An island adventure in Ohio? Seriously? Seriously.
While many northern Ohioians know the about these islands located not far off the coast of Lake Erie, these islands are an undiscovered secret for many people in the rest of the midwest.
There are two main islands. The first is Kelly’s Island, which is mainly residential, although it does boast several B&B’s and is the perfect place if you are looking for a quiet Island Getaway.
For our adventure we took the Miller Ferry to Put-in-Bay. Miller has been kind enough to invite us aboard the past few years and everytime we find new things to explore when we go to the island. This time was a little different because it was the first time that we took the kids with us.
One of my favorite things about Miller Ferry is that we can just drive our car onto the ferry (for an additional charge). We like bringing our car because it gives us our own transportation around the island and makes it easy to haul all your stuff onto the ferry, especially when you have kids!
We took an evening Ferry and the view was beautiful.
The weekends can be pretty busy on Put-In-Bay so we decided to avoid the crowds and go up on a Sunday evening and explore around the Island on Monday.
To stay on the island was a bit of a last minute decision and luck was with us as we found a great place to stay, which was right downtown at Harbour Square Suites. I would not stay downtown on a Friday or Saturday night with kids as it becomes a hot-spot for a more adult crowd on those nights, but a Sunday night was no problem.
One of the best things about our place was the patio area that stood above the restaurant and bar below. Once I put the kids to bed I was about to go out on the patio and listen to the live piano player while still in earshot of the kiddos in case they needed anything.
As for the accommodations, we were pretty impressed with the size of the space and having the kitchen. The bathroom was a little small and only had a shower but for one night with the kids it was fine. We had our own bedroom and the kids had their own bedroom. There was a door in the kids room that went to a downstairs storage area, which we weren’t able to lock, and that was a little strange. I did my best to make sure the kids didn’t notice as I think they would have had a hard time sleeping knowing that the door to the creepy storage space couldn’t be locked. All negatives out of the way, this is still a great location and the price we got was pretty fair considering what rooms go for on the island.
In the morning we woke up to a nice view of the Lake and Perry’s monument, along sound golf carts buzzing around the island as a new day starts on this tiny island paradise in the midwest.
Since our suite had a kitchen with coffee maker we had breakfast in our suite and enjoyed some coffee on the patio while enjoying the sites and sounds of the island.
If you choose to grab a quick breakfast there, my suggestion is to take your morning coffee and pastry or take it over to the park across the street and enjoy a great view of the lake and docked boats.
Island tip: It takes a little more effort to source things when you have to get them across the lake and also you are on an island… so things will cost slightly more than on the mainland.
Our first stop of the morning was actually to drive over to get our Golf Cart from E’s Golf Cart Rental. Even though we had our van on the island a golf cart is a great way to get around the island since parking can be limited at different attractions. It is also pretty fun to ride around on a golf cart for a day and it was one of the kids favorite things about being on the island.
Once we grabbed our golf cart from E’s we left our van in the Miller Ferry parking lot and then proceeded onto Perry’s Monument.
It is operated by the National Park System and educates visitors all about the Battle of Lake Erie. The center next to the monument is fairly new and the staff that work there are happy to answer any questions you have.
Right around the corner from Perry’s monument is a small area that offers access to the lake and has a couple picnic tables. While there isn’t alot of shade it would still be a great place to have a picnic and we spent about a half hour just playing in the water and collecting tiny lake sea shells. There is no lifeguard or anything so it’s not really a play to swim, but it is fun to collect shells and dip your toe in the water.
After all of that, it was about time for lunch so we went over to Blu Luna, which is the restaurant right by our hotel. Since you are in the middle of Lake Erie, you have to at least get fish once, so i ordered their Walleye Nachos, something that you don’t find everyday. It’s actually an appetizer, but I ordered it as my meal. The portion was generous, so if you get these, it could easily make a meal for two.
Overall the service was good and dining on the patio on a beautiful summer day was quite a treat.
After lunch we ventured over to the Butterfly Gardens at Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center.
The kids loved the numerous butterflies and worked hard to try to get butterflies to land on them after one decided to make my husband’s shirt it’s home while we were in the garden.
We also enjoyed playing at the Fort A_Maze’n maze while at the family fun center.
Perry’s Family Fun Center, also offers putt-putting, Perry’s cave and the rock climbing, but we decided to hop back in the golf cart for some more island exploring.
If you are into camping their is also a state campground on the island that offered primitive camping.
Next to it is Put-In-Bay Watercraft Rentals, where you can rent a Paddleboard, Kayak, Jet Ski or Boat to explore the lake that surrounds the island. See the picture below for their rates as of August 2016.
We also ventured over to Put-in-Bay Winery and enjoyed a great view of the lake while the kids played on the lawn.
Afterwords we went over to the park, where the kids played on Will’s Playground.
The park is in central downtown PIB and offers a great view of the lake as well.
Finally, before our island departure we made a stop by the Candy Bar, a small candy shop on the island that offers fudge and variety of candies that both the kids and big kids will appreciate.
Want to see the video of our Island Adventure?
Special Thanks to: Miller Ferry for inviting us aboard to be their guest, E’s Golf Cart Rental for our Island Ride and to Perry’s Family Fun Center for our Family Fun Passes. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.