Green Activities to do in the Summer

By Carolyn McIntyre

GreenEriePA Writer

Name that Tree or Plant

Tree Leaves

Min Time: 1/2 hr
Cost: Free
Difficulty: It depends where you are.

Make a game out of identifying the trees and plants by bringing a friend. Have a contest to see who can come up with the correct answer.

Where to do it:
Presque Isle has many woodland trails with a variety of plant life to identify.
At Asbury Woods, stroll the boardwalk or take a scenic trail.

How to do it:
The Arbor Day Foundation has a tree info app for phones.
The Audobon society has apps for identifying wildflowers, birds and more.

Cloud Appreciation

Clouds



Min Time: 10secs
Cost: Free
Difficulty: Easy

Where to do it: Anywhere! Just look up.
Facebook has a group for those who love to share the clouds they see.
"The Cloud Appreciation Society": "At The Cloud Appreciation Society we love clouds, we're not ashamed to say it and we've had enough of people moaning about them." Their website has helpful how tos for identifying clouds, when and where to find the best clouds, and a photo gallery of beautiful clouds.

Walk/Run/Hike

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Min Time: Up to You!
Cost: Free
Difficulty: Easy-Advanced

Erie County is full of beautiful forests, fields, streams, ponds and creeks for everyone to explore. Whether you are looking to take a leisurely stroll or if you are an avid hiker looking for something more difficult there is a trail right here suited for you.

Where to do it:

Find information on hiking and walking locations in our walking/running article.
The TrailLink website contains information on local trails throughout Erie County, including type of surface, length and difficulty level.
Erie Walks is for you if you work downtown and would love to exercise or just get away during your lunch. It contains many one mile (or 20 minute) walks from different areas located in downtown Erie, PA.
The Let's Move Outside site has everything you need to get moving all in one place! Locate trails, paths, or scenic areas to walk, hike, or run.
Wintergreen Gorge is a beautiful and scenic area for the avid hiker. So, pick your trail and enjoy all of what nature has to offer.
Every Trail lists the most popular trails throughout Erie County based on reviews, votes and mobile downloads.
Asbury Woods offers miles of fields, streams and forests full of breath-taking views and wildlife. Trails are open during daylight hours and Asbury Woods encourages everyone to come out and explore
Map My Run an exciting website that contains detailed maps, distances and elevations for all of trail routes.

Have a Picnic

Picnic in the Park


Min Time: 1/2hr
Cost: $5-$200
Difficulty: Easy

The Erie Community has an overabundance of beautiful areas to have a picnic with family and friends, even your own backyard! So, go outside and enjoy good food, good company and the warm sun.

Where to do it:
There are many locations throughout the Presque Isle peninsula to have a picnic such as, the sandy beach shore, pavilions, marina, or a simple picnic table under a shady tree.
Looking for a quiet place to sit your picnic basket down? Try one of the many parks located in Erie County. This website will help you find one near you.
This site has information on the Erie Bluffs State Park and its history as the largest undeveloped tract of land in Pennsylvania. It's a pristine place to enjoy a picnic!

Skip Rocks

Skipping Stones



Min Time: 10min
Cost: Free
Difficulty: Easy

Skipping rocks is an easy and fun thing to do for people of all ages. For children, enjoyment comes from throwing a rock into the water and enjoying the splash. For the adult, it might include counting the number of skips before the rock sinks.

Where to do it:
Presque Isle State Park has miles of sandy beaches with many perfectly flat and smooth stones for skipping across the water.
Not only is there Lake Erie to skip rocks across, there are many tributaries leading into Lake Erie that are perfect for skipping rocks. The PA Fish and Boat Commission has a great list to help you find one.

How to do it:
Learn tips on how to find the perfect rock and optimal stand for rock skipping.

Watch Wildlife

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Min Time: 1hr
Cost: Free
Difficulty: Easy

Take time out from your busy schedule and enjoy the beauty of nature. Relax and enjoy as wildlife passes right in front of you. The Erie area has many different species of wildlife for the community to observe. So, grab a pair of binoculars and enjoy the best nature has to offer.

Where to do it:
The Erie Bluffs Park is a great location to watch birds and other wildlife.
The Visit PA website has all the best locations to watch wildlife and directions on how to get there can be found on this website.

How to do it:
Find information in our birdwatching article.
The Presque Isle website discusses the best times and practices for bird watching on the isle, specifically at Gull Point. It also offers a link to news about recent bird sightings.

Ride a Bicycle

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Min Time: Up to You!
Cost: Free
Difficulty: Easy-Advanced

Bicycling is an activity everyone can enjoy. This is something fun for the whole family or for an individual to get outside and breathe some fresh air. Bicycling has become more popular as a means of transportation for people going to work. It is healthier for the person and the environment. So, jump on a bike and get peddling.

Where to do it:
Find more information about biking and biking groups in our biking article.
Bike Erie promotes bicycling for a healthier you and environment. The Bike Erie Website keeps a packed events calendar and information any bicyclist would need.
Competitive Gear is a locally owned store with a wide range of bicycling equipment needed for an outing and a website containing a bicycling events calendar.
Presque Isle has a beautiful multipurpose trail for the public to enjoy. Bicycles are available to rent on the peninsula and can be used on the multipurpose trail.

Rollerblade or Skateboard

Roller Blades


Min Time: 1hr
Cost: Free
Difficulty: Moderate

Strap on a pair of roller blades and enjoy all the sights and sounds Erie has to offer. Rollerblading is fun! With the perfect scenery all around, you won't even feel like you're exercising.

Where to do it:
Just about anywhere. You can go for a skate right outside your house or make an outing of it to a scenic park or trail.
Presque Isle has a beautiful multipurpose trail for the public to enjoy.

Collect Beach Glass

Beach Glass



Min Time: 1hr
Cost: Free
Difficulty: Easy

Where to do it:
Anywhere the water meets the shoreline! Spend part of your day walking along the shoreline of one of the Presque Isle's beaches, Elk Creek or Walnut creek access points, North East or Avonia beaches, just to name a few. Maybe, if you're lucky, you'll find a piece of red glass which is considered the rarest.

How to do it:
Find tips on the best times of day and conditions to go beach glass collecting.

Build a Sandcastle

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Min Time: 1hr
Cost: Free
Difficulty: Easy-Advanced

Pick a beach and bring some buckets and a shovel to create your personal masterpiece. If you're really creative, think outside the box and build a sand animal or dig a giant hole. Whatever you choose-make it your own.

Where to do it:
All of the beaches at Presque Isle State Park would make prime sandcastle real estate.

How to do it
Find additional tips from Redbook Magazine about how to create a stable sand castle here.

Enjoy a PlaygroundPicture


Min Time: 1hr
Cost: Free
Difficulty: Easy

Whether you are having a picnic or looking for a jungle gym and swings for the kids, there is a park/playground for you. It is very easy to locate a park within a couple of miles of your neighborhood so, grab a lunch and take the kids for a fun afternoon.

Where to do it:
Find information on our local parks in our parks and playgrounds article.
This Summer Recreation Guide, from the City of Erie's website, includes list of all city parks as well as summertime programming.
Fairview parks: Fairview Township's website lists Fairview parks, summertime programming, and information on how to reserve a pavilion.
Erie Bluffs State Park: Erie Bluffs is the largest undeveloped tract of land in Pennsylvania. Explore the remote hiking opportunities, boating and fishing and archeological sites.

Watch a Sunset

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Min Time: 1hr
Cost: Free
Difficulty: None

Presque Isle is reported to have some of the best sunsets in the world. What better way to spend an evening but on the beach watching the sun disappear into the water's edge.

Where to do it:
Anywhere, even in your own backyard!
To make a trip of it, visit any of Erie's scenic views.
Presque Isle's website has maps of all the beaches so anyone can find the perfect location to watch a beautiful sunset.

Identify Animal Tracks

Nature Trail


Min Time: 1/2 hour
Cost: Free
Difficulty: Minimal

Erie county has a large variety of animals that live in our woods. Take a stroll, find some animal tracks and see if you can identify what animal walked through the woods. If you need help, stop by the library and borrow a book on animal tracks to help with your tracking adventures.

Where to do it:
Presque Isle has many trails through the woods and a plethora of animals that leave their print on them for you to discover.
At Asbury Woods, stroll the boardwalk or take a trail but keep your eyes on the ground.

Swim

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Min Time: Up to You!
Cost: Free
Difficulty: Easy

Erie County has many beautiful beaches, creeks, streams and ponds available for swimming. Presque Isle is the most popular and family-friendly with over 3,000 acres of sandy beach there is room for tens of thousands of visitors.

Where to do it:
Find information on beaches and swimming in our swimming article.
In Fairview Township, you'll find Avonia Beach Park is most famous for its steelhead fisherman catch every year in Trout Run. At the opening of Trout Run, is Lake Erie with beautiful sandy beaches for the public to enjoy all summer long!
The PA DCNR website lists other beautiful beach areas including: Presque Isle, Avonia Beach Park, Walnut Creek Access, and Raccoon State Park.

Go Boating

Boat


Min Time: 1hr
Cost: Varies
Difficulty: Easy-Intermediate

Boating is a very popular way for people to get together and relax. Whether you're flying across the water throwing a twenty foot rooster tail or gliding along peacefully at eight knots on a sailboat there is nothing better than spending the day on the water.

Where to do it:
You can find additional information and resources in our boating/kayaking article.
The PA Fish and Boat Commission has all the information any boater would need to know. It has maps and directions to all public boat launches along with rules and regulations for every area.
http://www.porterie.org/boating/ Boating, fishing and tourism information all in one site.
Presque Isle offers beautiful and relaxing rides through the Lagoons daily free of charge or rent a canoe and discover the Lagoons yourself. The Presque Isle Marina offers a public boat launch and the Marina offers an easily accessible Gas dock to fill up the boat.
If you don't own a boat but would like to rent one for the afternoon this website is for you! They carry everything from paddle-boats and kayaks to Jet Ski's and boats. Something for everyone's budget and skill level.

Canoe/Kayak

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Min Time: 1hr
Cost: Free or For a Small Rental Fee
Difficulty: Moderate

Where to do it:
You can find additional information and resources in our boating/kayaking article.
Visit Erie's website contains businesses in Erie that rent canoes and kayaks. This is also a valuable website when you are looking for things to do in Erie.
At Presque Isle, you can rent a canoe or kayak and launch from one of the many boat launches. Find out more about the best places to canoe or kayak in the park.
Through the PA Fish and Boat Commission, you can find other locations of boat launches, regulations and safety tips before hitting the water.

Fish

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Min Time: 1hr
Cost: Varies
Difficulty: Easy

Fishing is one of the most relaxing and fun activities anyone can do in the waters of Erie County. For the avid fisherman, Erie hosts many fishing tournaments for bass, walleye, perch etc. People come from all over the world to fish our hometown waters so, don't miss out. Pack a lunch, grab a pole and bait and enjoy!

Where to do it:
You can find additional information and resources in our fishing article.
The PA Fish and Boat commission is the go-to for all the fishing regulations and maps of great areas to fish. This site provides a helpful aerial view of fishing areas as well.
Looking for a new place to fish? Check out the maps on the PA DCNR site.
Don't have a boat? The Edward John takes passengers out to where the perch are biting. Catch your limit and the boat will bring you back to the dock. Bait is included in the admission price.

Photo Courtesy of VisitErie.com , Karen Coughlin, Carolyn McIntyre, and Bob Tarkowski