Put In Bay is located on South Bass Island, a 2-mile by 4-mile Island in Lake Erie. It is accessible by ferry boats from Port Clinton or Catawba. It is home to The Perry Peace Memorial, a 352-ft memorial to honor Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry for defeating the British in the War of 1812. After the war, the island was developed and became ‘thee’ vacation destination. Here we are, 150 years later, and Put In Bay is still ‘thee’ vacation destination of Lake Erie.
The Miller Boat Line, located in Catawba, Ohio will take you and your car across the water to South Bass Island. It is the only ferry service that will transport your vehicle to the island. Another popular ferry service is The Jet Express leaving from Port Clinton. The Jet Express will drop you off at DeRivera Park – a green buffer between the crowded marina district and downtown Put In Bay.
There are several ways to get around Put In Bay – there are several golf cart rentals, bicycle rentals, tour trains, and of course, walking. I recommend the tour tram for the first time visitor. I have been there several times and I still take this tour. You will see the beautiful vineyards, learn the history of the founding fathers of the island, and an overview of the most popular and beautiful places on the island. It makes a stop at Heineman Winery and Crystal Caves. You can exit the tram to tour the winery and explore the Crystal Caves. There is also a gift shop for your convenience.
Put In Bay is filled with a wide variety of places to visit and things to do. You can learn the history of Put In Bay at the Perry Monument and the museums dedicated to its historical preservation. There are bars, restaurants, and shopping for every taste. There are wineries to be toured, caves to explore, and fishing to be done. Some of the kids’ activities include panning for gold in a mock river and miniature golf. There are beaches and pools when the day gets too hot, a state park to explore, and carousals to ride.
When the sun goes down, you can relax at the infamous Round House Bar or at the Beer Barrel Saloon which boosts the worlds longest bar – 405 feet long, 160 bar stools, 56 beer taps and a seating capacity of 1200. There are many other places to relax and quench your thirst. There is nightly entertainment with DJ’s and live bands on the weekends.
I have made several trips to Put In Bay over the course of my lifetime. Like I said I have taken the tram tour almost every time. I went once with my uncle and we had at least one drink in every bar. They have a huge chicken barbeque with outside tables. You can watch them cook hundred of chicken halves and it smells awesome. It tastes just as good as it smells. I have visited the winery with co-workers when five of us drank four bottles of wine and then tried to ride our bicycles back to the boat docks. I have taken the elevator to the top of Perry’s Monument. The view from the observation deck is spectacular. There are information maps and you can see Canada and Michigan from this vantage point. It is a must see.
Put In Bay is a unique place to visit. It boasts only 138 full time residents but in the summer there are always thousands of visitors every day. It is a fulfilled day and an exciting nighttime kind of place.