Way up in the northwest corner of Pennsylvania lies Erie, a town named after the Native American tribe that once called the area home. Erie sits on the southern shores of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes, and is known for its sparkling waters. The city won the “All American City” Award in 1972, and it’s easy to see why. Bursting with family-friendly attractions, a state park, beaches on the shores of Lake Erie, and a local beer, wine, and spirits scene, Erie is as much a representation of America as anything. For a perfect, stress-free summer vacation, Erie is the place to go. Take a visit and see why locals and tourists rave about this place.
Erie is the fourth largest city in the state and is situated between New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Erie is nickname the “gem city” for its sparkling lake and remains prominent in the local economy with tourism being one of its main driving factors. People visit Erie every year to see Presque Isle State Park, as well as check out the popular casino and horse track, among other attractions.
With so many activities to choose from, you’ll never find yourself with a dull moment in Erie. Presque Isle State Park, which is a 3,200-acre sand peninsula that arches into Lake Erie and offers recreational activities including swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, and biking. Visitors come from all over the country to see this Pennsylvania park that’s been considered a National Natural Landmark since 1967. The Pennsylvania Bureau of Park has named it one of the “25 Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks” and it might have something to do with its beautiful natural features. Composed of a sandy peninsula that juts out four miles into Lake Erie, the park is renowned for its bird watching (some of the best in the state) and availability of water activities like swimming and boating. It’s also the only surf beach in Pennsylvania and was named the #1 freshwater beach in the country in the 2016 USA Today Readers’ Choice Awards. Due to its unique habitats, Presque Isle houses a larger number of endangered, threatened, and rare species than any other area in Pennsylvania. The Tom Ridge Environmental Center is another feature of the park. Housing 8 research laboratories for the Regional Science Consortium and a discover center where you can check out some interactive exhibits highlighting different aspects of the park. On a warm, sunny day in Erie, Presque Isle makes a great destination.
People go to try their luck at Presque Isle Downs, where they can participate in horse-racing bets, table games and shows. Spend a day shopping at Millcreek Mall, see animals at the Erie Zoo which also has an ice-skating rink), and learn about the history of Lake Erie and fishing at the Erie Maritime Museum. The Erie Art Museum houses an impressive collection of American ceramics, Tibetan paintings, and other interesting artifacts, while the Bicentennial Tower is a popular spot for observing the panoramic views of the lake, downtown Erie, and Presque Isle State Park.
If you’re traveling with your family, Erie has many places to keep you busy. The Waldameer Park and Water World is one of America’s oldest amusement parks and is home to the 6th best wooden roller coaster in the world. Splash lagoon Indoor Water Park and Resort is another option to take the kids when the weather is hot but the skies are looking gray. Splash Lagoon is one of the largest indoor parks in the Eastern U.S. and is kept at a warm 87-degrees year-round. Spanning 15 acres in the middle of downtown Erie is the Erie Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Kids and adults alike can see over 400 animals, walk through the grounds and view 2,500+ varieties of plants, and stroll through 11 beautiful gardens. At just $9 for adults and $7 for children, the entrance fees are a small price to pay for some incredible views.
For the 21+ crowd, Erie has you in for a treat. Explore the over 15 breweries, wineries, and distilleries all within an hour drive of Erie and taste some local booze while on vacation. Millcreek Brewing Company, located just minutes away from the Erie International Airport has over 10 of their own beers on tap for you to try, a great idea if you’re killing time before your flight. Mazza Vineyards, on the other hand, is a good place to go during your stay in Erie, as it is part of the Lake Erie Wine Country Trail. This winery has been crushing grapes and churning out wines for 40 years, and a visit to the vineyard will give you a taste of those delicious flavors. The Wine Country Trail includes 23 uniquely different wineries, so you won’t have to go far from one winery to the next to get a new experience and tasty glass of wine.
Nearly equidistant from both Cleveland to its west and Buffalo to its east, Erie is positioned in a perfect place to take a day trip to either city. In Cleveland, check out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where avid oldies fans will be in musical nirvana. From there, head to a Progressive Field and catch a Cleveland Indians game or to Quicken Loans Arena to watch the 2016 NBA Champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers, try to defend their title. If Buffalo is your day trip choice, you’ll still be able to satisfy your sports fix. Catch an NFL game at New Era Field, home to the Buffalo Bills, or an NHL game at First Niagara Center where the Buffalo Sabres compete in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. For a change of pace, check out the Albright –Knox Art Gallery where you’ll explore modern art for hours on end. Whichever location you choose for your day trip, you’ll only be about an hour and a half drive away. Additionally, the city of Pittsburgh is a two-hour drive from Erie and has many great sites including the Andy Warhol Museum, Heinz Field football stadium, and PNC Park baseball stadium.
To get to Erie, fly into Erie International Airport. The city center is just 6 miles away from the airport, so either take a cab to Erie or check to see if your accommodations offer a shuttle service. The public transportation in Erie is quite helpful, as public shuttle buses serve a few different routes throughout the city. You can also rent a car if you want to get to your day trips or the state park in a timely manner.
It is very easy to get around Erie whether you own a car or not. The “e” is part of the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority and is a public bus system that has many different routes, taking visitors to all of the major destinations such as the casino, mall, or heart of downtown. Other forms of transportation that are also part of the EMTA include the Bayliner Trolley for downtown travel, the LIFT for those needing mobility assistance, and the Water Taxi for travel to and from Presque Isle State Park.
Tripping.com offers visitors many vacation rental options in Erie. Stay in a deluxe king hotel room wit a view of the lake right out your bedroom window. You can also stay in the coveted Presque Isle Bay where you’ll be just steps away from the beloved state park. Choose lakeside cottage rental that is spacious enough for the whole family. The proximity to the lake will give everyone in the family the sense that they’re truly on vacation, as everyone can wander down to the water whenever and linger as long as they want.
Downtown Erie is a popular place to book a vacation rental because with many lofts in historic buildings and modern high rises that offer great views of the Lake Erie sunsets. Another advantage of staying in one of these properties is that they have convenient access to green spaces including the Bayfront trails, restaurants, and exciting sporting events. Harborcreek is another convenient and safe residential area with lots of single family houses that are near the Pennsylvania Route 290 freeway, as well as 38th Street which is close to the bus routes and shopping areas and near the University of Pennsylvania.
Looking for a vacation rental in Erie? Tripping.com has 68 vacation rental homes available in Erie. You'll find 0 studios, 60 1-bedroom, 3 2-bedroom and 5 rentals with 3 or more bedrooms ranging from $35 a night. For extra convenience, many of these vacation homes can be booked directly online.
The average price of a nightly rental in Erie is $157 while the average price of a weekly rental is $460. For those looking for more than a short term rental such as corporate rentals, extended stays or long term rentals, the average monthly price of a Erie home is $1500.
Wondering if you can bring your dog or cat along with you? There are 13 pet-friendly vacation rentals available in Erie. In addition to accommodating pets, Erie rentals offer a variety of amenities. In particular, 42 rentals have Internet and WiFi, 22 have TV and/or cable and 39 have a pool or hot tub.Search properties from 6 vacation rental sites in Erie where the top providers in that area are Booking.com, HRS Holidays, and Agoda. There are 24 Booking.com rentals, 20 HRS Holidays short term rentals and 11 Agoda vacation rentals.