Do you dream of an island getaway but only have a day-trip budget? Look no further than the Lake Erie sands and shores. Located a little over an hour away from Cleveland, OH is an island escape that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Here’s how to spend a perfect day on Put In Bay.
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*Please note: I was invited as a guest of Miller Ferry and some of the below experiences were complimentary. All opinions are 100% my own.
A Perfect Day on Put In Bay
The first thing you want to do when planning a day-trip to Put In Bay is look at the ferry schedule. Will you leave at the crack of dawn or late morning? Miller Ferry offers multiple daily trips from Catawba (mainland) to Put In Bay (Island). Determine your schedule and arrive at least 20 minutes before the ferry leaves to park and buy your tickets. Parking is free and a one-way adult ticket costs $7.50. While you can bring your vehicle with you, that will cost you extra and you really don’t need it for a day trip on the island.
Check the radar and bring appropriate weather-related items with you (i.e. sunscreen & towel vs. umbrella & sweater). Don’t forget snacks! Once you’ve boarded the ferry, sit back and relax for a 15-20 minute ride to the island. I recommend sitting up top to avoid getting wet!
Once you get to Put In Bay, I suggest renting a bike or a golf cart for the day. I was grateful to get a four-passenger golf cart from E’s Carts through my partnership with Miller Ferry and it allowed me to see the entire island without breaking a sweat! It also had a great name.
Since Put In Bay is only 2.5 by 5 miles, I suggest you spend your morning cruising around the island to get a feel for the way of life and to become acquainted with your surroundings. Stop at Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial for a tour or quick picture. Admire the architecture of the island homes. Take a hike in Massie Cliffside Preserve to feel at peace in the quiet, lush surroundings. At the end of the path is a clearing with benches, aka the perfect spot for listening to the waves and appreciating a slower pace of life.
If it’s nice weather, you might consider renting a kayak at South Bass Island State Park.
Head to downtown for some lunch and afternoon cocktails. Margaritas On The Rock has excellent frozen and fruity drinks with a beachy, carefree atmosphere. They also pump Latin music, which I love.
Chicken Patio grills over the open flame and their dinner includes BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, a dinner roll and potato salad.
Stop by the Candy Bar for some sweet treats!
After lunch, head to Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center to explore Perry’s Cave, play a round of putt-putt and admire the beautiful butterfly house. Depending on your interests, you could spend 30 minutes to a few hours here.
Next head to Heineman’s Winery across the street to sample a few island wines. Be sure to sit out back on their quaint patio.
While there is a plethora of activities on the island (shopping, adventure, outdoor), my main advice would be to relax and choose whatever activity fits your fancy.
While there are many tasty options, I would advise you to head to the Boardwalk to get your fill of seafood. This grouping of eateries offer all of your favorites including lobster bisque, shrimp, perch sandwiches and more!
I ate the lobster bisque, thick and rich, from the Upper Deck, alongside the shrimp appetizer. Grab a flavored mojito at Mojito Bay and enjoy the good life.
Head back to the ferry and remember that this island is only an hour away. Escape the stress of the everyday routine by spending a perfect day on Put In Bay!
- Official Put-in-Bay website: visitputinbay.com
- Island events: millerferry.com/
- Miller Ferry (directions, parking, ferry schedule): millerferry.com
- E’s Carts: esputinbaygolfcarts.com