Island-Hopping In... Ohio? Discover Lake Erie Charm On Your Monterey

Mon, Apr 08, 2024 at 10:53AM

Island-Hopping In... Ohio? Discover Lake Erie Charm On Your Monterey

As springtime beckons, you might be dreaming of idyllic island destinations to bring your Monterey Boat. Might we recommend Ohio?

While the Buckeye State may not seem ripe for island-hopping at first glance, it’s actually hope to a picturesque hideaway of islands on the shores of Lake Erie — and as the weather warms up, they make for an excellent boating backdrop.

Just read on as we explore some of the charming islands you’ll find off Lake Erie’s southwestern shore — and how to enjoy them to the fullest from your Monterey Boat.

Catawba Island

Though it may technically be a peninsula, Catawba Island boasts the laidback fun and gorgeous water views you want from an island-hopping adventure — so, well, we think it counts anyway! This is the perfect place to launch your self-guided cruise of Lake Erie’s islands — but first, you’ll want to dedicate a chunk of your time to simply meandering about the land, where you can delight in a local winery, picnic at the gorgeous state park, or go for a refreshing springtime swim once the water warms up a bit.

Then comes time to hit the water on your very own Monterey! It’s worth noting that Lake Erie’s name actually comes from the Iroquoian term for “long tail,” referring to the long shape of the lake. This makes Erie a great place to go on long runs on your wakeboard or waterski — or simply to enjoy a leisurely cruise without having to turn around.

Another trait that makes Lake Erie a water sports haven for boaters? It just so happens to be the shallowest of the Great Lakes, which means it’s the first to thaw and warm during springtime — so if you can’t wait one more minute to enjoy perfect boating weather, well, you don’t really have to.

Now, as is the case any time you explore a new water sports destination, just be sure to brush up on local wake guidelines so you know where you can cruise and tow! This way, you can ride in peace and confidence.

Kelleys Island

The next stop on our itinerary is Kelleys Island, a small but spirited on-the-water village that, from the right perspective, might just remind you of something out of the Caribbean. Cruising around the island’s rocky, tree-lined shores, you’ll develop a newfound appreciation for the ancient, rugged landscape — carved from glaciers more than 10,000 years ago.

Kelleys Island is actually considered by locals to be the best place in the world for witnessing the specific phenomenon known as the “Glacial Grooves,” or deep ditches of limestone that tell the story of the glaciers’ movement of time immemorial. Who knew so much geologic history was packed into a tidy little Ohio island — or that you could easily add it to an effortless spring itinerary?

Of course, the ice blocks’ pace may have been extremely slow — hence the figurative term “glacial pace” — but when it comes to splashing fun, Lake Erie’s water sports scene is anything but! In fact, Erie and its fellow Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, and Superior) are sometimes collectively referred to as America’s “Third Coast,” and their shorelines boast some seriously terrific wakeboarding and waterskiing opportunities.

When you want to take it easy, you can cruise past some of Lake Erie’s most stunning lighthouses — including the Marblehead Lighthouse, Lorain Harbor Lighthouse, and more.

The Bass Islands

Next up, you can cruise just a little bit west and you’ll happen upon the Bass Islands — North, Middle, and South. At first glance, this trio might seem like a small, unassuming cluster of islands — but as you boat a little closer and prepare to dock, you’ll realize there is an incredible variety of landscapes and attractions to enjoy!

For starters, there’s South Bass Island. Did you know that its village of Put-in-Bay is fondly regarded as the Key West of the North? Sure, that’s a big name to live up to — but it does, and then some! As that moniker might suggest, the community boasts beautiful resorts, shopping, and landmarks worth visiting between boating sessions. When it comes time to return to the water, you can explore by kayak or take your Monterey further out to a safe spot for wake sports! At the right time of day, you can gaze out at the glassy water and forget you’re nestled in the middle of the Great Lakes — and not some remote island hideaway.

Craving a retreat from the hustle and bustle of South Bass? The other two islands in this trio, Middle and North Bass, offer a back-to-nature experience that will feel restorative as you recharge on the heels of a fun-filled, high-octane weekend. This is a great place to consider a springtime camping adventure, or even a breezy picnic break on your Monterey! Either way, you’ll be treated to serene beach views that stretch toward the horizon — giving you an immersive sense of the wide-open outdoors you’ve been dreaming about all winter long. Now that the weather is beginning to warm up, why not make those dreams a reality?

We hope that today’s virtual tour inspires a new kind of island-hopping adventure — one tucked away among the splashing thrills of the Great Lakes! From the captain’s seat of your Monterey Boat, the opportunities for spring and summer boating abound — and we can’t wait to see where you go next.

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