Put In Bay Blog

Airbnb Put in Bay | A New Era

Airbnb Put in Bay has quickly become a popular way to stay on South Bass Island.  Users like the ease of use, an enormous amount of listings and the crowd sourced accountability.  However, guests should be sure to always check with the Put-In-Bay Hotels and Home Rentals DIRECT, as this is often the best deal.  Let’s take a look at some of the alternative ways to make reservations to this favorite vacation spot.

Airbnb Put in Bay | The New World Order

Airbnb Put in Bay

So, what is Airbnb?  Simply put, this service connects people to people for lodging stays and experiences.  Essentially, it is a marketplace where peers can offer up lodging to travelers.  This includes a shared room, event space, entire condo and more.  The company itself does not own the real estate being rented.  Rather, they make their earnings by being the intermediary for these transactions.  They charge commissions for each of the booking the Airbnb hosts make.  Simply put, Airbnb is analogous to Uber, the popular ride-share service.

The hosts utilize the platform to monetize their own homes, vacation rentals and other spaces.  Also, the company has in recent times added experiences to the offerings.  So, guests can arrange for lodging and also book great Things to Do in many markets.  Users have grown to love Airbnb, because of the ease of use.  Also, users are vetted and rated with ease stay and transaction.  Furthermore, users must submit Government issued ID when setting up their account.  These safeguards and community policing help to ensure the users and hosts can exist in relative harmony.

With all of the benefits listed, many homeowners on Put in Bay have utilized Airbnb Put in Bay.  There aren’t many other platforms that have the same reach and effectiveness.  However, for guests this does not necessarily mean that it is the best way to Make Reservations.  As mentioned, Booking Direct with a Put-in-Bay Vacation Rental or Put-in-Bay Hotel ensures the best rates.  Also, it gives Guests a direct line of communication with the Lodging Provider.  Therefore, any changes that need to be made are done seamlessly.  Lastly, consider the “cleaning fees” and other surcharges on an Airbnb Put in Bay Rental in comparison to Booking Direct.  Don’t spend more than you have to!

Other Ways to Book a Stay

Below is a list of some of the alternative ways to Make a Put-in-Bay Reservation.  Please be advised that each has its own fee schedules and methods of booking.  We would highly encourage our Guests to Contact the Lodging Providers directly for access to the best rates.  Also, many of the best Put-in-Bay Hospitality leaders offer great specials throughout the season.  These are almost never offered nor honored on these OTA’s.  Book Direct!

VRBO Put in Bay







The Key is: Just Get Here!


Regardless of your choice of how to Book a Stay at Put-in-Bay, we welcome you with open arms.  While we always encourage booking direct, many of our guests prefer to utilize another method.  Go for it!  We are just happy that you have chosen to put an island in your life and given us the opportunity to be your host.  So, go out and make your plans, we will be here on the island waiting for your arrival!

You have two different ferries you can take to South Bass Island and they are the Miller Ferry and the Jet Express. The Miller Ferry comes from Catawba island point and the Jet Express has docks in both Port Clinton and Sandusky. As of now, no docks are available from Cleveland or Toledo. Come stay at the best party island in the United States! Book an Awesome vacation home!

Things to do

  • Perry’s Cave and Family Fun Center
  • Golf Cart Rentals
  • Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial

Types of PIB lodging

There’s a lot of different places to stay on the bay from victorian style rental homes, private rooms/hotel rooms, luxury condos and many more. Whether you came to the island hoping for a relaxing family vacation or getaway , for a wild bachelor party or bachelorette party, of for full time business,  you can find the perfect place to vibe for your island vacation. Whether its lakeside, lakefront, or downtown Put-in-Bay there’s a perfect place to stay!

Other vacation rentals

-Bird’s nest Resort
-Put-in-Bay Poolview Condos
-Put-in-Bay Waterfront Condos
-The Island Club Rentals


As of May 4th, 2020 the island is subject to the stay at home order placed by Gov. DeWine due to Covid-19. Travel onto the island is limited to essential persons ONLY. We will continue to update you as more information comes!





The Ice Rescue at Catawba Island State Park

Ice Rescue at Catawba Island State Park


When the summer season of Put-in-Bay comes to an end and the lake begins to freeze, ice fishermen are ready to go.  For many years, the ice fishermen have enjoyed the frozen winter wonderland while in their ice shanties on the hunt for fresh bass, perch and walleye.


Standing on a frozen lake is never going to be completely safe.  On March 9th, 2019 roughly 100 ice fishermen found themselves stranded as a large chunk of ice separated itself form the mainland.  The US Coast Guard, Put-in-Bay Volunteer Fire Department, Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department, Catawba Island Volunteer Fire Department and Police, and North Central EMS all acted as first responders to the emergency.



Some of the Stranded Attempted to Self-Rescue


On-site witnesses came forward saying that some of the people stranded took matters into their own hands by swimming back to either solid ice or land.  At 32 degrees, hypothermia can happen just 15 minutes of being in the water.  The Ohio Department of Natural Resources notified the Coast Guard stating that there was between 30 and 40 people in the lake swimming to safety.


Coast Guard Acts Quickly


Upon receiving the news of the incident, the Coast Guard’s District 9 Command Center immediately sent 4 helicopters and two 20-foot airboats to the scene.  The Coast Guard was joined by the Catawba Island and Put-in-Bay Volunteer Fire Department and Southshore Towing who also has send multiple airboats to assist.  Reports state that some were able to safely walk to a large piece of ice that had yet broken away from the mainland. The fishermen were loaded up into multiple rescue airboats while helicopter crews rescued any remaining individuals.


The Put-in-Bay Volunteer Fire Department Aids in The Rescue of 15 People


Put-in-Bay is aware that ice fishing is the main attraction during the winter months. The Volunteer Fire Department at Put in Bay trains a few times a year for incidents such as the ice rescue mission.  According to Fire Department Assistant Chief Doug Wilhelm stated that on March 9th the volunteer first responders were able to rescue 15 stranded fishermen in their airboat!


Fortunately, no injuries were reported from the ice rescue at Catawba Island State Park, and everyone got home safe that day.  Following the incident, the Coast Guard warned the public no to go onto the ice for the rest of the winter season.  With temperatures rising and Spring on the horizon, ice thickness became nearly impossible to determine.  On the bright side, there were no injuries or casualties thanks to the great first responders in the area!


Thanks for reading our blog! For any lodging inquiries or general questions please click here for more information. If you wish to book any lodging directly, or speak on the phone with one our representatives, give us a call at 216-898-9951.

Activities, News

Bachelor Party Basics Put-in-Bay Ohio

Bachelor Party Reservations Call 216-898-9951

Bachelor Party on Put in Bay is the perfect last hurrah for a soon to be groom.  The island is perfect for such an event, with great activities and nightlife to make the party memorable.  Also, there are ideal places to stay for even the biggest of groups.  All of the bros can get together one last time, before another one takes the plunge.  Read on to see all you need to know to Plan a Bachelor Party on Put-In-Bay.

How to Get There?

Jet Express Put in Bay

Getting to the island is easy.  There are two Ferry Boats that service the island.  The Miller Ferry departs from the Port Clinton Catawba Dock and hauls both people and vehicles.  So, if you have a bunch of stuff and want to pack it in a car, you can bring it over to PIB.  Also, the Jet Express is an option.  The Jet runs later at night, so having to work on Friday is not an excuse not to make it!  Hop on a boat and get ready to party!

Where to Stay?

Bachelor Party Pad

When planning a Bachelor Party on the island, you may encounter a surprise.  Many of the hospitality and lodging providers prohibit such groups.  However, this is one of the most common types of groups that visit the island.  So, what to do?  Fortunately, there is a place where Bachelor Parties are not only allowed, they are welcomed, The Island Club!

The Island Club Rental Homes are the answer for size and space on the bay.  Each home has at least 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, full kitchen, BBQ grill and outdoor deck.  Also, there are golf cart rentals onsite, a BYOB outdoor pool and convenient Island Club Taxis at the ready. All of the fun and craziness of downtown Put-In-Bay is a short and fun ride away.  When the day winds down, the extra rooms are clutch when friends fall out.  The homes at the Island Club can sleep 8-12 guests and neighboring homes can be rented.  So, bring all the homies!

Where to Party?

The island of Put-In-Bay is well known for being the place to let loose.  By far the best place to hang out, dip in the pool and dance the night away is the Mr. Ed’s Entertainment Complex.  Inside, there is just so much fun all around.  Outside at the swim up bar Mist, the drinks are flowing and music blaring.  Inside, the fun never stops with bands downstairs, DJ’s upstairs at the Green Room and a chilled vibe over at the Tree Bar.  Get here with the Bachelor Party crew for an epic bash with the best in island entertainment.

What to Bring?

Swim trunks, t shirts, flip flops and a good attitude for starters.  Really though, the island is no frills and very laid back overall.  You won’t see dress codes at bars and the atmosphere is very unpretentious.  So, bring some cash, credit cards and comfy clothes to march your friend through his final days as a single person.  There is beer available for purchase on the island by the case that’s about the same cost as mainland.  Bring liquor if you want it as there is no Ohio State Liquor Store on the island.

What Else?

Well, that’s on you.  Are you the Best Man in Charge of this soon to be show?  The Resources are Here to help get a Place to Stay  a Place to Party and a Way to Get Around.  So, the time is now to get that place booked and make sure your buddy knows you want to send him off the right way.

A Bachelor Party on Put-In-Bay will be Unforgettable and something you’ll all cherish for a long time.  Hell, it might even turn into a Boys Weekend tradition!  Get to Put-In-Bay, the Bachelor Party Capital of the Midwest!

Celebrating Vacation Rental Week, March 9-13, 2020!

Vacation Rental Week

Put-in-Bay Ohio is thrilled to participate in the first annual Vacation Rental Week – the vacation and holiday rental industry’s first of its kind! We’d like to use this opportunity to highlight the value and key benefits of professionally-managed vacation rentals for both guests and property owners alike. We also want to encourage you to try a home or condo for your next visit. Book a stay or choose a professional manager to rent your vacation property.

Vacation Rental Week As A Guest

As a guest, vacation rentals are a great alternative to hotels in every aspect, offering you much more for your money, with additional space, privacy, convenience, and amenities included. Along with this added value, your options are constantly increasing as the industry itself experiences rapid growth each year. This means there are more available properties, more variety, and more destinations to choose from.

Vacation rentals also present you with a unique opportunity to create a more personalized, memorable vacation experience when compared with traditional hotels. You’ll have the practical comfort of an actual residence, the ability to explore the neighborhood, and the opportunity to discover aspects of your destination you might not encounter when staying at a hotel.

If you’re vacationing with a group of family or friends, vacation rentals are an excellent option! They offer multiple bedrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and easy access to local entertainment. Some even come with Put-in-Bay golf cart rental discounts or packages to save you even more money.

Lake Erie Love

Prospective Homeowners Are Invited Too

For property owners, renting your second property through a professional manager can be an easy and reliable revenue source. Transform it into an asset that offers a significant return on your investment. You’ll also be able to use the property when you choose, spending your own vacations there with family or friends, while renting it to guests the rest of the year.

A professional vacation rental manager will handle all the logistics, securing responsible guests, and maximizing your return. They do this through an expert understanding of the industry and in-depth knowledge of the local community. They’ll also advertise the property, handle inquiries, collect deposits and balances, generate agreements, and follow-up post-rental, so you can sit back and simply enjoy the experience.

Finding a Put-in-Bay vacation rental to book or a professional manager to represent your property is fast and easy. Our friends at the Vacation Rental Management Association (VRMA) provide a free search tool to locate property managers and their available properties worldwide. Find a vacation rental or professional manager for your property in Put-in-Bay and get started in this exciting industry today!

Join The Conversation

If you would like to join Island Club Rentals and get involved in Vacation Rental Week, call us at 216-898-9951 to make a booking for the upcoming season (mention “Vacation Rental Week” and get a special discount!). Or you can help spread the word about professionally managed vacation rentals by joining the conversation on social media as well with the official #VacationRentalWeek hashtag.

Why pay commissions (up to 20% extra) on a hotel room for the “privilege” of using a third party booker when you can book a vacation rental home or condo directly with us?!? Book a Put-in-Bay rental directly online at https://www.islandclub.com or Call With Questions to 216-898-9951.

bachelorettes at island club


Put-in-Bay Vacation Week Questions

What is Vacation Rental Week?

Vacation Rental Week, March 9-13, 2020, is a week-long celebration of the vacation rental industry. During Vacation Rental Week, we will work together to spread public awareness about the positive impact that professionally-managed vacation and holiday rentals have on guests, property owners, and local economies large and small.

What are the goals of Vacation Rental Week?

The goals of Vacation Rental Week are multifaceted. Through rental management participation across the USA, Vacation Rental Week aims to:
– Educate the general public on the value and benefits that professionally-managed vacation rentals offer guests, property owners, and local economies large and small.
– Drive vacation and holiday rental bookings worldwide.
– Increase industry awareness among policymakers to encourage fair and balanced regulations that benefit both communities and the vacation rental market.
– Gain official congressional recognition of a “Vacation Rental Day” during Vacation Rental Week 2021.

Who should participate in Vacation Rental Week?

Groups coming to Put-in-Bay for a vacation, family reunions, Put-in-Bay bachelorette parties, sports teams, property managers and owners, suppliers, and anyone interested in our industry by spreading the word on the value and benefits of vacation and holiday rentals.

How can I participate?

As a guest, Vacation Rental Week offers an extra final opportunity to get your 2020 summer Put-in-Bay Ohio booking at a nice little discount. Once the season starts, special offers are few and far between. As a potential homeowner, we have special data, analytics, and rental income projections that we can share with you. Call us at 216-898-9951 with any and all questions. We are here to help!


Top 10 Kid-Friendly Things To Do at Put-in-Bay

Put in Bay Sunset

The Top 10 Kid-Friendly Things to Do at Put-in-Bay

While Put-in-Bay is known for its nightlife and party scene on the weekend, the mid-week island vibe is incredibly kid-friendly.  Bringing your kids up to Put-in-Bay could be the affordable getaway your family has been dreaming of.  There is so much family friendly memories to be made here.  Here are the top 10 kid-friend things to do at Put-in-Bay.

  1. Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center

The Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center is a must do.  Once there you will find that you could spend two whole days there.  The most popular attraction here is the cave itself. Guided tours are offered and will take you down into the cave to take pictures, talk about how they were formed and the history behind the cave itself! Make sure you listen to the guide because there is a lot to learn.

You will also find the Butterfly House where you can walk through a room full of thousands of colorful butterflies.  Inside, you’ll also find a lot of signs with fun facts about the butterflies themselves.  Although you’re not allowed to touch them, they might come and land of your shoulder and say hello.

Other activities here include the War of 1812 Holes Miniature Golf, Laser Tag, Fort aMAZE’n, Rock Climbing, Antique Car Museum, gift shops and DanDee’s Snack Shack.  As previously mentioned, this is a must do.

  1. Rent a Golf Cart

The best way to get around on Put-in-Bay is by golf cart.  You can reach every corner of the island and check out everything it has to offer.  Besides, we’ve never seen a sad kid on a golf cart at Put-in-Bay.  The best golf carts are with Island Club Golf Cart Rentals.  So rent a golf cart and have yourself a blast with your family!

  1. DeRivera Park

Named after the founder of Put-in-Bay, Jose DeRivera, you can locate the park right in the heart of downtown.  It offers a great view of the harbor and includes a lot of fun things to do.  You can take a picture and check out the cannons from the war of 1812.  DeRivera Park also has a great playground lots of fun little games for the kids to play.  It is the perfect place for a family picnic!

  1. Aquatic Visitors Center

Operated by The Ohio State University and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Aquatic Visitors Center is a great place to bring your kids.  It used to be a fish hatchery up until 1988. It then became an educational facility with the OSU Stone Laboratory and OSU’s island campus on Lake Erie that focuses on marine biology research.

Inside you will find opportunities to learn about interesting research taking place and learn about Ohio’s fishing culture.  Kid activities include a wall puzzle, coloring sheets and fishing off the dock!  You find open tanks where you can see the fish close up and on Saturdays the center hosts kids programs. Make sure you check it out.

  1. Lake Erie Islands Nature & Wildlife Center

The Wildlife Center on Put-in-Bay is another kid’s favorite. It offers a lot of information on the wildlife of the Lake Erie Islands, fun picture opportunities and a great little nature trail.  There is also a cute little frog pond in the back!

  1. Visit the Beach at the State Park

Putting the State Park as #6 on the list of kid-friendly things to do might be harsh.  It could easily be #1 or #2 on someone else’s list.  The South Bass Island State Park has a great little beach that’s perfect for skipping rocks and going for a swim.

If you plan to stay the night, they have a campground and small cabin.  There are also beautiful cliffs to look over.  Finally, the state park provides one of the best sunsets you’ll ever see!

  1. Perry’s Victory and International Peace MemorialPerrys Monument and Put-in-Bay

This is one is hard to miss. The Perry’s Victory and Peace Memorial is a homage to Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry who led a fleet to victory in a marquee battle of the War of 1812.  It stands tall at over 350 feet and can be seen from the mainland.

Take your kids up to the top of the tower and if you’re lucky you’ll be able to see Canada! Once on top, the views are spectacular where you can see all the Lake Erie Islands.  We seriously recommend you plan a visit!

  1. Put-in-Bay Tour Train

Consider taking the Put-in-Bay Tour Train to learn all out the island.  You’ll learn a lot about the history of the bay, the present-day island life, and what it is like to live at the Put-in-Bay all year round.

The price of the loop includes one loop around the island consisting of 5 different stops.  You can get out at each stop and hop on the next train which runs about every 30 minutes.  The 5 stops are Perry’s Cave and Family Fun Center, The Heinemann Winery & Crystal Cave, Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial.

  1. Put-in-Bay Candy Store

Located right downtown next to TJ’s Smokehouse the Put in Bay Candy Bar is like visiting heaven on Earth for those with a sweet tooth.  They have the best chocolate bar, an amazing selection of rock-candy, and an amazing ice cream store.  Be sure to check it out! The Candy Bar is a must when it comes to kid-friendly things to do at Put-in-Bay.

  1. Kimberly’s Carousel

Riding the Carousel downtown is a great way to see your kid smile.  The hand-carved and painted carousel is located right next to the Candy Bar and kids love it.  There is always fun music playing as well.  It is even fun for the parents to ride it too!



Jet Express Put in Bay

Jet Express Put in Bay

Jet Express Ferry Service is great for those wanting to visit South Bass Island.  Especially true for those wishing to stay later and experience the nightlife.  During peak season, the last boats leave the island just after Midnight.  Therefore, visitors have ample time to see all of the awesome Put-In-Bay Entertainers and fun Things to Do.

Another great feature of the Jet Express is the drop off location.  Their downtown Put-In-Bay dock places you right in the middle of the action.  Many of the best island attractions, restaurants and shops are within a stone’s throw.  Also, the lovely DeRivera Park beckons guests to take a break from the action.  This lakefront park was a gift from the islands founder, Jose de Rivera.


Port Clinton Ferry to Put-in-Bay

The Jet Express Main Dock is located at 3 Monroe Street in Port Clinton, Ohio.  From this location, passengers can purchase tickets for boat transportation to Put-In-Bay.  Trips depart approximately every 45 minutes to one hour in peak season.  The last boat typically departs the island of Put-In-Bay at 12:15 AM.

Ferry to Put in Bay from Sandusky

In addition to the Port Clinton Ferry Boat Service to Put-In-Bay, the Jet Express has another facility in Sandusky, Ohio.  Here, passengers can board on the Jet Express Catamarans for the destinations of Kellys Island and Putinbay.  Guests can even opt to purchase an island hopper ticket and see both islands.

Jet Express Put-In-Bay for a Play Day!

Play Day at Put-in-Bay


Come early and take in some of the great sights and attractions.  Head up to the top of the Observation Tower at Perry’s Monument and be awestruck at the view.  Taste some of the local favorites like the famous Lobster Bisque at the Boardwalk Restaurant.  Buy that stylish dress you’ve had your eye on at Lovella Fashion and really go all out during your Put-In-Bay Getaway.

And when the sun goes down, the party goes on!  The Late Night Service with the Jet Express Put in Bay ensures the fun won’t end so soon.  Listen to the legends of island entertainment and forget about the worries left on the mainland.  You are on island time now and the rest just doesn’t matter!



Put-in-Bay Pyrate Fest

Put-in-Bay Pyrate Fest


The year is 1818 and you and your family are infamous pirates that plunder the Great Lakes. News reaches you of a Pyrate Fest that is half a days journey to the east. You hear how it is an event filled with family fun activities and other fellow pirates.

You raise the sails and set course immediately for Put-in-Bay! Upon arrival you raise the Pirate Flag in DeRivera Park and walk the streets to experience all that is Pyrate Fest.

Put-in-Bay Pyrate Fest Cannon

To your surprise there are magicians, fire jugglers, and educational tales that immediately capture the children’s attention. You and the misses grab a drink and share tales of your Great Lake excursions with other fellow Pirates.

After 2 days of fun events, great food and drink, and very convincing magic tricks you decide to join the annual 5K to get that pirate booty back in shape! As you and your family set sail you can’t wait for next years festival.

Put-in-Bay Pyrate Fest



Join the family fun of Pyrate Fest as pirates invade the Put-in-Bay harbor from June 21-23! Dress in your best pirate costume and join the island invasion! In addition, You could win the pirate costume contest. There is plenty to do this weekend from history re-enactments with cannon fire to pirate parades!

There are plenty of free educational activities for the kids and on Sunday you can end the weekend with the annual 5K run/walk.

It all starts on Friday with the hoisting of the Pirate Flag in DeRivera Park and subsequently the search for treasure! The event starts at 10:00 am on Friday through Sunday at 6:00 pm so make reservations for hotels and lodging now to ensure you don’t miss out on the Put-in-Bay Pyrate Fest activities.

Put-in-Bay Pyrate Fest




4:30pm – Put-in-Bay Pirate Flag Raising and Opening Cannons! Pirate Stage in Downtown DeRivera Park & Harbor.
5:00pm – Pirate Pub Crawl. Starts at Red Moon (21 and over only).


10am to 5pm – Pirate Camp and Marketplace open. East end of Downtown DeRivera Park.
10am to 1pm – Costume Contest Registration for both the adult and kids costume contests. Pirate Market Place Information Table.
10:30am – Enlisted 1812 Soldiers Black Powder Demonstration. Cannon Firing Area.
11am to 2pm – Captain Jack Sparrow and His Crew host kid’s activities. Stage and Surrounding Park Area.
11am to 4pm – Meet a real mermaid! Pirate Camp.
11am to 5pm – Faire Wynds Circus. Pirate Camp.
11am to 5pm – Black Powder Demonstrations with Cannon Master Bob Gilmore. Center of Downtown DeRivera Park Cannon Firing Area.
2pm – Kids Pirate Costume Contest. Immediately following the Walk Like A Pirate Parade! Downtown DeRivera Park Stage.
3pm – Pirate of the Year Adult Costume Contest. Immediately following the Kids Costume Contest on the Downtown DeRivera Park Stage.
4pm – Captain Jack Sparrows Treasure Hunt! Meet in DeRivera Park Picnic Area.
4:30pm – Enlisted 1812 Soldiers Black Powder Demonstration. Cannon Firing Area.
6pm – Adult Buccaneer Bash at Reel Bar. Costume Contest (registration starts at 5:30), Music, Drink Specials and more for the 21 and over crowd.


8am to 9am – Stein Hospice Pirate 5K Fun Run Check In. Racers are to check in with race officials at the start line.
9:30am – Stein Hospice Pirate 5K Fun Run Starts! Catawba Ave Downtown Put-in-Bay.
10am to 5pm – Pirate Camp and Marketplace open. East end of Downtown DeRivera Park.
11am to 2pm – Captain Jack Sparrow and His Crew host kid’s activities. Stage and Surrounding Park Area.
11am to 4pm – Meet a real mermaid! Mermaid Tami will be available for photos. Pirate Camp.
11am to 5pm – Faire Wynds Circus. Pirate Camp.
11am to 5pm – Black Powder Demonstrations with Cannon Master Bob Gilmore. Center of Downtown DeRivera Park.
2pm – Enlisted 1812 Soldiers Black Powder Demonstration. Cannon Firing Area.
3pm – Captain Jack Sparrows Treasure Hunt! Meet at the Stage area in DeRivera Park.
3:30pm – Antique Car Parade. Downtown.

Put-in-Bay Pyrate Fest



Joshua L.

“Pyrate Fest has become a Family Tradition! If you have kids, we highly recommend this family fun time!”

Kirsten B.

“We love Pyrate Fest!! One of the best events of the summer!!!! Thank you again for an amazing weekend!! And as my kids would say, Arrrrr! Matey!!!!”

Tami B.

“Wonderful Vendor and so many things to do! Even though it rained, there was still a great turnout! The Pirate Captain and all the pirates were amazing and they had Mermaids this year!! Can’t wait till next year!”


Put-in-Bay Pyrate Fest Ship


Put-in-Bay History

Put-in-Bay Colonial Hotel

Located in the shallow western end of Lake Erie is a group of 20 or more islands rich in Put-in-Bay history. One of these, alternately called Put-in-Bay or South Bass Island, served as a base of operations for Oliver Hazard Perry. It was from the harbor called Put-in-Bay that Perry sailed to defeat the British fleet under Robert H. Barclay during the war of 1812. The American victory in the battle of Lake Erie gave the country and the United States Navy a memorable slogan of positive accomplishments, “We have met the enemy and they are ours…”

put-in-bay history festivalToday there stands at Put-in-Bay a beautiful Greek Doric column, the Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial. This 352-foot granite shaft commemorates not only a naval battle but a peace which has lasted for more than 150 years. The 3,987-mile boundary between the United States and Canada is the longest unguarded international frontier in the world.

The brigs, ships, and sloops with their long guns and cannonades are gone. Their place has been taken by yachts and sailboats. Many captains of these pleasure craft plot a course for Put-in-Bay seeking relaxation from the tensions of the city. Others — yacht-less landlubbers — board the ferryboats or fly their airplanes to the Put-in-Bay Airport for their trip to an island in Ohio’s Lake Erie vacation-land. Urban and rural tourists have been coming to Put-in-Bay for over 100 years. From the top of the Perry Memorial, the visitor can observe the site of the Battle of Lake Erie. He can also probe the depths of the caves, bicycle around the island, or sip locally produced wine or grape juice.

Earliest Visitors to Put-in-Bay Island

The earliest visitors according to Put-in-Bay history were the American Indians. Many Indian arrowheads, stone axes, and other implements of blue and white flints were turned up during construction. Indians visited Put-in-Bay when ice conditions allowed the crossing to hunt raccoons and other animals.

The French explorer and fur trader Louis Jolliet was the first white man to travel on the lake. An unidentified group of explorers sailed among the islands in July of 1784. They made charts of the islands, naming one of them Pudding Bay because the shape of the harbor (or Put-in-Bay) resembled a pudding bag. Likewise, other log books referred to the harbor as Puden Bay. The Lake Erie Islands were included in the tract of land claimed by Connecticut and which is known as the Western Reserve. The earliest white inhabitants known to have occupied the Islands were the French.

Seth Done brought a number of laborers who cleared over 100 acres of land and planted wheat in the summer and fall of 1811. He also imported 400 sheep and 150 hogs to graze on the acorn and hickory nuts which were abundant on the island. The first effort to settle on Put-in-Bay ended with the coming of the war of 1812. The workers were busy threshing grain when British soldiers drove them off in fall of 1812 and destroyed the remainder of the crop.

The War of 1812

put-in-bay history boatingWestern Lake Erie and the surrounding land areas on Ohio, Michigan and Canadian Ontario were the scenes of skirmishes and battles during the War of 1812. The American cause suffered a series of humiliating defeats at the outset of the struggle. General William Hull’s invasion of Canada failed, and Hull, in disgrace, surrendered Detroit to the British in August 1812. The force under General James Winchester was annihilated at the River Raisin (Monroe, Michigan), in January 1813. British and Indian invasions of Ohio at Fort Meigs (Perrysburg) and at Fort Stephenson (Fremont) were repulsed in May and August.

The turning point of the war in The Old Northwest came with Oliver Hazard Perry’s victory over the British fleet in the Battle of Lake Erie, 10 September 1813. The naval victory made it possible for General William Henry Harrison to invade Canada and defeat the British and Indians at the River Thames in October 1813.

Put-in-Bay Harbor

Put-in-Bay Harbor was used by Perry as a base of operations. From the Bass Islands, he could quickly sail to Sandusky Bay for conferences with Harrison or scout the British forces at Fort Malden (Amherstburg, Ontario), in the Detroit River. When the men and ships were not so engaged, there were training duties such as preparing the ships for actions and gunnery practice. The American fleet had sailed from Erie, Pennsylvania, on 12 August 1813 and arrived off Sandusky Bay on the sixteenth. Perry conferred with Generals Harrison and Lewis Cass regarding the next step to take in prosecuting the campaign. The British fleet under Captain Robert H. Barclay was sighted by a lookout in the masthead of Perry’s flagship, the brig Lawrence, at 5:00 a.m., Friday, 10 September 1813.

The Battle of Lake Erie began at 11:45 a.m. and ended a few minutes after 3:00 p.m. British supremacy on the lake came to an end with the capture of the entire enemy fleet of six vessels. The conflict began eight miles northwest of Put-in-Bay and reached its climax at West Sister Island, fourteen miles away. Finally, the triumphant American captain dashed off a short note on the back of an old letter to William Henry Harrison, making Put-in-Bay history:

U.S. Brig Niagara, Off Western Sister Island head of Lake Erie, Sept. 10, 1813, 4 p.m.

Dear General —

We have met the enemy and they are ours; two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop.

Yours with great respect and esteem,

O.H. Perry

Post War Put-in-Bay History

After the War of 1812, Aschell (Shell) Johnson lived on Put-in-Bay for three years. The next settlers were Henry and Sally Hyde who came in 1818. The Hydes brought 500 head of sheep to the island. A.P. Edwards then began to develop Put-in-Bay, bringing in laborers to erect the necessary buildings. John Pierpoint built a dock in Put-in-Bay harbor and another one known as the West Dock.

However, the first permanent settler to come to Put-in-Bay was Philip Vroman in 1843. He settled on the island and remained on the island until his death 68 years later. In 1845 Gibraltar Island in the harbor was occupied by a group of government surveyors and engineers who were engaged in making charts of the lake. They found it necessary to cut a strip 45 feet wide running through the woods of Put-in-Bay so they could site the instruments properly. The strip was used as a road by the islanders called “Sight Road”. Today it is referred to as the airport road, officially it is Langram Road.

The Jose DeRivera Era

put-in-bay history downtownIn 1854 a Spanish merchant name Joseph de Rivera bought South Bass, Middle Bass, Sugar, Gibraltar, Ballast and Starve Island for a price of $44,000. He began to develop the islands, building a saw mill and a starve mill in the fall of 1854. He had the county engineer survey the area in 10-acre lots. In the first ten years, de Rivera sold 42 parcels of land in South and Middle Bass. He sold a quarter acre of land to the South Bass Board of Education for a dollar, the cheapest in Put-in-Bay history. The park downtown is named de Rivera Park in his honor, and a trust is responsible for the park and other land still today.

The grape-growing and wine-making industry began in the Lake Erie Island in the 1850s, and Put-in-Bay’s attraction as a historical island resort was being developed. Large celebrations were held in 1852, 1858, and 1859 honoring Oliver Hazard Perry’s victory over the British in 1813. Similarly, Put-in-Bay was becoming known for its delicious grapes and excellent wines. It was also a place where the vacationist, via the steamboat, could “get away from it all” for a few hours. The population grew as farmers came to the island to plant vineyards and as others became involved in the resort business. About 500 persons were permanent residents of Put-in-Bay by the early 1860s.

In 1866 a story in the Sandusky Daily Commercial Register told of the growth of Put-in-Bay township. Islanders owned 103 horses, 165 cattle, 206 hogs and one mule. The fields were planted in wheat, oats, buckwheat, rye, barley, potatoes, sorghum, tobacco, hay and clover. The vineyards were a main source of income. Over 72 acres of vines had been planted in 1865 to bring the total to 422. Grape production for 1865 totaled 1,117,801 pounds and 33,805 gallons of wine were pressed. The future looked bright for island farmers.

South Bass Island Goverment

Local island government was now desired and to this end, John Stone, Simon Fox and others from the three Bass Islands petitioned the Ottawa County commissioners for permission to organize Put-in-Bay township. On June 22, 1861, the electors selected their town trustees marking a first in Put-in-Bay history. In May of 1876, 15 years later after the three islands were organized as a township, a portion of South Bass was incorporated as a village which we now refer to as downtown Put-in-Bay.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was built in 1865 on land purchased by Jay Cooke from Jose DeRivera for $10.00 (the land for the school was sold for $1.00). The deed to the land stipulated it was for the construction of an Episcopal church. Islanders raised the initial funds to build a church and were financially assisted by Jay Cooke. Jay Cooke’s heirs gave the land to the Episcopal church in the early 1900s. In addition, Mother of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church was established in 1866. The Put-in-Bay Telegraph Company was incorporated in 1873, with a two and seven-eighth mile cable between Catawba Point and South Bass Island. In the 1930s, dial phones replaced old hand-cranked wall instruments. In May 1906, the street lighting system was converted to electricity.

The Steamship Era through Modern Day Put-in-Bay

In its heyday, around the 1850s to the 1900s, several steamships, some holding up to 1,500 passengers, serviced the island on a regular basis. Tourists were treated to a variety of hotels, including 300 x 600 foot Hotel Victory with 625 guest rooms, at that time the largest resort hotel in America featuring the first coed swimming pool. Elaborate ceremonies were planned for the laying of the cornerstone of The Victory. Seven steamboats brought 8,000 people to the island. The Beebe house with a wide hall running 500 feet through the center had a dining room that could seat nearly a thousand diners. The hotel could house over 800 persons. Unfortunately, the Victory Hotel caught fire and burned to the ground before it could be fully utilized.

Finally, Put-in-Bay has been a summer resort for more than 100 years. Today, Put-in-Bay is a vibrant tourist resort complete with bars, hotels, boating, fishing, a national monument, golf cart rentals, caves and much more. For more information on the history of Put-in-Bay, we suggest you read Isolated Splendor by Robert Dodge. Most of the information for this brief Put-in-Bay history page was obtained from that book. Come visit the South Bass Island, or Put-in-Bay as it is better known, and see for yourself.


Breathtaking Footage – Tens of Thousands of Cormorants In Flight

You’d be forgiven for thinking that you were watching an episode of Planet Earth, but this is actually amateur footage taken from the Put-in-Bay Condos on Lake Erie. Tens of thousands of cormorants skim their way across Lake Erie on their way to, well, wherever it is they’re heading. The stars of this breathtaking video are the double-crested cormorant. The sight of them isn’t exactly welcome by everyone in the Lake Erie Islands community. We couldn’t get David Attenborough to do a voice over, so you’ll have to settle for a video. We will tell you a little bit about this fascinating fowl and the controversy surrounding it in the Great Lakes.

Once Threatened

While you would never know it based on this video, there was a time that the cormorant was in serious danger. They were the victims of population control from fishermen. Fishermen saw the cormorant and their pound-of-fish-a-day diet as a threat to their livelihood. The introduction of DDT and similar pesticides nearly finished the cormorant off. The chemicals entered the cormorants’ system through the fish they’d eat, and had devastating effects. The shells of the cormorant’s eggs were thinned by the chemicals, making them much more fragile. If an egg managed to make it long enough to hatch, the birthed bird would often be suffering from deformities. It is estimated that there were as few as 150 nesting pairs in the Great Lakes region in the early 1970’s.

Now Thriving

The tide turned for the double-crested cormorant in the ‘70’s. The federal government banned DDT, and included the cormorant in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. These two major developments allowed the cormorant to survive. The invasion of the alewife, a species of herring, allowed them to thrive. The alewife found their way into the Great Lakes in the 1980’s and their numbers exploded due to no natural predator in the water itself. However, they became the perfect food for the cormorant. The cormorant population skyrocketed and has continued to climb since, now numbering in the hundreds of thousands. You will see them all over Put-in-Bay, especially in places like According to some, this boom has had many negative effects on the local ecosystem.

Cormorants In Flight

A Subject of Local Debate

The debate over what to do about the cormorant continues today. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued permits to cull over 18,000 cormorants this summer across the Midwest. Proponents of these culls point to the danger the cormorants pose to the fish population. They also cite the economic impact on sport fishing. Furthermore, the cormorants’ guano is highly acidic, and damages cars and buildings as well as ravaging local flora. Those opposed to cormorant population reduction have concerns about the impact the culling methods have on other fauna, such as the heron. Heron eggs are knocked out of nests by people spraying cormorant eggs and are subsequently abandoned.

The reverse is true about the gull population. The gulls derive great benefits from the empty cormorant nests, and could potentially increase their numbers. This is a problem, as scientists believe the gull population is also already too high to support. Pop reduction opponents also dispute the actual impact the cormorant have on fish population in the region.

What’s next for the Cormorants?

We don’t know what the future holds for the cormorant in the Great Lakes. The sad but unavoidable truth is that their fate will almost certainly be decided by humans. It must be considered that what is good for the cormorant may not necessarily be good for the Great Lakes ecosystem as a whole. Ecologists must find answers to these questions. But in the meantime, we can certainly take a moment and appreciate the majesty of a legion of these beautiful birds gliding along towards their destination. And if you’d like to enjoy the view of the lake in this video, head on over to the Put-in-Bay Waterfront Condos website to make a booking for the 2019 season!

News, Weather

Put-in-Bay Historical Weekend Cancellations

Historical Weekend

Put-in-Bay Historical Weekend – Sept 7-9, 2018

It is with a heavy heart that we announce all events at Perry’s National Monument have been cancelled due to weather this weekend.

Historical Weekend at the Bay is a celebration of the Anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie. It is a celebration of history, art and music. We will remember and honor Perry’s Naval Victory and two centuries of peace shared by the United States, Canada and Great Britain.

founders day reenactment

Friday, September 7th 2018

Boy Scouts are Cancelled! Each year, roughly 1200 Boy Scouts come to camp on the Perry’s Monument east lawn for their annual camporee. They assist with National Park Service activities during their stay as part of their community service.

The Flag Retirement Ceremony Friday evening at Perry’s Monument has been Cancelled.

Historical Village

Saturday, September 8th 2018

The Art in the Park, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, has been Cancelled.

The War of 1812 Military Historic Encampment has been Cancelled! This is a much loved experience at Perry’s Monument with musical performances, black powder demonstrations, and a rustic old-fashioned “village” set up on the West Lawn.

Stone Lab has announced that there will be no trips to Gibraltar Island for their Open House. However, there will still be tours of the Aquatic Visitors Center, Put-in-Bay Lighthouse, & Stone Lab Research Center during the day.

The morning Memorial Service at Perry’s Monument has been Cancelled. Each year, during Historical Weekend, this event usually honors the men who fought and died during the naval battle (War of 1812).

Sadly, the big Grand Parade which includes all the Boy Scouts and classic cars, has been Cancelled.

The evening Toledo Orchestra Brass Quintet has been also Cancelled. It was to be held on the Perry’s Monument Visitor Center back porch.

The biggest sadness of the weekend is the Cancellation of the Lights of Peace Harbor Illumination. If you’ve never seen it before, it is a mile long experience along the shores of Lake Erie in front of the Perry’s Monument. This impressive light display honors friends and loved ones and will hopefully return in 2019.

Boy Scouts

Sunday, September 9th 2018

The second day of the War of 1812 Military Historic Encampment has also been Cancelled!

The Park Service has announced the Cancellation of the Musket Firing, the Carronade Firing, and the Combined Musket and Carronade Firings.

Ever seen the Old Fashioned Baseball sponsored by Miller Boat Line? If not, you will have to wait until 2019 because this has also been Cancelled.

For more detailed Cancellation information, please call the park service at 419-285-2184 and they can provide you with up to date information.