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Summer is here and there is one place that I especially look forward to visiting- Put-in-Bay!
Located on South Bass Island, this Lake Erie destination offers fun for singles, couples, groups, and families. If the island doesn’t offer something for everyone, it sure seems like it does. You’ll find historical attractions, museums, outdoor activities, wineries, top-notch restaurants, shopping, a range of lodging options, and nightlife in a laid back island setting.
There’s so much to see and do on the island that you may find it hard to know where to begin. If you’re visiting Put-in-Bay for the first time, I suggest the Put-in-Bay Tour Train. This narrated train ride offers passengers a fun way to get around the island while providing an overview of many of the island’s top tourist attractions. Passengers can relax and ride through the entire loop or use it as a trolley and hop on and off at the stops that appeal to you. The train makes regular stops and pickups at Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center, Heineman Winery & Crystal Cave (the world’s largest geode), Perry’s Victory & Int’l Peace Memorial, Lake Erie Islands Nature & Wildlife Center, and the Doller House & Museum of Island Life.
Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center offers miniature golf, the Butterfly House, a fun maze, a tour of Perry’s Cave, and an antique car museum.
If you enjoy spending time outdoors, you’ll find plenty of water sports- you can boat, kayak, canoe, paddle board, snorkel or swim. You’ll also find two state parks. South Bass Island State Park offers a boat launch, stone beach, and camping options. Oak Point State Park is Ohio’s smallest park but provides picnic tables, restrooms, and a great view of Gibraltar Island and Perry’s Memorial. Scheeff East Point Nature Preserve provides a quiet place for a quick hike. Who knows? You may spot one or more of the island’s water snakes that are counted, collected, and studied by OSU’s Stone Lab & Aquatic Center. No need to fear them- they’re harmless.
Downtown Put-in-Bay offers a blend of family-friendly attractions and establishments for grownups. You’ll find the longest bar in the world and the historic Round House Bar, serving the island since 1873.
Families can relax at the playground in De Rivera Park, shop in the PIB Candy Bar that sells nearly every type of candy you can imagine with vintage brands and mega sizes before enjoying a ride on the historic carousel.
I’ve only shared a sampling of things you can do on South Bass Island. You can learn more about Put-in-Bay and plan your island escape with these interactive maps that are perfect to help you plan your getaway.
Transportation to the Island
Miller Boat Line, located in Port Clinton, transports passengers from the mainland to South Bass Island via ferry. Miller Boat Line offers the lowest fares to the island and a large, free parking area for vehicles you leave behind. If you choose, you can take your vehicle to the island as well. Miller Ferry will transport cars, trucks, bikes and motorcycles.
From May until mid-September, ferries depart from Catawba every half hour beginning at 6:30 a.m. and head back at 7:00 p.m. with additional hours offered on the weekend.
The ferry ride takes about 20 minutes and costs $7 one way per adult.