Put-in-Bay Frequently Asked Questions

Put in Bay Ohio offers travelers many options for a relaxing vacation. With options come FAQ. Put-in-Bay’s most frequently asked questions may be found along with answers at Putinbay.com.

Put-in-Bay is a quaint island village located on South Bass Island in Put-in-Bay Township, Ottawa County, Ohio, United States 35 miles (56 km) east of Toledo. The population was 138 at the 2010 census and may go up to 150 soon!

The village is a popular summer resort and recreational destination. Do you want a weekend to unplug and relax? Put-in-Bay camping is a favorite of both families and friends. If you are more into the late night scene at the island then there are plenty of Put-in-Bay bars and restaurants to enjoy! Put-in-Bay ferry boats and airline services connect the community with Catawba Island, Kelleys Island, Port Clinton, and Sandusky, Ohio. Read on for more FAQ.

Put-in-Bay played a significant role in the War of 1812 as the location of the squadron of U.S. naval commander Oliver Hazard Perry, who sailed from the port on September 10, 1813, to engage a British squadron just north of the island in the Battle of Lake Erie.

Unanswered FAQ

If your questions or FAQ are not answered here, just e-mail us!

  • Can I bring alcohol to my hotel room?

    Yes, all of the Put in Bay hotels featured on www.putinbay.com permit you to bring your own beverages to the privacy of your own hotel room or rental home. You may not bring your alcoholic beverages into any of the bars or poolside bars as they are considered part of a liquor permit premises. There is no need to bother bringing heavy loads of beer and wine from the mainland. Visitors can purchase this from carryouts located on the island, with prices comparable to those on the mainland.

    One thing to remember, there is no full-proof liquor store on the Island. The closest state store is on the mainland near the Miller Ferry and is called Bassetts.

  • Can I walk from bar to bar with a drink in Put-in-Bay?

    NO! As anywhere in Ohio, we have an open container law. No alcoholic beverages may leave a liquor permit establishment. This is strictly enforced.

    Basically, it is illegal to possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage in a public space. An individual who breaks this law can be prosecuted and punished by a fine of up to $500 and up to 90 days in jail.

  • Do I need a driver’s license to rent a golf cart?

    Yes! Golf Carts are treated as licensed motor vehicles on the Island. All traffic laws apply including open container laws as well as drinking and driving. Put-in-Bay Golf Cart Depot rents to licensed drivers over the age of 18. For those under 18 but holding a valid license, a parent or guardian may rent a golf cart for your use.

  • Do I need advance reservations for the ferryboats?

    No! The Put-in-Bay ferry boat services run on a first-come first-served basis operating as quickly as one boat every 15 minutes during the peak season and one boat every hour in the off season. Both ferry services have numerous boats. Arrive early for your trip to Put-in-Bay to ensure the best availability and shortest waits! Check the Jet Express or Miller Ferry websites for details.

  • Do I need my car on the Island?

    We recommend that you do NOT bring a car to the Island. Aside from the expense associated with transporting your vehicle across the water on a ferry boat, parking is very limited on the Island. Waits to get a car on or off the Island can run as long as four hours on a busy Friday or Sunday.

    Most of the hotels and resorts are located in downtown Put-in-Bay and are just a short walk from the Jet Express and a pleasant golf cart ride to most attractions. The rental homes and condos are located closer to the Miller Ferry, which costs less than half of the other boat.

    Golf Carts, Bicycles, and Mopeds may be reserved at different locations on the island and are also readily available at most lodging locations including the Island Club and Put-in-Bay Condos.

  • Do your Put in Bay hotels have a minimum stay?

    On weekends, almost every Put in Bay hotel requires a two- or three-night minimum. On holiday weekends there is usually a three-night minimum. There is no minimum stay requirement Sunday thru Thursday nights where Sundays are not on a holiday weekend.

    At the rental homes and condos on the island, it is always a 2-night minimum except for select Saturdays in April, May, September, and October where a new one-night only policy has been implemented. Rates may vary.

  • Does Put-in-Bay have a school?

    Yes! Put-in-Bay has a K-12 school that is located in the downtown area. The school sees students come from all the major Bass Islands and even once in a while from the mainland. The kids from Middle Bass arrive on a school boat  when available, or the school plane when it is iced over.

  • How do I get to Put-in-Bay?

    There is one ferry boat that services the island with a high-speed passenger ferry. This is called the Jet Express and it services the island from Port Clinton and Sandusky docks for passengers and lands/docks right in the heart of downtown Put-in-Bay.

    The Miller Ferry departs out of Catawba Island and is the shortest ride by distance. However, it is both a passenger and vehicle ferry so it is not as fast as the Jet.

  • How do you get back and forth from the Island in the winter?

    When the ferryboats stop running, there are several charter airlines that fly in and out of Put-in-Bay. Look to the Island Air Taxi and Griffing Flying Service for your winter island transportation needs. There is also a hovercraft offering ferry service across the ice to and from the mainland on a limited basis.

  • How far are you from Cedar Point?

    Both ferryboat lines can be reached from Cedar Point in about 20 minutes. The Miller Ferry’s Catawba Island dock is roughly 20 minutes by car. The Jet Express’s downtown Port Clinton dock is about 30 minutes. And a more limited sailing schedule is available on the Jet Express from Sandusky, only 10 minutes from Cedar Point.

  • How far in advance should I make Put in Bay lodging reservations?

    It is suggested that visitors make their hotel, condo, resort, and home rental reservations very early in the year. This is especially true if their stay involves a weekend or a popular event. Hotel rooms are limited on the island and booking early will help ensure that guests get the dates that they want. You may book online by visiting the Put-in-Bay hotels and lodging partners page and selecting the Put in Bay hotel or rental of your choice.

  • How many people live on the Island in the winter?

    There are about 180 full time residents on the Island. The island school is a K-12 school that accommodates students from the surrounding islands as well as Put-in-Bay. It is very quiet at Put-in-Bay during the winter for these hardy island folks. Even the ferry boat takes a break in the winter.

  • How old do I have to be to rent a moped?

    You must be 18 years of age to rent or operate a moped. Bicycles can be ridden by kids and adults of any age. Golf carts are also 18 unless a parent is with a 16-year old.

  • Is there a grocery and a place to buy beer and wine?

    Yes! There is a full service grocery on the Island located on Catawba Avenue called the Island General Store, with the Beverage Dock just next door. There is also a drive thru with beer and wine located next to the Boathouse Bar and Grill on Hartford Avenue.

  • What bands are playing in Put-in-Bay?

    Check out all the summer entertainment schedule options and find your favorite Put in Bay entertainer! Or you can choose a weekend and see who is playing. Either way, you should find some great musical act to enjoy on your intended day. Previous bands playing Put-in-Bay have included Mustang Sally, the Danger Brothers, Kid Rock, Toby Keith, Bob Gatewood, and Rascal Flatts.

  • What if I miss the last ferry?

    This is not recommended! Trying to find a last minute Put in Bay hotel late in the evening can be difficult if not impossible, especially on a busy sold-out Saturday.

  • What is the weather like in Put in Bay?

    The weather at Put-in-Bay is much like all of northern Ohio coastal communities. In Spring and Fall, a light jacket or sweatshirt is recommend for evenings. Island dress is always casual except for the occasional island wedding or funeral. Current weather and a 10-day forecast may be found in our weather section. Just remember, it NEVER rains inside our great restaurants and bars!

  • What is your operating season?

    The Put-in-Bay season technically starts April 1st and runs all the way to the last big weekend in October, Halloween. However, the true visitor season is May though September when it is warmer and more businesses are open.

    Off-season activities include walleye and perch ice fishing. There are a couple accommodations open and one or two bars/restaurants, but it is very very quiet.

  • What time do the Put in Bay bars close?

    As a general rule, most downtown bars close around 1:30 am. There are three late night bars on the Island: The Green Room, Mr. Ed’s Bar & Grill, and the Brewery. These bars stop serving alcohol at 2:00 AM and usually ask any remaining patrons to leave at 2:30 AM. At this point, the pizza places get very crowded.

  • Where is the best place to eat?

    That is a tough one! There are a wide variety of great dining choices on the Island that serve an even wider variety of food. While touring the Island, stop in and look over the menus to determine your choice! You can also download our printable Island Guide in PDF format for a listing and map of local dining establishments.