By Maria Kimble, Contributing Writer
Planning a budget-friendly vacation is difficult without knowing the perfect destination. Instead of sunbathing on the sandy beaches of South Carolina, consider staying closer to home. Erie, Pa provides an affordable weekend getaway. Located just shy of three hours north of West Liberty University, Erie is a great alternative to the beach.
There are many options to lodging in Erie, Pa. that are both affordable and close to the action. America’s Best Value Inn provides all the perks with little cost. Starting at $68.00 a night, this hotel has a full list of amenities. America’s Best Value Inn welcomes you with free Wi-Fi, an exercise room, outdoor pool, game room, continental breakfast, and even HBO. The price is unbeatable compared to the location of the hotel. Plus, if you are looking for a cheap dinner, nearby restaurants like Wendy’s and Little Caesars Pizza are located less than a mile away
Located only thirty minutes away from America’s Best Value Inn is Presque Isle. Presque has Pennsylvania’s only sea shore beaches. It is a popular hot spot for locals and visitors. The beaches are free to the public and are open daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. There are multiple beaches to choose from that each offer different amenities for a unique experience.
You can save even more money when heading to the free beaches by packing your own cooler since they are allowed in. When I went to the beaches, my group and I decided on Beach 6. All of the beaches are guarded, but Beach 6 offers a bathhouse, concession stand, and multiple volleyball courts. I even bought the large souvenir cup from the concession stand for $10.00 with the refills for only $1.00. You can use your souvenir cup all weekend long to save your pennies. Now, I even have a one of a kind travel mug that I can take with me anywhere.
Waldameer Water World is a great alternative to the sand. Located only 15 minutes away from the Presque Beaches, Waldameer offers all day fun on a budget. Waldameer is an amusement park/water park combination; it offers a reduced rate for people who just want to enter the water park. For only $20.00 per person, the water park offers many relaxing elements as well as slides of different thrill levels. The park is always expanding, and its newest addition is the Giant Wave Pool. The pool holds almost 500,000 gallons of water and accommodates over 1,000 people.
There are plenty of poolside chairs to accommodate all of those who would rather soak up the summer rays. A soothing heated relaxing pool filled with approximately 98 degree water, an endless river for relaxation, and 19 different water slides for those looking for more of an action pack day are all available at the park.
Waldameer Water World provides cheaper outdoor fun compared to competitor water park Splash Lagoon. Splash Lagoon Indoor Waterpark Resort is a Polynesian-themed indoor waterpark also located in Erie, Pa. During the summer months, Splash Lagoon costs $40.00 a person, twice the amount for admission at Waldameer. To save money, pass on Splash Lagoon and head to Waldameer. The weather is only nice for a few months out of the year, so it’s best to soak up the sun while you can anyway.
Erie, Pa. offers many inexpensive hidden gems to indulge in the moment. You can make memories in the sun without emptying your pocket book. Next time you plan your weekend getaway, consider the beautiful beaches of Erie.