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Posted by on Jul 31, 2013 | 4 comments

Midwest Weekend Getaways – Presque Isle PA

Midwest Weekend Getaways – Presque Isle PA

When you live in Ohio, your options for quick getaways don’t always sound hot and sexy: Quick trip to Indiana, romantic weekend in Illinois, weekend getaways in Pennsylvania.

I can’t really come up with a fantastic lie as to why our Lake Erie Beaches outrank somewhere like Siesta Key, but I can tell you that we do have beaches and you can have fun without the 20 hour car ride to Florida.

The great view from anywhere on the beach.

This past weekend, two of my best girlfriends and I had a little girls’ weekend getaway, and we chose to venture up to Presque Isle State Park, which is an isle at the top of Pennsylvania near Erie. It only took two hours to drive there from North Canton, Ohio, so I’m assuming an hour for those around the Cleveland area.

What’s to do on Presque Isle?

  • TONS (over ten) beaches with sand, volleyball, swimming and relaxing.
  • Marshes for touring and docks for fishing.
  • Boat tours, kayak rentals, biking and hiking paths.
  • Festivals – we happened to catch the Discover Presque Isle with art and craft vendors, a bonfire on the beach, sand sculpture competition and athletic events.

It truly is a beautiful escape, and it was fun for us girls, but it could be made into a couple’s trip without a doubt, especially if you’re the outdoorsy Eddie Bauer type.

Researching what there is to do was somewhat a pain, there aren’t many resources out there that let you know what to do outside of swimming, fishing and hiking. Not to mention, Presque Isle is thrown into a category of “Erie,” however I will tell you, Presque Isle and the spots near it are NOT close to the wineries or downtown Erie. We stayed super close to the isle for the beaches, but didn’t have the amenities such as the casino, wineries or… well, whatever is in downtown Erie.

However, we did have the (un)fortunate opportunity to explore elsewhere because… it rained all day. Whereas most people would be upset about that, we were okay because a) the entire midwest was being dumped on, and b) we can make fun out of most everything.

What we did find to do was primarily on and around West 8th St. including shops like Claudine’s Consignment Shop, which had some of the most affordable, great finds I have ever witnessed and in fact wish I had brought a truck out there to bring things back. A few other stores we saw along the way was Mazza Wine Shop and Romolo’s Chocolates.

Romolo’s was great because they have a fairly large candy shop to browse through with items such as dinosaur, cat, sail boat and sports theme-shaped chocolates all the way up to decadent truffles. Beside that is the gift store, leading into the ice cream and coffee shop which is connected. Amazing flavors of sorbet and ice cream were available along with special brew coffees and teas. The outside looked like it’d be relaxing to sit on the patio – had it not been raining. However, I would buy their chocolate online and ship it here; it’s that good.

Restaurants – near Presque Isle there are quite a few diner-esque places like Sara’s which looks like it came from the 1950’s but there are also some themed places like Sandbar Erie where we grabbed lunch and a couple beers. It was pretty good – they also have live music in the evening, pool tables and over 20 beers on tap. A place you have got to get breakfast is Taki’s Restaurant - it’s a Greek spot with fantastic food, such as the bagel sandwich and homefries. Joe Roots Grill is where we grabbed dinner – it was so-so and if you can find somewhere else, that could be a better option.

The bar we went to was near our hotel, El Patio (it was that classy), was called Choo Choo’s and was a serious hoot. Expect a good mix of locals and those traveling through so you’ll get the range of stories. They have pool tables, and we didn’t even have to drive there. However, we did check cab rates, and to get to downtown Erie it would have been around $25, so you do have the option to head out to a place where you won’t see sweat pants… and everyone has a full set of teeth.

Overall – it’s a trip worth making. It’s close, can be on the cheap, and genuinely is entertaining. I think the location would be ideal had the weather been great, but if going another time I would opt for the downtown Erie section.

Have you been to downtown Erie, or Presque Isle? What’s your preference? Or, if you have suggestions for other Midwest weekend getaways near Ohio feel free to shoot them our way.

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  1. You can camp on the beach at Sara’s, the second best sunset in the world according to Travel Magazine. The beach is loud and rowdy on the weekend and the exact opposite during the week.

  2. Glad you had a good time at Presque Isle State Park and Erie. If you’re ever looking for some background for a future trip, the Erie Times-News maintains a resource at that might be of help.

  3. Our weather this weekend is looking half and half. We are staying about 10 min away from the beach area and the casino, seemed to be the only hotel area still available. The icecream at Saras is one of my favorites, I’ve never had their food though.

    • The beaches were great and totally beautiful! I’d be curious to see the downtown area a little more, maybe next time. What’s on your agenda for the weekend, Susan?


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