Growing up in Florida, I had always enjoyed my visits to Key West. The bright colors, the laid back “island” atmosphere, and the different places to see and do definitely kept me coming back. And I discovered many of the same traits on my visit to Put-in-Bay, Ohio, which is called the Key West of the North!
Your perfect Put-in-Bay Island getaway is waiting for you.
Put-in-Bay is a quaint village located on South Bass Island in Put-in-Bay Township, Ottawa County, Ohio, United States. Many people believe that the name originates from some early maps of South Bass Island that showed the main harbor being named Pudding Bay, probably because it was shaped like a pudding sack used by sailors. The official population was 128 as of the 2000 census. Put-in-Bay played a significant role in the War of 1812 as the location of the squadron of U.S. naval commander Oliver Hazard Perry, who sailed from the port on September 10, 1813 to engage a British naval squadron just north of the island in the famous Battle of Lake Erie. Put-in-Bay is a popular summer resort and recreational destination. Ferry service connects the community with Catawba Island, Kelleys Island, Port Clinton, Loraine, and Sandusky, Ohio.
A vacation packed full of Island adventure!
The island’s primary industry is currently tourism and for most of its history has been tourism. The tourist season runs roughly between April and October with peak visitation in July. The most common methods of transportation to and from the island are via ferry boat, propeller-driven aircraft and private boat. Boat docks and a municipal airport service visitors daily.
Take a deep, warm Island breath.
Visitors step back in time with Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry to learn about the Battle of Lake Erie at Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial Visitors Center and the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society Museum. Come and explore the world’s largest geode at Heineman’s Crystal Cave or discover South Bass Island’s underground river, lake and tour at Perry’s Cave Amusement Complex. Honeymooners and romantics take in the magnificence of our island sunsets while strolling along the walks and pathways of our beautiful downtown harbor and DeRivera park area. Weekday and weekend boaters can dock in the heart of it all at a number of public and private docks and are just steps away from fabulous boutiques, excellent restaurants, live entertainment and spirited taverns. Families and visitors will also have the opportunity to enjoy a multitude of other attractions including Heineman’s winery, The Butterfly House, putt-putt golf, historical homes & tours, the Chocolate Museum, wildlife museum, an antique carousel, a nine hole par-3 golf course, multiple jet-ski rentals, boat rentals, parasailing, kayaking, and the Put-in-Bay Resort’s Convention Center.
When I tell you I couldn’t believe how much they fit in on this island, I am not kidding. There are a ton of restaurants and bars, shops, marinas/fishing shops, parks, condos & hotels, homes and more! We spent several hours on our golf cart just cruising the small quiet streets all over the island.
One of our first stops was the Oak Point State Park.
This 1.5-acre park, the smallest in Ohio’s state park system, is a companion to South Bass Island State Park. It offers facilities for boaters and picnickers and scenic panoramic views close to the heart of Put-in-Bay. Get there early to watch the sunrise!
While a small park, the bathrooms were clean (which as a mom I can appreciate) and there was space for picnic lunches or just taking a break. Plus there is room for fishing and boat slips which can be rented.
The other park was the South Bass Island State Park. They had these really cute round shaped cabins for camping, plus a playground, boat slips, campgrounds, fishing area and more. Makes for a great place to stop and take a break with the family or just relax and enjoy the view.
Perched atop the white cliffs of South Bass Island, this unique 33-acre park is a scenic landmark when viewed from the water, and in turn affords visitors great views and access to Lake Erie. The wooded campground and serene lakeside picnic area offer a quiet retreat from the bustle of Put-In-Bay. South Bass Island’s companion park, Oak Point, offers facilities for boaters and picnickers close to the heart of town.
The rest of the day was spent visiting several of the shops, stopping for ice cream, checking out the homes and different lake views wherever we could safely stop and look out over the water. We also had a great visit to Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center and a trip to a national monument.
Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial is on the island and is the 3rd tallest monument in the country.
Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial was established to honor those who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie, during the War of 1812, and to celebrate the long-lasting peace between Britain, Canada and the U.S. The Memorial, a Doric column, rising 352 feet over Lake Erie is situated 5 miles from the longest undefended border in the world.
As you can tell, this is no where near everything you could see or do on Put-in-Bay and South Bass Island on Lake Erie. Whether you’re looking for a family vacation, a day trip, a party weekend with your friends, or just a quiet getaway at a bed and breakfast and winery tours, this is the place to be. Don’t forget to reserve your golf cart during your stay, parking is a premium for cars and trucks! You can learn more on the Put-in-Bay Visitors and Convention Bureau website as well as following them on Facebook and Twitter.
Disclaimer: While we were on a media tour, this particular trip was not sponsored. We would love the opportunity to return and visit Put-in-Bay in the future, working with the local PR or tourism board!