Put-in-Bay, Ohio is the perfect little getaway for a family! Take the Miller Ferry to this small island and leave your cares behind as you get to explore Island life! These 10 Best Put-in-Bay attractions are the perfect things to do with families with kids!
Put-in-Bay, Ohio is on our summer fun list every single year. We love taking the Miller Ferry over to the island and spending a day on this fun Island! I often get asked what exactly there is to do on this island for kids. Most people know of Put-in-Bay as a great place to go for a bachelorette/bachelor or big birthday celebration. But, there is a TON of things to do with kids. We recently spent an entire Sunday checking out the island and I am sharing the 10 Best things to do with kids on Put-in-Bay.
Thank you to the Miller Ferry and Perry’s Cave for sponsoring this post! We have visited Put-in-Bay with our kids for years, so we appreciated the opportunity to promote this fun place!
What to Know about Put-in-Bay
Put-in-Bay (PIB for short) is a village located on South Bass Island on Lake Erie.The island is accessible only by boat or private airplane. It is is often called the “Key West of the North” as this town features a lively entertainment scene, historical sites and great views of the water.
Put-in-Bay offers a something for everyone including state parks, family attractions, wineries, restaurants, shopping, helicopter rides and more!
There are plenty of lodging options on Put-in-Bay including hotels, VRBOs and campsites. You can visit entire weekend on the Island or you can make a day of it!
Some of the most notable historic landmarks on the Island are tied to the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial is a 352 ft tall monument that can be seen for miles on Lake Erie. The monument recognizes Commodore Perrry and his victory during the Battle. He is known for the famous quote, “Don’t Give Up the Ship”. There is a lot of American history tied to Put-in-Bay!
Put-in-Bay is one of those places that you visit once and you will want to go back again! It is truly fun for kids of all ages.
10 Things to Do on Put-in-Bay with Kids
1. MILLER FERRY
First things first, you have to get over to Put-in-Bay. You can leave your car at the Miller Ferry Dock (parking is usually $5) and walk or bring your bike on to the Ferry.
It is such a thrill for the kids to watch all of the cars get on to the ferry. We always head to the second floor of the boat to get some really great views of Lake Erie.
The entire Ferry transit time is under 20 minutes–which is the perfect amount of time for the kids!
Miller Ferry Details
- During the peak summer season (June 14th-August 18th) the Ferry leaves every 30 minutes.
- The LAST ferry of the day departs PIB at 9:00 p.m.
- Ticket Prices: Adult $7.50 Child (6-11yrs.)$1.50 Child (under 6yrs.) Free
- You can bring your car or bike Bicycle $2.00 Car – Vehicle Guidelines$17.00 (There is really no need to bring a car unless perhaps you are staying overnight!)
- The entire ferry schedule and additional details can be found HERE.
2. DRIVE AROUND TOWN WITH E”S GOLF CART
The BEST way to get around PIB is on a golf cart! It is so much FUN! Once you depart the ferry, it is just a short walk up the hill (and to your right) to E’s Golf Cart.
It is recommended that you call ahead to reserve your cart (especially if you need a larger golf cart), as it can be a busy place during peak season.
You can reserve child car seats at no extra charge!
3. LUNCH AT THE KEYS
There are a ton of restaurants around the town’s main square and our favorite is The Keys. It feels like a slice of the Key West. They have an extensive menu including a lot of options on the kids menu. We love the music and the atmosphere.
Be sure to grab an outdoor table to listen to live music, watch the boats come into the harbor and just people watch!
4. RUN AROUND THE TOWN SQUARE PLAYGROUND
After lunch, the kids are ready to explore. We usually stop at the huge playground area in the town center. There is so much space and equipment for the kids to run around. You could even pack a lunch and eat at the playground…we have done that too!!
5. PERRY’S VICTORY & PEACE MONUMENT
Once you are ready to do a little bit exploring, you do not want to miss Perry’s Victory and Peace Monument. This National Landmark is located right off the square (you can’t miss it) and commemorates the lives that were lost during the Battle of Lake Erie as part of the War of 1812.
You just take a flight up stairs up to the admissions desk and then you take an elevator up to the top.
The views of the entire Island (and on a good day, Canada!) are spectacular! We lucked out with great views during our visit.
Additional Perry’s Victory & Peace Monument Details
- Admission is $10 for those 16 years and older. Kids 15 and younger are FREE!
- During peak season (May 18th-September 8th), the observation deck is open from 10 am- 6 pm daily.
6. EXPLORE THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
Next, be sure to head over to Perry’s Cave for a lot of family fun! There are so many attractions to choose from at Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center including gem mining, putt-putt, rock wall, maze and a cave tour.
Our absolute favorite attraction at Perry’s Cove is the Butterfly House. It was our first time this year visiting the Butterfly House and we were in utter awe.
This butterfly house was one of the coolest butterfly live exhibits we have ever seen! There are over 50 different butterfly species to see. We couldn’t believe how many butterflies were all around!
Tickets for the Butterfly House can be purchased individually or you can purchase as part of a combo pack with other Perry’s Cave attractions!
Children – Ages 6 to 12: $5.00
Children age 5 and under: FREE
7. TAKE A TOUR OF PERRY’S CAVE
Another awesome attraction at Perry’s Cave is to take an actual tour of a cave! The tour runs at frequent intervals and lasts about 20 minutes long. This cave is 52 feet below the surface of South Bass Island. The cave has ties to Commodore Perry as he and his troops discovered the cave in 1813.
You get to catch views of stalactites, stalagmites and cave pearls on the cave’s walls, ceiling and floor created by heavily encrusted calcium carbonate deposits from centuries of water dripping from the ceiling. It does get a bit cool in the cave (although not a problem when you visit during the summer as it is a nice respite from heat!)
Tickets for Perry’s Cave can be purchased individually or you can purchase as part of a combo pack with other Perry’s Cave attractions!
Children – Ages 6 to 12: $5.00
Children age 5 and under: FREE
8. COOL OFF WITH A SWEET TREAT AT DAIRY ISLE
There are plenty of treats to be had at Put-in-Bay. The best place for ice cream and sweet treats is Dairy Isle. This shop is located right near the town center.
We cooled off with ice cream and smoothies.
My youngest son opted for Donut Fries and I think that the fries were everyone’s FAVORITE! I highly recommend trying the DONUT FRIES!
9. FIND A FEW SOUVENIRS AT THE SHOPS
No vacation is complete without finding the perfect souvenir. There are shops for everyone at Put-in-Bay including home decor, clothing and kids! You could honestly spend a day just hitting all of the shops at Put-in-Bay!
Every year, we visit Del Sol, which has clothing and accessories that all change color when exposed to the SUN!
They offer shirts, balls, sunglasses and even nail polish that changes colors!
My kids also won’t let a trip go by without a visit to the CANDY BAR at Put-in-Bay. They offer homemade fudge, saltwater taffy and other delicious treats!
10. RIDE THE CAROUSEL
Last but not least, if your family still has some energy, you don’t want to miss the iconic Kimberly’s Carousel! Step back in time with this old fashioned carousel ride that was constructed in 1917.
TICKETS are $1.50! What a deal.
These are 10 of our Favorite things to do on Put-in-Bay! We also like just cruising around the Island in our rented golf cart! There is so much to see and do on Put-in-Bay.
We always leave the island tired, happy and full of memories!
Are you going to add Put-in-Bay to your summer bucket list?? I’ve teamed up with the Miller Ferry to offer my readers a 4 PACK OF MILLER FERRY ADULT TICKETS ($60)!