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Kite Beach by darlagraffphotography

Seven Favorite Summer Activities at Presque Isle State Park

Wednesday May 8th, 2024

Presque Isle State Park stands as Erie's premier year-round attraction, but it truly sparkles during the summer months. Its unspoiled beaches and breathtaking scenery promise endless fun and enjoyment, making Presque Isle an ideal destination for an unforgettable summer escape. Best of all, admission and parking are free! Here are some top suggestions on how you can make the most of your visit.

To view a map of Presque Isle, click here.

Main photo by @darlagraffphotography via Instagram 

  1. Beaches: Presque Isle features seven miles of sandy beaches, providing visitors with the only surf swimming within Pennsylvania. Each of Presque Isle's beaches stand out with distinct qualities, offering unique attributes that make them truly special among beach destinations.
    • Beach 11 is popular for families with younger children due to its shallow, calm waters, and playground area.
    • Beach 7 (Waterworks Beach) is adjacent to picnic tables, a modern playground, and fishing pond area.
    • Beach 8 (Pettinato Beach) features an ADA-accessible ramp to the water and free beach wheelchair rentals (first come, first served).
    • A complete list of Presque Isle beaches and their amenities is here. Swimming is permitted on guarded beaches from Noon until 7:15 p.m. daily, Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day. 
  2. Paddling in the Lagoons: Within the center of Presque Isle lies a man-made lagoon system (it was originally designed to be a fish hatchery) that meanders for miles, opening up into Misery Bay near the Perry Monument. The lagoons are teeming with a diverse array of plant and animal life, offering prime viewing spots for a close encounter via kayak, paddleboard, canoe, or pontoon. Bring your own or rent from Presque Isle Canoe & Boat Livery. Free pontoon tours are offered (first-come, first-served) Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, May 24 through September 8 at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 12:30 p.m. Rentals and pontoon rides are at the pontoon boat launch just past Perry Monument.

  3. The Lady Kate: Enjoy a relaxing and highly informative 90-minute day or sunset cruise aboard the deck of The Lady Kate, a 65-foot sightseeing vessel that will take you on the waters of Misery Bay, Presque Isle Bay, and Lake Erie (weather permitting). The Lady Kate narrated tour is packed with scenic views and interesting information about Presque Isle State Park, Erie’s lighthouses, Gull Point Nature Preserve, and more. Tours depart daily at Perry Monument from May 18 through September 28.

  4. Lighthouses: Shining a light on Erie’s maritime history, Presque Isle is home to the Presque Isle Lighthouse and North Pier Light. The Presque Isle Lighthouse is a still-functioning lighthouse that was built in 1873 and was once a private residence for park employees. The lighthouse’s observation platform offers panoramic views of Lake Erie. Guided tours of the house and tower are offered from May 3 to October 30. The North Pier Light is referred to as a lighthouse but is technically a light structure. Located at the far eastern end of Presque Isle on the north pier, (near Beach 11), the black and white structure has a unique square-pyramidal design and is the only surviving example of this type left in the United States. Public access is available year-round.

  5. Hiking and Biking: Opting to walk, run, or pedal your way through Presque Isle via the 13-mile Karl Boyes Multi-Purpose Trail guarantees a smooth, flat journey. Experience picturesque views of Presque Isle Bay, Lake Erie, and its interior woodlands along this mostly flat, paved trail. With no steep inclines or sharp turns, it’s accessible for varying levels. If you don’t feel like bringing your own bicycle, Presque Isle Yellow Bike Rental has a variety of bicycles including tandem, fat tire, youth-sized, and surreys (four-wheeled, covered quadricycles). They are conveniently located at Beach 7 (Waterworks Beach).

  6. Kite Flying: On the western side of Presque Isle just past Beach 10 (Budney Beach) is Sunset Point Beach, or, as some affectionately refer to it, “Kite Beach”. This is a great spot for flying kites, as it’s a non-swimming beach with lots of wide open space for you to run around without worrying about obstacles or crowds. Plus, the steady Lake Erie breezes make it perfect for kiteflying, ensuring your kite soars high above the sandy shoreline. Bring your own or simply come to admire the myriad of colorful kites and wind sculptures that populate the area.

  7. Stellar sunsets: With vibrant pinks and yellows and soft red and purple hues, Presque Isle sunsets are truly spectacular. For the best sunset vistas, head to the park’s western shore along the beach, overlooking Lake Erie. Beaches such as the aptly named Sunset Point, Lighthouse Beach, Beach 7 (Waterworks Beach), and Beach 8 (Pettinato Beach) all offer some of the best seats in the house.

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Experience 84 degrees all year at one of the top water parks in the country.

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Experience family summer fun on more than 100 great rides, slides and attractions at Waldameer!

Soak in the fun!

Experience 84 degrees all year at one of the top water parks in the country.

Award-Winning Compassionate Care

Voted Erie’s Choice Best Hospital for eight years in a row

Ante-up, Erie.

Find true action with slots, table games, sports book, and horse racing.

One stop convenience.

Fill your tank, pick up fresh food from local brands, and a six-pack to go in 40 regional locations.