The city of Erie, Pennsylvania, located on Lake Erie is a delightful vacation spot for the entire family. With Presque Isle State Park, historical sites, and shopping malls, Erie has activities for everyone.
Presque Isle State Park
Most people visit Erie in the summer to take advantage of the miles of sandy beaches with cool, clear Lake Erie water at Presque Isle State Park. The day use only park with swimming, fishing, and boating as popular water sports, also possesses over 15 miles of trails for bicycles and hikers.
Summer is the busiest time, but many enjoy the park in winter for cross county skiing as well.
As you enter the peninsula, on your right is the bayside offering a spectacular view of the bay front of the city of Erie. The bay side of the Peninsula offers paved trails for visitors to bicycle, walk, and roller blade as they exercise and enjoy the view. As you follow the trail, you have a wonderful view of the city of Erie’s Public Dock and the Bicentennial Tower. The bright gold dome of the Greek Orthodox Church shines gloriously. As you travel on the tree lined road, there is a turn off road leading to the marina. Many people rent a boat stall and you may drop anchor and sleep over night in the marina area. Boat launches and parking are available, too.
Soon, you enter the Misery Bay area and will see the Perry Monument. During the War of 1812, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry commanded the ship Niagara to defeat the British at the Battle of Lake Erie. After winning the battle, the men remained at Misery Bay for the winter. Unfortunately many men died due to small pox and were buried in the water adjacent to the bay known as Grave Yard Pond.
You may rent motor boats, canoes, rowboats, fishing gear, and pontoons at the East Boat Livery located near the Perry Monument.
The Lady Kate, a boat for touring on Lake Erie, docks at the Perry Monument. The tours are for fourteen miles and are ninety minutes long. You will motor past Gull Point a preserve for the gulls while enjoying a beautiful lake ride.
As you drive out of the Perry Monument area, Lake Erie view is on your right. This side contains the beautiful sandy beaches. Many beaches have concession stands for visitors. At Sunset Point, the windiest area on the beach, you may fly kites. It is at Sunset Point that you can see the most spectacular sunsets.
The clean sandy beaches on the lake side stretch for miles. There are various concessions stands and bath houses for the comfort of visitors. Picnic tables and pavilions are plentiful.
The parks are guarded and a sign is posted at the entrance detailing water conditions and which beaches are open.
Planned Activities and Festivals
This season is a summertime bonanza with lots of outdoor activities. During the summer, Presque Isle holds a fundraiser called Discover Presque Isle with swimming and volleyball competitions and an arts and crafts show. This year something new has been added. A Summer Concert Series is held on Wednesday evenings at Beach 10 featuring acoustic guitar and jazz and gospel music.
Presque Isle State Park offers boat and canoe rentals, areas of sandy beaches for kite flying, pavilions and picnic tables, free parking, swimming, and fishing in addition to boating facilities.
Waldameer Amusement Park
As you leave Presque Isle, you will pass an entrance to Waldameer Amusement park. This is a delightful family park, with many kiddie rides for the young children and it boasts a wood rail roller coaster. The merry-go-round has the old fashioned painted horses to sit upon. Food, games, rides and picnic areas are available for a day of fun.
Another spot to visit is the Erie Zoo with giraffes, buffalo, otters, lions, and bears and children’s petting zoo and playground. Many animals live in a natural habitat. In Glenwood Park which is adjacent to the Zoo, there are covered picnic areas and playground equipment.
Erie Maritime Museum
On the Bay front, the Erie Maritime Museum which is attached to the Blasco Public Library can be found. When in town, you may tour the Niagara, an exact replica of the ship Niagara that Commodore Perry built using timber from Misery Bay area. You may be lucky enough to choose a time when you can see the Niagara sail. It is a breathtaking site.
While at the bay front area, the Public dock is located at the foot of State Street. The Bicentennial Tower is here which you may climb or take an elevator to the top for a look. At the dock, the Victorian Princess awaits to take visitors for a lunch or dinner cruise on the bay.
Other museums to tour are the Erie Firefighter Historical Museum, Art Museum, and Experience Erie Children’s Museum.
Many people use the channel area for fishing and you can see numerous motor boats and sailing vessels traveling through the channel utilizing the bay and lake waters for pleasure boating. Lake Erie is 58 miles form north to south and 241 miles form east to west. The deepest point is 210 feet while most of the lake is about 62 feet deep.
And shopping is a mainstay as there is no clothing taxes in PA so many people travel from New York to shop at the Millcreek Mall. As a matter of fact, the entire stretch of Upper Peach Street is filled with stores and restaurants.
Near the Peach Street exit of Interstate 90 is located Splash Lagoon, an indoor water park where you not only can enjoy water rides, but utilize the arcade and play laser tag.
This popular tourist city holds several festivals during the year which attract visitors. In the summer is the Arts Festival with music, works by local artists, and crafts displays. Also there is We Love Erie Days festival complete with fire works. This offers ethnic foods and craft items. During the year, there is a walking jazz festival featuring local jazz artists playing at several taverns and restaurants along the main street. First Night Erie is a spectacular event held on New Year’s Eve showcasing music by the Philharmonic and fireworks.
With water activities, shopping, historical museums, zoos, and festivals, Erie is a happening summer place. This third largest city in Pennsylvania known as the Flagship City is a wondrous vacation spot for the entire family.