Here are 26 Reasons To Visit Put-in-Bay – Or Visit Put-in-Bay By The Alphabet!
With winter being almost gone, and in a few weeks, Put-in-Bay will be welcoming its first visitors of the 2021 season. We believe 2021 will be one of the best years for our little island, and we are so excited to start. So to kick-off our 2021 season, here is a Sesame Street-style guide to Visit Put-in-Bay.
A is for Airport
To start our Put-in-Bay alphabet is our airport. The Put-in-Bay Airport is home to bi-planes and helicopter rides, letting you soar high above the Lake Erie Islands and see all the beauty they have to offer. Likewise, the Put-in-Bay Airport is home to Bash on the Bay! This annual country music event brings tens of thousands of people each year. In 2019, Kid Rock was featured at the event, bringing in huge crowds. 2020’s performers will be announced very soon!
B is for The Boardwalk
Being one of Put-in-Bay’s famous restaurants, and it’s most visible, is the Boardwalk. Here visitors can see incredible views of the downtown harbor while enjoying some of their world-famous Lobster Bisque. There are five different restaurants in the Boardwalk Restaurant complex, all offering something different to satisfy anyone in your group.
C is for Caves
On South Bass Island, you can find not just one cave but two of the caves located in the Midwest. Perry’s Cave takes you five stories below the surface where you can see a fantastic underground lake. The water levels of the cave are related to Lake Erie, and this underground lake has earned its spot in history. This underground lake was found by Commodore Perry during the War of 1812 and was used for drinking water. But if you go across the street, you can go to the Crystal Cave- which is the world’s largest single geode.
D is for DeRivera Park
Right in the middle of downtown Put-in-Bay, you can find a vast green space named DeRivera Park. This park is a fantastic place to bring your family to a picnic, people watch and allow your little ones to run around and play on the playground. With space on the island being at a premium, this park is a testament to the resident of the island wanting to keep it beautiful.
E is for Entertainment
Entertainment is as huge on the island as on the mainland! You are likely to find live entertainment just about every Put-in-Bay Bar you visit!. There are even some concerts with big-name acts! Going to a restaurant or a bar and seeing a band performing live to enhance your evening out is just another reason Put-in-Bay is a hit!. Here at Put-in-Bay, we think that is a shame with downtown Put-in-Bay’s bar and restaurants having live music every weekend.
If you stroll down Delaware Ave, you can hear live music coming from every other bar. Some of the performers have been playing at Put-in-Bay for decades, such as Mad Dog, Bob Gatewood, and more. To see a list of all of the bars and live music for the 2020 season, follow this link! However, please keep in mind that not every bar has given us its 2020 entertainment schedule, so this list is just the start!
F is for Ferries
When I first came to Put-in-Bay as a kid, the thing I was most excited about was not even on the island, but how we got to the island by ferry. When traveling to South Bass Island, there are two ferry lines, the Miller Ferry and the Jet Express.
The Jet Express has a great air-conditioned cabin and reaches higher speeds. While the Miller Ferry transports vehicles (not recommended for tourists) and allows you to have some open-air where you can stand and enjoy the mist from the wake as you travel to the island. For more information, visit our FAQ page!
G is for Golf Carts
People who have come to Put-in-Bay before know that the island has a charm that cannot be found on the mainland. Part of that charm is the Put-in-Bay golf cart rentals. At Put-in-Bay, golf carts are licensed, plated, and street-legal that share the road with cars every day. The use of golf carts began for practical reasons, to help decrease the space taken up by vehicles on our island. But it has grown to be a part of the Put-in-Bay culture that visitors remember. It’s one of many fun ways to get around Put-in-Bay!
H is for Heineman’s Winery
Heineman’s Winery is a Put-in-Bay institution. It is not much of a stretch to say that the Winery’s history is the island’s history. Heineman Winery was founded in 1887, and at the time, Put-in-Bay had over a dozen wineries. Lake Erie is perfect for it provides a stabilizing effect on the island’s climate, which allows grapes to be grown for a much more extended period of time than on the mainland.
Making wine has long been very popular on the island. However, when prohibition struck, it forced every other Winery to shut down. But this Winery survived because of its grape juice and selling tours of the Crystal Cave. Nowadays, you can buy their wine or grape juice and visit the cave and learn about their winemaking process.
I is for Invite Your Friends!
A big thing Put-in-Bay is known for is the big group outings like bachelor and bachelorette parties. But also family reunions, corporate retreats, and sometimes just time to have a big group of friends to gather and have a fun weekend together. Typically when visiting, people come in groups, and the Put-in-Bay Resort and their downtown home rentals are the best for group lodging, bar none! Everything is right under one roof, so guests are able to focus on the most important thing about their trip, having a relaxing experience. Walking distance to everything!
J is for Joe’s Bar
Joe’s Bar is the best dive bar on the planet, and what more do you need to know. Joe’s Bar may have given itself that title, but it earns it every summer weekend. There truly is a reason why some yearly visitors make it their first stop when they arrive on the island. It is separated from the crowded downtown area if you are looking for a place to drink that is a tad more relaxed. If you enjoy Bloody Mary’s, then Joe’s is the place to go for one.
K is for Kimberly’s Carousel
An incredibly rare slice of early 20th century Americana resides in downtown Put-in-Bay. Kimberly’s Carousel is one of less than 100 remaining functional Allan Herschel wooden carousels. It was built in1917, and these were the height of amusement for young people of the time. Thanks to incredible labor of love by Put-in-Bay’s Stoiber family, this CarouselCarousel has been restored to its century-old glory!
Right in downtown Put-in-Bay, you can visit a piece of early 20th century America. Kimberly’s Carousel is one of less than 100 working Allan Herschel wooden carousels. Built-in 1917, this CarouselCarousel was peak amusement for young people then. Thanks to the hard work and love by the Put-in-Bay Stoiber family, Kimberly’s Carousel is here today.
L is for Lake Erie
Without Lake Erie, there would be no Put-in-Bay or South Bass Island. This lake means so much to the residents and visitors. During the springtime, there is so much walleye that this is the Walleye Capital of the World. Anglers come from all around America to visit and catch so much walleye that they don’t know what to do with it. In the summertime, Lake Erie allows us to host exciting water activities that add to a great weekend getaway. Here you can jet-ski, kayak, parasail, or just have a good splash about when you visit Put-in-Bay.
M is for The Blue Marlin Bar & Grill
Our favorite downtown bar is both a bar, a pool, a restaurant, and you can swim up and enjoy all of them! The Blue Marlin Bar & Grill is located at the island’s largest and most popular hotel, the Put-in-Bay Resort. This is the place to see and be seen! A reasonably priced menu attracts the locals, and some of the best drink prices on the island keep them there
N is for Nightlife
One of the famous things Put-in-Bay is famous for is the incredible nightlife in the downtown area. There are so many bars and restaurants within walking distance, and many offer live music. Here anyone can find something that fits their taste, but some of the more famous and popular are the aforementioned Mr.Ed’s, the Round House Bar, and the Beer Barrel, which has the world’s longest bar. That is just to start, and you can find that an eventing here kind of becomes a mini-bar crawl, as there is so much to do when you visit Put-in-Bay!
O is for Oak Point State Park
This state park is a hidden gem here at Put-in-Bay, as it is the smallest park in Ohio’s state park system. It might be small, but it packs a punch when it comes to sights. You can see incredible sunrises, downtown Put-in-Bay and the harbor. This park is top-rated for island weddings.
P is for Perry’s Monument
The official name is Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial, and it stands at being the 5th tallest monument in America, which makes it tall enough to stand out. Likewise, the fact it is on a little island makes it hard to miss. It is an icon as it represents Put-in-Bay on a global scale. There is so much to say about this monument that we could write an entire blog about it. But in short, this monument is a must when you visit the island as you can see everything on top.
Q is for Quick To Get To
While Ohio isn’t usually the first place people seek to get an island vacation, but here on South Bass Island, you can get that unique getaway. If you are from any major city in the Midwest, you can come here instead of Key West. Coming here does not mean having to worry about a plane ticket, saving money that you can spend on the island. You just need to hop in a car and head to Port Clinton and board a ferry to the Bay.
R is for Real Estate
While Put-in-Bay is a vacation destination for many people, it can also be an investment opportunity for others. And who wouldn’t want to have their own summer vacation home on the island? Whether it is for personal use or vacation rental investment property. There are so many potential gems on this island. If you are interested in this, you can read about island life, here.
S is for Swim-up Bars
A uniquely Put-in-Bay experience is the swim-up bar. You could go to Key West or even the Caribbean and visit a swim-up bar there. But here you can visit one in the Midwest even if you are from Cleveland, Chicago, or Detroit. You don’t have to travel halfway around the world to do it when there are some here at Put-in-Bay. The island’s most popular swim-up bar is the Blue Marlin At the Put-in-Bay Resort! A don’t miss when you visit Put-in-Bay
T is for Taxi Rides
While on the mainland, a taxi ride is typically nothing to write home about, but things are a little different at the Bay. Here we have late model Taxis operated by Coops’ Cab & taxi vans are like having your own party bus. Only for $3-4 a person, you can go anywhere on the island and be chauffeured by one of our high-energy taxi drivers and sing along to great music. Taking a taxi here is a party unto itself.
U is for Unforgettable Events
This island has so many events from massive musical acts to amateur sports tournaments, historical re-enactments, 5ks, and a massive party for almost every summer holiday. Put-in-Bay is never boring. Our fireworks show is famous all over Ohio, and people come from all over the nation for special events such as PyrateFest. Some world-famous performers have played on this island, such as Kid Rock, Rascal Flatts, and Toby Keith. We’ll have to add a few more names to that list, as Bash on the Bay 4 will be headlined by two of the biggest names to ever come to our island. Now that’s a great reason to Visit Put-in-Bay!
V is for Views
Everything is more beautiful on this island. Seeing a sunrise or a sunset on South Bass Island is something else. With how beautiful it is, with all of the colors and it reflecting off of the water is a sight to behold. The horizon is nothing you can see on the mainland. Our favorite place to view a sunrise is from a balcony of a Put-in-Bay Villa, and as for seeing the sunset, we recommend the South Bass Island State Park.
W is for the Whiskey Light
As you may know, Put-in-Bay is a three-season travel destination. The businesses close up during the winter, and it becomes a quiet town of 150 full-time residents. So you can imagine how vital the tourism season is for this island. For decades Put-in-Bay has commemorated the start of tourism season with an occasion at the Round House Bar downtown with the lighting of the Whiskey Light. It is one of the favorite events of island residents and long-time visitors. The Round House turns on their neon whiskey sign, and it is time to party.
X is for eXperiences…
This may be a stretch, but don’t be so hard on us. This entire list is here to show you want you can experience on this three-square-mile island. Sorry, we do not have any X’s to talk! Just visit Put-in-Bay! Be sure to check out our Xtra special Put-in-Bay Hotels There are actually full-time residents that live on South Bass Island. During a summer weekend, their hometown is as dense as a big city, but in the winter, the community is made of about 150 people. If you are curious about what it is like to read our blog about life for island residents. In the winter months, many people enjoy the popular Put-in-Bay Ice Fishing.
Z is for ZERO REASON NOT TO COME TO VISIT PUT-IN BAY!
There are zero reasons not to come to visit Put-in-Bay, as you have read all about what this island has to offer. If you have any additional questions, you can call us at 888-742-7829. Our friendly island staff will be able to help you find the best place to stay! Our thanks to the Put-in-Bay Visitors & Convention Bureau for their help on this article!