Family Fun Tips - Getaway to Put-in-Bay
or "How to be a Kid Again"
There's loads of fun at Put-in-Bay for kids of ALL ages! Whether you bring the family for a day-trip, overnight stay or vacation, here are a few tips on travel, discounts, things to do, fares and more. You also will find more information on our Attractions page and Events page. Welcome Aboard Miller Ferry, the FUN starts while you're getting there! Print our coloring and activity sheet.
Put-in-Bay Round Trip Fares
- Children 5 years and younger ride FREE
- Children 6 - 11 years $3.00
- Adult 12 years and older $14.00
- Bicycle $4.00
- Car $30.00
Middle Bass Island Round Trip Fares
- Children 5 years and younger ride FREE
- Children 6 - 11 years $6.00
- Adult 12 years and older $17.00
- Bicycle $6.00
- Car $42.00 (reservation required)
How to Find Miller Ferry to Put-in-Bay & Middle Bass
Miller Ferries depart Catawba at the end of Ohio Route 53 North, off of Ohio Route 2.
(Tip: We're only 25 minutes west of Cedar Point, Kalahari, and Great Wolf Lodge!)
For GPS enter: 5174 East Water Street, Port Clinton, Ohio, 43452.
Click on our new Put-in-Bay and Middle Bass Island Coupons page where you'll find over 90 FREE COUPONS. Save on Put-in-Bay attractions, tours, bike and golf cart rentals, restaurants, kayak and jet ski rentals, pizza and to-go food, gifts and tees, dockage, fishing charters, tour train, museums, cave tour, Butterfly House, and Middle Bass Island discounts on lodging and food. Download, print and bring on your trip! Sign up for our free enewsletter "Your Island News" for events, special offers & coupons.
Welcome to the Lake Erie Shores and Islands area!
There are five Free parking areas near the Miller Ferry Dock on Catawba with no time limit on parking. If you are "day tripping" we suggest your driver drop off passengers & parcels at the top of the dock, then the driver can park while the family can purchase tickets, visit the retail shop and information area (free maps!) and restrooms. Too much luggage? Trouble walking? Hail a dock attendant for assistance.
Bring Your Own Bicycles
We welcome you to bring your bike aboard to Put-in-Bay or Middle Bass. The roads are flat & many attractions are relatively close to each other. There is a designated bike route that stretches the two miles between the Miller Ferry Lime Kiln Dock to the Perry's Monument.
Rent Bikes (see our coupons page)
Bicycle rentals, including child bikes, baby seats, safety helmets, and tandem bicycles are available for rent near the top of the Miller Ferry Dock at Put-in-Bay. There is a designated bike path following the two mile road between the dock and Perry's Monument.
Other Put-in-Bay Transportation (see our coupons page)
Rent golf carts near the top of the dock. Some carts are capable of carrying up to seven passengers. Follow the regular driving rules and Buckle Up! You must have a valid driver's license in order to rent or operate a cart. Also, buses run between the dock and downtown (two miles) and cabs will take you anywhere.
E's Carts 419-285-5553
Island Transportation 419-285-4855
Things to See and Do at Put-in-Bay:
Perry's Monument and Visitor's Center
Helpful Rangers can point out where Oliver H. Perry led the American fleet to victory over the British during the Battle of Lake Erie, 1813. Throughout the year the Memorial has several free family & kids events. Don't miss the ranger talks, period dress, Junior Ranger Programs and carronade weekends. Also, brush off your detective skills and check out CSI: Lake Erie, a culture and science investigation. Visit the observation platform and see the beautiful views of the Lake Erie Islands.
Call 419-285-2832 or 419-285-2184 for details.
When you explore this compact cave you'll feel as though you are in the center of a giant geode. Blue-white strontia crystals line the cave - a dazzling sight. Located at Heineman's Winery, Catawba Avenue. 419-285-2811.
Perry's Cave (see our coupons page)
This limestone cave is over 200 feet long and has it's own pond. A constant temperature of 42º F. will cool you in a hurry on a hot day. You can find this cave at the Perry's Cave Family Fun Center, Catawba, Avenue. 419-285-2405.
A lovingly restored Alan Herschel carousel created in 1917, located on Delaware Avenue, downtown. Take note of the hand painted historic island murals that adorn the carousel top. 419-285-4741.
Butterfly House (see our coupons page)
You will be dazzled by the hundreds of tropical butterflies. A visit is an ideal biology lesson! Through a window you can closely observe butterfly chrysalises, the emergence stage, and see butterflies "pump up" and gain strength. These butterflies are then released into the House for all to enjoy. The flowers and plants (butterfly food and roosts) make for a serene and colorful setting. Photo Time! Located at Perry's Cave Family Fun Center. 419-285-2446.
Ready to relax? Then it's time to hop the tour train at the Depot downtown. Leave the driving to a narrator who gives you a detailed history while you are on a leisurely drive around most of the island. Sit back and take it all in, this trip lasts almost an hour. The train also makes stops at Perry's Monument Visitors Center, Heineman's Winery/Crystal Cave, Perry's Cave Family Fun Center, Doller Historic Home/Put-in-Bay Winery, Lake Erie Islands Wildlife Center, and Aquatic Center.
The Candy Bar
On Delaware Avenue, this shop is filled with tempting sweets and treats. Homemade fudge and hand-dipped ice cream. 419-285-2920.
War of 18 Holes
Putt-putt golf at its best, tucked into a shady area and lit up for evening rounds, Catawba Avenue. 419-285-2405.
Test your memory and physical skills in the Maze! Located at Perry's Cave Family Fun Center. 419-285-2283.
At the Perry's Cave Family Center, wall abilities for all ages and equipped with safety approved harnesses. 419-285-2283.
Two passengers can ride aboard this historic Waco tail-dragger. View the Lake Erie Islands and Put-in-Bay from the open cockpit. Tours available on weekends at the Put-in-Bay Airport, Langram Road (half mile from Miller Ferry Lime Kiln Dock).
Saunder's nine hole course is located next to the State Park. 419-285-3917.
Get close up and personal when you explore the nooks and crannies surrounding Put-in-Bay, Gibraltar Island, Middle Bass and East Point Preserve. Guided tours and packages available. Children under 16 year old must be accompanied by an adult. Located on Bayview Avenue. 419-967-0796.
You can fish from a dock at the South Bass Island State Park, or from the dock at the Aquatic Visitors Center - (Free use of poles & bait for the kids!) Children under 16 can fish for free but must be accompanied by an adult. Fish cleaning facilities nearby.
Available for hourly or daily rent from Put-in-Bay Water Craft Rentals at the South Bass Island State Park and from Put-in-Bay Jet Ski Rental off Langram Road, near BayShore Resort.
Gibraltar Island Tours
Located in Put-in-Bay's harbor, Gibraltar is owned by Ohio State University and is home to Stone Laboratory and Cooke's Castle. The science and history tours of Gibraltar Island and Stone Lab are held every Wednesday from 11:00am-1:00pm, June 19-August 14. Tour prices are $10.00 for ages 12 & older, Children are $5.00. To get to Gibraltar, meet at the Boardwalk Restaurant harbor taxi on Put-in-Bay at 10:45am to take the taxi at a cost of $6.00 round trip. Call OSU 419-285-1800 for more information.
South Bass Island Lighthouse
Tour the South Bass Island Lighthouse and learn about its history on Mondays and Tuesdays from 11:00am-5:00pm. June 17 through August 13. You can also schedule a tour April through November. For $3, visitors ($1 for children 6–12) can climb the stairs to take in a great view of Put-in-Bay from the top of the tower, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The grounds are open to the public dawn to dusk free of charge and the lighthouse and grounds are also available for rental for private parties and special events. Call 419-285-1800 for more information and pricing.
Aquatic Visitors Center
Stop by the Aquatic Visitors Center, about one mile west of downtown Put-in-Bay, to experience Lake Erie science up close. The center is open 11:00 am - 5:00 pm, Wednesday through Saturday from June 19 through September 6. Activities include inspecting Lake Erie’s complex ecosystem through hands-on displays, observing and identifying live fish in aquaria, and discovering current research to protect Lake Erie. They offer guided tours of this historic fish hatchery (May - October) and children under age 16 can fish from the fishing pier. Admission is free. Programs every Saturday introduce kids to science. For more information about the Aquatic Visitors Center, contact the Stone Lab Office at 419-285-1800.
Located at the Perry's Cave Fun Center. Purchase a bag, then pan away in the running water. Your own dazzling gems and minerals appear! A very popular family project! 419-285-2283.
Antique Car Museum
The islands are popular for car collectors, check out this car museum at Perry' Cave Family Fun Center. Free admission.
Sunday Car Parade
Every Sunday around 2:00pm dozens of antique and collectible automobiles wind their way down Catawba Avenue, through downtown, and circle through Oak Point State Park. Another Island Tradition!
Parasail the Bay (see our coupons page)
"I did it!" An exciting solo aerial ride over the Bay. Safe and easy take off and landing. Available from the Boardwalk dock. 419-285-3703.
More Island Hopping!
Board the "Sonny S" shuttle boat for a quick trip to Middle Bass Island. Departs the Boardwalk. Call 419-285-7433 for hours.
You can spend an entire day browsing the shops of Put-in-Bay where there is also plenty of "kid stuff" to see. Souvenirs, funky hats, PIB tees, beads and jewelry, toys, plush, kites, history books, games, gifts that glow in the dark and gifts that change color in the sun, you will find all this and more in the eclectic island stores.
Lake Erie Islands Historical Museum (see our coupons page)
Conveniently located downtown don't miss the displays of ship models, Hotel Victory and island memoribilia. 419-285-2804.
Lake Erie Islands Nature & Wildlife Center (see our coupons page)
Located on Meechen Road, between the airport and the State Park, this museum offers tours and exhibits of 243 examples of North American wildlife, including fish, birds and mammals. See a real eagle's nest (photo opp!) and New! "Wild Tuesdays" from 1-3pm where you can see, touch and learn about the snake of the Lake Erie Islands. Adult $3, Senior $2, Ages 6-11 $2, under 6 yr. free, special family rate $8. 419-285-3037.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
History Tours are available at St. Paul's Episcopal Church every Tuesday at 9:00 am. The 30 - 45 minute tour gives the unique history of St. Paul's, which was established in 1865. Tours can be scheduled at other times Tuesday - Saturday by contacting St. Paul's.
Grades K-12 are housed within this school and class size averages six students. Students from Middle Bass and North Bass Island must boat or fly daily to Put-in-Bay to attend classes.
Special Events for Kids and Families
Parks on Put-in-Bay
South Bass Island State Park and Camping
Offers a stone beach, shaded camping & picnic area, pier, and coffee shop. The State Park is also the grounds on which once stood the elaborate lakefront Hotel Victory. A few ruins of this 600 room hotel can be seen today, including the natatorium - America's first swimming pool that allowed co-ed bathing. Stop by the state park office and the Lake Erie Islands Museum for more Hotel Victory photos. Located approximately a mile and a half south of the village.
Oak Point State Park
Oak Point State Park is about a half mile west of the village (downtown), spectacular view of the bay and Gibraltar Island. Has picnic area and restrooms.
De Rivera Park
Park the Kids! DeRivera Park is a waterfront park in the center of town. You'll find a "wishing" fountain, restrooms and showers, and picnic tables. Have the kids work out energy on the shaded playground, or by climbing on the cannons, also surrounding the park you'll find plenty of restaurants and snack shops, grocery store, carry-outs and gift shops.
Tales around the campfire, good friends, sky watching, sleeping bags for two, s'mores and more! The South Bass State Park offers 135 campsites, ten with full hook-ups, and primitive sites. The Park is located about one and a half miles south of downtown Put-in-Bay. There is also a launching ramp, fishing pier, playground, pebble beach and jet ski rental. For park site reservations visit www.ohiostateparks.org or call 1-866-OHIOPARKS.
Pack extra shoes or flip flops if you plan to visit the stone swimming beach. With few glaring street lights, the islands are an ideal spot for sky-mapping constellations and planets. Tip: bring a bandana to cover the ambient light of flashlights.
Aboard all ferries, on ferry docks, all State and public parks, village town hall, Perry's Monument and the Depot (downtown).