Presque Isle State Park /ˌprɛsk.ˈaɪl/ is a 3,112-acre (1,259 ha) Pennsylvania state park on an arching sandy peninsula that juts into Lake Erie, 4 miles (6.4 km) west of the city of Erie, in Millcreek Township, Erie County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. The peninsula sweeps northeastward, surrounding Presque Isle Bay along the park’s southern coast. It has 13 miles (21 km) of roads, 21 miles (34 km) of recreational trails, 13 beaches for swimming, and a marina. Popular activities at the park include swimming, boating, hiking, biking, and bird watching.
The recorded history of Presque Isle begins with the Erielhonan, a Native American tribe who gave their name to Lake Erie, and includes French, British, and American forts, as well as serving as a base for Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s fleet in the War of 1812. With the growing importance of shipping on Lake Erie in the 19th century, Presque Isle became home to several lighthouses and what became a United States Coast Guard station. In 1921 it became a state park, and as of 2007 it hosts over 4 million visitors per year, the most of any Pennsylvania state park.
The Presque Isle peninsula formed on a moraine from the end of the Wisconsin Glaciation and is constantly being reshaped by waves and wind. This leads to seven ecological zones within the park, which provide a classic example of ecological succession. A National Natural Landmark since 1967, the park has been named one of the best places in the US to watch birds, and protects them in its Gull Point State Park Natural Area. The new Tom Ridge Environmental Center at the entrance to the park allows visitors to learn more about the park and its ecology. Presque Isle State Park has been chosen by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Parks for its list of “Twenty Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks”.