As the weather heats up, western New York and Erie, Pennsylvania, promise an abundance of adventures without much windshield time, from chartering a boat to horseback riding, exploring the region’s dining scene and much more.

Presque Isle

Pirate Adventures
Join a crew, go treasure hunting and stave off enemy attacks aboard Scallywags Pirate Adventures. Take a family-fun cruise with an interactive story — or if you’re 21+, book a Wobbly Pirate happy hour cruise. Scallywags also offers charter experiences. The Pirate Experience 90-minute fun cruise includes a scripted show that draws everyone in. Activities include ship-to-ship water cannon battles, face painting, games and a dance party. Kids are sworn in as pirates and leave the dock with treasures after the Presque Isle Bay tour. 

Dinner & Mystery 
Located on Peach Street in Erie, the Station Dinner Theatre is home of the original A Canterbury Feast and the longest-running medieval dinner theater in the country. Originally a restaurant built into a converted railroad sleep car, the theater opened in 2003. This summer, catch A Ghost of a Chance in May, The Sweet Delilah Swim Club in June, Snake-Eye Sam’s Saloon Showdown in July, Watchin’ Waldo in August and A Canterbury Feast in September, October and November.

Cellar Time
Arundel Cellars & Brewing Co. is housed in a late 19th century barn that was used as a cider mill for three generations. Check out the Sunday Afternoon Music Series from 1 to 4 p.m. or live performances every Friday night in July and August. As for what’s on tap, the Lake Erie inspired Small Craft Advisory wheat-and-citrus beer is billed as mild and refreshing. Off the vines, sample Young Love from estate-grown Niagara grapes that produce a sweet white.

Sail Away
Spend the afternoon sailing Lake Erie with a four-hour customized charter experience, or book a sunset tour complete with wine, cheese and gourmet meats. Your Sailing Adventure casts off the 33-foot rig Sotto Voce with a galley, salon and two cabins under deck. Set sail from Wolverine Park Marina.

Rooms with Views 
Mini cottage, hotel room or suite? The choice is yours at Lakeview on the Lake, where you can rent Annie’s Retreat, which features a master bedroom, full kitchen, great room and private deck overlooking a pool and playground. Or, book a stay at Lake Erie Hotel with sunset views. Mini cottages come complete with a front porch, Adirondack chairs, a full-sized bed and the basics.

Take to the Woods
Asbury Woods is more than 216 acres and includes 5 miles of trails, plus programs like challenge hikes, iNaturalist training, make a grapevine wreath and more. Tune in to Monday Music in the Woods or take on the low ropes course. The preserve is simply a peaceful place to walk and spend time with family. 

Park at the Beach
Presque Isle State Park is the state’s seashore, with 11 beaches where you can surf, swim, boat, fish and play. Explore trails that are designed with shorter legs in mind — most are shorter than 1 mile. If you’re a birder, Presque Isle is a top spot. You can stay the night at one of the park’s campsites.

Take to the Lake
Rent a rig and spend the day tooling around on Lake Erie at Chautauqua Marina. It’s open seven days a week during the season from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and offers a large fleet of pontoon and power boat rentals. 

Sunset Bay Beach offers 5 acres of sandy beach on the Lake Erie shore, plus tons of amenities and loads of entertainment. Make it a relaxing day on the sand or a lively night on the water. From volleyball courts to a video game arcade, ice cream shop, deli and waterfront bars and restaurants, there’s something for everyone. Check out the Sunset Bay Beach Club and Cabana Sam’s Beach Bar & Grill for free live music, lunch, dinner, late-night snacks and cocktails.

Barcelona Harbor Beach boasts wide beaches and recreation that includes kayaking, picnic areas and trails. Plus, you can soak in a Lake Erie sunset. City Pier Park at Dunkirk Harbor is open year-round and includes one of the county’s new ADA-accessible kayak launches. Pack a picnic or grab a bite at the Dunkirk Boardwalk Market and sightsee from the city pier.

Saddle Up
Chautauqua County is home to many horseback riding trails to explore the landscape on your own or with a guide. The Chautauqua County Equestrian Trail System includes more than 20 miles of trails in Charlotte, Cherry Creek and into Boutwell Hill State Forest to the Cockaigne Ski Area. Guided rides are available at Cockaigne Resort’s wilderness outpost. The resort is family friendly. Children must be at least 8 years old for the one-hour guided rides, and those under the age of 7 can participate in bridle-led rides. Double D.A.B. Riding Stables offers trail rides, sunset rides, pony rides, lessons and day camps. There’s also a petting farm on-site with goats, llamas, donkeys and miniature horses.

Stay & Play
Camp out or book a resort with room service. After a day (or more) of play in Western New York, the lakefront region offers a wide range of accommodations to suit your budget and preference. Hidden Valley Camping Area in Jamestown is close to the National Comedy Center and has 225 sites with water, electric and cable TV. You can also reserve a 50A site, gray water sites or mobile sewer service. Aside from the creature comforts, Hidden Valley has a pool on the property, offers activities and games, hayrides and laundry facilities. Forget an essential? Check out the camp store. The younger set can burn off energy at the playground.

A full suite of B&Bs includes the 1850 farm home Great Tree Inn Bed & Breakfast, set on a 10-acre property with free-range chickens and ducks, goats, pigs and mini donkeys. The inn, with seven themed guest rooms each with private baths, is close to wine country and the Chautauqua Institution. Hanover Hideaway’s 20-acre pine-tree filled property includes a fishpond and green space next to a vineyard. It’s minutes away from Sunset Beach. Maple Springs Lake Side Inn has a private beach and docks with slips.

Chautauqua Harbor Hotel in Celoron offers patios and lake views. Nightly turndown service, indoor and outdoor pools and the Lakehouse Tap and Grille are a few available amenities. The DoubleTree in Jamestown’s historic downtown is newly renovated and also offers an on-site restaurant. The convenient location is near the National Comedy Center, Northwest Arena, Reg Lenna Center for the Arts and Chautauqua Lake.

Eat & Drink
A fine family spot, Guppy’s Tavern serves up a reasonably priced menu with nightly specials and favorites like a giant stromboli. Dine in a gondola cabin at this Bemus Point spot. Each gondola seats six adults and includes Bluetooth so you can cue up your own mix.

If you’d rather sip brews than wine, tour the growing craft beverage scene in Chautauqua County. Create your own trip and try some of these spots: Five & 20 Spirits & Brewing/Mazza Chautauqua Cellars in Westfield; 21 Brix in Portland; and Big Inlet Brewing in Mayville.

Play a round of golf and make the Bemus Point Golf Club & Tap House your 19th hole. Check out more than 20 beers on tap and a full menu that includes artisan sandwiches, gourmet burgers and a ton of appetizers.

Shop a Bit
Confections and ice cream — why not splurge at Webb’s Candies (above left), known for its hand-dipped chocolates and favorites such as goat milk fudge, pecan frogs and sponge candy. The Mayville store also sells Perry’s
ice cream.

Chautauqua Bookstore on the Institution’s grounds at Bestor Plaza offers a diverse range of books, magazines, gifts and cards. Plus, you can purchase recorded lectures and program materials.