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Beaches in Erie, Pennsylvania

Erie’s warm summer temperatures and soothing waters provide numerous reasons to escape the worries of everyday life. One of the best ways to do that is to spend a day at one of Erie’s sandy beaches!

Presque Isle State Park

Recently designated as the best freshwater beach in the country by USA Today 10Best Reader's Choice, Presque Isle State Park is a National Natural Landmark that curves into Lake Erie. The peninsula features seven miles of sandy surf beaches, providing visitors with the only surf swimming within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Presque Isle provides the perfect summer getaway and some of the most spectacular sunsets in the country! Swimming is permitted on guarded beaches, which are numbered and marked throughout the park. Presque Isle’s beaches are open year-round and are popular spots for kite flying, watching world-class sunsets, or picnics. 

Click here for frequently asked questions about Presque Isle State Park. 

Swimming Information

The beaches of Presque Isle are open for swimming from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day,  from 12 p.m. - 7:15 p.m. unless otherwise posted. Please refer to the signs at the entrance of the park for daily updated information. Beach opening and conditions are subject to change.

Presque Isle Express

Your free ride around Presque Isle State Park begins in downtown Erie! The EMTA will offer free rides to Presque Isle State Park on Wednesdays and Saturdays from June 10 to August 26, departing from French Street at 7th, and making a loop around Presque Isle State Park. Bus stops include the Tom Ridge Environmental Center and Presque Isle beaches. 

Seasonal Information

Presque Isle State Park is open every day of the year, from 5 a.m. to sunset, unless otherwise noted. Day-use areas close at dusk. After sunset, only tenants and people engaged in evening driving are allowed in the park. There is no parking permitted after sundown.

May 1, 2023 - September 30, 2023 Hours
Presque Isle State Park is open to visitors for recreational purposes from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Park restrooms will open when the main gates open at 5 a.m. and close at sunset. Visitors are permitted to take an evening drive around the park; however, please allow enough time to be off the park by 11 p.m.  

Beach Day Playlist

The cooler is packed and the sunblock is on.. all that's left is the perfect playlist! Park your chair at Beach 8 and let this playlist accompany your Presque Isle Beach Day. Check out all of VisitErie's playlists here

Beach Trip Inspiration

Life's a beach when you visit Erie, Pa. Gather ideas for your next escape to our beaches here. 

Web Sunsets
Soak in a Sunset

Erie's sunsets are among the best in the world. Relax and watch the sun go down over the lake at one of these spectacular sunset spots. 

Kite Beach by darlagraffphotography v2
Summer Activities at Presque Isle 

A trip to Presque Isle State Park is a trip in and of itself. Here are seven recommendations for spending a summer day at Presque Isle. 

Presque Isle Beach Walk with Dog Gibbens June 2022 WEB v3
Dog Friendly Beaches

Your pup will love a day on one of Erie's beaches! Plan a trip with your best friend at these dog-friendly locations. 

Presque Isle State Park Beaches and Amenities :

  • Beach 1: Large beach located near the park entrance with restrooms and a reservable pavilion
  • Beach 3 (Barracks Beach): Public restrooms, three picnic pavilions, smoke-free beach.
  • Beach 6 (Lyons Beach): Large beach with eight sand volleyball courts, beach house with changing areas, public restrooms, and concessions
  • Beach 7 (Waterworks Beach): This beach is adjacent to picnic areas, modern restrooms with changing areas, playground equipment, Rotary Pavilion, and other reservable shelters
  • Beach 8 (Pettinato Beach): Modern restrooms with changing stations, concessions, and a ramp providing ADA access to the water's edge. Beach wheelchairs are available at the Public Safety Building and Beach 8 free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis during the regular swimming season (Memorial Day - Labor Day, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.). For availability and further information, contact the Public Safety Building at 814-833-1495 or call the Presque Isle State Park office at 814-833-7424.
  • Mill Road Beaches: Unspoiled, quiet shoreline. No swimming and smoke-free.
  • Beach 9: Picnic facilities and public restrooms available.
  • Sunset Point: Also known as Kite Beach for its popularity with kite flyers. No swimming.
  • Beach 10 (Budny Beach): Equipped with modern restrooms and changing areas, this beach lies between Sunset Point and Gull Point.
  • Beach 11 (Kohler Beach): The most sheltered beach on Presque Isle with shallow water, Beach 11 is regarded as the best beach for young kids. The large beach features a beach house with changing areas, and restrooms, and is adjacent to a playground/picnic pavilion.

Download the Presque Isle/Downtown District Map

Web Sunsets 1

Smaller Beaches in Erie County, PA

Shades Beach

On the shores of Lake Erie, Shades Beach is located at 7000 E. Lake Road in the town of Harborcreek. This sandy beach is a popular spot for families because of its shallow Lake Erie waters, and it’s a great gathering spot to watch Erie’s famous sunsets on the Lake. There are trails, woodlands, play areas, horseshoe courts, a beach area, boat launch and picnic grounds including two picnic complexes with full kitchens and restrooms.

Avonia Beach

Known as a quiet beach area without all the crowds, Avonia Beach Park is a small 3.6-acre park situated along the western shores of Lake Erie in Fairview, PA.  This quaint park has benches and a charming gazebo that provide just the right setting for peaceful sunset gazing. Avonia Beach Park also has a public walkway, small sandy beach area and a fishing platform. 

Beaches Freeport Beach
Freeport Beach

Freeport Beach is a small community beach located in the quaint town of North East in eastern Erie County. The rocky coastline is a haven for visitors searching for beach glass and using metal detectors. The beach has picnic areas, a playground, washrooms, volleyball nets and a snack bar. It is guarded from 10 a.m. to sunset every day from June 4 to Labor Day. (Pictured left)

Pat Crawford Beach

Located approximately 15 minutes south of Erie in the college town of Edinboro, Pat Crawford Beach sits on Edinboro Lake, a peaceful 245-acre lake that’s a perfect, quiet getaway. The beach is open for swimming Memorial Day to Labor Day and is guarded from noon to 4 p.m. An adjacent playground and picnic area provides plenty of space to unwind and relax. two free public boat launches with public parking and a handicapped accessible fishing pier. The lake is unlimited horsepower rated, allowing for water skiing and the use of personal watercraft.


Swimming/Beach Status

The Erie County Department of Health works with the managers at all area beaches to ensure that the public is aware of the current swimming status. Every Sunday and Monday for Presque Isle beaches and every Monday for Freeport Beach, from Memorial Day weekend to mid-September, water samples are collected and analyzed from 36 total sites. The Erie County Health Department wants everyone who visits Erie to enjoy its beaches and be able to make informed decisions based on the current swimming status for themselves, their families and their pets.

Up-to-date water quality testing results

Presque Isle Lifeguard Stand Beach sunsizzlephotos narrow

Frequently Asked Questions: Presque Isle State Park

Q: What are Presque Isle's hours?
A: Presque Isle State Park is open year-round from 5 a.m. to sunset. Beaches are guarded and open for swimming from 12 p.m. - 7:15 p.m. Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Q: Does Presque Isle charge admission?
A: Admission and parking at Presque Isle State Park are free. 

Q: Are the beaches dog-friendly?
A: Yes! On guarded beaches, leashed dogs are permitted in the tree line. On unguarded beaches, leashed dogs are invited to enjoy the water. For a list of popular dog-friendly beaches, and more information on dog-friendly attractions in Erie, click here

Q: Are there handicapped-accessible beaches in Erie? 
A: Yes! ADA-accessible restrooms, picnic tables, fishing areas, swimming areas, and parking spaces have been designated throughout Presque Isle State Park. For ADA-accessible swimming, check out Beach #8 (Pettinato Beach) for the best water access. 

Q: Does the park allow alcohol?
A:  Alcohol is not permitted on any part of the park.

Q:  Does the park allow smoking on the beaches?
A:  Smoking is prohibited on several Presque Isle State Park beaches. For visitors who smoke and still want to use the beach, designated areas adjacent to the beach are provided.

Q:  Can I grill at the park?
A:  Presque Isle has a number of picnic facilities, tables and grills located throughout the park, including the beaches.  Just remember to clean up after yourself and do your part to keep the park beautiful.

Q:  What beaches are best for families with young children?
A:  Beach 11 due to its shallow waters.  Beach 11 also has a playground and concession area.

Q:  Can you camp overnight at the beach?
A:  Camping or any type of overnight is not permitted at Presque Isle

Q:  Is there lodging nearby Presque Isle?
A:  Yes, there are several places to stay within 5 minutes of the park: Sure Stay Plus Hotel by Best Western, Bayfront Inn, Steelhead Inn

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