Dog-friendly Erie, PA: Showing my dog some love with a visit to Presque Isle State Park (Part II)


(Thank you to our sponsor Red Roof Inn for providing accommodations on this trip!)

Day two and I’m ‘showing my dog Victor some love this February’ by taking him on a road trip to Erie, Pennsylvania. Today we head to why we’re here: Presque Isle State Park. It’s an incredible site with almost every outdoor activity: beaches, 11 miles of hiking trails, boating, historic sites, lighthouses, campsites and fishing bays.

And it’s dog-friendly – on a leash. Yet one advantage of going in February is few people are wandering around. There’s no one to notice Victor running free on the beach sporting his new Kurgo Loft Jacket to keep him warm. He loves this place.

Presque Isle State Park is on an island surrounded by Lake Erie. Apparently, it’s also the site of the Battle of Erie during the War of 1812 and Perry Monument in Misery Bay marks the spot. It’s also our first stop after a slow drive into the park. A road weaves around the perimeter of the entire island, and today drivers are viewing the park through their windshields.presque-isle-state-park-lighthouse

Not us. Victor wants out. He’s driven a long way to explore and Perry’s Monument and surrounding park near the launch site of summer scenic boat tours is his first, and favourite, stop in the park. With no one here, he’s gleefully enticing me to play and we circle the monument then head toward the boat launch, until the cold sets in. On to the next spot.

Oh, and it’s interesting to read about the War of 1812 from the other side’s perspective. Earlier this week we visited Fort George on the Canadian side, where the U.S. was defeated….  but more about that later this month.

Today, it’s about celebrating a day on American soil, specifically conservation soil.

Despite the fact  wild turkey, fox, and deer roam this island somewhere, there is a lot of human impact here, especially in the summer. The beach is popular and we head there next. Ok, it’s not what it looks like on the website – no volleyball nets here in the middle of winter. But chunks of crystal-like ice sculptures line the Great Lake shoreline. Frozen water cascades over a rock like a waterfall frozen in time.

It’s beautiful but cold, and Victor prefers to be out of the wind. The forest is where it’s at apparently.

victor-on-beach-in-presque-isle-state-parkHe had the same reaction at the East Pier facing Presque Isle Bay – where people winter fish along the shore and in ice huts when the lake freezes enough.

However, Victor loved the 1872 lighthouse preserved as a museum and opened seasonally. The dramatic ice formation in the nearby bay shielding some wind didn’t interest Victor as much as all the smells around the historic building. He’s kind of a history buff.

National parks, state parks, and conservation areas are important. Parks are for exploration not excavation. Even my dog knows that. Nature sites preserve environmental heritage and contribute to quality of life. They can also be revenue generators as tourist attractions if maintained effectively. Case in point, Presque is why I headed to Erie with my dog.

Conservation sites need to be protected like never before.victor-at-presque-park-lighthouse

The increasing need to make protection a priority is why I’ve vowed to visit many national, state and provincial parks on either side of the border this year. Vote with my feet, Victor’s paws, admission fees and clicks on visitor counters. Extol the value of outdoor adventure, and maybe help keep the parks protected.

After a few hours, Victor is exhausted faster than I thought. It is cold outside. So, we head back the pet-friendly Red Roof Inn along the I-90, who’s been our host this weekend – before a brief stop at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center at Presque Isle (across from Waldameer Water World).

Here you can learn all about the flora, fauna and furry wild life that make this island home. Victor, unfortunately, was not allowed in.

Travel Guide: Presque Isle State Park is open all year every day until dusk. Summer clearly is the most popular time to visit. There’s 13.5 miles of paved bike trails – bikes, tricycles, four-wheeled surreys and roller blades can be rented at the Yellow Bike Company in the park. Rent canoes and kayaks in the summer or cross-country skis in the winter.

A narrated boat tour of the lake runs May to September, three times a day. There are 20 different walking trails. Fishing is smelt perch, bass and trout. Campsites are available in the summer and outdoor restaurants line the entrance, including Sara’s Hotdog hut that’s a local rite of passage.

Pets Stay Free! Travel With Your Pet and Save 15% Off with Code 605422

 (There are affiliate links in this post, which means if you click on them receives a few cents at no cost to you. Thanks for your support!)


#1. Check out Red Roof Inn’s Instagram contest:

Red Roof Luvs Pets Instragram Contest

Add a pic of your pet and look for Victor. He’s there!

THEN… enter  the contest:

#2. Win a Valentine’s Day Travel Prize Pack

Click on the Red Roof Inn Icon (affiliate link) and find a Red Roof Inn near your next travel destination – even better, book a room! Then let us know in the comments where you want to go.

One comment name will be randomly drawn. Contest is open until February 28, 2017 at midnight. Open to everyone.

Prize pack includes (Approximate value $80):

  • Pendleton Portable Pet Travel Bowl (value $29)
  • Pendleton Travel Food Storage Bag (value $29)
  • Pendleton Friends of the Park fabric bracelet (value $5)
  • National Park Collection Green Bandana (value $6)
  • Pack of Naturawls All Natural Sweet Potato Chews (value $7)
  • Earth Rated Pet Poop Bags and Dispensor (value $4.00)
  • One Greenies Dental Chew
  • Sample Pack of Zuke’s Power Bones treats for active dogs

Check out Day One of our ‘Show your dog some love’ adventure.


  1. […] Presqu’ile Provincial Park is also an ideal day use park for people and pups, particularly for those not interested in hiking the backcountry. In fact, you can drive the entire park. Yes, drive. A circular road takes you around the park, literally – just like my experience with Victor, my first heart dog, in Erie several winters ago (see here). […]

  2. […] Great idea. That’s how I ended up in Erie Pennsylvania at the pet-friendly Red Roof Inn for the weekend in February. Erie’s within a three-hour drive of my home and near a dog-welcoming state park. […]

  3. This is my hometown. Great post!

    1. I always find it interesting to learn what people like about where I live. You’ve got a great state park there.

  4. It sounds like you had a great trip! I love visiting historic locations. It is interesting to see the old buildings and think about how the things that happened there have effected the world. Victor looks like he had a great time!

    1. I love history too. I think Victor likes old stuff because it is more stinky…. or fragrant as he might say.

  5. What a beautiful place to visit. I wish I had worked with my girls when they were kittens on traveling with me.

    1. I plan to try with my new cat.

  6. I’ve never been to Presque Isle in the winter. It looks so peaceful. I am glad that you and Victor had such a good vacation.

    1. Thank you. Parks are definitely less crowded in the winter.

  7. thediydogmom · · Reply

    Victor looked like he had a great time!!

  8. Erie is in my neck of the woods, so to speak. I never knew there were so many fun things to do there.

    1. I’m actually discovering a lot in PA. That quiet state I usually drive through on the way to somewhere else is proving more exciting than I thought. And there’s no sales tax on clothing….

  9. Looks like a great place to visit. Are dogs allowed on the boat tour? A bit cold for Kilo (and for me) this time of year but spring or summer would be great. Going to enter the contest- such cool prizes.

    1. Thanks. That’s a good question. I’m going to call the boat tour and see.

  10. What a wonderful adventure, the place looks amazing and so much fun,

  11. I love visiting lighthouses. Glad Victor appreciates history! There’s one by us that that is now a hotel. I need to investigate if they’re pet-friendly.

    1. A lighthouse hotel? That is so cool. Oregon is cool. (I assume that is where it is).

  12. Looks like a great trip! I love the beach in the Winter, but the wind is always really high so you need to bundle up good. Vacations to places that have interesting history are also really fun. Go inside & have some hot chocolate!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    1. Thanks. Good point. I don’t know what travelling would be like without history. A lot of Buffetts I guess

  13. Pawesome Cats · · Reply

    That looks like a magical place, even covered in snow. I love posts that share dog-friendly destinations – it’s so much more fun to be able to travel and holiday with your pet rather than leave them at home.

    1. I love taking my dog with me. When I can’t though fortunately he stays with my ex. I tell people we broke up but our dogs didn’t.

  14. A terrific post. You did make us laugh with Victor’s antics – he ‘wants out’ LOL keen to be out in the park and enjoying what we should all treasure, our natural environment.

    More people need to get our and love and value our parks worldwide – thre is too much killing of animas going on and we won’t stop until its too late – unless we vote with our feet to keep these places valued and intact.

    1. Thanks. Yes, not just killing of animals but a current political threat to national parks too.

  15. What a fantastic place to visit. That monument is simply stunning.
    I will also make sure I enter the contest

    1. Thanks!

  16. What a beautiful place to spend some time with your best friend. My dogs are never allowed off leash so that wouldn’t be a problem. I”d love to see it in person. I love lighthouses. ♥

    1. There’s apparently a second even older lighthouse on the island too – near the coast guard office. But in the winter the road was a bit too icy for me to venture there.

  17. Sounds like a wonderful place to visit. Glad Victor was able to run around off leash for a little while. Tippy doesn’t like the wind either, Victor, so I don’t blame you for heading back to the car. Did you have to take a ferry over to the island?

    1. With no one around he ran free _ plus I needed some pics. There is a short bridge. The riad drives durectly onto tge island. In fact you can drive all the way around the edge of the island.

      1. I didn’t even think about a bridge. Duh?! I saw that you had driven around the edge of the island and was wondering how you got the car over. LOL

  18. I love this. My dog, Sam, is the only man i need in my life ha ha ha. I love being able to take him where ever I go. I currently live outside of Pittsburgh so this trip isn’t super far for me. Thanks for the heads up!

    1. Thanks. My dog is the only dude I need too

      1. The only guys that will love you forever ha ha ha.although I won’t lie…I have several cats that have my heart too.

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