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Your guide to Lake Erie
All About Lake Erie
The smallest of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie's shores touch four states — Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York — as well as Canada. And its 700 miles of coastline provide plenty of opportunities for recreation on all sides, with activities such as kayaking, boating, swimming, and even surfing popular year-round.
The Presque Isle State Park in Pennsylvania has miles of beaches and thousands of acres worthy of exploring along with lighthouses and several species of endangered migratory fowl for birdwatching. At the same time, the Maritime Museum of Sandusky in Ohio details the lake's fascinating history, from maritime exploration to ice harvesting to the Sandusky leg of the Underground Railroad. Several major metropolitan areas are located directly on the shores of Lake Erie, providing numerous options for entertainment and exploration.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Lake Erie?
Due to the expansive area that Lake Erie covers, there will be local nuances and variations in seasonal weather patterns depending upon where you happen to be staying. But, in general, temperatures will vary drastically between the summer and winter months, along with levels of rain and snow. Summer tends to see warmer temperatures, high humidity, and minimal precipitation, creating conditions that can be excellent for swimming, boating, and other lake-bound activities. The winter season brings consistent below-freezing temperatures and the potential for significant snowfall. During this time, the lake has been known to freeze over. If looking to enjoy the water, or other outdoor activities, consider looking for cottage rentals during the summer or shoulder seasons.
What are the top things to do in Lake Erie?
South Bass Island, Ohio
With stunning limestone cliffs, coves, and crystal geode-tinged caves, South Bass Island makes for an excellent day trip if you happen to be on the Ohio shores of Lake Erie. Located just off the coast of Gibraltar via a short ferry ride, the island is known for its boating and fishing along with some fantastic seafood restaurants and an historical museum.
Buffalo, New York
Buffalo is a moderately sized city on the easternmost edge of Lake Erie. Besides acting as a hub for many lakeside activities, it’s also a nice place to poke around for a few days. Wander the tidy downtown to get a taste of the iconic Art Deco-style architecture pioneered in the area, order a plate of buffalo wings (said to have been invented here), then check out the majestic Niagara Falls that borders the city.
Erie Bluffs State Park
This Pennsylvania state park covers roughly 600 acres with over a mile of shoreline and dramatic 90-foot bluffs that overlook the adjacent Lake Erie. The park is home to several ecologies unique to the area, like the black oak woodlands and fishery streams home to bald eagles, bank swallows, rainbow trout, fairy shrimp, and wood frogs. Swimming is prohibited in the park, but you are welcome to enjoy the rocky shores and trail systems located throughout.