Kelly’s Island State Park, OH

July 30 & 31

We were on the road by 8:30AM, headed toward Kelly’s Island State Park, Ohio. The island is in Lake Erie, and the ferry departs every half-hour during the summer for the Island, from Marblehead, OH.

The ferry ride is short and sweet, although expensive for a trailer, Tow Vehicle, and two old gits on a there-and-back-again: $113. Especially since it’s just a 20-minute ride.


Kelly’s Island from the ferry


Roomba aboard

But worth every dollar. The roads on the Island are narrow, but there are very few fossil fuel vehicles, and the island-wide speed limit is 25MPH. Most of the vehicular traffic is bicycles and these undersized electric golf carts. We had not the first clue which way to turn out of the ferry landing area, so we went left. The Lakeview road took us past the “downtown” area (such as it is) and 4 miles along the pretty drive to the state park. As we moved away from the commerce center, there were fewer vehicles and more lovely homes and lake views.

Our site is one of the premium lake front sites but without any power or water (site #103). The bath houses are modern and clean, although there are only 3 each of shower, toilet stall, and sink. I’d imagine during the busiest of summer weekends that would not serve (or you’d have to wait a long time for your turn).


We’re right next to the “beach” however, meaning there are plenty of shouting, screaming kids swimming in the shallow waters protected by a stone breakwater. To our right (facing the water and east) is an area with lots of boats anchored and motoring through, with a couple of pretty sailboats. Unfortunately, about an hour after we’d arrived and (mostly) set up, a boat with two couples on it arrived, anchored, and started blasting their very loud, very bad music for all to enjoy. They stayed, swimming, (probably) drinking, playing their awful music too loudly, and being totally obnoxious for hours. I finally had to take refuge inside, although it was really really hot.


The good news/bad news about site 103 is that, since it has no services, it’s a good thing it’s in full sun. That does, however, make it a challenge to manage the interior heat. The shady part of our site has many trees and a clear understory, with a well-placed fire ring, so setting up away from the camper and in the shade (and with the lake-breeze a constant cooling effect) is perfect. We hung both hammocks, got some firewood (for when BoomBoxBoat decided to go away) and chilled.

Through the Alto owners Facebook group, we arranged to meet up with Tim, who is on the waiting list for a 1713 like ours, but wanted to see one “in use” to help him decide what amenities he would finalize for his unit. He is a musician and a bicyclist, and since he was playing a gig on the island Saturday night, decided to stay until we arrived (before heading back to his home in Cleveland) so he could check out our Roomba.

He arrived before we’d completed the set-up, and chatted a long time before he headed back to is car to make the ferry back to the mainland. He was especially interested in the bike rack and the awning options. Of course, our awning is no longer available from Safari Condo, so seeing ours probably didn’t help him much.

We had a lovely fire and dinner (BoomBoxBoat had left by that time), ended the day with a lovely adult beverage, and hit the hay.



Monday, July 31

I got up early (5:30-ish) to see the sunrise over the lake. The best thing about getting up that early was listening to and watching the birds awaken. It was truly lovely and I’m glad I made the effort.








After our usual breakfast of sausage patties on slider buns, we kitted up for our bike ride. Not only did we want to get into town to purchase some fresh veggies (if possible), but we also wanted to circumnavigate the island on the roads, and see what we could see.

It was a wonderful ride. I didn’t stop to take photos of all the lovely lakeside homes we passed, but there were a passel of them. After finding the primary market and getting some veggies to grill with our pork chops this evening, we hit the Kelly’s Island Brewery for what turned out to be their breakfast menu, but we called it lunch anyway (the didn’t begin serving lunch until noon, and we arrived there at 11). Eggs were involved, and really great home fries, and I had mine topped with chili, while Jack got sausage gravy on his.

Limestone Quarry



Saw the ferry we’d ridden yesterday headed to Kelly’s Island



The brewery’s bar is all made of stone with neat inserts throughout
Fred Flintstone seems to have become a fossil in the brewery’s bar

A short ride later, we were back at camp, and enjoying a lovely shower. While the screaming kids were there again swimming and making tons of noise, BoomBoxBoat did not appear by the time of this upload. Our total mileage for the day was 15.25 miles, and it was a lovely, leisurely ride, followed by a leisurely time in the hammocks.

We made ready to build a fire and work on our final Kelly’s Island dinner when I popped up to the Camp Office to borrow their wifi for this upload (there’s zero Verizon service here). We aren’t going to break our necks to move on tomorrow AM, but our next stop is Oak Hill Federal Park near Lake Vesuvius, OH, for a two-night stay before hitting Virginia again.