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If you’re looking for a romantic weekend getaway in Pennsylvania consider booking a trip to Erie!
The first time we visited Erie with our significant others, we weren’t expecting it to be a romantic weekend getaway at all. To our surprise, Erie made for a great romantic weekend getaway in Pennsylvania for a number of reasons. One being that Erie is full of fun things to do to keep you busy over the weekend while also being very slow-paced and calm. But the most attractive thing about Erie for couples is the beach (where you can find privacy from families!) and the Lake Erie Wine Trail!
So, keep reading to see our sample two-day Erie itinerary to see how you can explore all the fun things to do in Erie with your SO! We hope this guide can give you an idea of what to do in Erie when you visit!
Getting to Erie from Pittsburgh
Getting to Erie is quite easy if you’re driving from other parts of Pennsylvania. Since it’s a smaller city located at the corner of PA, NY. and Ohio, the major highways pass through Erie. If you’re driving to Erie from Pittsburgh, you’ll drive past the Grove City Outlets. So if you need to do some shopping take some time to stop!
Top Things to Do in Erie PA for a Romantic Weekend Getaway
In this Erie PA itinerary, we have included a day of sightseeing and activities and a day of exploring the Lake Erie Wine Trail. If you’re more interested in one or the other, feel free to spread things out over the two days! It was really easy for us to fill our days with things to do in Erie.
Day 1 Erie Weekend Getaway Itinerary: The Fun Things to do in Erie PA
Arrive and Explore Presque Isle State Park (ie the BEACH)
Visiting Presque Isle State Park is definitely one of the top things to do in Erie during your weekend getaway. There are so many things to do at the state park throughout all of the seasons.
Did you know? The first known people to inhabit Presque Isle was the Erielhonans. This is where Erie gets its name!
Presque Isle State Park has to Pennsylvania’s only beach! And this state park does not disappoint. It has an adorable lighthouse, hiking and biking trails, fishing areas, and the beach! The state park allows fishing and has a variety of hiking trails. Because of the lake, Presque Ilse has interesting wildlife throughout the year!
If you’re here for a romantic weekend getaway to Erie, consider packing a picnic lunch and enjoy a beautiful day at the beach with your loved one.
Presque Ilse Lighthouse
The Presque Isle lighthouse is open for tours and is located right on the beach! During the 19th century, as Lake Erie navigation grew more important, a lighthouse was built on Presque Isle. The lighthouse construction began in September of 1872 and was completed in July of 1873. Presque Isle Lighthouse still serves as a working aid to navigation today.
We explored for the afternoon and found a community of floating houses.
Oliver Perry Monument
Before you leave Presque Isle State Park, stop at the Oliver Perry Monument to learn a little about Lake Erie’s military history. Presque Isle played a role in the victory over the British in the Battle of Lake Erie, during the War of 1812. Oliver Hazard Perry strategically used the peninsula in the battle. Using this location protected the fleet by creating an obstacle for the British. The small bay near the current Perry’s Monument was later named Misery Bay, because of the difficulties that took place during the winters of 1812–1814. Many men suffered from smallpox and many died and were buried in a pond now called Grave Yard Pond.
In 1926, the Perry monument was built in honor of Oliver Hazard Perry on his victory over the British in the battle on Lake Erie.
Tom Ridge Environmental Center
Although more geared toward children, the Tom Ridge Environmental Center was a nice stop after visiting Presque Ilse. The exhibits were beautiful and the center offered IMAX style movies throughout the day. You can learn all about local ecology and wildlife at Lake Erie. The observatory tower offers great panoramic views of the lake and nearby amusement park.
Spend the Afternoon at the Erie Zoo and Botanical Garden
The Erie Zoo and Botanical Garden is an accredited zoo where you can see nearly 400 animals and 11 beautiful gardens throughout the park! The Erie Zoo is open year-round.
Take an Evening Walk at Asbury Woods
Asbury Woods is another option for outdoor activities in Erie. There are hiking trails, a nature center, and activities for kids! They also have different festivals and events throughout the year like the Wine and Dine in the Woods!
End your Night at an Erie Otters Hockey Game
Erie is home to an amateur hockey team, the Erie Otters! The game was very fun and it was amazing to see so many talented, young athletes. If you’re in Erie when it’s not hockey season, the minor league baseball SeaWolves and BayHawks basketball team are other sports options. So get some tickets to a game with your significant other and enjoy a night of fun!
Day 2 Erie Weekend Getaway Itinerary: Explore the Lake Erie Wine Trail
One of the top things to do in Erie is visit the Lake Erie Wine Trail. Because duhh, WINE. Lake Erie Wine Country, formerly known as the Chautauqua-Lake Erie Wine Trail, is 50 miles of 23 beautiful wineries! Some of these wineries extend over into New York as well. During our visit to Jamestown NY, we were able to visit some of the Lake Erie Wine Trail wineries!
Simply pick some wineries and go! Lake Erie has a grape and wine heritage that begins with the Ice Age. Glaciers from the north gouged out great trenches and brought in fertile soil. As the glaciers melted this created ideal growing conditions for wine grapes. The Lake Erie Wine Country produces wines for all tastes, from fruity to exquisite French-American wines to European-style wines.
If you’re looking to continue exploring wine country on the Eastern Coast of the United States consider visiting the Finger Lakes as well!
Best Lake Erie Wine Trail Wineries
Sparkling Ponds Winery
Even though the Woman Pleaser and the Man Teaser wines are the top sellers at Sparkling Ponds, we fell in love with the Gewurztraminer wine. We appreciated how the wine list included what kind of food would pair best with the wine. Sparking Ponds had an adorable tasting room/shop that made you feel like you were walking into a boutique.
Heritage Wine Cellars
Heritage Wine Cellars, located inside a 200-year-old barn was one of our favorite winery experiences on the Lake Erie Wine Trail. Heritage Cellars has been family owned for generations and features one of the longest wine lists of the Lake Erie Wine Trail. One of the nicest parts of Heritage is that tasting is free! During our visit to Heritage Wine Cellars, we loved the specialty fruit wines and the ports. These were the most flavorful and unique wines of their collection. Some of these wines included Swedish Fish Flavors, elderberry, blueberry, and almond flavors! With its rustic country charm, Heritage Wine Cellars is the perfect place to taste, buy a few bottles, and enjoy the country views on the back porch!
Quincy Cellars was another winery housed in a historic barn! This gorgeous venue featured a charming event space and a beautiful tasting room. All of the wines at Quincy were very fresh, easy-drinking, and flavorful. Here, you could also try craft beer by Seven Sins Brewing.
South Shore Wine Company
Walking into South Shore Wine Company, we instantly felt like we were walking into a medieval wine cellar! The cool, dark stoned wine cellar was incredibly cozy and perfect for a winter wine tasting day. We personally loved South Shore’s sangria.
Presque Isle Vineyards
Presque Isle Vineyards claims to be one of the original wineries in the Lake Erie Region. This small winery features a diverse selection of wines and the tasting room was cozy. Of all the wineries we visited during our visit to the Lake Erie Wine Trail, Presque Isle ended up getting shadowed out by other wineries. It was still a lovely place to visit and had great wines, we just had other preferences!
Six Mile Cellars
With its dim colored lighting and modern design and canned wines, we got millennial, young adult vibes from 6 Mile Cellars. If you do a tasting at 6 Mile Cellars, you’ll have the option of adding on a stemless wine glass and trying their hard ciders. As someone who isn’t a huge cider fan, their cider’s were much more light and drinkable than your typical Angry Orchard.
Being from Pennsylvania ourselves, its common to find local wines at our local liquor stores. We discovered Mazza a few years ago at the store and LOVED their Concord wine. It literally tasted like grape juice, which was quite dangerous! So during our visits to Erie, we love visiting the winery and having the tasting room experience.
Where to Eat in Erie for a Romantic Dinner
We stopped at Serafini’s on our way into town and it was great for lunch! I got the gnocchi and fried zucchini and it was delicious! The restaurant had a classic Italian restaurant atmosphere and the service was delightful.
Mi Scuzi is a more high-end restaurant that doesn’t look like much from the outside but it was AMAZING. It seriously made me feel like I was back in Italy. Clearly, we were feeling all of the Italian food this weekend. I got the gnocchi and flatbread. If you’re looking for a fantastic and romantic dinner location, go to Mi Scuzi!
Virgil’s Plate: Best Pizza in Erie PA
During our visit to Erie, we decided that we wanted to grab take out pizza somewhere. Thanks to the stellar reviews on Google, we selected Virgil’s Plate and wow did it impress us! Virgil’s Plate features square-cut slices with unique topping combinations. Between the sauce and the dough, we loved everything
Where to Stay in Erie for Heart Shaped Bathtubs: Riviera Motel
The Riviera Motel had the old school, mom and pop atmosphere to it with the motel key and all. The reason we picked The Riviera Motel was quite cheesy but totally worth it. They have heart-shaped Jacuzzi bathtubs! Enough said. For being a small motel, it was very nice, clean, and affordable for our romantic weekend getaway! We loved the atmosphere and it was comfortable for our weekend. So if you’re visiting Erie with your loved one, grab a bottle of wine from a local winery, book a room at the Riviera and enjoy some relaxation time!
Who’s ready to explore Erie PA?!
What’s on the top of your list for visiting Erie? Let us know in the comments below. We hope this guide provided inspiration on what to do in Erie with you SO!