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Erie, PA's Best Parks for Young Children

My family and I have been trying to get outdoors and enjoy what's left of the summer because as everyone who lives in northwest Pennsylvania knows...winter is coming!

I've found that the easiest way to entertain my kids for a few hours is to pack a snack and water bottles and head to a fun park! The tricky part for us is that I have a 10, 7, and 3 year old. So we need parks that offer activities appropriate for a variety of ages. This list is our top 5 best parks in the Erie area!

1. The Natural Playground on Presque Isle

This playground is one of our absolute favorites! You can find this park out on the tip of the peninsula by beach 11. I love it because it's all about using your imagination and incorporating natural elements into play. My kids have spent hours here building houses from driftwood, balancing along the logs, and playing hide and seek inside the huge underground tubes. The best part is, if it's hot, pop over to beach 11 and go for swim! A couple things to note, it always seems to be windier/cooler down on the peninsula, so have a sweater handy, just in case. Also, you may want to avoid this playground if there's been a lot of rain - it can get muddy! There are also bathrooms only steps away which is great for families that are potty training!

A child holds a wildflower in Erie, Pennsylvania
Kids love exploring natural playgrounds!

2. Shades Beach Playground

We found this park while I was location scouting and my youngest just loved it! You can find this playground over in Harborcreek. It has climbing equipment, ride on toys, and swings. There are little paths to explore and it's only a short walk to the beach. The only downfall to this one is that the bathrooms were locked when we visited; but it was still early in the spring, so they may be open during the summer. Just be aware that potty breaks may not be an option at this beach!

3. The Tom Ridge Environmental Center Playground

We've been big fans of TREC ever since we moved to Erie about 8 years ago! We love the hands-on activities and nature movies; but I always wished they had an outdoor kids area. they do!! I was so surprised during our last visit to learn that they had just unveiled a brand new natural playground! All three of my kiddos and I checked it out and we loved it! Even with some snow still on the ground, my kids didn't want to leave, they were having so much fun! I definitely recommend checking this playground out during your next TREC visit!

4. Lake Erie Community Park

One of the first parks we went to when we moved to Erie was LECP. We still continue to go to this park because it's just beautiful and so fun! It offers a spectacular view of the lake, is never busy, and has some great equipment for the kids! You can also walk the trails or look for eagles. Something to note: there is active erosion going on, so the park has taken measures to close off some areas closest to the lake. But this allowed a really interesting discussion about erosion between my oldest and I. This park is absolutely worth the trip!

Ashley Stack Photography captures a son running to his father at Lake Erie Community Park in Erie, PA.
Lake Erie Community Park has gorgeous fall colors, too!

5. Frontier Park

Of course I had to mention Frontier Park in this list! With the new addition of the hillside slides, my older kiddos have been loving this park more than ever! And there's so much more to do besides the playground! Bring a soccer ball and kick it around the fields, explore the trails, look for wildlife, or dip your toes into the creek! My kiddos and I have found some beautiful painted rocks along the trails, as well, so keep your eyes peeled! One thing to note about the in-ground slides: they get HOT!! So have your kiddos wear pants (not shorts) or bring material to slide on.

A girl sits on a rock by a creek in Frontier Park in Erie, Pennsylvania
Frontier Park is absolutely gorgeous in the Spring!

I hope this list inspires you to get your kiddos outside and explore some new playgrounds! Let me know your favorite park in the comments!

Until next time, take care and smile pretty!!


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