Put-in-Bay Ferry Services


Getting to South Bass Island

Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island is located in Lake Erie, off the North coast of Ohio. Your journey typically begins by traveling to one of the mainland ports in Ohio, which offers Put-in-Bay ferry services to the island. The two most commonly used mainland ports are Port Clinton and Catawba Island. Sandusky Bay is another option, but less frequently used.

Which ferry service to Put-in-Bay you use is dependent on your intentions and what you are bringing to the island. Workers on the island will most likely use the Miller Ferry, due to its room for construction equipment. The Miller Ferry is also good for travelers with vehicles and boats. Another reason to choose the Miller Ferry is price, it is a lot cheaper than other options. The Jet Express is a great way to get to the island fast. It is meant for people traveling on vacation with just some luggage aboard. Both ferry services drop off passengers in downtown Put-in-Bay.

Choosing a Put-in-Bay Ferry Service

Two major ferry services provide transportation to Put-in-Bay. The Miller Ferry and Jet Express Ferry. The Miller Ferry offers a slower ride but allows for vehicles, construction equipment, and boat trailers. The Jet Express is a ferry service that is fast and ideal for people with just personal belongings. Such as going on vacation to the island.

Miller Ferry

Located on Catawba Island, Miller Ferry offers both passenger and vehicle ferry services. It is a popular choice for visitors traveling with their vehicles, such as cars, bikes, or golf carts. The Miller Ferry is not a fast ride but is a cheaper option compared to the Jet Express. Fishermen who choose to take their boats to the island use this service. Parking is available near the ferry terminal. Keep in mind the lines can get long during peak season and on holidays. Plan to get to the ferry dock early enough so it does not become an issue.

Miller Ferry Dock

Jet Express

Jet Express Dock

The Jet Express departs from Port Clinton and Sandusky and is a passenger-only ferry service. It’s a quicker option for getting to the island but does not transport vehicles. The Jet-Express can travel up to 40 MPH, making the trip a lot quicker than taking the Miller Ferry. The ship is a catamaran style, it is streamlined and moves through the water well. Parking is also available near the Jet Express terminals. Just like other ferry services, long lines can become a problem during peak season and holidays. Make sure you are at the dock well before your departure time.

Where to find the Put-in-Bay Ferry Schedules

It’s essential to check the ferry schedules and availability, especially during the peak summer season when the demand is high. Schedules can vary based on the time of year, so plan your trip accordingly. Keep in mind that the Jet Express may offer more round trips per day due to the speed of the boat. The Miller Ferry is the slower option so it may not make as many trips. The Miller Ferry schedule can be found HERE. The Jet Express schedule can be found HERE.

Remember to plan your trip according to the ferry times. If you are staying multiple days, plan to leave and depart at certain times on the first and last day of your vacation. You do not want to be stuck on the island for another day as this can be costly.

Purchasing Ferry Tickets

Once you’ve selected your ferry service and departure location, you can purchase tickets at the ferry terminal or online in advance. Buying tickets ahead of time can save you time and ensure you secure a spot on the ferry, especially during busy weekends. Researching ticket prices online can aid in planning the financial aspect of a trip to the island. Groups can plan and know exactly how much they will spend on vacation.

Boarding the Put-in-Bay Ferry

Arrive at the ferry terminal ahead of your scheduled departure time. If you’re taking a vehicle, follow the instructions for boarding and securing your vehicle on the ferry. There are lanes marked for vehicles boarding the Miller Ferry service. For passenger-only ferries, board with your ticket and luggage. There is luggage service on both ferries. Mostly people just keep their luggage with them. If you have a lot of luggage for an extended stay the crew will store your bags for the trip.

How is the Ferry Ride

Enjoy the scenic ferry ride across Lake Erie to South Bass Island. The journey offers beautiful views of the water and surrounding islands. The surrounding islands include Green Island, Kelley’s Island, Middle Bass Island, and Ballast Island. All of those islands are visible while taking the ferry to Put in Bay.

Keep in mind the weather can change on Lake Erie quickly. Fog can roll in or a storm can pop up. This will effect your ferry ride and time to get to the island. During high winds, the ferry services may postpone trips until the wind and waves calm down. This is unpredictable but necessary for the safety of passengers on the ferry.

Arriving at Put-in-Bay by Ferry

Depending on your chosen ferry service, you’ll arrive either at the downtown Put-in-Bay dock or the Lime Kiln Dock. Both are conveniently located on the island, allowing you to explore the attractions, restaurants, and shops. There are golf cart rentals at both sites in case you did not bring a vehicle. Public transportation is also available at both locations. If you are not venturing outside of downtown, transportation is not needed. If you want to explore the island, transportation will be needed.

Exploring Put-in-Bay

Once you’ve arrived on the island, you can explore Put in Bay on foot, rent a golf cart or bicycle, or even bring your vehicle if you arrive via the Miller Ferry. Remember that ferry schedules can be affected by weather conditions, so it’s a good idea to check for updates before your trip, especially if you’re traveling during inclement weather. Additionally, it’s recommended to make reservations for your vehicle if you plan to bring one, as space can fill up quickly during peak times.