Gibraltar Island


The little island, named for its resemblance to the Rock of Gibraltar, was once owned by banker Jay Cooke, who built a 15-room, gothic-looking castle on it in 1865. It now holds Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory, which studies freshwater ecosystems. Two-hour tours cover the castle, lab and other island sites such as Perry’s Lookout (a War of 1812 hot spot). Meet at the Boardwalk Restaurant dock at 341 Bayview Ave to catch the water taxi. No reservations.

Kayak the Bay also does guided tours to the island on Wednesday mornings.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Ohio attractions

1. Aquatic Visitors Center

0.28 MILES

Ohio State University operates this educational facility, where displays teach about Lake Erie’s ecosystem and its fish, snakes, bugs and other critters…

3. South Bass Island State Park

1.28 MILES

Set on top of white cliffs on the island's southwest side, the park moseys down to a fishing pier, small rocky beach and a vendor offering jet-ski and…

4. Glacial Grooves

6.58 MILES

The deep scars in the limestone here – which a glacier rubbed in some 18,000 years ago – are the largest and most easily accessible grooves in the world…

5. Kelleys Islands State Park

6.67 MILES

The park features a popular campground with 126 tent and RV sites ($17 to $39), 6 miles of hiking trails with birds flitting by and a secluded, sandy…

6. Inscription Rock Petroglyphs

7.47 MILES

Native Americans who used the island as a hunting ground carved symbols into this boulder on the island's south shore sometime between AD 1200 and 1600…

7. Fish Point Provincial Nature Reserve

9.17 MILES

This long sandy spit is the southernmost point of inhabited Canada (there are some tiny rock islands – like humps of whales skimming the water – just to…

8. Pelee Island Winery

9.64 MILES

Enjoy the fruits of island life, literally, with a visit to Pelee's winery. Regular 90-minute tours of the facilities, including tastings, are offered…