Presque Isle State Park
Presque Isle State Park is a 3,200-acre sandy peninsula that arches into Lake Erie. As Pennsylvania's only "seashore," Presque Isle offers its visitors a beautiful coastline and many recreational activities, including swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, bicycling and in-line skating. A National Natural Landmark, Presque Isle is a favorite spot for migrating birds. Because of the many unique habitats, Presque Isle contains a greater number of the state's endangered, threatened and rare species than any other area of comparable size in Pennsylvania.
The gateway to Presque Isle is the new Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC). An educational center at heart, TREC is dedicated to teaching visitors about Presque Isle and the many different forms of life that inhabit this unique peninsula. TREC also serves as a center for research, contributing to conservation efforts and promoting environmental awareness, helping to preserve the unparalleled beauty of Presque Isle. There is free admission to the interactive exhibits and the 75-foot observation tower.
Presque Isle is a day use park that provides year-round recreational opportunities. Overnight accommodations are available nearby. Nearly 11 miles of hiking trails appeal to hikers, nature walkers and cross-country skiers. The paved Karl Boyes Multi-purpose National Recreation Trail provides nearly 14 miles of scenic trail along Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie for walkers, joggers, bicyclists and in-line skaters. Presque Isle offers swimming, boating, fishing and beautiful sandy beaches to its summer visitors. Winter enthusiasts visit the park to enjoy the outdoors and participate in a variety of ice and snow activities. At the TREC, large -format movies, guided tours and other activities are available. A program guide is available on the TREC Web site or call 814-833-7424 to learn more about activities and times the TREC opens and closes each day.
Seasons and Hours: The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. The park office is open specific hours. The beaches and other areas are open specific seasons and hours. Contact the park office for facility seasons and hours.
Picnicking: Picnic facilities with tables, grills and charcoal disposals are available throughout the park. Some are ADA accessible. Refer to the map for locations.
Picnic Pavilions: A number of picnic pavilions are available for rental, accommodating from 30 to 200 people. Please make advance reservations by calling 888-PA-PARKS. Pavilions that are not reserved are available free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis. There are ADA accessible fishing piers, picnic pavilions, picnic tables and grills at the East Pier and West Pier areas.
Picnic Shelters: There are three enclosed day use picnic shelters in the Waterworks Area. Shelters include electricity, water, picnic tables and a fireplace. Advanced reservations must be made by calling 888-PA-PARKS.
Swimming: The sandy beaches, washed by the clear waters of Lake Erie, provide visitors with the only surf swimming within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Beaches are open daily from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day, unless otherwise posted. The regular hours are noon to 7:30 PM. For more information, call the park office at 814-833-7424.
Beach 1: This long stretch of sand is located near the park entrance and has a beach house (without concessions).
Barracks Beach: Near Beach 1, this beach has modern restrooms and three first-come, first-served picnic pavilions.
Smoking is prohibited on Barracks Beach and in the swimming area. For visitors who smoke and still want to use this beach, designated areas adjacent to the beach are provided. The restriction includes cigarettes, pipes, cigars, e-cigarettes or other handheld, lighted smoking devices.
Beach 6: This large beach has sand volleyball courts, a beach house with changing areas, restrooms, and a food and beverage concession.
Beach 7 (Waterworks Beach): In addition to modern restrooms, this beach features a ramp that provides ADA access to the water’s edge. This beach is adjacent to picnic areas, including playground equipment, the Rotary Pavilion and other reservable picnic shelters.
Beach 8 (Pettinato Beach): This wide expanse of sandy beach has a beach house with changing areas, restrooms, and food and beverage concession.
Mill Road Beaches: (Stone Jetty, Short Jetty, Saw Mill, Ainsworth, Goddard) These beaches allow visitors to enjoy unspoiled, relatively quiet beaches. Restrooms are at Short Jetty and Saw Mill. The Mill Road Beaches incorporate swimming areas with shaded picnic facilities.
Smoking is prohibited on the Mill Road Beaches and in the swimming areas. For visitors who smoke and still want to use this beach, designated areas adjacent to the beach are provided. The restriction includes cigarettes, pipes, cigars, e-cigarettes or other handheld, lighted smoking devices.
Beach 9 (Pine Tree): This beach has picnic facilities, a picnic pavilion and a restroom.
Beach 10 (Budny Beach): Equipped with a beach house with changing areas, restrooms, and food and beverage concession, this beach lies between the Sunset Point area (popular with kite flyers and wind surfers) and Gull Point.
Beach 11: This is the most sheltered beach and features shallow water, a large sandy beach, and a beach house with changing areas, restrooms, and a food and beverage concession. Beach 11 is adjacent to picnic areas, playground equipment and a picnic pavilion.
Smoking is prohibited on Beach 11 and in the swimming area. For visitors who smoke and still want to use this beach, designated areas adjacent to the beach are provided. The restriction includes cigarettes, pipes, cigars, e-cigarettes or other handheld, lighted smoking devices.
Swimming Area Pet Guidelines: At the following guarded beaches, leashed dogs are permitted in the tree line area: from Beach 1 to Barracks Beach, Beach 6, from Beach 7 up to Presque Isle Lighthouse, Beach 9, Beach 10 and Beach 11. In the following unguarded areas, leashed dogs are permitted on the sand and in the water: from the east end of Barracks Beach to the West end of Beach 6, from the east end of Presque Isle Lighthouse to the west end of Beach 9, from the east end of Beach 9 to the west end of Beach 10, from the east end of Beach 10 to the Restricted Area on Gull Point, from Thompson Bay to the north side of Beach 11 and from the south side of Beach 11 to the North Pier
Explore swimming for more information.
Boating: Both non-powered craft and registered motorboats are permitted. Internal combustion engines are prohibited in the interior lagoons, which are defined as the continuous body of water between Misery Bay and Marina Lake, excluding Graveyard Pond. A boat rental concession in the Graveyard Pond area provides a variety of powered and non-powered craft. Beaching of boats along the Presque Isle shoreline is permitted, except within 100 feet of designated swimming areas and at the Gull Point Natural Area between April 1 and November 30. A slow minimum height swell speed must be observed within all park waters, which includes all waters within 500 feet of the shoreline.
Water conditions can change dramatically in a very short period of time. Please heed all weather notices. Listen to marine channel 16, the Coast Guard Emergency Channel on a VHF radio, or NOAA Weather Radio 162.400 MHZ, for current boating conditions.
Motorboats must display a current boat registration. Non-powered boats must display one of the following: boat registration; launching permit or mooring permit from Pennsylvania State Parks, available at most state park offices; launching permit from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on boating rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Boat Launches: A total of four launching areas are available, which can accommodate various sizes of craft. Vista Launch is only recommended for small watercraft and personal watercraft (jet skis). Niagara Launch has two ramps and can accommodate small to medium sized craft. West Pier Launch area is the largest facility with four launching lanes and is recommended for larger watercraft. The Lagoon Launch area can accommodate small to medium sized craft.
Fluctuations in lake levels may impact launching procedures.
Marina: Open May 1 through October 31, the Marina has nearly 500 slips that can accommodate boats up to 42 feet in length. Individuals wishing to moor their craft on a permanent or temporary basis need to contact the marina office or park office to determine slip availability because there are waiting lists for permanent assignments.
For more information call the Marina Office (seasonal) at 814-833-0176 or 814-833-7424.
A park concession in the marina has gasoline and diesel fuel, a sewage pump-out station, and a variety of food and refreshment items.
Water Skiing: Water skiing is permitted in Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie. Water skiing is prohibited within 500 feet of the shore except for the purpose of takeoff or approach.
Presque Isle Scenic Boat Tours: Departing from Perry Monument on Presque Isle State Park, experience the scenic beauty of the Peninsula and Erie waterfront while viewing three historic lighthouses on the 65-foot great lakes vessel, "Lady Kate." The 14-mile, 90-minute tour ventures out onto the open waters of Lake Erie. You will view Presque Isle's shores, Erie's skyline, lighthouses, ships, the beaches, Gull Point Nature Preserve, wildlife and numerous other sights. Live narration takes place on each tour by knowledgeable guides that identify and describe points of interest while they supply enlightening information about the area's ecology, history, development, nature and more. Tour departures vary seasonally: Mid-May through Mid-June and after Labor day through September 30; are Saturdays and Sundays 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. The summer season of mid-June through Labor day; are 7 days per week 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and sunset cruises which depart 1 hour prior to sunset. Group tours may be booked for any day or time. Call for reservations local 814-836-0201 or toll free 800-988-5780. Cruise schedules and prices are subject to change. Any trip may be cancelled due to sever weather, mechanical difficulties, or fewer reservations than required.
Presque Isle Canoe and Boat Livery: On Graveyard Pond across from Misery Bay, the boat rental offers canoes, kayaks, small motorboats and pontoon boats for rent. The boat livery is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m .on weekends during mid-April through mid-October. For further information call 814-838-3938.
Recreational Scuba Diving: Recreational scuba diving is permitted in designated waters of Presque Isle State Park. Divers must be certified and must register at the park office and receive information on waters open for diving. Snorkeling is prohibited in Presque Isle State Park waters.
Fishing: Common species are perch, bass, walleye, trout and steelhead in Lake Erie, and panfish, perch, bass, muskellunge, walleye, northern pike, crappies, smelt and steelhead in Presque Isle Bay.
Bowfishing is permitted. Popular shore fishing locations are Waterworks and the Ferry Dock, East and West piers, Perry Monument, North Pier, lagoons and all boat landings. There are ADA accessible fishing piers, picnic pavilions, picnic tables and grills at the East Pier and West Pier areas.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Hunting and Firearms: Hunting is prohibited in the park except for controlled duck and goose hunting in season. Hunting is restricted to designated and authorized blinds only. Regulated wildlife management hunts may be conducted if needed. Please contact the park office for information on regulated wildlife management hunts.
Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply.
Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. Other visitors use the park during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment used for hunting may be uncased and ready for use only in authorized hunting areas during hunting seasons. In areas not open to hunting or during non-hunting seasons, firearms and archery equipment shall be kept in the owner’s vehicle or enclosed trailer. Exceptions include: law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms are authorized to carry a firearm concealed on their person while they are within a state park.
Complete information on hunting rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site.
Hiking: 11 miles of trails
Fox Trail: 0.5 mile
Old Gas Well Trail: 0.5 mile
Canoe Portage Trail: 0.25 mile
Ridge Trail: 0.5 mile
Marsh Trail: 0.25 mile
Sidewalk Trail: 1.25 miles
Dead Pond Trail: 2 miles
A-Trail: 0.2 mile
B-Trail: 0.25 mile
Pine Tree Trail: 0.7 mile
Gull Point Trail: 1.5 miles
Visitors are reminded that during the closed period of the GPNA, April 1 through November 30, visitor access is only permitted on the trail surface, to and from the observation platform.
North Pier Trail: 0.7 mile
Grave Yard Pond Trail: 0.75 mile
Long Pond Trail: 1 mile
Duck Pond Trail: 0.5 mile
Biking: 13.5 miles of trails
Yellow Bike Rentals: In the Waterworks Pumphouse area, near the Cookhouse Pavilion, the bike rental offers bicycles, four wheeled surreys, tricycles, roller blades and paddle boats for rent. The bike rental is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends during May and September, weather permitting. For further information call 814-835-8900.
PA Seaway Trail: The Seaway Trail, which follows the Lake Erie Shoreline through Erie County from New York to Ohio and includes the Karl Boyes Multi-purpose Trail, is designated as a Pennsylvania Scenic Byway. The mission of the byway program is to protect and promote wise use of our resources while allowing for increased education and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike.
In addition to recreational activities, experience the natural wonders of Presque Isle during the winter months. Look for the impressive ice dunes, formed by the combination of lake ice, wave surge and freezing spray. Take a walk along the beach and you will likely see animal footprints in the snow.
Cross-country Skiing: The trails of the park can be skiied, conditions permitting.
Winter Concession: In Shelter #1 near the Waterworks Ponds, the concession offers cross-country skis and snowshoes for rent. The concession is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends beginning mid-November through March, provided suitable snow conditions exist.
Ice Fishing: Presque Isle Bay and Misery Bay are popular for ice fishing. Ice thickness is not monitored.
Ice Skating: Presque Isle Bay and Misery Bay are popular for skating on the natural ice surface. Ice thickness is not monitored.
Iceboating: Presque Isle Bay is popular for iceboating. Ice thickness is not monitored.
Environmental Education and Interpretation
Environmental Education: The park offers a wide variety of environmental education programs. Through hands-on activities, guided walks and evening programs, participants gain appreciation, understanding and develop a sense of stewardship toward natural and cultural resources. Contact the park office or explore http://trecpi.org for program offerings.
The Presque Isle Curriculum allows students of all ages to explore the resources of the park. The curriculum helps meet the Pennsylvania Academic Standards set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for Environment and Ecology, Science and Technology, and others.
In the summer, Presque Isle State Park offers the Bureau of State Parks’ DiscoverE Outdoor Programs for Young People (ages 4-17). Younger learners explore the outdoors through structured play, reinforced by stories and crafts. Older youth participate in educational and recreational activities, and conduct special projects.
Public Programs: Environmental educators at Presque Isle offer educational and recreational programs throughout the year. There are programs on history, art, wildlife, plants and outdoor recreation. Pontoon boat rides through the interior of the peninsula provide opportunities to view abundant wildlife and scenic views. Kayaking the lagoons is very popular. Contact the park office or explore http://trecpi.org for program offerings.
Explore the Calendar of Events for a listing of upcoming events.
Explore environmental education and interpretation for more information.
Access for People with Disabilities
ADA accessible restrooms, picnic tables and parking spaces have been designated throughout the park. There are ADA accessible fishing piers, restrooms, picnic pavilions, picnic tables and grills at the East Pier and West Pier areas, which also provide spectacular views of Presque Isle Bay and the skyline of Erie. The Tom Ridge Environmental Center and the Stull Center are ADA accessible.
If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.