Erie’s location along the shores of Lake Erie and Presque Isle Bay provides the perfect setting for outdoor fun on the water. For those who do not have access to a boat or other watercraft, Erie has several options to choose from. Whether it’s a leisurely dining or sunset cruise, a swashbuckling pirate adventure, a fishing excursion or an opportunity to just appreciate being on the water, here are the best ways to explore Lake Erie and Presque Isle Bay in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Main photo, credit: Your Sailing Adventure
Learn Erie history with The Lady Kate
Docked near the Perry Monument at Presque Isle State Park, the Lady Kate takes its passengers on a 90-minute fully narrated educational tour around Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie (weather permitting). This fact filled 14-mile excursion highlights Erie’s rich maritime history including the Battle of Lake Erie, the War of 1812, how Misery Bay got its name and various points of interest such as Gull Point, Erie’s three lighthouses and Erie’s skyline.
Practice your “Aye Matey!” on Scallywags Pirate Adventures
Any time on the decks of the Scallywags promises to be a swashbuckling good time! There are two different excursions to choose from: the family fun cruise and the adults only wobbly pirate cruise. Join the crew on an interactive family friendly voyage complete with water cannons and help defeat the evil Captain Skull or dance the night away with friends on a one-of-a-kind happy hour cruise. Tours depart from the foot of State Street near the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel parking garage.
Enjoy a free, guided one-hour tour of Presque Isle State Park’s lagoon system by pontoon boat. See the beauty and learn about the past and present of this unique habitat that is home to many diverse plants and animals. Rides depart from the Lagoon Boat Launch area, just past the Perry Monument and welcome guests on a first-come, first-served basis.
Rent your own fun!
The Erie area has options to rent your own watercraft for a few hours or the entire day. Port Erie Sports offers a wide selection of boats, jet skis, pontoons, kayaks and paddle board rentals. Hidden Harbor Water Rentals features 22’ or 24’ pontoon boats for rent with optional towable water tubes. Presque Isle Canoe & Boat Livery at Presque Isle State Park has an extensive list of rentals including canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, row boats, motor boats and pontoons.
Cruise aboard the Victorian Princess paddlewheel boat
Reserve your spot aboard the Victorian Princess, an authentic multi-level paddlewheel boat, for a leisurely one or two hour tour on Presque Isle Bay. There are a number of different cruises to choose from including Sunday brunch, sunset and moonlight cruises, sightseeing tours, themed parties and more. All tours depart from the foot of State Street near the Bicentennial Tower.
Go for a sunset sail with Your Sailing Adventure
Make great memories while watching one of Erie’s world-class sunsets from the deck of a luxurious 33’ sailboat, the Sotto Voce. Enjoy a relaxing evening of pleasant conversations, light snacks and spectacular views. The Sotto Voce is located in Wolverine Marina near the foot of State Street. Photo credit: Your Sailing Adventure
Hook the Catch of the Day
Erie’s fishing charters provide great opportunities to not only see the city and Presque Isle from the water but also to experience some of the best fishing in Pennsylvania. Tight Lines Sport Fishing and GypsyLyn Fishing Charters offer fishing charter trips for perch, walleye, trout and steelhead. They can accommodate various sized groups as well as fishing gear, bait and coolers. Pennsylvania fishing licenses with a Lake Erie stamp are required. To learn more, click here. Whether you catch many fish or none at all, it’s still a fun adventure on Lake Erie!
Step back in time aboard the U.S. Brig Niagara
Get ready for an experience of a lifetime with a day or sunset sail aboard the U.S. Brig Niagara. The Brig Niagara is a replica of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s ship from the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. It is also the official flagship of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For a more immersive experience during sails, the historic tall ship offers hands-on sailing opportunities as part of the voyage. The Niagara is docked in the harbor directly behind the Erie Maritime Museum.