The best things to do in the Great Lakes Region of Pennsylvania

Located in Pennsylvania’s northwestern corner, the Great Lakes Region comprises four counties that are filled with fascinating history and amazing natural beauty.

Historically, the Great Lakes Region changed the entire world when the first commercial oil well was dug near Titusville in 1859. This created the world’s oil industry, which first blossomed in the region with companies like Quaker State and Pennzoil. Remnants of this industry can still be seen in Oil Creek State Park.

The region is also home to the largest lakes in Pennsylvania and borders Lake Erie to the north. These lakes offer many great opportunities for outdoor recreation including both water activities and land-based adventures.

Erie is one of the largest cities in Pennsylvania and features Pennsylvania’s only seashore along Lake Erie. Presque Isle State Park, the most visited state park in PA, features 13 sandy beaches, miles of hiking trails, and great bird watching opportunities.

If you take the time to travel to Pennsylvania’s northwestern corner, you are sure to find something magical to explore.

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Where do you want to go?

Things to do in Crawford County, PACrawford County is a diverse county filled with charming towns and lakes. While in the county, take time to enjoy the Road Sign Sculpture Garden, Conneaut Lake Park, Pymatuning State Park, the largest park in PA, and hiking in the Erie National Wildlife Refuge.
Things to do in Erie County, PAErie County occupies Pennsylvania’s northwestern corner and is bordered to the north by Lake Erie. Erie’s Presque Isle State Park features great beaches, fishing, and kayking opporunties, while downtown Erie offers big city ammenities. Visitors also enjoy the many great wineries and visiting Erie County’s covered bridges.
Things to do in Mercer County, PAMercer County is just an hour north of Pittsburgh and is home to beautiful natural scenery and great shopping. Visits to the area often include Wendell August Forge, Springfield Falls, and Daffin’s Chocolate Kingdom.
Things to do in Venango County, PAVenango County is the birthplace of the oil industry. Oil was first found at the Drake Well and nearby Oil Creek State Park was once the center of the world’s oil industry. Today, natural beauty dominates the landscape here including beautiful waterfalls like Freedom Falls.



Top places to visit in the Great Lakes Region

Visiting the Drake Well MuseumVisiting the Drake Well Museum – Located on the outskirts of Oil Creek State Park, the Drake Well Museum preserves the site of the world’s first commercial oil well. Visitors can see a recreation of the well and learn how the industry created here shaped the region and the world.
Kayaking Presque Isle State ParkKayaking in Presque Isle State Park – Presque Isle juts out into Lake Erie and offers many great spots for kayaking. Whether you want to drift down the waters that crisscross the park or head for open water, there’s a bit of kayking fun for everyone.
Penndot Road Sign Sculpture GardenThe PennDOT Road Sign Sculpture Garden – Located in Meadville, the PennDOT Road Sign Sculpture Garden is a 1200-foot mural made entirely of used road signs. This amazing art piece features scenes from local history and culture and has to be seen to be believed.
Daffins Chocolate KingdomExploring Daffin’s Chocolate Kingdom – Daffin’s Chocolate Kingdom in Sharon is one of the most interesting attractions in the region. Not only is this a large chocolate store with delicious candies, but you can also see statues made entirely of chocolate.
Things to do in Oil Creek State ParkThe Best Things to Do in Oil Creek State Park – Oil Creek State Park was once the center of the world’s oil industry. Today, it’s been reclaimed by nature and features great waterfalls, ghost towns, and natural beauty.
Visiting the Erie Maritime MuseumSetting Sail for the Erie Maritime Museum – The Erie Maritime Museum chronicles maritime history in Pennsylvania’s northwestern corner. The museum offers many great displays and is the home port for the Flagship Niagara, PA’s state ship.

Our newest articles about the Great Lakes region

Itineraries for the Great Lakes Region

Weekend Guide to Meadville, PAThe Weekend Guide to Meadville – Looking for a fun weekend trip? Check out our weekend itinerary for Meadville and Crawford County.

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