Well 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. However, it’s a bit more intense than that, I go there to get away from everything and just be.
The tranquility and the liveliness of the area (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.
For those that have never been to South Bass Island or even others that have, here are an Insider’s Guide to the Best of Put-In-Bay to help you get the most out of the great destination. Lavishly live travel out loud and enjoy your time
Insider’s Guide To The Best Of Put-In-Bay
See his face, posing for me, all fun and ready to go, for a trip to Put-In-Bay. You can bet if the employees of Miller Ferry are this fun, Put-In-Bay has a lot more in store for you! Trust me on this, wink wink!
This post is dedicated to Katrina Reed, who consistently amazes me with her strength. ♥♥Our thanks to Miller Ferry and Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center, & Duff’s Golf Cart Rentals.
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.
There are times that are better for families and other times that are best suited for adult-only. I believe that is the beauty of the island, there’s a lot to do and it can be as family friendly or as 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 round.
These are not promoted or suggested, just what we did ourselves. It’s always fun, you just have to go!
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).
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!)
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. You do not need to pre-schedule your travel via ferry.
However, if you are not taking your vehicle, or a bike, you do need to have a plan. You are going to be 2 miles from town center when docked just as an FYI. Trust me, after a day of fun in the sun and walking through and exploring, no thanks to walking!
While town is not that far from the Lime Kiln Drop off dock, you definitely need to plan ahead on HOW you are getting there.
TIPS For Ferry Riding
Weekends are busy, and the Miller Ferry line can carry up to 500 people or 26 cars on any given ferry. Round trips for vehicles are NOT always possible (read the website or call for queries).
The Ferry works on a departure schedule, it’s not mayhem, it’s organized. If it’s just a day trip, I personally suggest leaving the car, and opting for the next options I will provide.
There are bathrooms on the Ferry, sometimes they are closed, go ahead of getting on! You can sit outside or inside on the ferry.
Make sure to have your camera ready, there are a ton of great photo opps along the way from islands to sailboats, changing clouds, remarkable sunsets, etc.
Seats are not assigned, it’s get on and get a seat. If you drive your car, you can sit in your car on the way over. You will drive you car on and off (just in case you have never driven and taken your car onto a Ferry!)
Once you get to the dock, vehicles go first, then pedestrians. There are staff members to let you know.
Don’t forget to just sit back and enjoy the ride. Your ride will last just about 20 minutes. Remember to check your phone for Roaming as you are close to Canada and it will kick in sometimes!
I’M HERE, HOW DO I GET AROUND? LIMOUSINE FEET.
I am sorry, and I will be bias about this answer, a GOLF CART RENTAL is the way to go. My kids love this, I love this and it lets you get to so many different destinations on the island while feeling the sun and breeze, yet staying covered.
When you get off of the Ferry, your pre-scheduled rentals are at the top of the hill. Here’s the thing, if you don’t schedule with the golf cart rental here, you can catch a cab or bus into town and get one there.
The Golf Cart Rentals here must be scheduled in advance. As a word of warning, since the island does get busy, I highly suggest using the vendor at Lime Kiln Dock or scheduling one elsewhere on the island. I had a great golf cart rental with a different vendors before.
Previously I mentioned other means of transportation to get to town, let me elaborate quickly. Bus, Cabs, or bike rentals, and of course there’s the shoe leather express, also known as limousine feet.
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! I always see something new and of course I take a picture.
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.
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.
Tonight was the raunchy and totally over-stated in the gutter, The 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!
Hand Rolled Cigars
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. After a ‘reely good time’ we wanted to see a bit more of the bar life. Michael got his cigar here and we moved on.
Red Room Speakeasy
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? Here’s where you don’t drink a beer and you sip on a Manhattan, albeit they do take a few minutes to craft.
However, it’s time well spent, smooth and delicious. If you love wine, I suggest it here as well. Ah, I realized I forgot to tell you where it is. Should I tell you or let you sniff it out when you are there?
Here’s 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.
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.
Here’s a 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?
So it happened right here, I got locked in a bathroom. Till 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 he door and all the girls were thanking him, of course he was laughing his #[email protected] off at us all.
Hanging Into The Next Day
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.
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!.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
It is very warm in here, so bare that in mind. I was getting to 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 water fall is, many gather on the rocks, allowing for the best of moments in butterfly resting spots.
If you want details there’s staff there to fill you in. Look at all the walls, the ceilings and the pathways, Butterflies are everywhere.
SOUTH BASS ISLAND STATE PARK
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 back side 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.
TIME TO GO
When it’s time to go back to the mainland, you may just not want to. I know that each time I leave, I so solemnly vow to return the next year. I love it here, my family loves it as well. Like 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!