Scenic Places to Go Camping in Erie, Pennsylvania

Presque Isle State Park, Lake Erie, Pennsylvania
Presque Isle State Park, Lake Erie, Pennsylvania | © JW.Photo.Explore / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of David Kindervater
2 March 2018

No trip to northwest Pennsylvania is complete without basking in the beauty of Erie’s great outdoors. And there’s no better way to experience “Gem City” than to camp out, nestled among the many scenic stylings of this lakeside location. Here are eight great options for your next camping in Lake Erie adventure.

Presque Isle State Park

Beach No 7 in Presque Isle State Park with blue skies and trees
© Ian G Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo

Presque Isle State Park is the most popular state park in Pennsylvania, so it stands to reason it’s going to be crowded. You can’t actually camp in the park, but you can get pretty close. Most people who choose to camp out in Erie want to be close to the park for its hiking, biking, and boating – not to mention there are 13 beaches, 3,000 acres to explore, and an abundance of wildlife to see.

Sara’s Campground

Presque Isle Lighthouse with beach in foreground and trees behind
© Daniel Dempster Photography / Alamy Stock Photo

If proximity to Presque Isle State Park is important, Sara’s Campground is right next to the park’s main entrance. Pitch a tent on the beach or park your camper on one of the 100+ campsites nestled along Presque Isle Bay or Lake Erie.

Lampe Marina Campground

The Bicentennial Tower in Erie with boat and tower
© Michael Gadomski / Alamy Stock Photo

Lampe Marina Campground is part of the Port of Erie, located along Presque Isle Bay. There are 42 waterfront campsites with a bike path that connects to Presque Isle State Park – and the popular Bayfront District, which includes the Bicentennial Tower, the Erie Maritime Museum, the Bayfront Convention Center, and much more.

Swanson Resort Cottages


Just a half mile from Presque Isle State Park is a private beach with cottage rentals for those who want to “camp” in the more refined sense of the word. Swanson Resort Cottages offers two-, three-, and four-bedroom options with accompanying picnic tables, charcoal grills, and fire pits. Enjoy the sun, the sand, and very likely, some friendly seagulls.

Erie Bluffs State Park

Bluffs along Lake Erie shore with trees and blue skies
© Michael Gamblin / Alamy Stock Photo

Erie Bluffs State Park is located about 12 miles (19.3 km) west of downtown Erie. It also offers stunning views of Lake Erie, but from the 90-foot (27.4-meter) bluffs that overlook the lake. As with Presque Isle State Park, there isn’t any camping within the park, but there are a few sites nearby that will provide visitors with a place to stay – and quick access to the park.

Uncle John's Elk Creek Campground


Located only two miles (3.2 km) east of Erie Bluffs State Park is Uncle John’s Elk Creek Campground. This 7.5-acre property runs along Elk Creek (a world-class steelhead fishery that winds through the park) and features 11 cabins, plus trailer hookups and tent sites. Enjoy outstanding fishing with easy access to everything the park offers.

Pine Lane Campground


The 24-acre Pine Lane Campground is adjacent to Erie Bluffs State Park and features 100 camp sites. If the activity in the park isn’t enough, the campground includes an in-ground swimming pool, plus disc golf, volleyball, a catch-and-release fishing pond, and a playground for the kids.

Virginia's Beach Lakefront Cottages & Camping

Cottages, Camping
Lake view with lounger seats and blue skies from Virginia's Beach Lakefront Cottages & Camping
Courtesy of Virginia's Beach Lakefront Cottages & Camping

Virginia’s Beach Lakefront Cottages & Camping is a few miles west of the park, but it offers some incredible views of its own. Located on 46 acres of wooded lakefront property, it offers RV sites, lakefront cottages, and secluded cabins and tent sites. There’s a private boat launch and kayak rentals, plus other amenities that make this an outstanding option.

Want to extend your camping trip in the Keystone State? Check out the best places to go camping in all of Pennsylvania, bookable with Culture Trip.

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