On Erie's waterfront, overlooking Lake Erie and Presque Isle, is Bicentennial Tower. Built in 1995 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the city's founding, it stands 187 feet high. The observation deck, at 138 feet, offers the best view of the city and the surrounding areas. It is one of the city's must-see attractions.
Across the water is Presque Isle ("presque" is French for almost, since it's actually a peninsula). Look closely, and one can see the monument to Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, who defeated the British at the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812.
Another interesting thing is a map of this part of Lake Erie, showing the shipwrecks. Over the years, many vessels have been lost on the Great Lakes, including this one. It's a reminder to sailors of the dangers of these lakes.
Presque Isle is a beautiful place to go for anyone who loves the outdoors. There are designated swimming areas, which are large beaches, so you can sunbathe, play in the sand, and play volleyball, as well as swim! Lake Erie is also a great place for anyone who likes to go boating! If you have your own boat, then you can go out on the lake yourself. If not, Presque Isle offers boat tours, so you can still enjoy the lake!
For those who prefer to stay on the land, there are trails that go around Presque Isle that people may use to go for a walk, bike, or roller blade. It is also a nice place to drive, even if you do not get out of your vehicle!
The road travels in a circle around the peninsula, so it's easy to know where you have been and how to exit. The sunset over the water is beautiful!
The Tom Ridge Environmental Center has just opened and it is fantastic!
It is a beautiful visitor center worthy of Pennsylvania's most visited (and best!) state park.
Start by watching the orientation video about Presque Isle State Park. Then check out the displays about the nature and wildlife at the park as well as the park's natural and human influenced history. Good stuff for kids and adults alike. There are also some great pieces of artwork by local and regional artists.
Take a walk up the observation tower (yes, there's an elevator) and enjoy the sweeping view of Lake Erie and nearby Waldameer Amusement Park.
Now for the Big Green Screen. Not as big as IMAX, but almost. The only thing that isn't free, but it's not expensive. Probably less than the movies where you live. Saw the Living Seas. Well worth the price.
Need some food? The Sunset Cafe has a fun menu and the food is very good.
Before you leave, make sure you stop by the nature shop. It features different artists each month.
Now you know more about Presque Isle State Park - the place that makes Erie one of the most livable and beautiful places on the Great Lakes.
Life's a Beach in Erie!
First of all, you've got to go to the beach... They're pretty nice, FREE (parking and all), not too far away from anywhere!! Like to ride your bike? Rollerblade? Go for a scenic walk with the kids (or without!!) There is a beautiful 13mi trail for any purpose that goes to the tip of the penninsula. Lots of people find nice little fishing spots too. Don't have room to pack a bike? Rent one. You can also rent a paddle boat or canoo and explore the lagoons!! They're really pretty too. History buff? Go see Perry's monument. There are also boat tours of the area. Most of all: go swimming!! I usually go to the same couple beaches, so I'll share what I know: Beach 1 is usually all adults (unguarded) Beach 6, older kids (it's a bit deep in some areas) and volleyball courts. Beach 9 and 10 (I think) are the most popular. Lots of people fly kites there too. Beach 11, great when you have little kids... there are bathrooms and changing areas right there, and it's in a protected area (kind of on the underside of the penninsula). The water is shallow, the view is great. Peaceful. There's so much to do here!! I just love it.
Presque Isle if you like beaches. Many clubs and bars downtown. All summer there are things to do. I lived here for around 5 years and loved it, winter's not so much. Every year they have "We Love Erie Days" close downtown off have multiple stages set up with live music all day. food vendors or walk into a local resterant or pub to eat. I wish more american cities did this. This past year 2005 they actually let you walk around with beer. Reminded me of being back in Germany again very refresing. Great family place to visit. Drive north a bit, 10-15 miles, and your in grape country, wine tasting and the little town of North East Pa has a wine festival ever year.
The also have a water park right at the enterance to Presque Isle called Waldameer, the kids will love.
In the winter you can ski at Peak-n-Peak Ski Resort just up the road in New York.
Fishing of course is everywhere.
There are one or two sail charter groups that will take you on a cruise around Presque Isle Bay. Might want to go to www.visiteriepa.com to get more information.
Who knows, maybe if you make some friends they'll take you aboard their sailboat.
Wednesdays during the summer you can check out the sailboat races starting at 7:00 p.m.
Presque Isle State Park is a treat even in the winter. The crowds and traffic are gone and the park is peaceful and quiet.
Try crosscountry skiing, hiking, and/or ice-fishing.
Photographers can capture some great scenes escpecially after a new snowfall.
Elevator takes you 180 feet above Presque Isle Bay where you can see beyond Presque Isle State Park's forested peninsula.
Maybe you'll see a 1,000 foot lake freighter. Or maybe one of the tall ships visiting the Great Lakes. During the summer you can watch sailboat races, or just watch the sun sink into the water.
On a clear day, you can see neighboring Ontario only 45 miles to the north (of course).
Tower is only $2. Can be a bit windy up there, but you can see the entire harbor and much of the city.
Grab a quick snack on the first floor or buy a souvy. Clean restrooms are also on the ground floor.
In 2004, Erie's Port Authority rescued the historic Erie Land Lighthouse (1867) from the neglect of the City of Erie.
The original lantern room had been transferred to another lightouse in 1899 leaving the Land Lighthouse without a top.
The new lantern room, rebuilt to near exact specifications as the original, was hoisted to the top of the lighthouse tower in 2004.
While the lighthouse is not open for tours yet, the grounds can be accessed from dawn to dusk without charge.
From the lighthouse park, visitors can enjoy sweeping views of Lake Erie and the Presque Isle State Park peninsula.
The adjacent neighborhood is in transition - but definitely on the rebound. A 100 year old paper mill (Hammermill) was recently closed and the site is in the proecess of being redeveloped.
Presque Isle is a long Island on Lake Erie. It has the Most Beautiful Beaches and a 10 mile Bike Parth that is flat and super. No Entrance Fee and I stopped at a Beach Shop and the Food Prices were reasonable. Ya Gotta go there.
Presque Isle is French, meaning “almost an island” . . . The park is FREE . . . No cost whatsoever . . . Extremetly clean and clear water . . . Regularly monitored quality . . . Year-Round Recreation . . . Fall & winter brings gorgeous scenery . . . 3,200 acres
The Presque Isle Lighthouse was built in 1872 and first lit on July 12, 1873. It is the second American lighthouse built on Lake Erie (the first is the Pierhead Light, built in 1818).
Linked to Erie by a narrow causeway, this isle helps form Erie harbor. The park is home to 2 lighthouses, lots of beaches and miles of biking and hiking trails.