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.

Presque Isle

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.