Out of all of the great sightseeing there is to do on the Lake Erie Islands the South Bass Island Lighthouse is an absolute must-see! Just a short walk or golf cart drive from the Miller Ferry dock, the lighthouse’s lakeside views are sure to wow!
As you depart from Port Clinton on the Miller Ferry or Jet Express we recommend not wasting any time on the island. Most people think of Put-in-Bay island for the fun bars or lobster bisque but there are so many great Put-in-Bay attractions and exploring to do on the island!
As you begin your Put-in-Bay getaway we recommend taking a left from the Miller Ferry port. You’ll travel down that road and come upon an amazing field of wildflowers on your right. The beauty of this wildflower field is absolutely amazing, and there’s also a good chance that you’ll see some breathtaking butterflies that have escaped from The Butterfly House over near Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center.
After passing the wildflower field, at the end of the road you’ll run right into the great South Bass Island Lighthouse sitting on a rock wall ledge and looking over beautiful Lake Erie.
When you come to the South Bass Island Lighthouse you are getting a two for one: a fascinating piece of Put-in-Bay history, and some of the best views of Lake Erie from anywhere on this island or any other island. Plus, if you’re really lucky, you’ll be here on one of the guided tour dates, because then you’ll also get to learn an incredible amount about our amazing Lake Erie.
About The Lighthouse
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the South Bass Island Lighthouse has a feature that makes it stand out amongst other lighthouses of that time period. Generally, lighthouses of that time period had a tall lighthouse tower that stood separate from the detached house that was the home of the lighthouse keeper. The South Bass Island Lighthouse, however, has the lighthouse tower built into the home. Another unique fact about the lighthouse is that it is the only lighthouse in the United States that is owned by a university, in this case, The Ohio State University. OSU hosts occasional guided tours of the lighthouse grounds, however, public access of the grounds is permitted like any other park.
As for the property itself, you will find it at just about the southernmost tip of Put-in-Bay Island. On the property stands an 1899 barn, as well as an 1897 oil house. There is also a meteorological station, maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They use the station to provide weather statistics for Lake Erie to the National Weather Service. As you walk the grounds of the lighthouse you will also find informational plaques that surround the lighthouse to tell you interesting facts about the grounds and the lighthouse itself.
Exploring the Island
There are many ways to start exploring the great Put-in-Bay attractions here on South Bass Island. You can take the tour train that starts their expedition at the Miller Ferry drop-off. The tour train will take you to all of the most important spots on the island including Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial so you can learn about the War of 1812 and the Battle of Lake Erie. You’ll also be able to see downtown Put-in-Bay, some Put-in-Bay wineries and grape fields, South Bass Island State Park, The Chocolate Museum, Derivera Park and so much more!
Another option is to explore the Island on your own terms in your own Put-in-Bay golf cart rental. Check out our antique car museum, the Put-in-Bay airport, or our great Put-in-Bay restaurants. Head over to Perry’s Cave to go gemstone mining, play some miniature golf, or challenge yourself to get through the maze at Fort Amaze’n. We also recommend going to Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial to go up on the observation deck for some spectacular views. Then head over to the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society and visitor center to learn some amazing things about the monument and island history.
If you’re looking to explore the island from a completely different perspective you should head over to the Put-in-Bay Watercraft Rentals located in the South Bass Island State Park. There you’ll be able to rent tons of different water sports activities like jet skis, kayaks, and paddle-boards to see the island in a different way. Kayaking out to Gibraltar Island will be a memory you’re sure to never forget!
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