Presque Isle State Park

This gem of the Erie, Pennsylvania, shoreline offers stunning fall colors, while winter brings opportunities for outdoor recreation. 

Celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2021, Erie, Pennsylvania’s Presque Isle State Park offers an assortment of outdoor activities during all four seasons. Throughout its history, the 3,200-acre park’s increasing accessibility is what has made it into the successful and widely adored regional favorite it is today. Located along Lake Erie, the sandy peninsula is known for its diverse wildlife and natural beauty that draws nature lovers all year long. 

In the autumn, the park shows off stunning colors as the leaves begin to change. Its lakeshore location offers the opportunity to take in breathtaking sunsets or cast a line in the bay. Other popular outdoor options include exploring Presque Isle State Park’s wooded interior hiking trails.

Bird-watching is a popular activity here, too. Pick up a bird checklist at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center and ask the staff the best place to spot particular ones during your visit. Birds commonly found at the park include a variety of shoreline species, warblers and even bald eagles.

When the snowy season shows up, other outdoor opportunities arise. Visitors can bring a pair of snowshoes or cross-country skis to seek out and experience the parts of the park that are intentionally left covered in snow. On the ice itself, travelers can join the crowds who go ice fishing and ice skating when the conditions are safe enough for it.

One of Presque Isle State Park’s most distinct attractions is the Karl Boyes Multi-Purpose National Recreation Trail. The 13 1/2-mile paved loop is great for hiking or biking during the autumn, but the trail is also popular with wintertime visitors, as a portion of it is designated for cross-county skiing once the snow falls to an appropriate depth. 

301 Peninsula Dr., Erie, PA, 814/833-7424, dcnr.pa.gov