Weekend Getaway: Theme Park Adventures & Beaches Galore in Presque Isle & Erie, PA

Adventure, Family Friendly, Getaway, Things to Do


Written by Andrea Diedrich

Published on August 3, 2022
Photo courtesy of Visit Erie

When you think of summer and the hot days that come with it, what could be more refreshing than a day spent at the beach? If you’ve seen all the beaches that WNY has to offer, it might be time to make your way down to Erie, PA for a trip to Presque Isle State Park. Known for its 11 beaches and the surrounding charming attractions of downtown Erie, this short drive from Buffalo makes for the perfect weekend getaway.


Photo courtesy of Courtyard by Marriott Erie Bayfront
Photo courtesy of Oliver’s
Photo courtesy of Sara’s Campground

Where to Stay

While a trip to Erie can be completed in a single day, to make the most of your time there, we recommend making a whole weekend out of it. From waterfront hotels to family campgrounds, there are a variety of ways to stay in Erie. Stay at the Courtyard by Marriott Erie Bayfront for outdoor dining, fitness center, and a stunning infinity pool overlooking the lake or stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites Erie Bayfront for dining and drinks at Oliver’s Rooftop & Beer Garden. Looking to be closer to the outdoors? Stay at Sara’s Campground or Lampe Campground for easy access to the bike trails and beaches at Presque Isle.

Photo courtesy of The Cork 1794
Photo courtesy of Sara’s Restaurant
Photo courtesy of U Pick 6 Tap House
Photo courtesy of Icing On The Lake

Where to Eat

Once you’ve settled on a place to stay, it’s time to figure out the go-to places to eat in Erie. First off, if you’re like us, you have to stop at Krispy Kreme on your way into Erie. While we love our local donut shops, nothing beats a hot glazed donut from Krispy Kreme. If you’re looking for a full sit down breakfast, we recommend checking out The Original Breakfast Place or Lawrence Park Dinor. For lunch if you’re spending your day at the beach, check out Sara’s Restaurant which is at the gateway to Presque Isle and is known for their old-timey feel and All-American food and custard options. There is plenty to choose from for dinner, but some award winning places and local favorites include The Cork 1794, Federal Hill Smokehouse, and U Pick 6 Tap House. Looking for dessert? Head to Icing on the Lake, Erie’s Choice winner in 2019 and 2020, for your sweet tooth fix.


Visit The Bayfront District & Downtown Erie

If you’re looking to do some shopping and exploring while you’re in town, you’re in luck! The Bayfront District and Downtown Erie are full of shops and attractions worth checking out. Head to the 138 foot observation deck of Bicentennial Tower at the end of Dobbins Landing for a 360º view of the waterfront and surrounding region. Aboard the Lady Kate for cruises along Lake Erie and take in one of their famous sunsets! Further inland is Downtown Erie, here you’ll find multiple retailers including the Ye Ole Sweet Shoppe, a la Carte and the Erie Maritime Museum Gift Shop.

Photo courtesy of Visit Erie

Explore Hiking & Biking Trails

Presque Isle State Park has 11 miles of hiking trails ranging in difficulty, each providing opportunities to see the wildlife of the region. For those looking to fit in a bike ride, Erie has multiple bike trails that travel around the area as well as through Presque Isle State Park, providing a nice lake breeze and waterfront views.

Photo courtesy of Visit Erie
Photo courtesy of Visit Erie

Head to the Beach

Like previously mentioned, Presque Isle State Park has 11 beaches! Depending on what you are looking for, each beach offers a different way to enjoy the lakefront. Some of the more popular beaches include Beach #6 and Beach #7. Beach #6 (Lyons Beach) is equipped with sand volleyball courts, a beach house with changing areas, restrooms, and a food and beverage concession. Beach #7 (Waterworks Beach) is a favorite among families with its large playground and shelters for picnicking.


Photo courtesy of Visit Erie
Photo courtesy of Waldameer & Water World

Theme Park Fun at Waldameer & Water World

After a day spent at the beach, continue the fun at Waldameer & Water World. Just before the entrance to Presque Isle, this theme park offers roller coasters, waterslides, a wave pool and more. Whether you’re looking to cool down in the waterpark or zip around on the amusement rides, Waldameer & Water World is a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy.


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Written by <a href="" target="_self">Andrea Diedrich</a>

Written by Andrea Diedrich

Andrea is a Content Coordinator and writer for Step Out Buffalo. By day she enjoys using her creative side and researching all things Buffalo. By night you’ll find her exploring Buffalo’s waterfront, dining with friends or catching the latest show/concert in town.


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