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Most of the midwest is landlocked, but Ohio residents are lucky enough to have easy access to the Great Lakes and to the Lake Erie Islands, including Put in Bay. For some, Put in Bay South Bass Island is a place to party and drink, but there’s more to the Island than you might have expected.
Thanks to the folks at Miller Boat Line, we had the opportunity to explore Put in Bay South Bass Island to find out the amazing fun and food that awaits families as well as couples like us that are just looking for a quick escape.
Whether you’re going for a day trip, overnight, or for a weekend, there’s more than one way to get to South Bass Island. You can even take your car there if you don’t want to walk or rent a golf cart or bike. Miller Boat Line has the lowest fares to Put in Bay, has free parking for the day or overnight, and children 5 years or younger ride free. Miller Boat Line also offers discounts for active military personnel.
Though you’re able to bring a vehicle, the Islands highly recommend that you don’t. Parking is very limited on the Island and most of the attractions on the Island are within walking distance. Even on hot days, the breeze from Lake Erie make the walks pleasurable. Golf carts, mopeds and bicycles can be rented.
There are about 480 full time residents on the Island, so please be sure to be mindful of their home. Just as anywhere else, don’t litter, watch noise levels within the residential areas and watch for their vehicles when you’re walking or riding rented vehicles.
Ferry boats stop running during the winter, so when residents need to get to the mainland, they use charter airlines or a hovercraft. Put in Bay has a K-12 school on the Island as well as a full-service grocery store and several amazing restaurants.
One of my favorite ways to explore Put in Bay is on a golf cart because they’re easy to drive and park and don’t require too much exertion when I pig out at one of the amazing restaurants! 🙂 Make sure to reserve your golf cart if you can because it’s a popular way to see the Island. E’s Golf Carts is right near where Miller Boat Line docks on the Island so it’s super convenient. They have over 100 golf carts available, but I have seen them sell out. They open at 9am and close half an hour before the last ferry for the mainland.
Heineman’s Winery is one of my favorite places to visit when I’m on the Island. The Lake Erie Islands are noted for the quality grapes as a result of ideal soil conditions and the long growing season because of the tempering effect of Lake Erie. I always take home wine when we visit! At Heineman’s Winery, you can tour the winery and Crystal Cave and enjoy wine and grape juice tastings in their wine garden.
Grab a bottle or just a few samples and have a seat in the wine garden. While we enjoyed a break from our day and some delicious Heineman’s Winery samples, we actually met a family from Germany and had a great conversation with them. We also discovered a few wines that we did not expect to like – I prefer dry wines but fell in love with a grape-y red – so that was fun!
The nightlife at Put in Bay is definitely a great time – the World’s Longest Bar, wineries, bars and pubs – but the Island has so much more to offer!
- Rent jet skis jet boats, power boats, and kayaks
- Adventure Bay Amusement Center is a great place for families to have fun and includes a redemption arcade, video games and ride simulators, Brunswick’s virtual bowling lanes, Animaland where you can stuff your own collectible animal, water Blaster Bumper Boats, Water Wars, batting and soccer cages, sport fishing simulator, remote control boats, kiddie rides and an electric go cart track!
- Antique Car Museum
- The Butterfly House
- The Chocolate Museum
- Gem Stone Mining
- Laser Tag
- Perry’s Cave
- Charter Fishing
- Helicopter Rides
- and MORE!
Explore Underground In Perry’s Cave at Put in Bay
Explore 52 feet below the surface of South Bass Island in Perry’s Cave, registered as an Ohio National Landmark. The cave was discovered in 1813 and is 208 feet long by 165 feet wide. You’ll see stalactites, stalagmites and cave pearls on the cave’s walls, ceiling and floor created by heavily encrusted calcium carbonate deposits from centuries of water dripping from the ceiling. It’s also a nice break from the heat as the cave is a pleasant 50° year-round.
The average tour takes 20 minutes, but you may need to allow longer because our courteous and knowledgeable guides talk to you, not at you. Light wrap and comfortable walking shoes with rubber soles are suggested.
There’s So Many Great Places To Eat
I love visiting Put in Bay because there’s so many amazing places to eat, no matter what you’re craving! Recently, we enjoyed a delicious brunch at The Old Forge Café and Crêperie. But, you don’t just have to visit for breakfast or brunch – lunch and dinner are just as good and the staff is THE friendliest I’ve ever experience at any restaurant ever.
Depending on what you’re hungry for, there are many choices on the Island and exploring your options is half the fun.
There’s so many awesome places to shop, and one of our first stops is The Candy Bar because Doug loves his candy. However, they have just about every kind of candy under the sun – including the classics – as well as ice cream, shakes and sundaes.
Del Sol is another fun place with a great staff and the kids will love the clothing and items that change color once they’re in the sun. There are also a number of gift shops to pick up a few things for friends or to remember the fun you had on the Island. Be sure to check out the other shops on the Island while you’re riding around on your golf cart!
Just because it’s fall doesn’t mean Put in Bay is closed! Check out their calendar of events to see the exciting events that coming.
Be sure to follow on social media for seasonal and event updates.