Put In Bay Camping Guide
Put in Bay is a village located in Ohio, on South Bass Island in Lake Erie. In order to get to the island, you must take a ferry from Port Clinton. You can park your car and go to the island for a small fee, or you can pay to have your car taken as well. If you don’t take a car, you can rent a golf cart and drive it all over the island. Put In Bay camping is honestly like no other place!
The camping at Put in Bay is located in South Bass Island State Park and has space for tents and RVs. There are also Yurts that you can rent that have bunk beds, a pull-out couch, and a full bathroom and kitchen.
The island offers multiple attractions including Perry’s Cave, a butterfly garden, and helicopter tours. Additionally, the main strip of the island is primarily bars and restaurants, making it a popular destination for spring breakers.
If you’re not into the night life, that is not an issue because the actual state park is secluded from the main strip.
You can find the official state park map for South Bass Island here. The park is located in the northwestern side of the island.
The campground map showing all of the sites you can rent and their locations is here.
Tent camping here is really great, although you need to book almost a year in advance to get a good spot. Many of the tent camping spots are on ledges that look down over the water, however, these are considered primitive sites with no electricity. There are electric sites as well but they are tucked back in behind the RV sites for the most part.
Our spot was on one of these ledges and it really was one of the coolest camping spots we’ve ever had. I cannot stress enough that if you’re looking for unique tent camping, this is the place to go.
RV Campsites are on the inner circle, thankfully not near a ledge so you don’t accidentally back your RV over a cliff. These sites also fill up quickly, so it is advised to book far in advance. There are 10 full hookup sites available and a bunch of electric-only sites.
Put In Bay has a couple of Yurts in the state park area before entering the campsites. These have a decent amount of parking, bunk beds, a TV, and a full bathroom and kitchen. Additionally, there is an outdoor grill.
Staying in one of these was really nice, although it was pretty warm since it was summer and there is no air conditioning. There is a nearby “beach”, although it is rocky, and a cool playground with an ice cream place within walking distance.
You can bring your pets with you to South Bass Island State Park! As far as I can find, there are no restrictions. You can have them at any site in the campgrounds. We didn’t personally bring our dog when we stayed in one of the Yurts though, so you may need to call to confirm whether pets are allowed in them.
Amenities at South Bass Island State Park
Wifi and Cell Service
Most of the island had cell service for us on Verizon. The state park isn’t very secluded since the island isn’t all that big, so we got service there. There is no park WiFi but other parts of the island have it due to all of the restaurants.
Water + Sewage
There are multiple water stations throughout the state park. One sewage dump location is available as well as well.
Bathrooms and Showers
The bathrooms and showers at Put in Bay are well maintained and sanitized often. The showers are individual stalls each with a door and a changing room and shower. Some got warmer than others, but overall the showering was great for primitive tent camping!
Fish Cleaning Station
Near the primitive tent camping sites there is a parking area with a fish cleaning station.
Things to do in Put In Bay
There is a beach in the state park, but it’s made of rock, not sand. You can still go into the water from there if you really want to swim, but this isn’t the greatest park for swimming despite being an island. Instead this rocky beach is honestly better suited for fishing as we will review below.
This should probably go without saying, but there is great boating in Put in Bay! One place you can rent boats if you don’t have your own is Put in Bay Watercraft Rentals.
Once again, it is an island and there are some good spots to get in with a Kayak! In the state park you can get in at the rocky beach, just be careful not to scrape on the way in. There are also multiple places outside of the state park where you can get in easier at a dock.
There is a great fishing spot in South Bass Island State Park, at the rocky beach. Not many people use it to swim, so if you go to the edges it is a pretty good fishing spot.
You can bike on the roads on South Bass Island and within the state park, however there are no dedicated biking trails just roads.
Golf Cart Rental
The island has multiple golf cart rental places that you can drive all over the island on the side of roads. You can take the ferry to the island either by foot or by car, so if you come over without a car you can still get around easily. Golf carts are also fun to drive as a bonus.
The main section of town on the island is essentially a bunch of bars and restaurants. Downtown there are tons of spots to park the golf carts, playgrounds for children, and many places to eat. Aside from this area, there isn’t much else on the island aside from the state park, cave, and peoples personal vacation homes. Some do live here full time, but their high schools graduating class is only about 12 people every year!
Visit Perry’s Cave and Butterfly Garden
This is outside the state park, but on the island, there is a cave with a butterfly garden to visit. You get a tour of a cave for a fee, and the butterfly garden is beautiful. There is also one of those rock and jewel sifting places in this area for the kids.
Groceries near Put In Bay
There is only one grocery store on the island located near the main strip. It is pretty small but has all of the normal staples for camping. Click the store name above to start navigating!
Camping at Put In Bay is a very unique experience. It can be a great place for family time, or if you enjoy the night life the restaurants and bars are very active! If you’re looking for a spring break location this is a good one.
The non-electric camping here is crazy with the cliffs with water below, and fishing here is great as well. South Bass Island State Park is one of our favorite places to camp and we have been there three times already.
If you liked this review, check out some of our other state park reviews such as this one. I normally review Pennsylvania State Parks, but since we in western PA sometimes we venture into Ohio as well!
Leave a comment below if you have anything you’d like to add about camping at Put In Bay!