I live just an hour or so south of the Port Clinton/Catawba area and have been to PIB a couple times. Here are some observations and recommendations I'd like to make if you're planning a trip to the island:
I always take Miller's Ferry to South Bass Island because it's cheaper than Jet Express and you can take your vehicle over on the ferry. It's slower than the Jet but I always enjoy the ride over, and it usually only takes about 20 min. anyway. When you get to the island, take in some of the scenery. There are tons of little B&B's to add charm to the surroundings as well as quaint shops etc. But watch out for the golf carts if you bring your own vehicle because they are everywhere!
Both times I've stayed at PIB, I've stayed at the Park Hotel which is right downtown in the middle of all the action. It's a very nice victorian-style hotel and all the bedrooms are decorated differently. You will have to use a community bathroom, but it's not bad at all. On one of the floors, the girls bathroom has three toilet stalls and three shower stalls. On another floor there is only one toilet and one shower for girls but you can always go to the other floor and use that one if it's occupied. And the security is good too, you can't get past the front desk to get to your room without showing your ID, so make sure you have it with you at all times!
Downtown PIB totally comes to life on weekends, especially at night. There are several popular establishments such as the Round House (right next to the Park Hotel!) which always plays awesome music or has awesome live bands. Then there's my other favorite, the Beer Barrel Saloon, which boasts having the longest bar in the world. Pat Dailey does a lot of live shows there so make sure you catch him if he's there when you visit. You'll have to pay an extra fee to get back to the stage where he plays ($7 I think) but if you don't want to pay that much, you can still hear him play if you're up in the front of the bar. Also, you have to try Frosty's pizza because it's the best! After the downtown bars close for the night, you can take a taxi out to the Skyway which stays open much later. By the way, the taxis are pretty reasonably priced. If I remember correctly, we paid around $15-20 for a car load.
Here are my words of caution: if you're planning a family vacation, do NOT go to PIB on weekends! Or if you do, stay away from the downtown part. It is a MAJOR party scene and there are a lot of "shenanigans" that go on that you wouldn't want your little kids to witness. I have heard that it's much calmer to visit during the week so you might want to go then if you're interested in a family vacay. It's geared toward the 20's and 30's party crowd so if that doesn't interest you, don't go. You'll only waste your time and money. Try going to Kelley's Island instead which is much more family-oriented and also has a nice beach/campground and the glacial grooves park.
But if partying IS your scene, you'll love it! My friends and I call PIB "The Happiest Place on Earth!" LOL It's fun whether you're single or not, but I will admit that I had more fun the time I went when I was single. Everything is no holds barred so be ready for anything! Of course there are cops patrolling the streets so be aware of that!
When I go, we have fun just cruising the island during the day in a rented golf cart and visiting places like the Perry monument, winery and cave and all the little souvenir shops, or hanging out at the state park beach, then going back to the hotel to shower and change and get ready for a night of partying!
All in all, I have nothing bad to say about PIB. But again, make sure you understand how wild it can get! Other than that, you will have the time of your life!
Feel free to email me if you have any questions about PIB or the Port Clinton area.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Park Hotel is an Victorian-era hotel, Est.1873. Park Hotel is located in the center of town, on South Bass Island, known as Put-in-Bay, Ohio. A wood framed structure, with 25 rooms and shared bathrooms on each floor for its' hotel guests. The rooms are fairly small in comparison to todays style hotel rooms. Queen, double and twin beds are available thru-out the summer season. Open mid April thru end of October. Rooms are air-condioned, have ceiling fans and unique antique furniture. We offer our guests, clean, comfortable room, with clean shared bathrooms. When making a reservation via over the phone ( we do not offer online reservations) , we inform our potential guest of the uniqueness of the Park Hotel. Continental Breakfast is served daily. We offer golf cart rental, please contact the front desk for details. Park Hotel is adjacent to the RoundHouse Bar and Chicken Patio. Great view of the downtown harbor and Lake Erie. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Park Hotel Put In Bay, Ohio