Get the scoop on getting to the Lake Erie Islands.
Cruising the streets of Put-in-Bay or Kelleys Island on a bike or golf cart is about as good as summer gets. “There’s just something that tracks differently about a destination you have to take a boat to get to,” says Jill Bauer of Shores & Islands Ohio. “You feel like you’re escaping — getting away from the everyday. The boat ride there and back is a major part of the fun.” Whether you’re looking to go to one of the Ohio islands or to Pelee Island in Ontario, you’re just a ticket away.
Here's how to get to the Lake Erie Islands in Ohio and Ontario.
The Jet Express offers passenger-only transportation to Put-in-Bay, Kelleys Island and Cedar Point. Trips are available from Port Clinton to Put-in-Bay and from Sandusky to Kelleys Island or Cedar Point. The Jet Express drops passengers off in the heart of Put-in-Bay, which is perfect for those planning on staying close to downtown. jet-express.com
Miller Ferries provides passenger and vehicle transportation from Catawba Island to Put-in-Bay or Middle Bass Island. Vehicle reservations are required and can be made up to two weeks in advance. “The Miller Ferry offers a cost-effective way to travel with a larger group or family, and they offer a lot of free parking,” Bauer says. “They also treat children great — offering stickers to young riders.” millerferry.com
Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Line
Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Line offers vehicle and passenger transportation from Marblehead to Kelleys Island. During the summer, services are available every half hour and as late as midnight. Last year, the ferry line welcomed its newest vessel, the Carmen Lee, to its fleet to accommodate the increased demand for travel to Kelleys Island. kelleysislandferry.com
J&M Cruise Line
Carmen Lee — Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Line's newest and largest ferry — wasn’t the only vessel that made its Lake Erie debut in 2022. J&M Cruise Lines also introduced the Glass City Pearl, a two-tier ferry that takes island-goers on a daylong adventure from downtown Toledo to Put-in-Bay. The round-trip cruise costs $95 and departs at 9:45 a.m. Visitors arrive at the island at about 12:15, with seven hours to spare before the boat makes its way back to Toledo at 7:15. jmcruiselines.com/glass-city-pearl
The Goodtime I’s Daytime Lake Erie Island Hopping Cruise is perfect for those looking for a daylong excursion compete with spectacular views and time spent at Put-in-Bay and Kelleys Island. Depart Sandusky’s Jackson Street Pier at 9:30 a.m. and cruise past Cedar Point, Johnson’s Island, the Marblehead Lighthouse and Lakeside Chautauqua in between a 1.5-hour stop at Kelleys Island and 3.5-hour stop at Put-in-Bay before arriving back in Sandusky at 6:30 p.m. Cruises cost $29.50 for adults and are free for children 12 and younger. goodtimeboat.com/daytime-island-hopping-cruise.html
Pelee Island Transportation Co.
Those looking to discover one of Ontario’s best-kept secrets will find easy transportation via Pelee Island Transportation Co., which provides vehicle and passenger services to Pelee Island from Sandusky, Ohio. The ferry also runs between Kingsville and Leamington, both in Ontario, and Pelee Island. Departure days and times vary throughout the year and reservations are required. ontarioferries.com/pelee-island-ferries
Griffing Flying Service
Experience Lake Erie from 1,000 feet above the water with a plane ride to (or between) one of the islands. Griffing Flying Service offers daily flights from Erie-Ottawa International Airport to either Put-in-Bay, Middle Bass Island, North Bass Island, Kelleys Island or Pelee Island. All flights require a reservation and are pet friendly. flygriffing.com/lake-erie-islands