If you are into state parks that are located near coastlines, then the magnificent Presque Isle State Park is a place you should definitely head to.
Taking the form of a spectacular 3,200-acre sandy peninsula, which arches into the sparkling waters of Lake Erie, the park provides visitors with a myriad of recreational activities.
This includes the likes of boating, swimming, hiking, biking, fishing and picnicking. All of which enable you to enjoy its spectacular setting – just a short drive from Erie – from a unique and different perspective.
As it is a day-use park, there is no overnight accommodation onsite. However, if you are unable to visit Presque Isle State Park on a day trip, you will find plenty of other campgrounds located within easy driving distance of it.
This PA state park provides visitors with several ways to enjoy its wonderful landscape. Here is a selection of some of the many things you can see and do when you are there.
Boating at Presque Isle State Park
At Presque, the use of both registered motorboats and non-powered craft are permitted.
All up there are a total of four launching areas which can accommodate craft of various sizes. (Please note, lake level fluctuations may impact launching procedures).
There is also a marina that can hold boats of up to 42 feet in length, within any of its 500 slips.
Water skiing is another activity that is also regularly practiced in the area, as is SUP, canoe, kayaking and windsurfing.
Swimming at Presque Isle State Park
The beaches at Presque Isle State Park are open from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day between the hours of 12 pm and 7.30 pm.
Safe, lifeguarded, swimming can take place within the designated zone. During the summer, its clear waters are a great way to cool off from the intense heat of the sun.
Surfing at Presque Isle State Park
The park provides the only surf swimming conditions within the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
You will be able to partake in surfing at specially designated locations. If you do this at these locations, you are not required to wear U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD.
Fishing at Presque Isle State Park
Anglers from all over Pennsylvania, and the surrounding states, come to the park to enjoy its excellent fishing conditions.
If you want to cast a line, you will find several scenic fishing spots around the lake and the wider park.
You can choose to fish from the shoreline, or take a boat out on the lake. Wherever you choose to do so, you will have the opportunity to catch plenty of walleye, bass, perch, smelt, trout, steelhead, panfish, crappies, muskellunge and northern pike.
Some popular fishing locations include the east and west piers, at the Perry Monument, Waterworks and the Ferry Dock and all boat landings.
ADA accessible fishing piers can be found at the Rotary Pavilion, East, West and North Pier locations.
Hiking at Presque Isle State Park
One of the best ways to explore the park is through its hiking trails.
Overall about 11 miles of trails wind around its landscape, providing you with exceptional views of the surrounding area.
These are some of the most popular trails at Presque Isle State Park:
- trail 1 – Dead Pond Trail. Length: 2 mile Degree of Difficulty: easy
- trail 2 – Karl Boyes Multi-Purpose National Recreation Trail. Length: 13.5 miles Degree of Difficulty: moderate
- trail 3 – Gull Point Trail. Length: 1.5 miles Degree of Difficulty: challenging
Please note, due to fluctuating lake levels, some parts of the trails may be affected by seasonal flooding. At times, they may be completely impassable, if you are not wearing appropriate footwear.
Birding at Presque Isle State Park
Bird lovers flock to the park in their droves for the opportunity to spot any of the 339 species that reside within it.
Depending on the time of the year you go there, you should be able to see plenty of wrens, terns, bitterns, coots.
A full list of the park’s resident birds can be found in the Nature Shop at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center.
Picnicking at Presque Isle State Park
Against its fabulous watery backdrop, picnicking is a popular activity at the park.
Throughout it you will find several picnic tables that are located near grills and charcoal disposal units. Some of which are ADA accessible.
There are also picnic shelters and pavilions available to hire too if you are planning on dining within a bigger group.
Hunting at Presque Isle State Park
Throughout the park, hunting is prohibited, other than for controlled goose, duck and deer hunting when in the appropriate season.
The hunting of waterfowl is restricted to authorized and designated blinds only. Whilst deer hunting is only allowed during the flintlock and archery muzzleloader seasons.
Pets at Presque Isle State Park
Dogs are welcome to join you during your visit to the park, although they must be kept on-leash at all times, especially whilst on the sand.
Camping at Presque Isle State Park
Unfortunately there are no camping facilities whatsoever at the park. However, in close proximity to it you will find several options for RV and tent camping.
A popular option not far from the park is the Lampe Campground. Featuring 42 sites, many of which offer fabulous waterfront views, some of these sites have 30 to 50 amp electric hookups, as well as laundry, restrooms, showers, fire rings, picnic tables and a dump station.
The family friendly Sara’s Campground is another excellent alternative. Boasting more than 100 spots for tents and RV sites, this modern facility has hookups for water and electricity as well as WI-Fi, cable TV, laundry facilities and even a small restaurant.
Presque Isle State Park
301 Peninsula Drive
Erie, PA 16505
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Presque Isle State Park: