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34 Cool and Unique Things to Do in Put-in-Bay You’ll Love

Put-in-Bay is a tropical oasis in Ohio. It’s the swoon-worthy island on Lake Erie that will have you wondering if you’re at the ocean or still in the Midwest. And with so many things to do in Put-in-Bay, this island promises a good time!

put in bay ohio things to do, pic of beach and island coast on lake
A fun island view: Put-in-Bay, Ohio😍

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, see my disclosures.

Open seasonally to visitors, Put-in-Bay is an amazing getaway for couples, families, or even a friends trip (which is what I did!). From beaches to wineries, nature preserves to a myriad of water activities, there’s something for every traveler at Put-in-Bay.

👉Don’t have time to read the whole article? Get the best view of Put-in-Bay with this parasailing tour, or take a fun kayaking tour to see the island.

So maybe by now you’re asking yourself…

Where is Put-in-Bay?

put in bay marina
Put in Bay marina

It’s located on Lake Erie, with the nearest large city being Sandusky, Ohio. You can take a road trip to Put-in-Bay (and even drive your car on the island via ferry). Alternatively, the largest commercial international airport is about 1.5 hours to the east in Cleveland.

Put-in-Bay is actually located on South Bass Island, and is just 5 miles south of the Canadian Border. To the north are Middle Bass Island, North Bass Island, Ballast Island, Rattlesnake Island and Sugar Island. Also nearby is Kelleys Island, which offers quite a bit to visitors to the area as well.

Quick note: you’ll see variations of Put-in-Bay’s name on this guide, such as Put in Bay and PIB. It’s official name is Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island, but since locals and many others refer to it differently, you’ll see that reflected in this guide.

Map of things to do at Put-in-Bay

This map below can help visualize where this charming island is within the Great Lakes. Plan out your trip based on all the activities and attractions. This small island really packs a punch!

Okay, a few more details before we dive into the list of things to do in Put-in-Bay Ohio….

Places to stay Put-in-Bay

welcome to put-in-bay sign
Step off the boat and you’re greeted at Put-in-Bay, Ohio!

One of the charming things about this quaint island is that you won’t find mega hotels here. It gives the island a small-town feel and allows tourism dollars to go to the locals.

Because of this, there’s really only a few Put-in-Bay hotel options, and some vacation rental properties. So be sure to book early!

Pro tip: look for an accommodation site like to search a mix of hotels and vacation rental properties to fit your needs and your budget!

Ferries to Put in Bay

There are 2 options to get to Put-in-Bay from the mainland. If you want to drive your car over to the island, opt for the first one!

Miller Ferry to Put-in-Bay

Driving your vehicle or riding as a passenger, the Miller Ferry departs from the tip of Catawba Island, just to the northwest of Sandusky. It’s about a 20 minute ride to the ferry dock at Put-in-Bay. Kids (and adults…no judgement 😉) will enjoy sitting on the top level watching the mainland leave behind as you hit the open water of Lake Erie!

During peak summer months, the ferry runs every 1/2 hour. Check the schedule and book reservations in advance, especially if driving.

Jet Express to Put-in-Bay

Strictly a passenger ferry, the Jet Express is a faster way to get to the island of Put-in-Bay, depending on where you’re departing the mainland. With services from both Port Clinton and Sandusky, the Jet Express also travels to Kelleys Island and Cedar Point.

Family-friendly and group pricing is available. The Jet Express departs about every 45 minutes to an hour, based seasonally on demand. Check the schedule and book reservations here.

Tips for your Put in Bay vacation

put in bay downtown historical buildings
Picturesque downtown Put in Bay

Here are a few things you may find helpful as you book your trip to this lovely Midwestern island.

  • This place comes alive during the summer! Many services shut down outside of the summer season and when it’s cold. I highly recommend a trip here between Memorial Day and Labor Day to see the best of the island.
  • Book your accommodations early. With limited options, they sell out quickly, especially in the peak of summer.
  • Consider a day trip (or 2!) If you can’t find a spot to stay on the island for your dates or in your budget, visiting for a day is a great option. Plus, it will allow some time to explore other areas like Sandusky, Port Clinton, Huron and more.
  • Be considerate to the locals. The ones providing service at restaurants and tours are too often overworked during the summertime. Be kind – always. 🥰
  • Have a back-up plan and be flexible. Considering there are only about 300 year-round residents, the locals do the best they can to provide stellar experiences for visitors. However, if you’re traveling anytime except a weekend during peak season, you can expect to see hours shift or places closed when they need to. Just be flexible – you’re on vacation!

Alright enough chatting already…let’s get to the list!

Best things to do in Put-in-Bay

PIB has so much to offer any travel style. Whether you’re into bar-hopping or you thrive in nature, you’re going to love Put-in-Bay! Starting off this list with one of my faves…

1. Kayaking Put-in-Bay

For an active adventure, kayaking Lake Erie absolutely must be on your list! It’s a great way to see the pretty blue-green water and the Put-in-Bay shoreline.

The best place to rent kayaks and see the island is at the South Bass Island State Park. Right on the shore is a kayak rental shop, Put-in-Bay Watercraft Rentals. It’s super convenient to grab your gear and hit the lake!

Be sure to make reservations in advance. They also have stand up paddle boards and jet skis available.

Pro tip: take a dry bag and waterproof phone case when kayaking, as well as a water bottle.

This is the inexpensive waterproof phone sleeve I travel with and love it (I’ve even taken it underwater snorkeling in Turks and Caicos and it was fantastic!) When you’re on the kayak, strap the dry bag to the kayak in case you go overboard. There are also lockers on site for valuables if needed.

Location: 1523 Catawba Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

2. Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial

international peace memorial

Remember details from the War of 1812 from your history class in school? Yeah, neither did I until I visited the monument on Put-in-Bay. It was built to honor the brave men and women who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. The memorial today stands as a symbol of peace between the USA, Canada and Great Britain.

It’s actually the world’s largest Greek Doric Column, and the 3rd tallest monument in the National Park Service, sitting at 352 feet above Lake Erie. Enter through the bottom part of the memorial and you’ll see the names of soldiers, as well as flags, plaques from White House endorsing the memorial and other memorabilia.

Highly recommend to take the elevator up to the observation deck. From there, you’ll see magnificent views of Lake Erie, Put-in-Bay and the nearby islands. The base of the memorial is free to enter, however there’s a $10 fee for the observation deck.

Side note: if you have the annual America the Beautiful pass from the NPS, you’ll get in for free. I’ve purchased the annual pass over and over again, as it’s gained my family access to places like Glacier NP in Montana, Mt Rainier National Park in Washington, Arches NP in Utah, Padre Island National Seashore in Texas, Badlands NP in South Dakota and so many more!

Location: 93 Delaware Ave, Put-in-Bay, OH 43456

3. Rent a golf cart and poke around the island

golf carts on an island in ohio
Golf carts are the way to get around Put-in-Bay!

Alright I gotta be honest: I love a casual vacation where the main mode of transportation is a golf cart. It just adds an element of fun, you know?

Anyway, Put-in-Bay is the perfect spot for carting the island, with many parking spots made specifically for golf carts. Plus the traffic goes golf cart pace most of the time since it’s so common!

Golf cart rental Put in Bay:

  • If you’re taking the Miller Ferry, rent a golf cart from E’s Put-in-Bay Golf Carts. It’s a short walk up the hill and to the right of the dock.
  • If you’re traveling to Put-in-Bay via the Jet Express and arrive in downtown, try AB Cart Rental. It’s just across the street from the Bus Depot.

4. Catch some live music: bars at Put in Bay

This island really comes alive during the summer! Even in the middle of a weekday there’s plenty of live music for your enjoyment at the bars at Put in Bay. You’ll find most of it downtown.

Favorite spots to listen to live music in Put-in-Bay:

  • Mojito Bay Tiki Bar
  • The Round House Bar
  • T&J’s Smokehouse (Country Bar & Restaurant)
  • The Keys
  • Beer Barrel Saloon
  • Reel Bar

5. Drinks at Margaritas on the Rock

Get ready for all the island vibes at this beachy outdoor restaurant and bar! It’s located in the downtown area just down the street from Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial.

Margaritas on the Rock is a fun spot to escape the sun and have a margarita. Grab some chips and salsa because they’re seriously delicious…and always a good compliment to a fantastic margarita!

Location: 161 Delaware Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

6. Play Tiki Toss

tiki toss
Play the fun Tiki Toss while on the island!

While we’re one the topic of downtown bars, a really fun – but simple – game is tiki toss. Many of the outdoor bars have it – my girl friend and I played it at Margaritas on the Rock. It’s one of the most unique things to do in Put in Bay!

Anyhow, it’s a hook and ring toss game with points. Each player gets 3 turns to swing the ring. Gain 1 point if the ring hits the hook and ‘tings’. Two points if it makes the ‘ting’ sound twice. And 5 points if the sign lands on the hook.

Fun, right? So between doing all the other activities on this list of epic things to do in Put inBay, be sure to carve out 10-20 minutes (or more) to play Tiki Toss!

7. Put in Bay beach (one of my favorite things to do in Put-in-Bay, or anywhere else😉)

things to do in put-in-bay
The beach at South Bass Island State park

Alright so you’re on an island on one of the Great Lakes. So you’re ready for the beach, right?

The best beach on Put in Bay is the one at South Bass Island State Park. It has the widest shore and is the most accessible. However the shoreline isn’t sand, it’s rocks so be prepared with water shoes if you’re wanting to swim.

Also, if you’re into island-hopping, consider heading over to Kelleys Island. With multiple beaches of varying sand and rock shorelines, visiting the beach is one of the best things to do on Kelleys Island.

Location: 1523 Catawba Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

8. Put-in-Bay shopping

You won’t find big brands or large box stores on this island. Instead, you’ll find friendly, locally-owned shops with some really cool merchandise. Whether you’re picking up a souvenir for yourself or a loved one, grabbing clothing or home decor, there are some fun spots to shop!

Favorite shops Put-in-Bay:

  • Home Port Gifts & Accessories, 421 Langram Rd bldg a, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456
  • Put-in-Bay Carriage House, 160 Delaware Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

9. Crystal Cave Put in Bay

cave tour
The coolest cave on Put-in-Bay

This is going to BLOW. YOUR. MIND.

Going on this cave tour is one of the very top things to do in Put-in-Bay! On an island…on Lake Erie…in the Midwest…is this crazy cave of crystals. In fact, it’s the world’s largest celestine geode!

Located on the property of a winery (more about that in a bit), workers were digging a well for the winery when they ran into this incredible cave. With crystals from 8-18 inches long, they’re magnificent to look at! This is definitely one of the coolest things to do in Put-in-Bay!

This Put in Bay cave tour is a fun activity for all ages. The cave does have steps to enter so it’s not accessible for strollers or wheelchairs. For cave tour pricing and hours, visit the official Heineman’s website.

Location: 978 Catawba Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

10. Heineman’s Winery

Speaking of Heineman’s, a fun (and delicious) activity is taking a tour of Heineman’s Winery. It’s the oldest winery in Ohio, dating back to 1888.

Take a tour of the winery, sample various wines made right there on site and sit and enjoy the wine garden. If you’re visiting in peak season (May – September), take a tour any day of the week. Contact Heineman Winery for dining and tour hours during the off-season.

Fun fact: the grapes grown around Lake Erie are excellent quality due to great soil conditions and a long growing season. There are many wineries in the region to check out, especially if you’re spending time on mainland Ohio.

Location: 978 Catawba Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

11. South Bass Island State Park

Nature enthusiasts will love visiting the South Bass Island State Park, another one of the fun things to do in Put-in-Bay. For a truly off-the-grid vacation, you could choose South Bass Island camping at the state park.

The campgrounds are nestled on the edge of the cliff for the best views of Lake Erie! It has easy access to the beach for swimming and the fishing pier too. South Bass Island State Park also has these cool hybrid camping option called cabents which includes a kitchen, bathroom and shower.

Camping is allowed from May through mid-October. With limited space, be sure to make your reservation in advance.

Right next to the park entrance is a playground for young kids and volleyball courts for any age. And of course, this is where the best kayaking and Put in Bay beach is on the island. 😊

The rocky shoreline also creates an ideal swimming spot. Just be sure to use water shoes as the rocks can be slick! These are the water shoes I used at Put-in-Bay (and they’ve traveled all over the world with me, like the mountains of Breckenridge, Colorado plus beachy getaways like Anna Maria Island, Florida and Aruba. Anyway, you’ll want water shoes here!

Location: 1523 Catawba Ave, South Bass Island, OH 43456

12. Toes in the sand and sit on swings at Mojito Bay

The motto at Mojito Bay is “drink in hand, toes in sand!” And it seriously give you allll the beachy vibes! You’ll think you were transported to a tropical island in the Caribbean. Only, you’re at a tropical island in Ohio!

Featuring live music and a full line-up of mojitos, you can sit back, relax and enjoy your vacation. Another fun feature is the swings at the bar. Try it out for a truly care-free experience!

Location: 389 Catawba Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

13. DeRivera Park, downtown Put in Bay

put-in-bay ohio
DeRivera Park fountain in downtown Put-in-Bay

In the heart of downtown Put in Bay is the DeRivera Park. It’s a beautiful green space surrounded by the lively downtown restaurants, bars and shops on one side and the marina on the other.

Walk this area while you’re enjoying downtown and see the beautiful stone and cement wishing fountain and the gazebo (where you might even catch a wedding). The playground is perfect for young kids and if you’re staying on Put-in-Bay, you might even consider using the BBQ pits and having a picnic in the park.

Another cool sight at the park is a plaque with service members from the war of 1812 and a cannonball memorial.

Oh, and the DeRivera Park has a public restroom, including showers for boaters since it’s so close to the marina.

Location: 341 Bayview Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

14. Put-in-Bay Parasailing

Parasailing over Lake Erie!

Get your adrenaline pumping with parasailing! Soar in the sky above Lake Erie and get incredible views of Put-in-Bay that only few others have seen! In my opinion, this is one of the coolest things to do in Put in Bay!

Open seasonally from Memorial Day to Labor Day, parasailing will be one of the most fun things you get to do during your time on Put-in-Bay!

I parasailed over Lake Erie from Cedar Point, but Put-in-Bay parasailing looks like a blast, too. I can say this is one cool way to see the lake.

Location: 341 Bayview Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456 (booth at the Boardwalk)

15. Take a trolley tour of the island

how to get around put in bay
Trolley tour, one of the best ways to see Put in Bay island

Another great way to see Put-in-Bay is though a trolley tour. You don’t have to worry about where to park your car or golf cart if you just take the trolley! During peak season, the trolley runs every 30 minutes. Hop off when you want to and stay on when you don’t.

You’ll see about 80% of the island on this tour, and learn so much more about the history of Put-in-Bay and Lake Erie, too. Be sure to by tickets in advance if traveling during the busy season. Check schedule and prices here.

Location: 2071 Langram Rd, Put-in-Bay, OH 43456

16. Massie’s Cliffside Preserve

Massie cliffside preserve
Views of Massie Cliffside Preserve and Lake Erie

Another beautiful spot on the island to soak in Mother Nature is on the northern side of the island. At the parking lot, take about a .25 mile hike (on flat land so it’s more like a walk) through heavy trees to find the cliffs.

Grab a seat on a bench overlooking the cliffs with views of Middle Bass Island, or an epic sunset! Or walk down to the pier to listen to the waves crash agains the shore. It’s a great spot to find peace on a busy island.

Oh, and one more pro tip: keep your eyes peeled for non-venomous Lake Erie Watersnakes! Don’t let it prevent you from getting in the water though… I enjoyed that beach for an hour and didn’t see a single one.

Location: 139-147 Massie Dr, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

17. Helicopter tour of Put-in-Bay (one of the most unique things to do in Put-in-Bay)

Alright, I didn’t get to experience this myself but considering my experience and the fact that it was one of the most fun things to do in Kauai, I’d recommend it for Put-in-Bay.

The Put-in-Bay airport is small but mighty – you can book helicopter tours to see the island from the air, which is something most visitors don’t get to do! Choose the tour that allows you to see Cedar Point, Port Clinton and all around Put-in-Bay. Or upgrade to visit the other islands of Middle Bass and North Bass Islands too.

Location: 1494 Langram Rd, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

18. Gemstone mining, mazes, mini golf and more at Perry’s

A perfect spot for kids – and those young at heart – is Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center. And you read that right – another cave on the island!

There’s seriously so much to do here. Play the War of 18 Holes mini golf. Get lost – then found again at Fort aMaze’n (a giant maze!). Stretch your muscles and use strength on the climbing wall. Visit the antique car museum or the limestone cave.

Check out pricing and hours for Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center.

Location: 979 Catawba Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

19. Butterfly house Put in Bay

butterfly house
Perry’s Butterfly House, Put-in-Bay OH

Alright this one was so impressive I had to give the Butterfly House at Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center it’s own number on this list of things to do in Put-in-Bay. The Butterfly House is is a 4,000 square foot aviary where you can walk through and see hundreds of butterflies!

On site at Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center, this butterfly house is for nature lovers of all ages. You’ll see varieties of Swallowtails from Africa and Asia, vivid blue butterflies from South America and my favorite – the Great Eggfly from Australia (just to name a few!)

Find pricing and hours for the Butterfly House in Put-in-Bay here.

Location: 979 Catawba Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

20. Kimberly’s Carousel

Another perfect activity if you’re traveling with kids, it’s a must-do in downtown! And with an inexpensive price of just $1.50 per ride, it’s easy to say ‘yes’ to multiple rides.

Fun fact: this carousel has been fueling giggles for over 100 years! It’s been operating since 1917.

Side note: this is one of those situations where flexibility and ‘plan B’ may come into play. Kimberly’s Carousel wasn’t open during my time on PIB. If you’re traveling with kids, check back often to see if it’s operating.

Location: 160 Delaware Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

21. Play 9 holes at the Put in Bay golf course

golfing on an island Lake Erie
Golf on Put-in-Bay!

Located on the west end of Put-in-Bay, the Saunder’s Golf Course is the only golf course on the island! Golfing is free to those who stay in the Saunder’s Cottages, and affordable for other travelers.

At just $10 to play 9 holes and $5 for club rentals, this is a fun, inexpensive activity on Put-in-Bay. (Pricing accurate as of the time of publication.) I especially love that since it’s only 9 holes, you can have your golfing fun then get on with the rest of your day because it’s a short course!

Make reservations or contact Saunder’s for info here.

Location: 1495 Catawba Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

22. Dine at The Keys (one of my favorite restaurants at Put in Bay)

If you’re in the mood for a little live music – even during the weekday – then you must make it to The Keys! It’s a cute little area right on the water with ideal views to sit and relax, especially after a long day of activities or exploring.

Play Tiki Toss, grab a cold one and some delicious dinner. (My mouth is watering even thinking about the fish tacos….yum!)

Location: 227 Bayview Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

23. Key West North Buoy

the keys buoy
Grab a pic with the buoy!

Visit buoy and grab a pic – at the Key West North! The Keys is Put-in-Bay’s northernmost bar, and to mark it there’s a play on the Southernmost Point Buoy found in Key West. Which, by the way, if you haven’t done a Miami to Key West road trip down highway 1, it absolutely needs to be on your bucket list!

Anyway, grab your pic for Instagram or your scrapbook and say you made it here.🤣

Location: 227 Bayview Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

24. Paint Driftwood at The Keys (one of the most unique things to do in Put-in-Bay)

put in bay things to do with kids
Fun activity at The Keys

A perfect activity for kids while parents relax a bit, for just $5 kids (or adults!) can leave their mark on Put-in-Bay. It’s the last activity at The Keys on this list of things to do in Put-in-Bay.

Grab paints and choose the perfect piece of driftwood at the bar, then get to work! Paint names, date visited or whatever else you choose!

Location: 227 Bayview Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

25. Scheef’s East Point Preserve

If you’re looking for a hike on Put-in-Bay, this is the spot to do it! Hike through the woods and follow a loop around the northern tip of the island. It’s about .4 miles with several access points for the water and great views of the shoreline. More trail details here.

From the Scheeff East Point Nature Preserve, on a clear day you can see Middle Bass Island and Ballast Island.

Pro tip: watch for Poison Ivy while on the trails at Put-in-Bay. Leaves of 3, let it be!

Location: 1159-1107 Columbus Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

26. Graffiti Wall near Scheef’s East Point Preserve

graffiti wall don't give up the ship
Part of the Graffiti Wall on Put-in-Bay

A very artistic part of the island is located at a rock wall on the very northern coast of Put-in-Bay. The graffiti wall seems almost like a memorial for those who have passed away – either many years ago or fairly recent. There are many “RIP” messages with a name and date.

But perhaps the most prominent art on this sea wall is the painted phrase “Don’t Give Up the Ship.” You’ll see this all over the island, as this is an important part of the history within the Battle of Lake Erie. Those were famous words spoken by Master Commander Oliver Hazard Perry.

Ready more about the history of “Don’t Give Up the Ship” phrase here.

27. Dine at the Boardwalk Restaurant at Put in Bay

boardwalk restaurant
Boardwalk Restaurant with marina views

Overlooking the marina, the Boardwalk Restaurant is a multi-level establishment featuring cool views of the marina, happy hour (my personal fave) and live music. Grab a seat on the main deck or the upper deck for lunch or dinner. Also, if you like a frozen drink while on an island, this is the place to get one!

Try the lobster mac n cheese, blackened Mahi Mahi or the local’s favorite: fried Walleye and Perch platter. If you’re not into seafood, they also have sandwiches, burgers and salads. This is a fun spot to catch dinner before heading back to the mainland for the evening or before returning to your hotel or vacation rental.

Location: 341 Bayview Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

28. Boat rental Put in Bay

boat rental put in bay
Boating on Lake Erie

If you’re looking to hit the water on a boat, what a great way to experience Lake Erie! There’s not a whole lot of boat rental options, though, so prepare yourself for alternatives like jet skis or kayaking.

Places to rent a boat Put-in-Bay

  • Put-in-Bay Watercraft Rentals, 1523 Catawba Ave, Put-in-Bay, OH 43456
  • North Coast Parasail in Cedar Point (take a day rental to Put-in-Bay), Cedar Point Beach Boardwalk, Cedar Point, OH 44870

Pro tip: reserve your boat rental early! With limited inventory, they sell out quickly.

29. Rent bikes and explore the island

rent bikes put-in-bay
Bike rentals Put-in-Bay

A fun way to see Put-in-Bay is on 2 wheels. The island is really flat so it’s easy to pedal your way around the island. Ride through downtown, out to Heineman’s Winery, Massie’s Cliffside Preserve, South Bass Island State Park, Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial and more.

Places to rent bikes Put-in-Bay:

  • Island Bike Rental (perfect if you take the Miller Ferry), 2071 Langram Rd, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456
  • Boathouse Cart & Bike Rental (downtown location), 216 Hartford Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

30. Ice cream at DJ’s (one of my favorite things to do in Put-in-Bay)

ice cream cone
Must-try: DJ’s

After all that biking, you’ll likely be hungry! Grab a delicious cone at DJ’s. It’s a local spot with affordable (and delicious) ice cream! And bonus – the outdoor covered pergola is adorable!

Location: Toledo Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

31. Dodge Woods Preserve

dodge woods preserve
Hike through nature at Dodge Woods Preserve

Another fun, off-the-grid hiking spot on Put-in-Bay is Dodge Woods Preserve. Escape the sounds of downtown and take a walk through the trees. This preserve is perfect for birdwatching and wildflowers.

Fun fact: it’s on land that used to be used to grow grapes, so it’s one of the newer forests on the island.

Location: Langram Rd, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456 (at the intersection of Thompson Rd and Langram Rd)

32. Aquatic Visitor Center, Put-in-Bay

Another fun activity for kids in Put-in-Bay is the Aquatic Visitor Center. While they play a critical role in researching Lake Erie’s invasive species and protecting the ecosystem, they also have programs for kids.

Kids can fish from the pier at the Aquatic Visitor Center for free, including all the gear! If visiting Put-in-Bay during peak season between Memorial Day and Labor Day, be sure to visit the Aquatic Visitor Center on a Saturday. With programs like Bugs in the Water, Fun with fish and a live snake show, kids are sure to have a great time.

Location: 310 OH-357, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

33. Chocolate museum and cafe

Get your taste buds ready! Perhaps one of the most delicious things to do in Put-in-Bay is check out this chocolaty spot.

First, head on into the museum to see a bit about the history of chocolate. It reminds me of my time in San Ignacio, Belize, where I learned to make chocolate like the ancient Mayans.

Anyhow, inside the museum you’ll find vintage artifacts detailing the history of chocolate. Then, enjoy the deliciousness that is the Chocolate Cafe. From fudge to truffles, spicy Mexican hot chocolate and chocolate sold by the pound.

To finish off your experience, grab some famous Toft’s Ice Cream!

Location: 820 Catawba Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

34. South Bass Island Lighthouse

south bass island lighthouse
South Bass Island Lighthouse

Quite literally a light house, the South Bass Island Lighthouse is on the southern most tip of Put-in-Bay. It doesn’t operate anymore, but back in the day it was a powerful lighthouse, which provided guidance for ships passing by the island on the way to the mainland.

Visiting the lighthouse grounds is a fun throw-back in time. Just imagine yourself living there and getting up through the night to ensure the light was operating all night long~

From the grounds, you can also see Green Island in the distance. It’s an uninhabited island (humans anyway) and reserved space for wildlife refuge.

Pro tip: if you’re using Miller Ferry to get to and from the mainland, you could use this as your first stop of the day or your last, since it’s so close to the ferry.

Location: 2368 Langram Rd, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456

Things to do in Put-in-Bay (a recap)

Lake Erie sunset
Sunset lake views😍

Put-in-Bay is truly an awesome destination to explore. Between the beautiful lake views, outdoor recreation, fantastic restaurants and historical significance, PIB is full of exciting possibilities waiting for you around every corner.

Here’s a recap!

What to do in Put in Bay

  1. Kayaking Put-in-Bay
  2. Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial
  3. Rent a golf cart
  4. Catch some live music at the bars at Put in Bay
  5. Drinks at Margaritas on the Rock
  6. Play Tiki Toss
  7. Put in Bay beach
  8. Put-in-Bay shopping
  9. Crystal Cave Put in Bay
  10. Heineman’s Winery
  11. South Bass Island State Park
  12. Toes in the sand and sit on swings at Mojito Bay
  13. DeRivera Park
  14. Put-in-Bay Parasailing
  15. Take a trolley tour of the island
  16. Massie’s Cliffside Preserve
  17. Helicopter tour of Put-in-Bay
  18. Gemstone mining, mazes, mini golf and more at Perry’s
  19. Butterfly house Put in Bay
  20. Kimberly’s Carousel
  21. Play 9 holes at the Put in Bay golf course
  22. Dine at The Keys (one of my favorite restaurants at Put in Bay)
  23. Key West North Buoy
  24. Paint Driftwood at The Keys
  25. Scheef’s East Point Preserve
  26. Graffiti Wall near Scheef’s East Point Preserve
  27. Dine at the Boardwalk Restaurant at Put in Bay
  28. Boat rental Put in Bay
  29. Rent bikes and explore the island
  30. Ice cream at DJ’s
  31. Dodge Woods Preserve
  32. Aquatic Visitor Center, Put-in-Bay
  33. Chocolate museum and cafe
  34. South Bass Island Lighthouse

Related content to read next:
27 Awesome Things to Do in Sandusky, Ohio
Scenic Routes You Can’t Miss – 16 Best Road Trips in the Midwest
28 Underrated Destinations in the USA You Have to See
16 Cool Midwest Hikes You’ll Love

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Thank you to Lake Erie Shores and Islands Tourism for hosting me! As always, all opinions are my own.


Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

I feel like Ohio is an underrated/under visited place in the US (I don't actually know if that's true)! A perfect example - I hadn't even heard of Put-in-Bay, but there are lots of things I would be interested in doing, like the cave, trolley tour, graffiti wall, and Dodge Woods to name a few :) It also seems to have something for just about everyone, which is even better.


Thursday 23rd of September 2021

You're so right, MacKenzie! Put-in-Bay (and Ohio) has so much to offer visitors. I'm glad you found this destination intriguing and hope you get to visit sometime!

Vanessa Shields

Saturday 18th of September 2021

What a cool destination that I’ve never heard of! I haven’t ever thought of a tropical oasis in Ohio but wow it’s gorgeous! The water is beautiful and looks perfect for kayaking and swimming. I love vacation spots where the main way to get around is a golf cart, so fun. Between a winery, a cave tour and hanging out at the Mojito Bay Tiki Bar I’d be in heaven!


Sunday 19th of September 2021

Yessss Vanessa! It's seriously an incredible destination. You've nailed it with your comments- it's got those perfect vacation vibes!😎


Saturday 18th of September 2021

Put-in-Bay looks like such an amazing spot with so many things to do. The kayaks look like so much fun! And the crystal cave looks absolutely stunning!


Sunday 19th of September 2021

It's seriously such a cool destination! Thanks for hanging out on the blog today :)


Saturday 18th of September 2021

What a beautiful island! I had never heard of it before, thank you so much ch for sharing!


Sunday 19th of September 2021

Of course! So glad you loved it, Sue 😊


Saturday 18th of September 2021

I’d never heard of this place and now I rest want to go! Great blog post, really informative


Saturday 18th of September 2021

Right?! It's such a cool spot and a must-visit in the Midwest!