25 Things To Do In Put-in-Bay, Ohio - Updated 2021

25 Things To Do In Put-in-Bay, Ohio - Updated 2021
Hridya
Hridya
Updated

Put-in-Bay is a village located on the South Bass Island in Put-in-Bay Township, Ohio, United States. The bay is said to have played a significant role during the War of 1812; it served as the location of the squadron of the US Naval Commander, Oliver Hazard Perry. Put-in-Bay village is a popular summer resort and is also a great destination for recreational activities. It is well-connected by air, with the closest airport being the small Put-In-Bay Airport, as well as by ferry, with regular services to Kelleys Island, Sandusky, Ohio, Port Clinton, and Catawba Island. Planning a trip? Here’s a list of the best things to do in Put-in-Bay, Ohio.

1. Dodge Woods Preserve

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Nature lovers should not miss out on visiting Dodge Woods Preserve. Open from dawn until dusk, this destination features a nature trail for walking and biking, which is gentle enough for people of all fitness levels, cutting through a young forest - the area used to be a vineyard before these were removed in favor of trees, so much of the flora in the area is still relatively new. Nonetheless, these plants and flowers have attracted different varieties of migratory birds, so the preserve also offers plenty of opportunities for bird watchers to try and spot feathered creatures flitting all over. Do note that camping and motorized vehicles are not allowed in the preserve. This area is close to other tourist attractions such as Perry’s Cave and the Lake Erie Islands Nature and Wildlife Center.

Dodge Woods Preserve

Address: Langram Rd, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456, United States

Website: Dodge Woods Preserve

2. Massie Cliffside Preserve

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The biggest attraction of Massie Cliffside Preserve, dubbed as the “Key West of the North”, is its shoreline and dock, where guests can spend a relaxing time fishing, with perch, walleye, and bass as some of the types of fish that can be caught in Lake Erie. There are other activities that can be enjoyed off the water. Nature lovers will want to explore one of the trails there, including one which connects the preserve to the State Route 357 parking lot. Bird and animal watching can also be experienced on the island. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Lake Erie Watersnake, which is endemic to the area and is protected by the state because of its threatened status. Benches are scattered all over the preserve where guests can sit and enjoy the views.

Massie Cliffside Preserve

Address: 139-147 Massie Dr, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456, United States

Website: Massie Cliffside Preserve

3. Cooke Castle

Cooke Castle
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Analogue Kid used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Did you know that Put-in-Bay has its very own castle? Located in the easternmost portion of South Bass Island, Cooke Castle, also known as Jay Cooke House, was built in 1864 by Jay Cooke, who used this as his family’s holiday home. The castle has since been acquired by the Ohio State University, which transformed at least part of the estate into the F.T. Stone Laboratory, the home of the university’s Biological Field Station. Tours of Gibraltar Island include a visit to the castle, as well as other attractions such as Perry’s Lookout. The castle, which is still in the process of rehabilitation today, is included in the National Register of Historic Landmarks.

Cooke Castle

Address: Gibraltar Island, Put-in-Bay, Ohio

Website: Cooke Castle

4. St Paul's Episcopal Church

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by St. Paul's Episcopal - Put In Bay (PIB) Ohio on Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Built in 1864, St Paul’s Episcopal Church is considered the oldest wooden church across the state and it is one of the oldest churches that continue to be used to date. Many of its stained-glass windows date as far back as the 1900s. The church makes it a point to accept anyone, regardless of faith, who wants to spend a moment in prayer and reflection. The Labyrinth in the church is based on the labyrinth of the Chartres Cathedral in France.

St Paul's Episcopal Church

Address: 623 Catawba Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456, United States

Website: St Paul’s Episcopal Church

5. South Bass Island State Park

Put-in-Bay Dolomite over Tymochtee Dolomite, Upper Silurian; South Bass Island
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user James St. John used under CC BY 2.0

South Bass Island State Park is the only area in Put-in-Bay where you can go camping, and that’s not a bad thing, especially considering the sights that you can enjoy as you commune with nature. There are over 100 campsites in the area that you can choose from, ranging from rustic options to more modern plots that come complete with electricity, restrooms, and showers, and some even give you beach access. If, however, you’re only planning a day trip here, don’t worry, because there are also activities and places you can check out in South Bass Island State Park. The beach is always worth a visit, as is the fishing pier and the cave. There’s also a butterfly garden in the park, where you can marvel at the winged and multi-hued creatures flitting around. The local shops and restaurants are also worth checking out, especially if you’re a foodie.

South Bass Island State Park

Address: 1523 Catawba Ave, Put in Bay, OH 43456-5508

6. Benson Ford Shiphouse

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Benson Ford Shiphouse on Saturday, July 9, 2016

At Put-in-Bay, finding at least one ship on land and not in water is not a cause for alarm. While it once was used as a water vessel that even reached Canada - it was used as a freighter for Ford Motor. Co. - it was deliberately and permanently brought to ground by Frank Sullivan, who converted a portion of it into his home. The shiphouse has since been purchased by Bryan Kasper, who bought it through an auction and provides guided tours of his home to guests - visitors will be able to see how the ship’s fixtures have been incorporated into the decors of this unique property. Make sure to call to set up an appointment for the tour.

Benson Ford Shiphouse

Address: 1191 Ashburn Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456, United States

Website: Benson Ford Shiphouse

7. Heineman Winery

Posted by Heineman Winery and Crystal Cave on Saturday, December 12, 2020

The oldest winery in Put-in-Bay, Heineman Winery takes pride in its “from vine-to-wine” approach in producing its creations. The owners have managed to hold on to their company since it was established in 1888; today, it is managed by the third, fourth, and fifth generations of the Heinemans. They have different wines that are available for purchase at the gift shop, with Pink Catawba being their bestseller. The owners also offer tours to the Crystal Cave, home of the biggest geode in the world. Each ticket comes with a free glass of wine or grape juice, for kids or non-drinkers.

Heineman Winery

Address: 978 Catawba Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456, United States

Website: Heineman Winery

8. Scheeff East Point Nature Preserve

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Scheeff East Point Nature Preserve was named after Rose Scheeff, a woman who gave a sizeable donation to help conserve this plot of land. This attraction is a haven for nature lovers: it comes with a walking path so visitors can explore the area and get the opportunity to spot the fauna and fauna that have made the park their home. Other activities that guests can enjoy during their visit include birdwatching, fishing, and kayaking. The park offers fantastic views of Ballast and Middle Bass Islands.

Scheeff East Point Nature Preserve

Address: 1159-1107 Columbus Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456, United States

Website: Scheeff East Point Nature Preserve

9. Island Paws

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Island Paws on Monday, May 20, 2019

Planning to head to Put-in-Bay with your dog? If so, you don’t have to worry about where you can bring your pup for some exercise. Island Paws is Put-in-Bay’s dog park, located near the airport. The off-leash park is spacious, providing dogs, even the most energetic ones, with plenty of room to romp in and explore. If you don’t have your own pet, you can head here to watch these fluffy, four-legged Fidos frolicking about. The park is open from sunrise to sunset.

Island Paws

Address: 1795 Langram Rd, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456, United States

Website: Island Paws

Opening hours: Sunrise - Sunset

10. Put-in-bay Raceway

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

If you have a need for speed, check out our off road trucks!

Posted by Putinbay Raceway on Thursday, August 3, 2017

Race over to Put-in-bay Raceway and satisfy your need for speed. This attraction takes its guests on a trip to their childhood by letting them race remote-controlled (RC) cars on a track that has been built to scale. Each car can go as fast as 50 mph (80.5 kph), a speed rate that can easily allow them to overtake the golf carts that you will find just about anywhere in Put-in-Bay. Virtually anyone, regardless of age, can get behind the figurative wheel and take their cars to full speed here. After all, licenses are not required to get an RC car zipping through this track. Groups and friends and family members will have plenty of fun racing each other in a safe manner.

Put-in-bay Raceway

Address: 218 Delaware Ave, Put-in-Bay, OH 43456

Website: Put-in-bay Raceway

11. Kimberly's Carousel

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Take a trip back to your childhood - and the history of Put-in-Bay - when you visit Kimberly’s Carousel. This is one of the oldest carousels in the USA, having been built sometime in 1917 by Allan Herschell, a figure renowned for being the top carousel and amusement park ride manufacturer of his time. George Stoiber, a local who had fond memories of the carousel from his childhood, bought it and, with his wife, restored it to its former glory. While they were only able to restore 12 of the original 36 animals, they replaced some with new figures, including Pete the Perch, which has become one of the locals’ favorites. Tickets for the carousel can be purchased at the Carriage House, one of the biggest shops in the area.

Kimberly's Carousel

Address: 160 Delaware Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456, United States

12. Hooligans Irish Pub

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Don’t let its name scare you and keep you from checking this place out. Contrary to its name, the staff of Hooligans Irish pub is well-trained, friendly, and eager to show guests the Irish brand of hospitality. They also know their stuff, taking pride in their ability to pour that perfect pint, which guests can pair with traditional Irish fare. If you want something filling, try out their traditional Reuben sandwich, the bestseller on their menu, or their shepherd’s pie, another favorite. Their whiskeys are not to be missed. The pub also offers kids’ items for those bringing their children with them. The property itself has been designed in a vintage style, recalling the pubs from yesteryears.

Hooligans Irish Pub

Address: 421 Co Rd 215, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456, United States

Website: Hooligans Irish Pub

13. Red Moon

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Try one of our charcuterie plates, sweet or savory!

Posted by Red Moon on Friday, June 26, 2015

If you love secrets, you’ll love Red Moon, the only speakeasy in Put-in-Bay. The location of Red Moon is one of the island’s open secrets: it is found at the corner of Delaware and Loraine Avenues, right across DeRivera Park. The bar is actually the converted dining hall of the Park Hotel, which was built sometime in the 1870s. The decors of the bar and its menu pay homage to the past. Its drinks are extensive, including a long wine list featuring bottles from different parts of the globe, as well as a number of craft beers. Of course, there are plenty of cocktails on the menu as well, including beer cocktail options.

Red Moon

Address: 234 Delaware Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456, United States

Website: Red Moon

Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 6pm - 2:30am; Fri: 4pm - 2:30am; Sat: 2pm - 2:30am

14. Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial

Perry Monument and Flags
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Alvintrusty used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial was built to commemorate the Battle of Lake Erie. The battle took place near the South Bass Island in Ohio. The memorial also stands as a symbol of lasting peace between the 3 countries of Britain, Canada, and the United States of America. The memorial was built in order to honour those brave souls who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie, during the War of 1812. The memorial opens at 10 am every day and closes at 5 or 6 pm, depending on the season. An admission fee of 5 USD is charged.

15. South Bass Island

Northeast view of South Bass Island
Source: Photo by Flickr user daveynin used under CC BY 2.0

South Bass Island is a small island in western Lake Erie in Put-in-Bay, Ohio. There are 3 of the Bass Islands, with South Bass Island being the southernmost of the 3. It is also the third-largest island among the islands of Lake Erie. There is a park located on top of the white cliffs of South Bass Island. It is a popular recreation spot and is popular with locals and visitors alike. Some of the popular activities during summer include picnicking, boating, fishing, and swimming. Winter recreational activities include ice fishing and ice skating..

16. Put-in-Bay Winery

Put-In-Bay Winery & Doller Estate
Source: Photo by Flickr user daveynin used under CC BY 2.0

Put-in-Bay Winery teaches you about the grape in great detail, right from the moment the seed is sowed in the ground, through its growth and journey into the bottle, and finally, there is a wine-tasting session. It is incredibly interesting, especially for those who have an existing passion for wine.

A recommended attraction, you can enjoy the tour as well a great glass of wine. You can also relax in the wine garden and enjoy the beautiful views of Put-in-Bay Harbor.

17. Butterfly House at Perry’s Cave

Put-n-Bay Butterfly
Source: Photo by Flickr user marada used under CC BY-ND 2.0

The Butterfly House is part of Perry’s Cave in Put-in-Bay. You can walk among several hundred butterflies that have been brought in from Costa Rica and Malaysia. The butterflies are allowed to enjoy the tropical atmosphere that they originally lived in as a tropical greenhouse has been created as their home. As you enter, you can choose to watch a short video on a butterfly’s life cycle, showing how a caterpillar hatches from a small egg before transforming into a butterfly inside a chrysalis. Seeing the emergence of these beautiful creatures helps you to appreciate and understand them better.

The Butterfly House is open from May through to September, all days of the week from 10 am until 6 pm. It is open on weekends in October from 10 am until 5 pm. You can purchase combo tickets for all 6 attractions at Perry’s Cave, including the Butterfly House, Perry’s Cave itself, the mini golf course, a rock wall, and Fort Amaze’n. Combination tickets cost 26 USD per person. Individual tickets are also available; further pricing details can be found on the official website.

18. Perry’s Cave

Cave in South Bass Island, Lake Erie
Source: Photo by Flickr user James St. John used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Perry’s Cave has been registered as an important Natural Landmark in Ohio. It is a natural limestone cave that is drenched in history and traditions. The cave lies 52 feet (15.8 meters) below the surface of South Bass Island in Lake Erie. Discovered in 1813, it is 208 feet (63.4 meters) long and 165 feet (50.3 meters) wide. You can view impressive stalagmites and stalactites as well as cave pearls on the walls. The unusual appearance of the cave’s ceiling and the floor was created by a thick coating of calcium carbonate deposits over the course of time, caused by water dripping from the roof. A rare underground lake has also been discovered in this cave. It is said that the temperature inside remains around 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) at all times of the year.

Perry’s Cave is open from May to September, all days of the week from 10 am until 6 pm. It is open on weekends in October from 10 am until 5 pm. As with the Butterfly House, combo tickets are available for Perry’s Cave and the other 5 attractions at this site.

19. South Bass Island Light

South Bass Island Lighthouse (Ohio)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Rene Sturgell used under CC BY-SA 3.0

South Bass Island Light is a lighthouse located on the southern end of South Bass Island. The Lighthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The spacious 3-storey lighthouse was built on the rocky shoreline in 1892. Created to aid a growing number of vessels bringing tourists to the island, the lighthouse is surrounded in several tragedies, including the suicide of the first lighthouse keeper. Owned by Ohio State University, it is thought to be the sole lighthouse in the United States that is owned by a university. Today, visitors are allowed to view the lighthouse only on specially arranged tours.

20. Chocolate Museum

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The Chocolate Museum in Put-in-Bay is a must-visit for any chocolate-loving person. You can learn the history of chocolate, where cocoa beans grow, how it is made, and lots of other interesting information related to chocolate. As a bonus, you can buy some amazing chocolate onsite, as well as coffee that is roasted right there! Give your sweet tooth something to chew on at the Chocolate Museum. The museum is open from 8 am to 9 pm on weekdays, and 7 am to 9 pm on weekends.

21. Rattlesnake Island

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Rattlesnake Island is a large island located on Lake Erie near Put-in-Bay. It is one of the several islands that are collectively known as the Lake Erie Islands, and, despite its large size, it is one of the smallest islands in the group. The name Rattlesnake Island was chosen because it is said that actual rattlesnakes used to inhabit the island. Another reason for this name is the overall shape of the island, which looks rather like a rattlesnake’s rattle! It is a peaceful and quiet place with bobwhites and seagulls outnumbering humans!

22. Gibraltar Island

OSUIsland
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Analogue Kid used under CC BY 3.0

Gibraltar Island, also called the “Gem of Lake Erie”, is another of the lovely islands in Lake Erie. Among the smaller of the islands, it is just offshore of South Bass Island. A rocky island, it is named after the Rock of Gibraltar in Europe. The island is home to a number of historic buildings, as well as research facilities.

23. Lake Erie Islands Historical Society and Museum

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

As the name suggests, the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society and Museum, located in Put-in-Bay, provides interesting information about the different islands of Lake Erie and their importance. Visitors can see many important artifacts from Naval Officer Commander Perry’s life, as well as several other special items about Perry’s victory during the War of 1812. The museum is open every day from June through to August and opens on weekends in May and September. It is better to call before visiting during the rest of the year. The entry fee is 3 USD for adults or 5 USD per family.

24. Jane Coates Wildflower Trail

Hiking Trail
Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

There’s a secreted away hiking trail in Put-In-Bay. This short trail provides a pleasant walk of about 40 minutes through a woodland area. Birds and butterflies abound, and here and there, the trail leads so secluded little beaches. Shady and cool, it’s an ideal spot to visit on a hot day.

There are two benches where you can sit and rest, and if you prefer, you can cycle the trail in about 20 minutes. Take along some spray to ward off insects, some water and a few snacks for a pleasant and quiet interlude.

Jane Coates Wildflower Trail

Address: Put-in-Bay Rd, North of Langram Rd, Put in Bay, OH 43456

Telephone: +1 419-285-5811

25. Aquatic Resource Center

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Put-In-Bay’s Aquatic Resource Center is an excellent place to earn about the aquatic resources of the area. The kids can tag along as they are allowed to fish from the dock and free equipment is provided. It covers the history of the hatcheries when it was part of the Ohio University research unit.

It’s an interesting stop away from the busier areas with interesting fish tanks and displays. There are a few birds around, and you can also have fun feeding some of the fish. Entrance is free.

Aquatic Resource Center

Address: Put in Bay, OH 43456

Website: Aquatic Resource Center

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12 Things To Do In Put-in-Bay, Ohio
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Visit a piece of history

Put-in-Bay may be a small village, but it is steeped in fascinating history, with plenty of historical sights to explore. Trips to nearby islands are easy to arrange, and there’s also enough to keep nature-lovers happy. It is a great place to visit when in Ohio. So, start making plans now!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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