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a group of stuffed animals sitting next to a dog

a dog sitting on top of a book

The Lake Erie Islands don’t just offer fun and games for humans—Put-in-Bay is also one of the best places to take a dog friendly vacation in Ohio! With plenty of outdoor green spaces, pet-friendly patios and opportunities to take a dip in Lake Erie, a trip to South Bass Island is the perfect way to spend a summer day with your pup.

The Jet Express is happy to welcome your furry friends on board, provide they are leashed or in a crate. Pets can ride free on the fastest, most direct way to travel to Put-in-Bay. This itinerary will help guide your schedule for the day and provide maximum fun for you and your dog. Remember to check the weather before you head over to the island as many of these activities are outdoors.

Getting To Put-in-Bay

Start the day bright and early to beat the noon heat and ensure you’re making most of the day with your pup at Put-in-Bay. Jet Express has a wide variety of departure times during the week with the earliest leaving the dock at 8:30 a.m. Make sure to wake up a little early to arrive at Jet Express’ Port Clinton dock in time to park and board the boat!

Tickets for the ferry can be purchased online or in person. Round trip for adults is $35. Kids six to eleven ride round trip for $11, children under the age of five ride for free. Pets, of course, ride free of charge provided they are in a crate or on a leash. Jet Express provides convenient parking for travelers, and the parking lot is conveniently located across the street from the dock allowing for easy boarding. Parking is only $12 for the whole day so passengers can spend as much time on the island without worrying about the parking fees they may incur throughout the day.

The journey to Put-in-Bay amounts to thirty minutes dock to dock with plenty of tongue-out, wind-in-your-fur action for your pup to enjoy. The ferry has restroom access and allows passengers to bring on any food, drinks or even their bikes! And with direct service to Downtown Put-in-Bay, you do not need to worry about how you will be getting to your island destinations when riding the Jet Express. Once the boat arrives in Put-in-Bay, passengers and pups will disembark right in the heart of downtown, making it easy to secure transportation and navigate to your next stop.

Your Pup’s Morning at the Bay

Once you arrive downtown it’s time to begin your dog-friendly Ohio vacation! Remember throughout your day to always pick up after your pet and keep them leashed while you take in the sights and smells of the Lake Erie Islands.

It’s easiest to get around the island and take in every stop on the itinerary by renting a golf cart for the day. Once you have your cart, you may notice a giant, 352-foot column to your left that towers over the island. This is Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial, a monument to the Battle of Lake Erie which took place during the War of 1812. Dogs are not permitted in the tower or Visitor Center, but are welcome to enjoy the grounds and smells nearby.

Stop at Perry’s Memorial, or drive past on your way to Massie Cliffside Preserve, a wooded shoreline preserve spanning 11 acres. Dedicated in 2016, this preserve has a trail system under a half mile that guides visitors from the parking lot to the lake with plenty of opportunities for bird watching along the way. Enjoy the views, then head over a bit farther east to the Scheef East Point Nature Preserve, a nine-acre protected property with a similar 0.3-mile walking path to the Lake Erie Shoreline.

Now that you’re at the far east end of the island, make your way back downtown for lunch at one of South Bass Island’s many dog-friendly patios. Bring Fido can help you find the perfect spot for a meal (and maybe a treat for Rover, too!). Once you’ve refueled, it’s time to explore the western half of the island, starting with the Dodge Woods Storywalk Trail. Dodge Woods is perfect for grown ups to enjoy the wild flora and fauna, but it also offers a storybook posted along the path for children to read. Once you’ve had your fill of stories, move on to your final short hike of the day along the Jane Coates Wildflower Trail, a half-mile loop offering views of a variety of wildflowers as well as migratory songbirds.

Put-in-Bay Activities for Dogs

From here, it’s the dealer’s choice! There’s so much to see on South Bass Island, you could simply spend time taking it all in from your golf cart while you give your legs a rest. You can take your pup to the Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center to poke around outdoors, enjoy drinks at a bar patio downtown or even rent a kayak and take your pup out swimming in the Lake Erie sun. And if it’s Tuesday or Friday, plan to recharge at another dog-friendly restaurant for dinner, because the day isn’t over yet! The Put-in-Bay Ghost Walk is a dog and family friendly guided lantern tour that explores the spooky side of the islands. Tours depart from The Boardwalk on Tuesday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person with dogs and children under 12 free.

After an evening of not-so-scary, dog-friendly fun, it’s time to head back to the dock for the boat ride back to the car. Once back aboard the Jet Express make sure to grab a seat on the top deck so your pup can feel the wind in their fur one more time.

a dog sitting on a beach

Ride with Jet Express

A quick day trip is an easy way to have a fun outing with your furry family members for an adventure everyone will enjoy. Once you have decided to take Fido on a dog friendly Ohio vacation to Put-in-Bay, visit Jet Express online to purchase your ferry tickets.

As island experts, we’re brimming day trips ideas and itineraries for every sailor’s interests. Take a look at our itinerary for the outdoor lover and day trip for Put-in-Bay wine lovers.


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