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The Best Places to Catch an Erie Sunset

Wednesday Apr 17th, 2024

Erie, Pennsylvania boasts some of the most breathtaking sunsets in the world. The sun’s vibrant colors stretching across the waters of Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay, and Edinboro Lake, create an idyllic setting for romantic proposals, casual get-togethers, or moments of quiet reflection. Throughout Erie County, there are many vantage points to witness the sun impressively setting below the horizon. 

(Header photo by Patrick Grab)

Beaches and Parks

Presque Isle State Park: Besides its stunning beaches, Presque Isle is best known for its awe-inspiring sunsets.  Framed by beautiful sandy beaches and Lake Erie, Presque Isle is one of the most tranquil places to watch the sun go down. While any spot along the beach can provide a picturesque view, the most photogenic location undoubtedly goes by the fitting name of Sunset Point. Situated between Beaches 9 and 10, Sunset Point offers an unparalleled vantage point to capture the intense beauty of the setting sun. Other great spots are Lighthouse Beach, Waterworks Beach (Beach 7), and Pettinato Beach (Beach 8).  

Liberty Park: Nestled on the western side of Presque Isle Bay in Erie’s Bayfront District, Liberty Park is a spacious park with the perfect setting for watching the sun go down. Liberty Park is also host to various festivals and outdoor concerts such as 8 Great Tuesdays, a free concert series that runs this summer from July 9 to August 27. Each week a different music artist performs on stage at the Highmark Amphitheater. The park offers a large playground and restrooms (porta potties).

Shades Beach Park: It’s a small beach with huge sunset views! In addition to being a great sunset spot, this area also features nature trails, picnic grounds, woodlands, play areas, and a boat launch.  Shades Beach is located north of Route 5 (East Lake Road) in Harborcreek, PA. Find it here.

Avonia Beach Park: Located on the western shores of Lake Erie in Fairview, PA. Avonia Beach Park is a peaceful 3.6-acre park with benches and a charming gazebo that provide the right setting for reflection and sunset gazing. The park also includes a public walkway, a modest beach, and fishing platform. Find it here.

Lake Erie Community Park: Set on a bluff overlooking Lake Erie in Lake City, PA, the Lake Erie Community Park is a 125-acre park with lots of wide open space for you to spread out and enjoy expansive cliff-side sunsets. The park also has benches, picnic shelters, nature trails, baseball fields, a playground, and boat launch. Find it here.

Sunset Sails

Your Sailing Adventure: Depart from Wolverine Marina on Lower State Street and experience a Lake Erie sunset like never before from the decks of a luxurious 33-foot-long Beneteau yacht, the Sotto Voce. Sail or motor (as weather permits) into Lake Erie for a two-hour excursion with other guests and enjoy regional wine, great conversation, and of course, amazing sunsets. Private charters are also available.

Victorian Princess: Docked at the foot of State Street, the Victorian Princess is waiting to take you on a leisurely sunset sail, allowing you to revel in the beauty of Lake Erie and its world-class sunsets aboard a majestic three-level paddlewheel boat. The Victorian Princess offers elegant sunset dinner cruises as well as an elevated “spectacular sunset dinner cruise” which includes dinner, live music, and dancing.

The Lady Kate: During a visit to Presque Isle State Park, enjoy a 14-mile, 90-minute narrated tour that begins at the Perry Monument and ends with stunning sunset views on Presque Isle Bay. The Lady Kate’s knowledgeable crew will guide you with a tour of the Erie area’s landmarks and maritime history including Erie’s historic lighthouses, Gull Point Nature Preserve, and Presque Isle State Park.

Around Town

Foot of State Street/Bicentennial Tower: Underneath and around Erie’s iconic Bicentennial Tower, numerous benches provide a front-row waterfront seat to an Erie sunset. Although the tower’s top observation platform is open until 9 p.m. (Memorial Day to Labor Day), you can still get a preview of the sun setting before you head down to the ground level. Inside, a concession stand is stocked with ice cream and other treats, poised to make your sunset experience even sweeter.

Waldameer Park Ferris Wheel: At the pinnacle of Waldameer Park’s Ferris Wheel, guests are treated to breathtaking views: the captivating sunset, the sprawling beauty of Presque Isle State Park, and the serene expanse of Lake Erie. The giant gondola-style attraction slowly carries its riders to a towering 100 feet, before gently pausing to allow riders to savor the moment.

The Shoreline Bar & Grille’s Outdoor PatioLocated on the lower floor of the Courtyard Erie Bayfront Hotel in Erie’s Bayfront District, the Shoreline Bar & Grille’s full-service outdoor patio is a stylishly comfortable, casual chic atmosphere for family and friends to gather and enjoy great food, a specialty cocktail and incredible sunsets.  

Edinboro Lakefront Resort Sunset Grill: The name alone suggests this is a good spot to watch a sunset and it truly is. Located on the picturesque shore of Edinboro Lake, the Sunset Grill offers an extensive menu of food and beverages in a casual, relaxed setting. Pair your meal and a beautiful sunset with live music Thursdays through Sundays. The Sunset Grill is open May 1 through October (weather permitting). 

Music to Accompany the World's 3rd Best Sunsets

Engage your senses at sunset (or sunrise!) with VisitErie's curated playlist. 

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