Put-in-Bay, Ohio has lots to offer when it comes to sightseeing and places to visit. The excitement and enjoyment begin with a departure on the Jet-Express Ferry with spectacular views of Lake Erie and throughout the adventure of all that Put-in-Bay has to offer. Uncover the natural beauty of the Lake Erie Islands and explore places of great historical significance. Protected lands and parks bestowed for wildlife and State Parks are great for bird watching and water sports. Put-in-Bay has many wonderful options for you and your family to discover.
Sightseeing on the trip to Put-in-Bay
The sightseeing action is thrilling right from the departure from the Port Clinton and Sandusky Ohio terminals of the Jet-Express en route to Put-in-Bay, Ohio. The Jet fleets of catamarans are ocean-approved and can travel in excess of 40 mph. Riders can choose to sit in the comfortably appointed lounge with cushioned seating on the first level. This is very accessible and requires no stairs. Seating is also available on the top level which is open to the lovely breezes of Lake Erie. A narrated tour of the journey informs riders about the history of Put-in-Bay and the Lake Erie Islands and facts about the trip.
The voyage is just 25 minutes, yet covers a great expanse of Lake Erie giving plenty of opportunities for spectacular views. The twin hull design is crucial in the incredible smoothness of the ride, even in inclement weather. The Jet-Express provides ferry service to the heart of downtown Put-in-Bay and Kelly’s Island. Included in the purchase of a Jet-Express ticket to Put-in-Bay are valuable coupons and discounts for Put-in-Bay’s favorite establishments. There are 5 dollars off golf cart offers, as well as coupons to many different Put-in-Bay Restaurants, Attractions, and Shops. The downtown Put-in-Bay docks is an ideal place of departure with impressive views of the Put-in-Bay Public Docks and Gibraltar Island.
Getting Around on Put-in-Bay
The best way to get the most out of your Put-in-Bay visit or stay is to rent a golf cart. On South Bass Island the primary mode of transport is with a golf cart. This adds to the great ambiance and character of Put-in-Bay and will adjust the clock to “Island Time.” Just a short stroll through the lovely waterfront DeRivera Park is Delaware Cart & Bike Rental. Here you can rent a 4- 6- or 8- passenger cart rented hourly, daily and overnight.
All of their carts are gas powered and not only are faster but far outlast the electric golf carts. You can also rent Caloi bicycles to take your Put-in-Bay sightseeing adventure at a leisurely pace. Delaware Cart & Bike Rental is the only rental agency that offers mopeds. Getting a mode of transportation while on Put-in-Bay provides the best opportunity to see the most sights and explore the Island from end to end. There are a limited number of golf carts available and it is not uncommon to experience shortages at times. Reservations are strongly encouraged. You can do so at Put-in-Bay Golf Cart Rentals and ensure you will be on your way on Put-in-Bay.
Sightseeing the History of Put-in-Bay
A striking and distinctive feature of the Put-in-Bay skyline is Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial. This monument was erected to pay tribute to the men who were engaged in the Battle of Lake Erie. The Battle of Lake Erie is also commonly referred to as the Battle of Put-in-Bay and occurred near the end of the War of 1812. From the start of the War of 1812, the British had taken control of Lake Erie. The British stationed vessels in the area to provide a continued presence in Lake Erie.
Soon they were able to overtake Detroit and the Americans began to form a plan to regain control of the region. Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry was chosen to be the lead the Lake Erie campaign. In the early hours of September 10th, 1813 Perry could see the oncoming British squadron from his post on Put-in-Bay. After a hard fight one of Perry’s flagships, the USS Lawrence has sunk, but the Americans prevailed in the victory. This victory recaptured control of Lake Erie which proved very important in future skirmishes. In a famous report to General Harrison Perry stated:
“Dear General (Harrison): We have met the enemy and they are ours. Two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop. Yours with great respect and esteem. O.H. Perry.”
However, in the peril, there were casualties of approximately 100 on both the American and British sides. Beneath the stone veranda at Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial at Put-in-Bay are the remains of three American officers and three British officers. The monument pays homage to Perry’s successful defeat of the British and the lasting peace between Britain, Canada, and United States. Rising 352 feet above Put-in-Bay, Perry’s Monument is the most massive Doric column in the World. Views of Put-in-Bay are incredible from the viewing platform and panoramic vistas of Middle Bass Island, Gibraltar Island and the other Lake Erie Islands can be taken in. Visitors are even afforded views of Canada on clear days. For more information about hours and tickets to see Put-in-Bay’s most prominent landmark go to the National Parks System Site. Also, for further information about the history of Put-in-Bay and the Lake Erie Islands, visitors can browse the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society Museum, located behind the Put-in-Bay Police Department. This museum preserves interprets and conserves the rich history of Put-in-Bay and the Lake Erie Islands.
Perry’s men needed fresh, clean water to ensure they did not suffer from dysentery and other ailments of the day. Oliver Hazard Perry was credited with finding what is now known as Perry’s Cave. Here he found a rare lake inside the cave that fluctuates in depth with the rise and fall of Lake Erie. Perry’s men were not the only to use Perry’s Cave as a drinking source. The famous Hotel Victory utilized water from Perry’s Cave Lake. This hotel was once the largest hotel in the world and boasted an extravagant resort on the present site of South Bass Island State Park. Unfortunately, the Hotel Victory encountered a tremendous fire in 1919 and was never reopened. Perry’s Cave on Put-in-Bay is registered as an Ohio Natural Landmark and teems with historical significance. The cave is 52 feet under the surface of Put-in-Bay. Inside visitors can view such geological finds as stalagmites and stalactites made from many years of calcium carbonate deposits. Perry’s Cave and Family Fun Center also has a range of activities for kids of all ages. Guided tours of Perry’s Cave, Rock Climbing Wall, an Antique Car Museum and a putt-putt course The War of 18 Holes are among the attractions to visit while you are sightseeing. Perry’s Cave is one of two caves open to visitors on Put-in-Bay.
Crystal Cave can be found at Heineman’s Winery, across the street from Perry’s Cave and Family Fun Center. In 1888 Gustav Heineman established the winery on Put-in-Bay. Gustav emigrated from Baden-Baden, Germany, a prominent grape growing area in that area, to Put-in-Bay, Ohio. The fertile soils and temperate growing season were very conducive to grape growing. Earlier residents of Put-in-Bay had realized this and had already experimented with grape growing on the Island. Heineman’s Winery was 1 of 17 wineries on Put-in-Bay by 1900. However, after Prohibition in 1919, the winemaking business on Put-in-Bay became increasingly difficult. Still, Heineman’s prevailed during the tough times by providing taxi service and offering tours of Crystal Cave. Crystal Cave is home to the World’s largest geode. The walls are covered in strontium sulfate, and a formation of such size is not known of anywhere else. Today, third and fourth generation Heineman’s are continuing the grape growing and winemaking traditions. Visitors can take a tour of Heineman’s Winery and Crystal Cave for $6 adults and $3 for children 6 to 11. Sightseeing Tours at this Put-in-Bay attraction with a rich history and provenance are offered seven days a week from May through September.
Nature on Put-in-Bay
As mentioned, South Bass Island State Park was home to the famed Hotel Victory on Put-in-Bay. The park is located in the northwest tip of Put-in-Bay and has great offerings for enjoying the beauty and tranquility of the Lake Erie Islands. There are scenic picnic facilities, fishing pier, boat launch and personal watercraft available for rent. This is a perfect setting for a wonderful picnic on the shores of Lake Erie or a locale to catch glimpses of the many migratory birds that include Put-in-Bay in their travels. Put-in-Bay and the surrounding area is listed as one of the premier birding destinations in Ohio. Put-in-Bay and it’s Ottawa County neighbor Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area provide some of the best habitats alongside the shores of Lake Erie. The spring migration of tanagers, orioles, warblers, and grosbeaks can be seen upon Put in Bay seasonally. Additionally, this habitat is ideal for many waterfowl including herons, ducks, geese, terns, and gulls. Information about Put-in-Bay bird watching opportunities and wildlife and throughout Ohio can be found at http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/. Another wonderful area on Put-in-Bay for bird watching and enjoying the natural beauty of the Lake Erie Islands is the Ladd Carr Wildlife Woods and the Jane Coates Wildflower Trail. Located on Put-in-Bay Rd., these locations are protected lands designed to preserve tracts of land bestowed to the animals and plant life at Put-in-Bay.
Fun Events on Put-in-Bay
Like the bird watching, people watching and the numerous events on Put-in-Bay vary from when you set off on a Lake Erie adventure. Nearly all of the weekends during the Put-in-Bay season have special significance and activities. A Complete overview of what is happening on the island can be found on the Put-in-Bay Events page. Put-in-Bay is home to an incredible array of wildlife and has scenic vantage points all around the Island.
To celebrate the love of nature spring Fling is held the 1st weekend of May. This two-day event includes live music, food and fun in the street at the Island Club Guests of Island Club Rentals, the Put-in-Bay Resort, Bay Lodging Resort, and the Commodore Resort are invited to attend this favorite Put-in-Bay event. The end of May brings three days of excitement with Memorial Day Weekend, a time to honor those in the U.S. Military who have made it possible for us to enjoy Put-in-Bay and all of America with our freedoms and liberties. Put-in-Bay sightseers for the weekend of May 29-30 will likely see many soon to be grooms and brides as this is a favorite bachelor and bachelorette weekend. The fun abounds on the 2nd weekend of June with the Phlocking of the Phaithful, an annual event where Jimmy Buffet fans in great numbers come upon Put-in-Bay. For pirate lovers, there is the Pirate Festival during the last weekend of June (usually June 26-29). The brig Niagara will be making one of two appearances to Put-in-Bay to take part in the bounty of fun. Put-in-Bay fireworks on the 4th of July are absolutely spectacular. The wonderful reflection off of Lake Erie in downtown Put-in-Bay of the fireworks is memorable and one of the best places in the area to celebrate our Independence. A Put-in-Bay exclusive, Christmas in July celebrates all things jolly with Put-in-Bay businesses decorating with lights as well as the boats in the downtown Put-in-Bay harbor.
The first weekend of September brings Labor Day, another very popular and busy weekend on Put-in-Bay. This weekend has some of the best Put-in-Bay entertainment, as this is one of the last major weekends of the year. The Fall Ball will be held the 1st weekend of October features live entertainment, food and fun. The autumn weather is an excellent time to see a different side of Put-in-Bay. A weekly event at Put-in-Bay that is highly favored is the Antique Car Parade held every Sunday at 2 pm. This features many classic cars and draws in upwards of 100 cars during these lovely weekly Sunday parades. There are many great events to catch while sightseeing on Put-in-Bay. Many of the busier weekends draw large crowds and planning is always encouraged. To ensure you don’t miss out on a Put-in-Bay event that you would like to attend, be sure to seek out Put-in-Bay Hotels early.
Put-in-Bay sightseeing abounds with a great variety of activities and events that make for wonderful memories while vacationing in the Lake Erie Islands area. There are places and attractions that will excite even the most intrepid travelers. Historical significance, natural splendor, and unparalleled nightlife place Put-in-Bay into a category of its own.
Put-in-Bay Sightseeing Checklist
- Jet-Express ticket – Get here to Put-in-Bay fast and comfortably
- Coupons for golf carts, restaurants, etc. – Save $$$
- Golf Cart – Best way to see Put-in-Bay!
- State Driver’s License for Golf Cart Rental – To hold for the rental!
- Comfortable walking shoes – There’s lot’s to see!
- Camera – To remember your Put-in-Bay Sightseeing trip!
- Money (ATM) – Got to have it!
- Sunglasses – Many sunny days at Put-in-Bay!
- Willingness to have tons of fun – Mandatory!