It just isn't summer without a day at the beach. Presque Isle State Park, located on the shores of Lake Erie in Erie, PA, offers seven miles of sandy beaches to choose from. Although Beach 7 near the First Aid Station is handicapped accessible, I chose to spread my beach towel at Beach 8, Pettinato Beach, because I could park my car in the shade of the tall poplar trees, use the public dressing room and restrooms, and grab a soda at the concession stand. The temperature of the water is perfect for swimming this time of year, about 75 degrees F, and I couldn't wait until the lifeguard arrived at 10 AM to open the beach up for public swimming.
Presque Isle State Park offers much more than just beaches. Rollerblades, bicycles, surreys, kayaks, and paddleboats can all be rented there, and jet-skis and motorboats can be rented on the other side of the bay in downtown Erie. The campground on Presque Isle State Park is always full, and from what I hear from the Pittsburgh campers, it's also expensive. There are 13 miles of hiking trails in the interior of Presque Isle State Park, but there are deer ticks in the woods that carry Lyme disease, so it's wise to dress accordingly and use plenty of bug spray if you go hiking.
Presque Isle State Park is open from sunrise to sunset throughout the year, although public swimming at the guarded beaches only lasts from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Admission to the park is free of charge.
In the photo above, that's me who was buried in the sand by my favorite cousin, who is grinning beside me.