Most Americans assume they have to head to the coasts or the Caribbean to find an island escape with cold drinks, beautiful waterfront views, and fun activities, but Ohio folks know about their very own secret little island paradise: Put-in-Bay.
Located just past the Lake Erie coastal town of Port Clinton, OH (near Sandusky and Cedar Point Amusement Park), getting to Put-in-Bay is a breeze via the ferries that run frequently. You can also take a boat or airplane if you just happen to have one of those laying around. Once on the island, however, the most common form on transportation is the golf cart, available for rent from multiple places. (Keep in mind, drinking and driving in a golf cart is a crime- a crime the police take very seriously on the island.) Once you’re on the island, there’s more than enough to see and do for a long summer weekend or a full week-long family vacation…
Enjoy the water:
Lake Erie is meant to be enjoyed, and Put-in-Bay offers plenty of ways to do it. Stop by Put-in-Bay Watercraft Rentals inside South Bass Island State Park to rent everything from kayaks to powerboats.
For a bird’s eye view of the Lake Erie islands, head over to Put-in-Bay Parasail. See if you can spot the world-famous Benson Ford Shiphouse...
Take in some history:
We’re guessing you didn’t know that Put-in-Bay hosts the 4th tallest national monument in the United States? Well, it does. The monument is the Perry's Victory & International Peace Memorial, and it’s also the world’s most massive Doric column. Commissioned in the early 1900s, the monument is a beacon of peace. From the NPS:
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.
Get your party on:
Put-in-Bay has so many places to grab a drink and cut loose a little, it’s hard to pick just a few to feature, but a couple of our favorites are The Roundhouse Bar and the Beer Barrel Saloon.
From Visit Put-in-Bay:
The Roundhouse Bar (RHB) has had a long tradition of good music, good friends, and cold beer for over 135 years. In the early years, it was extremely inappropriate and taboo for a gentleman and a gentlewoman to enjoy a cold beverage with one another in the same bar. Always the trailblazer, The Roundhouse Bar eradicated this taboo once and for all and became the first drinking establishment on the island to allow men and women to share in a drinking camaraderie.
Located in downtown Put-in-Bay, on South Bass Island and affectionately called "The Barrel" by many islanders, the Beer Barrel boasts a 405 foot, 10 inch long bar, 160 bar stools, 56 beer taps and a seating capacity of 1,200. On a busy night the bar employs over 20 bartenders and opens two extra bars in the back and side of the building.
Grab a bite:
Like your drinking options, your dining options on the island are many… While there are plenty of great places, we think The Boardwalk does the best job of making you feel like you’re actually on some island in the Caribbean… Sit in the open-air restaurant as the boats come and go from the marina. From Visit Put-in-Bay:
A lakefront restaurant serving some of the freshest seafood on the Ohio islands, including its world-famous Lobster Bisque - what's not to love? The menu for this casual family dining restaurant includes choices from a seafood lover's dream, like perch, Alaskan King Crab, and shrimp, as well as burgers, fries, and pizza. A great mix of live bands can also be found at The Boardwalk. Getting to Put-in-Bay by your own personal boat? The Boardwalk has 80 mooring buoys and a harbor taxi for diners.
Where to stay:
Once again, Put-in-Bay has a little of everything. You can camp at the state park or private campgrounds or rent a cabin. If you’d prefer to stay right near the action of downtown, there are plenty of hotels on the island. The newest and most luxurious is the Put in Bay Resort:
Guest's will enjoy the Put-in-bay Resort's close proximity to the downtown Put-in-Bay shopping, restaurants and nightlife just one block away. The Put-in-Bay Resort feature family style suites that sleep up to 6 people, rooms that sleep 2 and 4, as well as Jacuzzi rooms and wheelchair accessible rooms. A bountiful continental breakfast is included Sunday thru Friday!