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“1st Time Traveler's Review - What I Learned:”
Review of Kelleys Island

Ranked #540 of 2,091 things to do in Ohio
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Attraction details
Owner description: Measuring more than four square miles and located in the western basin of Lake Erie, this scenic island boasts historical attractions and a myriad of outdoor sports.
Reviewed September 24, 2013

I had never visited Kelleys Island before. I found it difficult to assess exactly what to expect from the island when I was preparing for the trip. There seemed to be discrepancy in opinions, as there was this general assumption that "locals" like the island (more than Put-in Bay) while the reviewers on tripadvisor - probably by 1st time visitors and not locals - had scattered reviews.

I got two conclusions from my trip:
1) one must treat visiting Kelleys Island like visiting a beachtown like Outer Banks. It's not really an attraction to have a day trip to see the glacier groove. Locals love the island because they go here to just relax: to boat, hike, bike, and drink in peace. And it's hard to assess this from looking at other tripadvisor reviews because locals don't use tripadvisor to go to the island. The assets of Kelleys Island are : A) there are no traffic lights on the island because very few cars use the road. B) unlike big beach towns where cars dominate the road and the shores are difficult to see due to large sands, big buildings, and big roads, shores are literally right next to the roads in Kelleys Island, without even fences. It's one of the few places where you can bike along the shores for miles in the sun and breeze without worrying about other people or cars. Just you, bike, and water.

2) a first-time visitor should do decent amount of research before visiting to really take advantage of the island without getting lost; otherwise, it might seem like a small island with nothing but water, trees, and a glacier groove.

Here are some of the resources that I have found incredibly helpful.
1) map of the island with almost all of the important landmarks:
https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=209855131556775444354.0004620ac7f1aad369717
2) schedule of the ferry:
http://kelleysislandferry.net/
3) Kelleys Island home page has really useful information. It even shows you thorough list of places for bike and golf cart rentals to compare
http://kelleysisland.com/
4) State park
http://parks.ohiodnr.gov/kelleysisland
5) Kayak information
http://www.kelleysisland.info/Kelley_s_Island_Kayak_Page.html


Summary:
-DAY 1 Saturday-
1) 1:30PM - Got on the ferry from Marblehead. $18/person to get on the ferry, $10 to park the car (indefinitely), and $30 to take the car on the ferry. I didn't bring my car. I had good experience with interacting with other travelers. They all seemed down for good times. As soon as the ferry took off from the main land, I spotted handful of people opening their canned beers. It's that kind of a trip.

2) 2PM -Got a ride from Mark from Eagles Nest B&B to the B&B from the dock and again to the bike rental. Now, the website lists Caddy Shack and Portside Marina as the only two options to rent bikes. The problem was that their bikes didn't have gears or hand breaks; only the reverse pedals break, which are just annoying to operate in my opinion. However, I found a place immediately left to Portside Marina that had bikes with hand breaks and gears. Their price was same as Portside Marina: $20 for all day and $25 for overnight. I rented two for overnight.

3) 3-6PM I biked to the state park. It was an easy ride, no hills and probably took 10 minutes. Even my girlfriend wasn't tired. I wanted to kayak, but they were not there during the off-season. I chilled at the sandy beach for a bit. There is a pier to the left of the sandy beach, and I thought it offered a breath-taking view. I also checked out glacier groove, which I thought was a-okay; it literally took 5 minutes to walk around. I also tried the north shore hiking trail which was nearby; literally no one used this trail, and I wouldn't recommend it. The best part about the trip was biking slowly, looking at the sky and the shore, and taking a deep breath and enjoying the moment. Just being that close to the shore away from city life and cars and people was unreal.

4) 6-7:30PM: ate at Village Pump. From looking at the reviews, I knew I shouldn't expect sophisticated dining. I was pleasantly surprised however by decent quality and great price of food. My perch tacos were $8.99 and were pretty good. I wanted the taste of the local fish and I got just that. Bacardy Alexander tasted like kahlua, which isn't really my thing. But I have to admit that Village Pump don't play tricks by saving alcohol; the drink had strong punch.

5) 8PM: watched sunset. A great thing about a small island with great views of the shore in a big lake: you get firstrow seats on sunset and sunrise. There is big pier near the Kelleys Island Venture Resort, and the view from there was breath-taking.

6) 9-9:30PM: Drank at B&B and talked.

7) 10PM: got the pit fire going near the shore, just relaxed and talked.

-DAY 2 Sunday-
1) 6:30AM: Woke up early to bike to the eastern shore to see the sunrise. It was refreshing experience, but unfortunately there were too many clouds! Even if I knew this ahead of time, I would do it again though. It was a great memory. Came back to B&B and went back to sleep.

2) 9AM: Had homey breakfast at the B&B. Care-free conversations with other guests.

3) 11AM: Checked out but left our belonging at the B&B counter to be watched. Weather was great, so we biked more along the shore and got some breath-taking pictures. Found some swimming-pool chairs near the shore, so sat down and stared at the sky and enjoyed the breeze for a while.

4) 1PM: gift shopping. There is one gift store across from the Kelleys Island Market that had the most extensive array of souvenirs. There were some cool decals and shirts that I liked. Time went by faster than expected shopping.

5) 1:30PM: ate lunch at Bag the Moon. Similar food as Village Pump. They had good happy hour options like $1 canned beer and 30 cents wings. The fryer shut off early at 2PM though (on a Sunday).

6) 3PM: got the ride from Mark, who also brought our bag from B&B, to take the ferry out the island.

It was an really awesome trip, and I look forward to trying other things like camping, boating, and fishing on the island.

25  Thank sensejae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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61 - 65 of 80 reviews

Reviewed September 3, 2013

My older son and I took the Jet Express from Sandusky on Lake Erie out to Kelleys Island for a day of being a tourist and pub hopping. What a quaint and enchanting island. The people there are friendly and very inviting. I highly recommend taking the Jet Express out to Kelleys Island and enjoy the scenery and beautiful home.

1  Thank Swampfox2806
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 31, 2013

My sister and I took a road trip around Ohio (we are from New Jersey). One of the expected highlights of the trip was Kelley's Island. However, upon our arrival, we felt like it wasn't really up to our expectations. We were expecting a lot of nature, but instead saw a lot of partying!

The trip started off with use of the Kelley's Island Ferry Boat Line from Marblehead. We budgeted for the price of the car (didn't realize that you would pay for the car AND the passengers separately) to take the trip to the island with us. If you are thinking about renting a golf cart on the island instead (very popular idea as we saw a LOT of golf carts), there is a rental service available as soon as you get off the boat. The boat ride was fun - if you're taking your car, be sure to enable your parking brake as the cars do rock with the boat! One person even went over with their motorcycle, which would have been a nice idea if we had my sister's bike on our trip.

When we arrived on the island, we knew we wanted to go to the Glacial Grooves monument at the north side of the island but we weren't sure where other attractions (kayaking, boat tours, snorkeling to the shipwrecks, bike rentals) were located. There were no signs for these attractions and we couldn't find anything in the GPS to help guide us. After driving around the island for a bit, it seemed as though the most popular thing to do on the island to do was drink at "The Casino."

We spent some time at Glacial Grooves which was nice (and free) and then headed further north to walk along the trails near the coast line. The Glacial Groves were fairly quiet until some bikers showed up as part of a poker run. They were respectful, but the bikes were loud. The walking trails on the north side of the island were very quiet and well-maintained. We only saw two other people on the trails then entire time. From there, we took out lunch from the cooler and sat at a nice picnic table to eat before heading back to the main land.

4  Thank micmac1007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2013

Kelleys Island is just a couple of miles from Put-in-Bay, but couldn't be more different. PIB has a huge party scene, while KI is very laid-back. I've always camped at the state park on the north end of the island, which has nice showers and a sandy swimming beach. The "village" has a few bar/restaurant places, most with decent food. Nothing 5-star, but it's not that kind of island. Love to bicycle the island -- it's mostly flat with few cars, but lots of lake vistas and a few historic old buildings. If you don't bring a bike it's worth renting a golf cart and exploring the place. An hour or two should be sufficient.

It's not cheap to get out there, so not the best choice for a day-trip. Cell service is limited beyond the village area on the south side of the island -- so you have an excuse to (mostly) unplug and enjoy nature here.

1  Thank Oydman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2013 via mobile

Nice day trip during the week with kids. Ferry across, rent golf cart. $10 parking at Ferry plus $50++ for ferry. $50+ for a golf cart min. Have perch at the island pump

1  Thank bjorn5555
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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