There’s no shortage of historic sites to explore at Put-in-Bay, but the South Bass Island Lighthouse stands out as particularly fantastic. Not only can you explore a piece of history, you also get to enjoy perhaps the finest views of Lake Erie that any of the Bass Islands have to offer! And if you’re fortunate enough to be visiting the island on the date of a guided tour, you’ll get to learn more than you could ever imagine about Lake Erie and the Bass Islands.

The Lighthouse

South Bass Island Lighthouse is a somewhat unique structure for the time period. Most lighthouses of the era consisted of the tall lighthouse tower and a detached home in which the lighthouse keeper lived. The South Bass Island Lighthouse combined the two, with the tower itself being built into the home. The Lighthouse is located at the southernmost point of South Bass Island. On the property you will also find a barn built in 1899 and an oil house built in 1897. The NOAA maintains a meteorological station on the site, sending South Bass Island weather statistics to the National Weather Service. The Lighthouse is also on the National Register of Historic Places.

The grounds of the Lighthouse are maintained by The Ohio State University, and they host occasional tours of the grounds. It is believed that this is the only lighthouse in the United States owned by a university. The tour dates for 2018 are June 9th, July 18th, August 11th, September 8th and October 13th, from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Additionally, if you have a group of 10 or more, you can call ahead to schedule a private tour. Click here to enquire. Public access is not limited to these tours however. The grounds are open to the public most days, save for the infrequent private event.


David W: “Other reviewers have disparaged this spot because the house is closed but it’s such a beautiful spot that the views alone are worth a stop. We rode from the Jet Express dock in the center of town to the lighthouse, which was an easy ride. A hidden gem on South Bass Island.”

Shawn W: “I hadn’t been to South Bass in 9 years and finally the lighthouse grounds are open for pictures. I’ve always wanted to get a close look and it is a no miss. The sunsets are worth the trip. Take the time to look everything over.”

Michael L: “My wife and I went there for our anniversary and my birthday. It’s a very nice area for you to see a lot of the Lake Erie Island and its nice to just sit there and enjoy the day and you can take some nice pictures there. This is the only light house on Put in Bay.”