Put in Bay, Ohio Trip – Kayaking to Gibraltar Island

Kayaking around Put-in-Bay

After our segway tour, Justin and I had already decided that we wanted to try out kayaking around the island. We both had never gone kayaking before and it was definitely on my bucket list of things to do. Just as we thoroughly enjoyed our segway tour, we have decided that we will totally end up kayaking many more times in the future since we had a great time! Viewing Put-in-Bay from the water and exploring on our own was such a treat. By the end of two hours of kayaking, our arms were totally dead…but we loved the trip!

Kayaking around Put-in-Bay

Kayaking around Put-in-Bay

Justin and I drove the golf cart over to Kayak The Bay, who were located on the northwest part of Put-in-Bay. We were able to rent two kayaks on the spot for $20 each, which allowed us to both kayak for up to 2 hours. We also had the option of renting one two-person kayak, but we thought it would be better if we had separate ones and followed each other around. The guy who worked at KTB was super nice! We had both never kayaked before so he gave us a few simple guidelines to follow and soon enough, we were on our way! We did not have any sort of tour guide follow us around, which was great because we were free to explore on our own. He gave us a few ideas of where we could kayak and what we could see. There were so many places to choose from and we weren’t able to see everything in the two hour time frame. That’s okay because we can kayak again next year and visit those spots that we didn’t get to see!

Kayaking around Put-in-Bay

There were so many great views of the island from the kayak. It was so awesome being out on the water and seeing the shoreline from different perspectives than on land. Once we started to paddle along, we took the short trip across the bay towards Gibraltar Island. Gibraltar Island is completely owned by Ohio State University so we were unable to ride our kayaks to the shore and get out on the island. We were perfectly content cruising around Gibraltar Island and getting up close to it, which is the only way to get across to the island unless you had a boat!

Kayaking around Put-in-Bay

Kayaking around Put-in-Bay

Kayaking around Put-in-Bay

Kayaking around Put-in-Bay

Gibraltar Island had amazing cliff edges with lush greenery growing all around. We navigated around giant boulders that poked out of the water. There were lots of waves crashing all around from the nearby boats riding by, so it was quite the adventure! We had to make sure we didn’t ride parallel with the waves, or else we could run the risk of tipping over. Despite the waves, we weren’t in any great danger of tipping the kayaks since we knew to take them at a 45 or 90 degree angle.

Kayaking around Put-in-Bay

Kayaking around Put-in-Bay

Kayaking around Put-in-Bay

Kayaking around Put-in-Bay

One area of Gibraltar Island that we were told about was called “The Needles Eye”. It was a section in the cliff that had a narrow hole that you could kayak through. This was called “threading the needle” and to fit through with the kayak, we had to maneuver the paddle to the side so it would fit through. We both had such a fun time paddling through The Needles Eye!

Kayaking around Put-in-Bay

Kayaking around Put-in-Bay

Kayaking around Put-in-Bay

We kayaked around the entire island past the Ohio State University building. We saw lots of interesting birds, including ducks, geese, a blue heron, and a black duck with a pointy flat bill that we had never seen before. Oh, and there were the water snakes. I only saw one, but Justin saw a whole bunch that made him squirm around a bit in his kayak. The water snakes are endangered and protected in the area so the population can build back up. There is a huge fine if you kill a water snake, something like $10,000! The water snake population must be increasing because we saw many of them. They kept poking their heads above the water and slithering back into the lake. Justin even saw one stick out its tongue! No worries though, they weren’t very interested in us!

Kayaking around Put-in-Bay
Kayaking around Put-in-Bay

After floating around Gibraltar Island, we decided to continue kayaking around the northwest point of Put-in-Bay towards Benson Ford. It was a huge ship that was essentially cut in half, moved to the shoreline of Put-in-Bay, and converted into a house! The best views of Benson Ford are from the water, so it was a unique opportunity to see a home like this! It took us a long while to kayak out to the ship/home but we eventually did get to see it.

Kayaking around Put-in-Bay

We could have paddled up closer to it…but by this point, our arms and bodies were dead tired and we still had to kayak the entire way back! It was a bit of struggle getting back at times, but we both felt very accomplished for getting such a great workout and doing so well at our first attempt at kayaking!

Kayaking around Put-in-Bay

Kayaking around Put-in-Bay

We took a short video of a view spots around Gibraltar Island while kayaking, but it was difficult to kayak and operate the camera at the same time since it was a bit wavy in the water! The first part of the video is when we first got into the kayaks in the water, so we really didn’t know what we were doing. We soon got the hang of it and were able to visit so many amazing places! Stay tuned for a couple more posts about the rest of our day in Put-in-Bay, as well as the third day of our vacation in the USA!

Kayaking around Put-in-Bay

Kayaking around Put-in-Bay


Read more about our trip to Put-in-Bay, Ohio:

Driving to Port Clinton towards Put-in-Bay
Traveling to Put-in-Bay on the Miller Ferry
Staying at Bayshore Resort, Put-in-Bay
Put-in-Bay Nightlife, Day 1
A Golf Cart Tour of the Island
Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial Tower
Perry’s Cave and Joe’s Bar
Segway Excursion Around Put-in-Bay
Kayaking to Gibraltar Island
Our Last Evening in Put-in-Bay
Leaving Put-in-Bay on the Miller Ferry

25 Responses

  1. Tracie Howe
    | Reply

    What a pretty place! I really like the rock formations. Good thing you didn’t kayak in one boat together for your first time… you may have returned to your golf cart as enemies! 😉

    • We had that option…but we decided to go with single kayaks! We did see another pair struggling with kayaking together later that day, and we thought it was funny although we were glad we kayaked the way we did! LOL 🙂

  2. Milosz Zak
    | Reply

    Really love the rocks. We have something similar here in Southern Ontario 🙂

    • Thanks! And whereabouts in Southern Ontario…. are you talking about Tobermory area? I’d be curious to know because we’re from Southern Ontario and we’d like to go wherever you are talking about – let us know!

      • Milosz Zak
        | Reply

        Try to go to Rockwood near Guelph, it’s 10 mins by car from my place, but yes, if you go to the Bruce Peninsula National Park grotto near Tobermory – the environment is identical.

  3. Dave
    | Reply

    The kayaking in Put-in-Bay looks like a lot of fun with all of those rocks and their “needle.” However, those snakes would definitely bother me a bit – are they poisonous?

    • The snakes were totally harmless, definitely not poisonous. It was a little unsettling to see the snakes coming out of the water, but anytime we got even remotely close they would swim away! So, nothing to worry about 🙂

  4. Calli D
    | Reply

    I love kayaking and this looks like an awesome location to do it with lots of interesting areas to explore. Glad to hear you’re having a nice little vacation 🙂

    • Thank you! 🙂 It was really fun and a great place to go for my first time kayaking! We’re itching to try it again!

  5. Brianna @ The Casual Travelist
    | Reply

    I love kayaking and would totally enjoy that trip. Who knew something so cool was in Ohio?

    • Yeah, exactly! I had no idea until I started planning this trip. I even went to Put-in-Bay the year prior with a friend of mine, and I didn’t know this was there until the second time around!

  6. Elena Nacheva
    | Reply

    Looks like you had a great trip (and very tiring). I love the ship converted into a house, would be interesting to see the interior 🙂

    • I think the ship was featured on an episode of MTV Cribs where they did feature the inside of it! I haven’t watched the episode, but maybe it is on Youtube somewhere 🙂

  7. Karen Warren
    | Reply

    Kayaking is physically hard work but it’s a great way of exploring places that you wouldn’t get to otherwise. Looks as if you had a fun trip.

  8. TravellingWeasels
    | Reply

    I love kayaking – looks like you had a great time 🙂

  9. Bob R
    | Reply

    Put-In Bay! Old stomping grounds from a summer long ago. Great times had by all, at least those I can remember. 🙂 Kayaking is something I didn’t do at the time, and am very sorry about that now. Maybe next time I’m in Ohio during the summer.

  10. Michael Huxley
    | Reply

    I have honestly never thought about Ohio as a place to visit before now, no reason it just wasn’t on my radar. Maybe it’s time to change my mind?

  11. Meanne
    | Reply

    Kayaking cool adventure to explore the beautiful place 🙂

  12. Christina
    | Reply

    Looks like a fun experience. The landscape at Gibraltar Island is so beautiful. Did you ever try kayaking together in one kayak? We tried it at the Canyon of Verdon in Southern France and the first 10 minutes it was really hard to coordinate the boat together. 🙂

  13. Antonette Spaan
    | Reply

    Wow – these are such tiny kayaks, would be fun to try them out one day …

  14. I almost forgot that you were in Ohio as i was looking at the photos with the rock formations. You could have been anywhere in the world. Very cool.

  15. Colette D
    | Reply

    I am terrible at kayaking lol. But you totally had the whole area to yourselves by the look of it so well worth it, how relaxing 🙂

  16. Marie-Carmen Infantes
    | Reply

    Gosh I’m so so bad at kayaking (I tend to go in the back so I can look at my other half doing all the work 😀 ) But it looks like you had an awesome experience there!

  17. The Crowded Planet
    | Reply

    Beautiful! The scenery is stunning, I love the rocky cliffs. I agree with Tracie you did well not to go kayaking for the first time together, my husband and I did it and we nearly divorced. We haven’t been kayaking since! Water snakes sound cool, I’m a big fan of snakes!

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