If you go to Presque Isle check yourself for ticks when you leave! You’ll be walking along beautiful wooded foot paths in an amazingly pretty park, but you gotta check for ticks.
They do deer culls in Presque Isle every year and take measure to lower the population but they’re obviously still there, it’s gotten much better in recent years though. There’s a large hunting community in the area which helps as well.
It is the same deal around Ohio Pyle/Luarel Highlands, just have someone rummage through your hair, check your clothes/skin.
Pymatuning and Conneaute are more geared towards fisherman, although each generally has a few nice beach areas where sand has been imported for swimming.
Erie is a massive lake with tons of sandy beachers, it feels like going to a freshwater mini ocean. I really recommend it, rum runners was always a neat bar to visit on the lake as well. There is a night life area in downtown erie, and there are tons of floating restaraunts from what I understand (boat tours w/ meals)
If you go to Presque Isle, you may want to stop in at Waldameer Park when you’re done with the beach! It’s an adorable little amusement park with free admission, if you want to ride anything you’ll have to pay, one of the best wooden roller coasters ever.
Keystone State Park has a swimming beach, have gone a few times and it’s never absurdly busy. Nice trails around there too. I think it’s about 45 minutes away from Pittsburgh.
Moraine State Park is about 45-50 easy minutes from the city, just off I-79 in Butler County. They have grassy beaches with sand for sunbathing and swimming, and you can rent a kayak or canoe if that appeals to you.
Within the city limits, Frick Park is great, especially that passes below below Forbes Avenue and further South. Schenley has good casual walking/hiking trails.
Both are highly accessible from most campuses.
Harrison Hills park is also a nice park. It is one of the county parks (like N. Park or Hartwood). It has a really long trail that runs along side the cliffs over the Allegheny River. To hike the full loop takes about 2 hours with good views pretty much the whole time. It is right outside of Natrona Heights. From where you live, you could take 28 North to get there.
- Racoon Creek is great for hiking. Some of the trails can get very water logged after the rain but definitely my favorite for hiking.
- South Park is also very nice and has a pretty good golf course.
- The Montour Trail is obviously not a park but an awesome trail for hiking and biking. The map on the sight will show you many different places to get get on it and there are tons of little trails that spin off the main one.
Don’t forget the Three River Heritage Trail. It’s nowhere near as beautiful as dedicated parks, but it’s great for walking/biking.
For excursions, I recommend Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park. Lots of trails and lake coves.
I fish pretty regularly up at Lake Arthur. Its around 45-55 minutes from Pittsburgh. You can rent a boat there if you want to get to some better spots.
Typically fish North Shore area, and I catch Largemouth Bass / Catfish / Panfish. I pretty much target bass, and use plastics / spinner baits. In the late evening you catch Stripers up there.
Although its fished pretty heavy, there are places on the shore to fish around the park. Go up early morning / late evening.
Also Lock 3 in Cheswick is worth checking out in my opinnion. Park near the warehouse across from Lock 3 bait and tackle:
811 Freeport Rd
Cheswick, PA 15024-1209
Go early morning or evening, get some minnows and fish the waters below dam. You’ll catch bass, walleye, gar and sometimes musky.
Who knows what else is lurking in there!