12 REALLY FUN Things To Do At Put-in-Bay

On South Bass Island, there is a quaint Victorian village located on the island called Put-in-Bay. This village is important for its historical background, as the town served as a base of operations for the US Naval Commander, Oliver Hazard Perry during the War of 1812. This small village is now a popular summer vacation spot with resorts and recreational activities. To get to the island, you can take an airplane and land at the small Put-in-Bay Airport. Or like most visitors,  you ride the ferries that can also take you to Kelleys Island, Sandusky, Port Clinton, and Catawba Island. With this many things to do at Put-in-Bay, it is worth a visit to learn and experience history.

 #1 Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial

The Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial was built to commemorate peace after the War of 1812. The Battle of Lake Erie happened right next to South Bass Island. The memorial represents peace between Britain, Canada, and the United States of America. Likewise, to order honor the soldiers who died during the Battle of Lake Erie. The memorial opens at 10 am and closes at 5 or 6 pm depending on the season. It is five dollars to go to the top of the memorial and look out over the bay. On a clear day, you can see Cedar Point and other mainland attractions as well as the skylines of Toledo and Detroit!

#2 South Bass Island

South Bass Island is a small island in western Lake Erie in Put-in-Bay, Ohio. With there being three Bass Islands, South Bass island is the most southernmost and the third-largest island among the islands of Lake Erie. On the island, there is a park located on the top of the white cliffs. It’s popular for recreation with locals and visitors. During the summer you can picnic, boat, fish and even go swimming. During the winter, you can ice fish and ice skate.

 #3 Put-in-Bay Winery

The Put-in-Bay Winery is a great place to learn about the grapes that make the wine in detail. From the moment the seed is sowed, through its growth cycle, then on to being bottled. The next stop just might be your local wine tasting. For those who enjoy wine, it’s very interesting to learn all about their wine-making process. As a recommended attraction, you can enjoy a tour of the winery but also a glass of wine. Relax here, enjoying wine and watching the Put-in-Bay harbor.

 #4 The Butterfly House

While you visit Put-in-Bay, you can visit the Butterfly House that is part of Perry’s Cave. Walk among hundreds of butterflies that have been brought to the island from Costa Rica and Malaysia. The butterflies enjoy their tropical home that was created to replicate the tropical climates they are found in originally. When you enter, you can watch a short film giving details of a butterfly’s life cycle, showing the caterpillar hatching from a small egg before transforming into a butterfly inside a chrysalis. This is one of the more popular Put-in-Bay Attractions

Watching the videos helps you appreciate and understand the butterflies and their life cycle. The Butterfly House is open from May through September, all days of the week from 10 am until 6 pm. During October it is open on the weekend from 10 am to 5 pm. You can purchase combo tickets that allow you to check out the other 6 attractions at Perry’s Cave, such as the cave itself, the mini-golf course, a rock wall, and Fort Amaze’n. The combo ticket costs 26 USD per person but individual tickets are also available; you can find further prices on their official website.

#5 Perry’s Cave

On the island, there is a cave you can visit, called the Perry’s Cave. It is a registered Natural Landmark in Ohio, making it very important. It is a natural limestone cave that is important to history. This cave lies 52 feet (15.8 meters) below the surface of South Bass Island. You can look at the stalagmites and stalactites but also the cave pearls on the walls. The cave’s ceiling and the floor have an unusual appearance because of how it was created by a thick coating of calcium carbonate deposits over time, caused by water dripping from the ceiling.

A rare underground lake was discovered in this cave and the temperature inside reminds around 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) at all times during the year. The Cave is open from May to September, all days of the week 10 am to 6 pm, and during October is it open on the weekends from 10 am to 5 pm. You can also buy combo tickets that include the Butterfly House and the six other attractions.

 #6 South Bass Island Lighthouse

South Bass Island Lighthouse is located on the southern end of South Bass Island. The lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built-in 1892, it is located on the rocky shoreline and is three-stories tall. It was built to help the growing number of traveling ships bringing tourists to the island. But the lighthouse is a sight for many tragedies, such as the suicide of the first lighthouse keeper. It is owned by Ohio State University and is thought to be the only lighthouse in the United States to be owned by a university. Today, visitors are allowed to view the lighthouse only on specially arranged tours.

 #7 The Chocolate Museum

The Chocolate Museum in Put-in-Bay is a must to visit for any person with a sweet tooth. One of the sweetest as well as fun things to do at Put-in-Bay. Here you can learn about the history of chocolate, from where the cocoa beans grow, how it is made, and lots of other interesting information regarding chocolate. You can buy chocolate right at the museum, as well as some roasted coffee. Buy something for your family who has a sweet tooth that they are sure to enjoy. The museum is open from 8 am to 9 pm on weekdays, and 7 am to 9 pm on the weekends.

#8 The Put-in-Bay Resort Swim Up Pool Bar

One of the most popular things to do at Put-in-Bay is just to hang out and people-watch at the Put-in-Bay Resort and their popular swim-up bar. This island hot spot is the place to see and be seen! The Blue Marlin Bar & Grill serves up some of the island’s best food and even better ice cold frosty beverages! For kids, it’s always one of their favorite things to do at Put-in-Bay.

#9 The Outer Islands

Gibraltar Island, or the “Gem of Lake Erie,” is another island located in Lake Erie. Smaller in size, it is just offshore of South Bass Island. It is named after the Rock of Gibraltar in Europe because of how rocky it is. The island houses many historic buildings and research facilities and the Lake Erie Islands only castle built by Jay Cooke. Middle Bass island is just a short boat taxi ride away. It is home to a large State of Ohio Park and the trip there is for sure one of the fun things to do at Put-in-Bay

#10 The Lake Erie Islands Historical Society and Museum

The Lake Erie Islands Historical Society and Museum are located in Put-in-Bay. There you can learn interesting information and history of the different islands of Lake Erie and their importance. As you visit, you can see important artifacts from Naval Officer Commander Perry’s Life, as well as several other special items from Perry’s victory during the War of 1812. This museum is open every day from June to August and opens on the weekends during May and September. It is recommended to call before visiting at other times during the year. The fee for entering the museum is 3 USD for adults and 5 USD per family.

#11 The Put-in-Bay Hiking Trails & Wildlife Preserves

On South Bass Island, there is a secret hiking trail right in Put-in-Bay. This short trail provides a pleasant walk that clocks in around 40 minutes through the woodland area. Birds and butterflies can be spotted here and this trail also leads to a  few small secluded beaches. It is being shady and cool, it is perfect for a hot summer day. There are two benches on the trail where you can rest and watch the wildlife. If you want you can bike the trail in about 20 minutes. It is recommended to spray yourself to ward off the bugs, and to take some water and a few snacks for a pleasant hike.

#12 of 12 REALLY FUN Things To Do At Put-in-Bay

Put-in-Bay’s Aquatic Resource Center is an amazing place to learn all about the aquatic life and watersheds around the area. The kids can tag alone here as they can fish from the dock as the equipment is provided. It covers the history of the hatcheries that were operated on the island and when it became part of the Ohio University research unit. It is an interesting stop that removes you from the busy aspects of the island and lets you look at interesting fish and displays. You can also spot birds here and have fun feeding the fishes. The center is free to enter.

 Put-in-Bay may be a small village, but it is jam-packed with an interesting history and fun things to do. You can visit historical landmarks, go to wineries and even learn while being there. You can visit the surrounding islands easily, and there is enough here to make nature-lovers happy. The best way to see the island is on a Put-in-Bay Golf Cart Rental. You can rent by the hour or by the day.

Put-in-Bay is a special place to visit while traveling to Ohio. So, start making your plans to visit. As you can see, it’s likely you will not run out of cool things to do at Put-in-Bay. For additional information, you can visit the Put-in-Bay Visitors & Convention Bureau Website.