Why bother planning a spring or summer getaway to far off places like Florida or Mexico, when you can take a getaway to Ohio's own Put-in-Bay? Put-in-Bay is a popular tourist destination in Ohio that thrives during the months of April-October, which is prime season for outdoor activities like fishing, kayaking and swimming. It is located on South Bass Island in Western Lake Erie, and is a part of Ottawa County. The island is 12 miles from the Ohio mainland, and is the third largest Ohio island. Only about 150 people actually live on the small island, but many tens of thousands visit annually.
I recommend booking a hotel and staying at least one night so you can fully enjoy the nightlife and the true Put-in-Bay experience! Below is a list of 10 Things to do on a Put-in-Bay Getaway!
1. Ride The Ferry: This is sort of a given, since you cannot drive directly to Put-in-Bay. Plan ahead and park your car on shore take it with you on the Miller Boatline ferry. The Jet Express leaves from both Sandusky and Port Clinton and is always a memorable ride (leave your car in their lot). I have been to Put-in-Bay numerous times, and the ferry ride is always a highlight.
2. Rent a Golf Cart: Renting a golf cart is the easiest, most fun and most popular way to get around the island. Island goers (adults and children alike) are encouraged to travel by golf cart or bicycle.
3. Take in the View from Perry's Victory & International Peace Memorial: A wonderful visitors center features exhibits, a short film and souveniers of Perry's Memorial and the Battle of Lake Erie. The memorial was erected in 1936 to commemorate the battle, which was one of the most significant events in the War of 1812. It is named after Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry who led the sailors to victory. This enormous memorial is a column stretching 352 feet into the sky, making it the tallest "Doric" column in the entire world, and fourth tallest monument in the United States. The monument and its observation deck have undergone extensive renovations and will open again to visitors around July 20.
4. Taste Some Wine: The Heineman Winery at Put-in-Bay has got to be one of my favorite wineries in Ohio. The fantastic wine offerings are due to Put-in-Bay's rich soil that helps grow some of the highest quality grapes in the state. Daily tours are offered 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. in which you get complimentary samples of wine. The Pink Catawba is one of the most popular wines.
5. Explore Crystal Cave: As its name suggests, it is a cave full of "crystals" (really, a blueish mineral called celestite) and is the largest geode (a rock cavity with crystals inside) in the WORLD. Most geodes you cannot even put your hand inside, yet this one you can WALK inside. You can get tours of this while also touring the Heineman Winery. This is truly one of the most unique attractions in the whole state!
6. Go Parasailing: Most people are not aware of Ohio's parasailing opportunities, but one of the only two locations in the state with commercial operations is located in downtown Put-in-Bay! For approximately $75, you can take part in this exhilarating activity that's both low risk and (relatively) low cost.
7. Kayak The Bay: Kayaking on the shores of Put-in-Bay is an activity that's fun for the whole family. You can rent a single or double kayak that can provide great exercise and great views. Other floats and rafts are also available.
8. Imbibe at Beer Barrel Saloon: This fine facility features a 405-foot-long bar, 160 bar stools, 56 beer taps and a seating capacity of 1,200. It is known for being home to “The Longest Bar in the WORLD.” It winds and twists around continuously throughout the building, but still saves room for a fun dance floor and live entertainment.
8. Mist Pool Bar: If the longest bar in the world isn't enough for you, you can also throw on your bathing suit and hop in the water to swim to the Mist Pool Bar. Complete with waterfalls, a DJ, cabanas, and live bands, this makes you feel like you're on a true spring break!
9. Dine on Some Fresh Fish: While there are plenty of fantastic restaurants on the island, the best in my opinion is the Boathouse Bar & Grill, which has freshly caught Lake Erie fish! The perch sandwich, walleye chowder, and fish & chips are the absolute best around! The patio is also a great way to enjoy the breeze. There is also a great kid's menu available.