Go Island Hopping
You don’t need a passport to cruise the islands this summer. You’ll find Catawba Island, Kelleys Island, and South, Middle, and North Bass Islands just off the shore of Sandusky. (Catawba is really more of a peninsula, but we’re not going to argue with Ohio about the name!)
South Bass Island is known as the “Secret Midwest Playground” for its vast range of attractions and activities, from wineries and cave tours to kayaking and golf. It’s also a great place to go fishing! While you’re there, visit Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial, which commemorates one of the most significant naval battles of the War of 1812. (Don’t give up the ship!)
Gibraltar Island, located just off South Bass, hosts Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory, which is (the oldest freshwater biological research field station in the United States. The university also owns what is now called Cooke Castle – the island summer residence built by Jay Cooke, who raised almost $1 billion to support the Union during the Civil War. Gibraltar Island is only open for tours from late June through early August.
Budding geologists and students of history will enjoy a visit to Kelleys Island, where you can explore the largest accessible glacial grooves in the world (embedded with 350- to 400-million-year-old fossils) and study Inscription Rock, a limestone boulder with petroglyphs carved by Native Americans hundreds of years ago.