(photo credit: goerie.com)

Geographically speaking, Presque Isle is 3,200 acres of sandy reef that stretches out into the waters of Lake Erie. The state park, while relatively small, is the unofficial title for a much larger area. Pretty much everything in the general area of the park is regarded as Presque Isle. Complete with sand, surf and seaside fun, the only thing Presque Isle is missing over any of the Atlantic shore beach destinations is salt water. For the best of the beach without the coast, this is your getaway guide to Presque Isle.
Getting There

From Pittsburgh, head north on I-279. After traveling 12 miles, merge onto I-79 north. Travel 112 miles on I-79 north then take exit 183A onto PA5 E/W. Travel 2.5 miles until you reach 12th Street. The roads are laid out in a grid pattern, so navigating the area should be simple.

What To Do

Presque Isle State Park
1 Peninsula Drive
Erie, PA 16505
(814) 833-7424

Price: free

Unlike any other State Park in Pennsylvania, Presque Isle is a seafront sanctuary on the edge of Lake Erie. Most visitors to the park prefer the summertime scene, but it offers recreational activities for all seasons. Enjoy fishing, both open water and through the ice, 11 miles of scenic hiking trails, cross-country skiing, boating and picnicking. Each visit to the Presque Isle State Park is an opportunity to experience something new.

Ciao’s Fishing Charters
4156 W. 28th St.
Erie, PA 16506
(814) 838-6317

Price: $625 full day/four person group

Roughly 1.5 million gamefish are caught annually in Lake Erie and its surrounding tributaries. There are no shortages of guides and charter services to choose from if you’re chasing after trophy steelhead, walleye, perch and bass on the lake. For first-time anglers it can be a little difficult to decide which one to choose. Ciao’s is one of the Erie areas best-known fishing charters. It provides first-class service, safety and exceptional fishing. For a complete list of packages, click here.

Related: Best Boating Trips near Pittsburgh

Presque Isle Downs and Casino
8199 Perry Highway
Erie, PA 16509
(814) 860-8999

Combining all the excitement of casino gambling with live horse-racing events on site, the Presque Isle Downs and Casino is the place to see if you’re looking to hit it big. It offers 44 table games, slots and everything else you’ve come to expect in a full-service gambling establishment. Whether you’re looking for a little excitement, fine dining or a bit of night life, you’ll find it at Presque Isle Downs and Casino.

Where To Stay

Spencer House Bed and Breakfast
519 W. 6th St.
Erie, PA 16507
(814) 464-0419

Price: from $90

The Spencer House is an Erie landmark, a converted Victorian mansion that now serves as one of the area’s most beloved bed and breakfasts. Its rooms are luxurious, charming and, most importantly, comfortable. Breakfast is a true delight, offering spiced potatoes, fresh fruit, thick-cut bacon and cinnamon-chip pancakes.

Where To Eat

1662 W. 8th St.
Erie, PA 16505
(814) 456-3096

Since 1975, Avanti’s Restaurant has been a staple of the Presque dining scene. Look for menu favorites such as the summer squash lasagna, pan fried trout and the pork chop saltimbocca. It offers a genuine harbor-side dining experience, with new specials every week, excellent chowders and delicious seafood. Entrée prices are typically less than $20, so you won’t have to break the bank.

Related: Getaway Guide: New River Gorge National Park

Marcel Tourdot is a freelance writer from Pittsburgh. His work can be found at Examiner.com.