Family Fun When You Visit Put In Bay
Put-In-Bay is in Ohio and is one of my favorite Midwest islands to visit in Lake Erie. When it starts to get warm and I start planning our vacations, my kids ask when ‘When are WE going to Put-In-Bay?” It is a place we fell in love with; vacationing on South Bass Island (found in the Lake Erie Islands), about 10 years ago. We try to visit Put-in-Bay every year, and my still love going to0 – even as teens. Thanks to Miller Ferry, E’s Golf Cart Rental and Perry’s Cave and Family Fun Center for getting us the opportunity to share our trip to Put-In-Bay Ohio with you.
While Put-In-Bay has a louder crowd on the weekends, we enjoy the slower pace for our family during the week. In my opinion, Monday – early Friday afternoon, Put-In-Bay, is relaxing and family friendly to take your kids. Plan your trip with our without crowds/kids, the island welcomes everyone!
Catching a Wave on the Ferry
From Catawba Ohio, take the Miller Ferry. The Ferry ride is just an 18 minute ride over to the island. Enjoy the breeze in your hair as someone else drives you across Lake Erie. For a small fee you can bring your vehicle, motorcycle or a bike with you. It is the most economical way to get to the island and Miller Ferry, is the only ferry service that lets you bring your vehicle.
Go up the stairs on the ferry and enjoy the view of arriving and leaving the island. You can also stay in your vehicle and watch from there. There is no seating on the main area of the ferry and it’s not a super long ride, so enjoy the wind in your hair. You’re on island time now.
How Do you Get Around South Bass Island?
Getting around Put-In-Bay is easy with a golf cart. There are plenty of other options for getting around the island. You can walk or bike, take a golf cart, or even rent a taxi. There is also a tour you can take of the island. You can also take your own vehicle using Miller’s Ferry services.
I have found it easier to navigate the island using a golf cart. If you get hot, tired of walking or riding a bike, the golf cart will get you where you want easily.
Our preferred method is a golf cart rental from E’s Golf Carts while on the island. With online reservations, it’s easy to snag a cart and enjoy the island at a leisurely pace.
You can take your vehicle and many people do. When it is busy, it’s easier to scoot around and find a parking spot downtown small enough for a golf cart.
Where Is Put In Bay?
Put-in-Bay is an island located off Catawba in Port Clinton Ohio. It is in the gorgeous Lake Erie Great Lake.
What Can You Do at Perry’s Victory International Peace Memorial?
Bring a picnic and enjoy the view at the base of the Perry’s Victory International Peace Memorial. You can take an elevator ride up to the top of the worlds largest Doric column and see the entire island. You will need to walk up 2 small flights of stairs to get to the elevator. Bring your credit card to pay for your ride as well. Look for the park rangers to answer any questions you have on the history.
Visit the Perry’s Victory International Peace Memorial Visitor’s Center. This is free. You can talk to the park rangers here as well about the Battle of Lake Erie. There is a tourist area to purchase gear as well. This memorial honors the Battle of Lake Erie and naval commander Oliver Hazard Perry, who fought the British in the Battle of Lake Erie.
What Can you Do at Perry’s Cave: Family Fun Center?
Very popular activity for families is visiting Perry’s Cave. Perry’s Cave is a natural limestone cave located on the island. You can purchase a combo ticket to do various activities at Perry’s Cave.
Visitors can take a guided tour of the cave, which lasts about 45 minutes. The tour is educational and fascinating, and it’s a great way to cool off on a hot day. Wear shoes that are good for traction (not crocs or sandles). The surface is wet at slippery in places. Consider bringing a jacket as it’s a cool 50F degrees in the cave.
For something truly unique, take the family to Put-in-Bay Butterfly House. This attraction is home to hundreds of butterflies from all over the world. Visitors can walk through the butterflies and see these beautiful creatures up close.
Play a round of mini golf on the 1812 golf course. You will see live birds and squirrels more than likely around the course. We have not had any of them steal our golf ball.
Climb the rock wall or test your skills in Fort AMaze’n.
We’ve also purchased a bag of rocks and dirt and had the kids use the cool set up to mine the bag for their gems. There is an amazing shop that you can buy all sorts of precious stones. We leave a lot heavier every time we visit.
What Can You Do in Put-In-Bay with Family?
You can enjoy a picnic at Ohio’s smallest park on the island. You will have a beautiful view of Perry’s Memorial in the back drop.
Another option is to go on a Put-in-Bay family winery tour. There are several wineries on the island, and they offer tours and tastings that are fun for the whole family. You can learn about the wine making process, taste some delicious wines, and even purchase a few bottles to take home.
Families can go hiking, biking, fishing, swimming, and more. There are several parks on the island that are perfect for picnicking and exploring. The lawn of the Perry’s monument is my favorite place to sit and relax. It’s away from downtown traffic and peaceful.
South Bass Light House is located on the Southwest side of the island. The lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can take tours of the lighthouse (check for hours and prices). There are some great photo opportunities to capture in the morning and as the sun goes down too.
South Base Island State Park – South Bass Island State Park is another great place to visit with the family. The park has a beach, hiking trails, and a playground.
Rent a bike and ride across the island. I don’t have the knees or body for this, but as soon as you come up the ramp from Miller Ferry, there are the bikes to rent. It is a nice slow pace to see the island. You can rent a golf cart if you turn right at the top of the hill, for E’s Golf Carts.
Other Put In Bay Attractions
Visit the many roadside attractions on the island. There are some pretty cool looking things to see within the island. I was surprised at how many there are in one area. One of Put-In-Bays attractions you may miss, is the largest geode. It is located underground at Heineman’s winery. Another attraction is a house made from a ship (Benson Ford Ship House is a private residence on the island).
You can camp on the island! Yes, you can bring your camper on the ferry. Our bring your tent, if that is your thing.
Stay in a bed and breakfast or a Put-in-Bay hotel – You don’t have to go all rustic to stay on the island. There are many places to stay and enjoy your time on the island longer. If a swim up bar is your thing, Put-in-Bay has it.
Enjoy the live entertainment, and many festivals and island attractions. Check the schedule to plan your trip.
Where Can You Find Food on the Island?
If you’re looking for places to eat, the Put-in-Bay restaurants, have lots to choose from. You can find everything from faster food to fine dining on the island.
Find a majority of the restaurants downtown Put-in-Bay. There are restaurants as you head out of downtown as well. And don’t forget dessert. Just about every way out of town, there is sweet treats too.
Frosty’s is great for pizza and they have many options. Reel Bar has great food, never disappointed by what I get there and the best fries (please send us fries if you go). The Boathouse – chicken n waffles is my favorite (they also have lots of fish dishes). Want breakfast? Pasquales Cafe serves it all day (pancakes and bacon please!) There is great food to be found everywhere, we just haven’t visited all of the restaurants yet.
If you’re planning on doing some exploring, Put-In-Bay walking trails are a great way to see the island. The trails wind through some of the most scenic parts of the island, and they’re well-marked so you won’t get lost. There are also several places to stop along the way, so you can take a break and enjoy the views. Enjoy the wild flowers!
No matter what you choose to see while visiting Put-in-Bay, you’ll sure to have a great time exploring South Bass Island with your family.