Put in Bay Ohio restaurantThe Lake Erie islands of Put-in-Bay and Kelleys Island in northern Ohio offer a wealth of fun for your family vacation or couples getaway. Lake Erie is the perfect summer holiday destination where you are never far from the water or fun. I visited with my husband to celebrate our 10th anniversary and relax after three years living in China.

Kelleys Island is less developed tourism-wise, but is still a great family destination. Rent a golf cart when you get there and head down to the public beach and national park area. It’s small but not overly crowded and the family can camp right next to the beach. DestinationReviewThe golf cart will also take you around a scenic route along the Kelleys Island coast and there are places near the pier to eat or shop or just indulge in a snack like ice cream.

Put-in-Bay has plenty to keep you active for a few hours or a couple days and the Lake Erie Islands and Shores offered us passes to many attractions.  We took the “train”, close to Perry’s Monument, and which actually travels on the roads. It took us past one winery and then to Perry’s Cave.

HeinemansPutinBayWith a short time frame to visit, we opted to walk across the street and did the tour of Heinemen’s Winery and Crystal Cave. The cave tour is short but the crystals are impressive. Learning the wine process was educational, though not so much for the kids in the group! And the wine there is quite good. I brought a bottle of Pink Catawba back for my mom. The train makes a couple other stops, including a Nature and Wildlife Center.

There is plenty more one can do – beaches, parasailing, mini-golfing, the Butterfly House and Perry’s Monument, to name a few. The eating choices are many too. We started with lunch at the pier, with a great view and decent food.  Stay on the Island or off, as we did – there are plenty of choices. We took the Goodtime I, but the Jet Express offers regular service from the Ohio mainland and Miller Boat Lines can bring cars over.KelleysIsland

Lake Erie Shores and Islands has welcome centers that can help you plan your vacation and they offer a Shore Savings Card, that carries many discounts in one card. Pick it up with a travel planner at a welcome center or download from www.shoresandislands.com/visitors/specials.