The opportunities for a summer weekend getaway in and around western Pennsylvania are extensive. For the “outdoorsy” Pittsburgher, the list of things to do is limited only by your imagination and your individual interests. Whether it’s a leisurely weekend spent tasting wine and picnicking or a more high-paced weekend warrior-type experience, the venues on this list have something for everyone. There’s no time like the present to get out and enjoy all the things that make summer special. Here are some of the best weekend getaways in the Pittsburgh area.
Spruce Creek Outfitters
P.O. Box 36
Spruce Creek, PA 16683
It’s enough to give an angler heart palpitations when the sulphur duns hatch on the limestone streams around State College, PA this time of year. At its peak, the stream can appear to be defying any number of natural laws, as tiny blonde and white insects erupt from the water’s surface. From a distance it appears as though time were running in reverse and the season was winter as the sulphurs, which resemble snowflakes in both size and color, rise up into the sunny, summer skies. To the “world famous” wild trout here, the phenomenon is less about beauty and more about an easy and abundant source of food. Everything you need from tackle and gear to guide services, overnight accommodations and some of the best fishing advice around can be found at Spruce Creek Outfitters. Contact owner Allan Bright for information on guide services, hatch information and to book a night’s stay in the River’s Edge Guest House.
Coopers Rock State Forest
61 County Line Drive
Bruceton Mills, WV 26525
It’s with good reason that West Virginia has adopted the title “Wild and Wonderful,” and Coopers Rock State Forest is no exception. To get here, just head due south on I-79 through Morgantown then head east for 12 miles on I-68. With terrain that varies from high mountain cliffs to the valleys of the Cheat River Gorge, it’s no wonder the area is particularly cherished by hikers, bikers, mountain climbers and whitewater rafters. It’s the perfect place to camp out under the stars, although with Morgantown just a few miles away, first-rate hotel accommodations are just as easy to find.
Presque Isle State Park
1 Peninsula Drive
Erie, PA 16505
No spot in western Pennsylvania offers a more realistic beachfront atmosphere than Presque Isle. Watching the waves break along the sandy beach of Presque Isle Bay, you’d swear you were staring out at the Atlantic Ocean. Saltwater aside, it’s got everything you’d want and expect from a beach destination, and maybe even a little more. There are countless opportunities to enjoy surfing, sailing and even some deep sea fishing out on the open waters of Lake Erie. There are wonderful seafood restaurants nearby, amusement parks, water parks and one of Pennsylvania’s largest combination racetrack and casino, Presque Isle Downs and Casino.
Stone Villa Wine Cellars
1085 Claypike Road
Acme, PA 15610
Located in the Laurel Highlands area of nearby Westmoreland County, Stone Villa Winery is the perfect spot for local wine connoisseurs to spend a weekend. Owners Randy and Debbie Paul have transformed their 150-acre vineyard into one of the area’s most popular spots for wine tasting. Summer weekends at Stone Villa are an experience sure to delight all five senses. There’s live music, picturesque surroundings and pavilions available for group celebrations. For nearby overnight accommodations, check out the Donegal Holiday Inn Express located just seven miles from Stone Villa.
1205 Kinzua Road
Warren, PA 16365
Originally constructed as an effective means of flood control, the Kinzua Dam has grown into one of the largest inland lakes in the region. The result of the project, originally conducted more than 50 years ago by the Army Corp of Engineers, is a massive 12,000-acre reservoir. For anglers, it offers some of the absolute best walleye, pike and musky fishing around. Boating, swimming, picnics areas and a playground are also available in and around the reservoir. There are numerous camping opportunities as well as hotels and motels nearby for visitors looking to extend their time and enjoyment of the Kinzua Dam and Allegheny Reservoir.
Related: Weekend Trip Guide to Cleveland,OH
Marcel Tourdot is a freelance writer from Pittsburgh. His work can be found at Examiner.com.