cool and the leaves are turning color. We’ve been camping here for 40 years, so you know it’s got to be a slice of heaven on earth if anyone returns to it as many times as we have. Since Tripadvisor does not have entires for two of the best places to hike on the island, I'm including information about them under the campground reviews - they are all part of Kelley's Island State Park. The North Shore Loop Trail, which begins near the boat ramp parking lot, has the most to see. Of course you’ll wind your way through woods, but interspersed through the trees is a great deal of Kelleys Island quarry history. Although not technically part of the trail, you should walk over to the public swimming beach first to see the historic limestone structures just above the beach. One is a beehive oven used to bake bread for the quarry workers and the other is what remains of the old dining hall - you can see the basement of it built into the hillside. Once on the one-mile trail you will also see the two-story loading dock that is crumbling into ruins. Signs are posted about wandering into the structure as there is a danger of falling rock. It was built in 1888 and was used by a small-scale railroad to take crushed limestone to ships on the lake. It was abandoned about 1916 after a fire started by hot coals from one of the trains. Throughout the trail you’ll find old footings of abandoned buildings and long rows of piled up rock that were made by quarry workers to support the railroad cars that carried quarried rock to the docks on the western side of the island. Off a spur on the furthest side of the loop you’ll find the dynamite house - situated at this distance for safety so explosions would not injure anyone in case of accident. The other great feature of the trail is the Alvar - a unique geologic and plant community found in only a couple of places on earth. The Alvar is a limestone prairie - in other words a flat expanse of bedrock jutting out into the lake (careful of waves and slippery rocks if you walk out on it) and home to some endangered species of wildflowers that grow no where else on earth. This trail is well worth your time - just beware of the two greatest dangers here - poison ivy and mosquitoes. The East Quarry and Horseshoe Lake trails circle and branch off this quarry, and you can access them from several roads. The best, or main, trail leads off Ward Rd. This is one of the few quarries that is accessible to the public because it is not actively being mined, has not been filled in for a marina or is so large that it has not been overtaken by plants and trees. The area was quarried between 1933 and 1940, with a small scale railroad taking the rock to the south shore of the island for shipping. The deepest part of the quarry has filled with water in the shape of a horse shoe. The eastern end of the lake is deep but the western end is so shallow that parts of the bottom of the quarry are dry or marshy - you can climb down to the bottom and wander among the rocks and trees, even out on the small spit of land that separates the lake into a horseshoe. The slanted and upturned rocks make fascinating patterns in this quarry, and paths meander to the rim and back to the circular trail so you can pick your spot to settle down in the sun and take in the sights, write in your journal, read a book, or picnic. You’ll see striations from glaciers along many of the bedrock sections of the trail and may be lucky enough to pick up a fossil from the shattered rocks. This is one of the more frequently visited trails, but early or late in the day, or in the off season, you may have it to yourself. Since the quarry is so indicative of that part of Kelleys Island history, be sure to visit it.
Written May 10, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Enviro G
28 contributions
Family
Leave it to the idiots at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to screw up a great thing. The park camping fees have gone thru the roof, they micromanage reservations, and treat each camp site like it was some high end hotel room. They let drunk campers blast away with radio from dawn till 11 pm - so if you want to enjoy the sounds of wind, surf or birds...better hope you dont have some college kids or hillbillies camped near by with a radio or generator.
Written May 18, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Donna_in_Ohio
Columbus, OH39 contributions
Family
We arrived on the Sunday night after the 4th July, so most folks had left. We took our van over on the car ferry, somewhat surprised that roundtrip costs $20/person and $32 for the van -- a whopping $112 fare!! The campground was quiet and only a bit more than half full, other guests were friendly; no cell phone reception. We were able to get reservations for one of the campsites on the lakeshore, a very short walk from the (pleasant and clean) shower house and the swimming beach. Stunning view! Very fun to have a fire and watch the sun set (though we were facing north, it was still beautiful). Mosquitoes were hardly noticeable, just a few at dusk. It rained hard one day, and we found out that the lakeshore sites get the runoff from the road; it rained so hard that there was a steady inch-deep river running under our tent for a few hours. Good thing our tent floor was relatively water-resistant, but we and our gear did get wet. We had fun hiking, swimming, seeing glacial grooves. And on the second straight day of rain, we drove out to the docks on the south side of the island to have a good (dry) dinner and watch a World Cup game, as a reward to our two teens who had really taken all the rain in good humor. Would love to camp here again and do some canoeing and kayaking.
Written July 12, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Scott M
Columbus, OH33 contributions
Family
My wife and I recently returned from our first ever trip to Kelley's Island and our first stay at the Kelley's Island State Park campground. We are very experienced with state park camping and were expecting the worst and hoping for the best. What we got was one of the nicest state park campgrounds we've experienced. My review is primarily about the campground and the adjoining beach and fishing jetty.

What we loved:
- The location is perfect, right on the lake with a great view
- Easily accessible from downtown: just about 1.5 miles straight up Division Street
- Showers were nice with plenty of hot water, nice water pressure, an actual dial control (rather than push-button), and were relatively clean (for a state park).
- Fishing off the rock jetty was superb. I caught several keeper Perch and White Bass on our last night -- enough for a great fish fry (the on-site fish cleaning station with running water was very handy)
- The beach is surprisingly nice with actual powdery sand, not the pebbles that pass for sand at most state parks
- Nice playground for kids
- Level, nicely paved pads and fairly spacious sites, many with shade

Constructive criticism:
- No golf carts allowed in the campground. This was by far our greatest complaint. We were forced to either bike to town (which was fun as long as you weren't dressed nice for dinner) or drive our SUV and hope we could find parking. We would greatly urge this park to adopt the same rule as South Bass Island. There, visitor golf carts are prohibited, but campers can register a golf cart as one of their two allowable vehicles per site.
- Office hours are sporadic and not clearly posted. After four days at the campground, I still can't tell you when the office is actually open. There's also no real camp store, per se. The office sells ice and firewood, but again, good luck finding the office open when you need either. Luckily, the convenience store across the street sells just about anything you need (at a pretty good markup).
- Not a lot of planned activities for kids (they had a movie one night, but that was basically it)
- It's time to run electricity to the remaining sites. What has kept us from visiting in the past is the difficulty of getting a site with electricity. We camp in a pop-up, usually with kids, and electricity is a make-or-break for us in the heat of summer.

A few tips:
- If you need groceries, skip the convenience store across the street and head into town to the little grocery there. The prices are much better, and they have more selection
- That same grocery store offers DVD rentals, which you may need for rainy days since Kelley's Island has almost no indoor activities to speak of
- The best souvenirs can be found at the General Store, which also has a small hardware and camping supply section if you have an emergency
- The Brandy Alexanders at the Village Pump are everything they're cracked up to be and more. Believe the hype. They're amazing after a hot bike ride around the island.
- If you take the inter-island ferry to Put-in-bay for the day, have fun... it's actually an awesome day trip, even if you don't like to party. However, watch out for drunks if you take a late ferry back. We were on one of the last ferries of the night and had to deal with obnoxious twenty-somethings trying to pick fights and half a dozen drunk sorority girls vomiting overboard.
Written August 19, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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