Newsletter Signup

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Lodging & Culture Center of South Bass Island

About Put-in-Bay

Put-in-Bay is a village located on South Bass Island in Put-in-Bay Township, Ottawa County, Ohio, United States. The population was 138 at the 2010 census. The 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. The village is a popular summer resort and recreational destination. Ferry and airline services connect the community with Catawba Island, Kelleys Island, Port Clinton, and Sandusky, Ohio.


Put-in-Bay is located 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Sandusky, at 4139'11 N 8249'3 W (41.653006, -82.817620).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 0.63 square miles (1.63 km2), of which 0.45 square miles (1.17 km2) is land and 0.18 square miles (0.47 km2) is water.

History of name

The name "Put-in-Bay" originally only referred to the bay itself. In the latter-1700s, the schooners sailing on Lake Erie, would "put in" to this bay, to wait out bad weather on Lake Erie. (Many of the unfamiliar sailors used the slang phonetic term, puddin' (or pudding) bay, resulting in later local-historians' attempt to attribute various explanations for the term "pudding bay", which, in reality, had no meaning, but was simply a slang phonetic variant of "Put-in-Bay".)

In 1820 and 1830, the island was under the jurisdiction of Huron County, Ohio; but later joined to Ottawa County, Ohio. It was after 1830, when Put-in-Bay Township was finally established. The island was only very sparsely inhabited and there was no actual village here prior to the creation of Put-in-Bay Township. The first known Caucasian resident on the island, was Alexander Ewen, who had about 1000 hogs roaming the island in 1810.


As of the census of 2010, there were 138 people, 70 households, and 43 families residing in the village. The population density was 306.7 inhabitants per square mile (118.4/km2). There were 263 housing units at an average density of 584.4 per square mile (225.6/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 100.0% White.

There were 70 households of which 17.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.9% were married couples living together, 4.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.6% were non-families. 32.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.94 and the average family size was 2.44.

The median age in the village was 54.7 years. 15.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 2.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 15.1% were from 25 to 44; 38.4% were from 45 to 64; and 29% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the village was 52.9% male and 47.1% female.

The median income for a household in the village was $52,917, and the median income for a family was $80,000. Males had a median income of $47,083 versus $38,750 for females. The per capita income for the village was $35,301. None of the population was below the poverty line.


The village is home to Put-in-Bay High School. Aside from South Bass Island, Put-In-Bay Local School District covers the Lake Erie Islands of Buckeye Island, Gibraltar Island, Green Island, Mouse Island, Rattlesnake Island, and Starve Island, even though most of these islands are uninhabited.


Put-in-Bay Airport offers a single, unlit, paved 2870-foot runway in addition to a helipad.


For most of its history, the island's primary industry has been tourism and continues to be today. The tourist season runs roughly between April and October. The most common methods of transportation to and from the island are via ferry boat, propeller-driven aircraft and private boat.

One of the world's largest hotels, the Hotel Victory, opened its 625 rooms to the public in 1892. The four-story hotel featured a one-thousand-seat dining room. However on August 14, 1919, the giant hotel burned to the ground. Today only parts of the foundations can be seen at the state campground.

Put-in-Bay is the site of Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial commemorating Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's September 10, 1813 naval victory over British ships in the War of 1812. Construction of the monument began in 1912 and it opened to the public on June 13, 1915. It is 352 feet (107 m) tall and made up of 78 layers of pink granite, topped with an eleven ton (10 metric ton) bronze urn. Its height makes it the highest open-air observatory operated by the U.S. National Park Service. The remains of six naval officers, three British and three Americans, were interred beneath the floor of the monument's rotunda.

Put-in-Bay has one grocery store, one hardware store, one school - which houses the one lending library branch - one gas station, a post office, one bank and two cemeteries. It has one seasonal franchise restaurant, Subway. There is no cinema. The island does not have a hospital, but does have an Emergency Medical Service that can use a Life Flight helicopter to transport critically ill patients to mainland medical facilities.

In 19521959, as well as 1963, the island held road races around a 3-mile (4.8 km) course. In 2011, the Put-in-Bay Road Races Reunion returned to the island. The temporary road course set up at the Put-in-Bay Airport during the 2011 event was a key step in pointing the way to the return of real vintage sports car racing to the island for 2012.

The Boy Scouts of America hold an annual camporee at the base of Perry's Monument.

Enter our Free Weekend Contest!

With thousands of active members, we publish specials and insider deals every month. Be the first to hear about island specials, theme weekend activities, and be entered into our twice yearly Free Weekend Contest!

Apply Now!

Read Our Blog

Don't let our quiet streets fool you: history meets hip in Put-in-Bay. Whether you want to shop 'til you drop, experience the great outdoors, go hundreds of feet in the air up the Monument, or immerse yourself in entertainment, this village on the lake has it all.

Learn More

Connect with Us to Learn About Events, Specials, and More!

Put-in-Bay Ohio is THE place for a great local staycation. We have island visitors ceom from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New York on a regular basis. But when it comes to family reunions or bachelor(ette) parties, Put-in-Bay sees guests come from almost every state in the Union, and Canada as well. The summer events cater to a broad range of interests so there is sure to be a Put-in-Bay Summer Event for you and yoru friends.

Put-in-bay, Nicknamed the "Key West of the North" offers an exciting nightlife with live musical entertainment to satisfy all generations. Strolling Barbershop singers, bagpipers, steel drums and Ohio's best entertainers are frequently seen on Put-in-Bay island. Do you like history? Visit Put-in-Bay for Historical Weekend and the War of 1812 reenactments. Do you like to party? Come for one of the biggest Christmas in July parties in the USA. Do you want to relax with the kids? Spend a nice long midweek at one of our family-friendly Vacation Rental Homes or brand new Put-in-Bay Waterfront Condos. LIKE and FOLLOW us on Facebook to stay tuned on current events, specials, and great island news!