Insider’s Guide To Put-In-Bay.

Put In Bay is one fun island with lots to do, but what should you seek out? I’ll help you out with tips because we’ve visited there so much! 

Insider’s Guide To Put In Bay  

Millers Ferry headed to island. Insider's Guide To Put In Bay 

The tranquility and the liveliness of Put In Bay (yeah total contradiction) truly revive my spirit and soul. Outdoor adventure, daytime fun, and great experiences, water sports, boating, nightlife beyond your wildest expectations, and truly great eats around the area make it amazing.

sailboat Scenery while on Miller Ferries to Put In BayWell, it’s no secret that I love my getaways to Put In Bay. It doesn’t hurt that I am very familiar with the area now and because I know a few people there.  Use the Insider’s guide to Put In Bay you are surely going to make the most of your time while you are there! 

From the best nature adventure you could take to party town time at night, I’ve got you covered! 

This post is dedicated to Katrina Reed, who consistently amazes me with her strength. ♥♥Our thanks to Miller Ferries and Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center, & Duff’s Golf Cart Rentals.

Insider’s Guide To Put In Bay: An Island with  few names

Call it South Bass Island or Put In Bay it’s one and the same. Before I started going there, I knew nothing about South Bass Island. With each trip, I progressively learn more and more about what to do, the hot spots, the activities, and when to go. 

By the way, Put In Bay is properly spelled Put-In-Bay but I don’t know anyone that Google searches like that, do you? LOL! 

There are times that are better for families and other times that are best suited for adult-only (like nighttime bar hopping!) I believe that is the beauty of the island, there’s a lot to do and it can be as family-friendly or as an adult as you like.

We were there celebrating the ‘Half Way To St. Paddy’s Day weekend, and yes it was fun! I guess what I will share with you are some tidbits of where to go and what to do, that I enjoyed this time around.

My point is that using my insider’s guide to Put In Bay you will always have fun and you’ll just want to go! 

Ferry Hopping: Insider’s Guide to Put In Bay  

Miller Ferries Insiders Guide to Put In BayAre you ready for a fun trip? Do you want to get on the island and bring your car? Well, hop aboard Miller Ferries cause they can take you and that vehicle!  You can bet if the employees of Miller Ferries are this fun, Put In Bay has a lot more in store for you!

Trust me on this, wink wink!

Aboard Miller Ferries headed to Put In Bay

Insider’s Guide To Put In Bay: Cars + Island Transport 

Ticketing To Ferry Miller Ferries. Insider's Guide to Put-In-Bay

If you want to take your car, your camper, or bikes, then, you need to go via Miller Ferry  

Miller Ferry is located at Catawba Dock. Really I don’t think you need your car unless you are staying for an extended period of time and have a home rental you need to fill up (IMO).

Bikes. Passenger Miller Ferries Entrance. Insider's Guide to Put In Bay

There’s plenty of free parking if you are not taking your car, and there is also other parking, which is PAID FOR parking. On our most recent trip, we paid for parking to be closer to the dock since we were running a little behind schedule and wanted to get on the last Ferry over (we did by the way!)

Insider’s Guide to Put In Bay: Why Use Miller Ferries? 

Miller Ferries on Island Side Insiders Guide to Put In BayFor those who have never been to Put-In-Bay, you should know they have some awesome areas to visit by bike, golf cart, car, foot, etc. For those who love lakeside camping spots, Middle Bass Island is your hero and you can use Miller Ferries to arrive there! 

  • Camper
  • Bike
  • Car 

Those 3 aforementioned bring alongs (lol) require transport and that is Miller Ferries specialty. They’ll deliver both you and your ‘island’ vehicles across the lake! 

Obviously, I mentioned you can take your bike, or your car or camper, so you know that the Miller Ferry Line transfers these vehicles for you. 

Insider’s Guide to Put In Bay: Once Off The Ferry…

Miller Ferries in Water returning Insiders Guide to Put In BayYou do not need to pre-schedule your travel via ferry. Understand that when you take Miller Ferries you will be delivered to Lime Kiln dock and you are 2 miles from town. If you arrive later in the evening you ‘may not be able to pick up your scheduled golf cart. 

However, if you are not taking your vehicle or a bike, you do need to have a plan.  But, for those that are not toting the car, or a bike and have some luggage, well, you might want to check out Jet Express as they drop you right in the center of town. (we’ve traveled to Put In Bay with them as well and it’s smooth sailing and multiple ferries too!) 

Ramp to Miller Ferry At Put-In-Bay

Bottom Tip for this transport + Insider’s Guide to Put In Bay: While the town is not that far from the Lime Kiln Drop off the dock, you definitely need to plan ahead on HOW you are getting there. 

Tips For Ferry Riding: Part of the Insider’s Guide To Put In Bay

First and foremost there are lots of arrivals and departures so don’t worry, you will get to Put-In-Bay

Insider's Guide to Put In Bay - Riding the Ferry tips

So put to use my Insider’s Guide to Put In Bay knowledge with these simple guidelines for Ferries. 

  1. Weekends are busy.
  2. Miller Ferries can carry up to 500 people or 26 cars on any given ferry.  
  3. Round trips for vehicles are NOT always possible (read the website or call for queries).
  4. The ferries works on a departure schedule, it’s not mayhem, it’s organized. 
  5. If it’s just a day trip, I personally suggest leaving the car and opting for the next options I will provide.

Insider’s Guide to Put In Bay. Remember to relax and enjoy the ride, and scenery! 

There are bathrooms on the Ferry, sometimes they are closed, go ahead of getting on! You can sit outside or inside on the ferry.

Riding Miller Ferries To Put In Bay

Make sure to have your camera ready, there are a ton of great photo ops along the way from islands to sailboats, changing clouds, remarkable sunsets, etc. Seats are not assigned. Get on and find a seat!  I suggest top level for great views. Scenery while riding to Put In Bay

If you drive your car, you can sit in your car on the way over. You will drive your car on and off (just in case you have never driven and taken your car onto a Ferry!)

Insider's Guide to Put In Bay, enjoy the views from the ferry.

Once you get to the dock, vehicles go first, then pedestrians and staff members of Miller Ferries direct you. So, just sit back and enjoy the 20-minute ride.  Remember to check your phone for roaming as you are close to Canada and it will kick in sometimes!

Insider’s Guide to Put In Bay If You Don’t Bring A Car. 

Rent a golf cart, it’s so much fun and you really won’t need your car. There are golf cart rentals here at Miller Ferries and in town (however you get there). 

Lime Kiln Ferry Dock in Put In Bay

For reference, my kids love riding around in golf carts. It’s an Insider’s guide to Put In Bay tip I share with everyone. Golf carts make sightseeing easy. Hop in, hop-off and easy parking! 

When you get off of the Ferry, your pre-scheduled rentals are at the top of the hill. 

Insider’s guide to Put In Bay Tip

Golf Cart Rental Put In BayIf you don’t/didn’t schedule a golf cart rental here, you can catch a cab or bus into town and get one there. However, there are a few caveats to this tip. 

  • The Golf Cart Rentals at the dock here must be scheduled in advance. 
  • In fact, the island does get busy, so I highly suggest using the vendor at Lime Kiln Dock or scheduling one elsewhere on the island.
  • Bus, Cabs, or bike rentals, and of course there’s the shoe leather express, also known as limousine feet. (I believe after 6 the rentals all close so you are out of luck and will need alternate transportation to get to town!) 

I had a great golf cart rental with different vendors before, so do know that alternate rental places will work too as to not be biased towards any one business on the island! 

Put In Bay THE TOWN – Party By Night, Sight See By Day

See if you can find the sign when you are on Delaware Avenue. I loved it and I always see something new and of course, I take a picture.

Funny Beer Sign in Put-in-Bay - Seek it out

You’ve arrived when you see Delaware Avenue! It’s fun, fabulous and the nightlife rocks. Between Delaware Avenue, Catawba and Toledo are your ‘party by night and day streets’.  Multiple restaurants, golf cart rentals, and lots of shopping reside here. 

So where to for fun all night? 

Get Reel with Your Party at this Entertainment Bar

While I’ll go into way more detail later, I am a Reel Bar groupie. I love the owner and his wife dearly, and their whole concept. From fresh food to ‘REEL’ bar experience, from entertainment to music.

Reel Bar Put In Bay

Tonight was the humorously raunchy and totally over-stated in the gutter, Ray Fogg Show. He is just the ticket to fun if you like this kind of thing. Judging from the crowd at the Reel Bar, everyone liked this kind of thing, and I was laughing my #ss off!

After a great dinner and series of libations there, with our new friend Dave, we set out for a night on the town!

Insider’s Guide To Put In Bay. Do you love hand-rolled cigars?

Yep, hand-rolled cigars are available in Put In Bay at night if you know where to go! 

hand-rolled Cigars where? Insider's Guide to Put In Bay

Michael loves a good cigar, I hate them, but the compromise, was the outside air, no stank in my face! I think the ‘ask and ye shall find’ is the concept on Put In Bay.

Seriously what are the chances someone hand rolls a cigar while you wait? So, we found it a few doors down from the Reel Bar is Mojito Bay, got to the hut, and find the man rolling the cigars!

Now time to find more bar life. Michael got his cigar here and we moved on! 

Insider’s Guide to Put In Bay: Red Room Speakeasy – 

I’ve been to Put In Bay so many times and yet, I’ve missed this bar over and over. You have to really look and know to get that it’s there! So today’s version of my Insider’s guide to Put In Bay I am sharing this because it’s too good to miss! 

Red Room Speak Easy. Insider's Guide to Put In Bay

Seriously, after multiple trips up here, I am still discovering. If you want a drink in a different atmosphere, dark, and fun, it’s here.  From antique tables to a dimly lit atmosphere it’s all good!

As I’ve heard from others, it’s not always open, but if there’s a red light on, go in. Who loves a good cocktail?

Don’t opt for a beer here. Instead, this is where you get the ‘good stuff, lol’!

Sip on a Manhattan, albeit they do take a few minutes to craft, however, it’s time well spent, smooth, and delicious. Plus if you love wine, I suggest it here as well.

Where Is The Speak Easy? 

Should I tell you or let you sniff it out when you are there? Read on through this paragraph for those that just want to know. It’s on the side of the Park Hotel (on Delaware ) right behind the street rotisserie.  Like I said, if you don’t know this Insider’s destination you will miss it.

Insider’s Guide to Put In Bay. A Visit to the Round Barn

Round Barn

It’s no secret I am NOT a beer gal, but my husband loves all ales, IPA’s, and beer so we stopped at the Round Barn. Hello to a Party in the Put In Bay. Music that rips through your body and out the door, and lots of fun.

That night, they were OUT of wine, right? Really? I went water bottle, and of course, Michael took on the beer for both of us, lol! It was a-rockin’ fun time in here and then we moved on.

Insider’s Guide To Put In Bay Party Time Tip

Use this as a meeting point, since it’s right in the center of town and straight across from the park and public restrooms!

A Ride On The Bull, Or Outdoor Bar?

Partying in Put-In-Bay including ride on bull

So it happened right here, I got locked in a bathroom. To this day, I have no idea HOW my husband heard me and three other girls Screaming to get out. There’s no indoor handle here. We were in the bathroom with a trash can holding the door open and one of the girls moved the trash can.

These are stories that make the trip fun! HELLO locked in. In TJ’s Steakhouse, the music was so loud, my body could feel it, but no one else heard us. He opened the door and all the girls were thanking him, of course, he was laughing his #$@ off at us all.

Hanging Into The Next Day: How to Slow Your Rode 

Yes, a night of party than a day of touring, how does one do that? I hope to help you with this insider’s guide to Put In Bay. Take the day to slow in the golf cart and visit all the fun sites! 

Start at Perry’s Monument & Maybe Canada 

Perry's Monument From the Outside

After a full night of party, you gotta sleep it off, freshen, and cold shower. LOL! Then it’s off to take on Put In Bay by golf cart. Let the cool and refreshing breeze whip through your hair and against your skin and suddenly the ‘hang’ is gone.

Insider’s Guide To Put In Bay: Tip for seeing as much as possible! 

First stop, a very worthy monument, to get the BEST view of the surrounding islands, if it’s a clear day, and that includes Canada. You see as much as possible of the water and maybe Canada! 

Put -In-Bay Inside Perry's Monument

I very much suggest getting there when it opens, as during busy season there are waits to go up. If you don’t choose to go to the top, you can get some fantastic sun-kissed water shots. Spend time figuring out how to get an elevation shot of Perry’s Monument or taking images inside the monument.

Perry's Monument At Put-In-Bay exterior

Did you know that Perry’s Monument is 352 feet tall? Very much worth the small fee to go to the top for the scenic view alone!


Perhaps one of my most famous Put In Bay blog posts was about 12 Unexpected Finds in Put In Bay and it featured Graffiti Rocks. This time, when we went, sadly they were covered with sand and the color was long gone.

Put-In-Bay Walking on Graffiti rocks

From Perry’s Monument, back out of your spot, and continue down the road, you will pass a Mansion that’s been for sale for a while and then hang a left. You will ride and see some very picturesque homes, and B&B’s (check them out for future stays).

Onward to the stop you want to see. I love it here, it’s a great vantage point of another part of the island. Stop and take it all in.

Graffiti Rocks at Put In Bay. Insider's Guide.

So different than many times before. We did have a lot of storms this season, so I am not sure what occurred. Nonetheless, it is a gathering point for photos and definitely worth the find. Navigate your Golf Cart there or your bike.

This time my husband and son got to enjoy the view, while I looked on. The weather continued to clear as our day went on.

Insider’s Guide to Put In Bay: A Colorful Interactive Butterfly Room  

Insider's Guide to Put In Bay. Butterfly Experience

There’s an endless plethora of things to do, adventures to take, etc when on the island and it never ceases to amaze me. This round the butterfly room was it. Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center hosted our visit to the Butterfly Room and it left us all breathless.

Prepare to get up close and personal with butterflies and to run your phone battery down to depths you never knew existed begging it not to die! Video-worthy, IG exceptional, and a place to live in the moment.

Butterflies at Perry's Cave Butterfly Room

It is very warm here, so bear that in mind. I was getting too hot with my jacket on, so do consider dressing lighter in there. You won’t be able to stop taking photos and each wingspan will amaze and delight.

Head to the back wall where the waterfall is, many gather on the rocks, allowing for the best of moments in butterfly resting spots.

Owl Butterfly up close - Perry's Cave butterfly experience

If you want details there’s the staff there to fill you in.  Look at all the walls, the ceilings, and the pathways, Butterflies are everywhere.


South Bass Island Skipping Rocks

From skipping rocks to kayaking, and more, there’s a beautiful state park to visit. Here’s your boat access, as well as swimming access.  There are ‘facilities’ here as well as a restaurant, and soda machine.

Additionally, here’s where to Camp if you are going for those outdoor camping adventures, it’s suited and ready for you!  It’s on the backside of the island, removed a bit from the main hub.

Peaceful and tranquil and on the way you will pass Perry’s Cave, Winery, and a great outdoor BBQ restraint. So you are really close to everything. 

Bye for Now…

Put-In-Bay in Golf Cart and ON Ferry

When it’s time to go back to the mainland, you may just not want to. I know that each time I leave, I do solemnly vow to return the next year. Saying that I love it here, and my family loves it as well is solid truth.

As I said, we spend time as a family and the kids find things to do and we do as well. Our time there is for ‘relaxation’ to kick back and just be. The island has a beat of its own, that caters to your party time, your personal space, and lots to do.

I’ll see you in Put In Bay this season and make sure to stop by The Reel Bar, The Boardwalk, Perry’s Cave, and Family Center, and use Miller Ferry to get there! ~ DANA XO

While my trip was a hosted experience, opinions are my own, based on my time, my experience, and my multiple trips to the destination.

I hope you will consider taking a trip there as well!