The Lake Erie Islands of Ohio are a popular destination in the summer, especially this quiet haven just north of South Bass Island.
Middle Bass Island sits in Lake Erie’s western basin, just a 40-minute ride on the Miller Ferry from Port Clinton. With only three restaurants and a coffee shop, it’s a quiet alternative to its neighbor South Bass Island and the summer revelry that accompanies a trip to Put-in-Bay.
As the ferry nears the dock, the iconic Lonz Winery comes into view. The historic structure, which has been the island’s most recognizable feature since 1866, is part of Middle Bass Island State Park. The restored building displays exhibits in the wine cellar where visitors can see artifacts from the property and learn how wine was made here.
From there, visitors can rent a kayak or bicycle at Middle Bass State Park Marina and paddle along the island’s shoreline to take in views of quaint cottages, migratory birds and neighboring islands. Those who want to delve deeper into nature can visit the walking trails at East Point Preserve or the Forested Wetland Preserve. Bird-watchers frequent Petersen’s Woods to look for eagles, which have nested there in the past.
After a morning of exploring, refuel with a specialty pizza or sandwich from Uncle Joe’s Pizza at the Middle Bass General Store. While there, you can also pick up any necessities, from snacks to island souvenirs. Travelers looking to take it easy can spend an afternoon at J.F. Walleye’s family-friendly wading pool. If you stick around for dinner, try the restaurant’s namesake walleye bites.
Those looking for nightlife as afternoon stretches into evening can find it at Middle Bass Island’s tiki-themed resort, St. Hazard’s, where live music and drinks by the pool are a great complement to island sunsets. For travelers who want to make more than a day of it, Middle Bass Island has a range of accommodations, from primitive camping to home rentals. For more information, visit ohiodnr.gov, shoresandislands.com and millerferry.com.