Camping is one of our favorite past times, and we love to find unique places to go to. I had always heard that you could take your camper over to South Bass Island and camp but did not know how to make it happen. I did a little research and then met Katrina from Miller Ferry, and she invited us to try it.

So, if you are looking to get camping on Put in Bay in South Bass Island State Park and don’t know how to do it, this blog is just for you!

Book Your Stay at South Bass Island State Park

It is IMPORTANT to book your site first! Do it early in the spring so you can get a full hook-up. There are not a lot of spots, so you’ll want to book early.

Things to know:

The campground offers 128 sites.

  • 10 Full hook-up sites 
  • 60 electric sites
  • 58 “tent” only sites
  • Flush toilets, showers, and a dump station
  • Pets are permitted on designated sites.

As you can see, ten full-hookup sites will go fast! You can book six months in advance and use the link here to book online. Ohio State Park reservation site. 

South Bass Island State Park amenities:

  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Pets Permitted
  • Picnic Tables
  • Restrooms
  • Walking Trails
  • Hiking Trails

Book Your Passage to Take Your Camper to South Bass Island on Miller Ferry

The best part of getting to the island is taking the Miller Ferry and it is the ONLY way you can get your camper over to the island.

Now, if I was driving this would NOT be fun, however, since Matt is amazing and can park about anything it was great!

How to get your ferry pass and tickets:

Getting on the ferry is really simple. You pull up to the side window of the ticket booth where you purchase your ticket. You can then get in line for your short 18 minute trip to the island. We did not experience “island time” traffic, however, I did read that it can be long waits if you try to go during peak hours or on weekends.

If you watch my short Instagram reel you can see how they guide you and your unit onto the ferry and how simple it was. They do this every day, so follow their directions and hand signals then you’ll be good to go.


Things to know:


Adult $7.50Child

6-11yrs. $1.50 child

under 6yrs. FREE!

Vehicle Guidelines $18.00

Trailer Fare is in addition to vehicle

Under 10′ $ 18.00

11′ – 14′ $ 22.00

15′ – 18′ $ 26.00

19′ – 22′ $ 34.00

23′ – 26′ $ 42.00

27′ – 30′ $ 50.00

31′ – 34′ $ 58.00

35′ $ 60.00

Over 35′ Add $ 2.00/ft

South Bass State Park Campground Check-In and Setting Up Camp

Arrival was smooth and check-in simple. You do not park in a parking lot here for registration, you roll up to the stop sign and then walk up to the small office. You can get firewood and ice before heading to your site.

So, I’m not going to lie; this campground is TIGHT!

The road up is one way and is tree-lined, and you might brush a few limbs. Pay close attention to the arrows on the roadway, it is one way, and because it is pretty tight, you’ll want to get it right.

Our site was #16 and was electric only because we had booked late. This is a SPACIOUS site on a large triangle. The only thing that was a slight issue was the traffic on the one side of it, as it was the main road out of the park. Since the site was BIG, it was easy to ignore the small amount of traffic. (most of it is golf carts anyway)

One BONUS of site #16 was the shower and bathrooms were right across the street!

I will mention that many of the sites are full of excellent shade from beautiful trees; however, this means you have to navigate your unit through them onto your chosen spot. Big rigs over 30+ feet will need some extra time to get set up, but once you’re in, you’re golden.

At the campground beach,  you will have the best views of the sunset! Make sure you go down there at least once while your camping to check out the sun as it fades in the west.

Looking for other great Ohio State Parks Campgrounds? Check out our other favorites!

Things to Do at Put-In-Bay

There is so much to do on this island, and we have only scratched the surface. Two days is not enough, and I would recommend a week to take it all in. Plus, with all the work it takes to get your unit to the island, you should maximize your stay.

Golf Cart Rentals: you have to rent a golf cart because it just makes the day on the island seem more island-y. I can recommend 2 locations for you. For day rentals you can use E’s Put-In-Bay Golf Cart Rental’s, and if you want your golf cart overnight and at your site, we have used Erie Island Carts.

Chocolate Museum and Cafe: This is a short but sweet stop, pun intended. We enjoy grabbing some chocolate and a fresh cup of coffee at this cafe. They serve ice cream, which we planned to get later one but never made it back. We will on the next trip for sure!

Heineman’s Winery:

Heineman’s is the oldest family-owned winery in Ohio!

Make this a MUST stop when you come to the island. Even if you don’t drink wine, they sell some of the best grape juice ever. History Tip: this is how the winery survived prohibition! They bottled up the grape juice and sold it. Brilliant!

Hike Scheeff East Point Nature Preserve: This preserve is 9-acre’s of waterfront property protected by the newly formed Put-in-Bay Township Park District. The preserve is located at the very tip of East Point, two miles from downtown Put-in-Bay. 

You will find a hiking path and perfect bird watching opportunities. Scheeff East Point Nature Preserve is open from dawn to dusk daily.

Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial: 

The memorial was established to honor those who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie, during the War of 1812 and celebrate long-lasting peace among Great Britain, Canada, and the U.S. 

We have enjoyed learning about the history in the visitor center and the opportunity to go up the 352′ doric column to view the longest undefended border in the world.

Make sure to get your junior ranger book and a stamp in your National Park book!

The Boardwalk

Every trip here is capped off with a visit to The Boardwalk for the BEST lobster bisque I have ever had. We take an afternoon for a lunch break to enjoy waterfront dining on the Upper Deck and some cooking away from camp. It is worth every penny!

Want to know more? Check out my blog 25 Things to Do in Put-in-Bay, Ohio

I think camping on South Bass Island State Park will become a yearly trip for our family. South Bass Island and Put-In-Bay offer so much for you to do and experience that you’ll be like us, wanting to go back as soon as you can! There is something about island life that makes you able to sit back and relax a bit more than when you are on the mainland.

Happy Island Adventures,


Other GREAT places to camp in Ohio!

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Miller Ferry and all mentioned locations are Gleason Family Approved!

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