Living in Pittsburgh has often made me homesick for the Connecticut shoreline. Sure we have the three rivers, but it’s not the same. And while I love the city, sometimes you crave an ocean breeze but can only spare a day at the beach. What’s a Western PA, Ohio, or Michigan mom to do? Google “Presque Isle” and plan your day at the beach.
If you didn’t know better, with its long stretches of Presque Isle beaches (Eleven!), Lake Erie could pose as Long Island Sound. True, the sand isn’t as rocky and the water’s far from salty, but that’s not a bad trade off. And it’s only a 2-hour and change drive from Pittsburgh.
Presque Isle State Park is open all year from 5 a.m. until sunset. With swimming (in season), hiking, bike and boat rentals, fishing, bird watching and scuba diving, there’s something for everyone.
Want a sweeping view of the island? Hop aboard the Lady Kate for a 90-minute boat ride around Lake Erie and Presque Isle Bay (Ticket prices: $16/adult, $9 children). You’ll catch a glimpse of the lighthouses and rich history of this beautiful Erie gem. Reservations are suggested (1-800-988-5780), but not necessary. We boarded on a week day in early-August without a reservation and there was room to spare.
Need a little more green time? The Tom Ridge Environmental Center is the perfect stop (free) as you wind down your day. Watch a short film, learn more about the wildlife and use the new all-green facilities before you head home from your day at the beach.
Note: I received no compensation for this adventure.
Nancy Berk, Ph.D. has been described as "Dr. Phil meets Tina Fey." Dr. Berk is an accomplished psychologist, speaker, and award-winning lifestyle humorist. She is a stand-up comic armed with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Vanderbilt University and the skills of a therapist, professor, and researcher. A columnist, podcaster, and blogger on lifestyle, parenting, and women’s milestones, Nancy writes a weekly blog for MORE Magazine’s MORE.com and co-hosts the iTunes humor podcast Whine At 9. She’s a columnist for SHADY AVE Magazine and MitzvahMarket.com, a three time contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul, and author of Secrets of a Bar Mitzvah Mom (2005). She's been spotlighted in the New York Times about over the top bar mitzvahs, interviewed by the Wall Street Journal on how to navigate nightmare double dates, and explained the nuances of smart phone addiction to AARP. Her stand-up comedy has landed her on the stages of TEDx and 30 Rock. She’s just finished her second book College Bound and Gagged: How to Help Your Kid Get Into A Great College Without Losing Your Savings, Relationship, And Mind, and now faces an empty nest with an extra guest room. Empty Nest Travel Mom looks forward to providing great tips, humor, and inspiration for travel without kids and with them, because lots of grown children enjoy a freebie family vacation.