Itching to get out of Erie for the day? There's a ton to do right here at home, of course, but sometimes a road trip is the best kind of family fun!
To make planning easier for you, we've compiled a list of 51 places to explore in New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania -- all within a 2-hour drive of Erie. All of the listed locations are outside of Erie County. Click here to see my family's picks for Erie's top 10 attractions!)
Is there a spot your family loves that isn't listed here? Tell me about it by dropping me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: Free locations and events are noted. Last updated May 2022.
A map of locations mentioned in this article:
Explore crevices, passageways, and caves hidden in an ancient forest among 60-foot high rocks. Also ... axes! Open seasonally.
Skiing, snowboarding, tubing and indoor/outdoor pool complex!
More than 50 interactive exhibits, including kid-friendly fun like a chance to "cartoon" yourself. See our review!
Summerlong series of lectures and performances in this community right on the shore of Lake Chautauqua. Open seasonally.
Explore Bemus Point, Mayville and Westfield. In the winter, rent cross-country skis from Evergreen Outfitters or find a snowmobile trail. In the summer, ride the free Bemus Point-Stow Ferry and find a beach for swimming.
Great for smaller kids with 18 kid-friendly rides, plus miniature golf, Go-Karts, an arcade, a climbing wall, and water games. Open seasonally.
The 450-acre Griffis Park is home to more than 250 large-scale sculptures that kids are welcome to climb on. Open seasonally.
Known for spectacular scenery created by deep gorges, waterfalls, and forests. Hiking, canoeing, kayaking and white water rafting in warm months.
Follow hand-lettered signs and horse and buggies to the Amish businesses where you will find a wide variety of hand-crafted goods.
Known as the "Aspen of the North," Holiday Valley is home to a well-known four-season resort and a charming town.
Formerly the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, this new museum is is scheduled to open in the first half of 2023.
Interactive and immersive science studio exhibit spaces are a hit with kids, as is the Explorations early childhood gallery.
Check out the Arctic Edge and Rainforest Falls exhibits, along with Heritage Farm, which replicates an 1850s farmstead.
Every day is a play date at the Children's Museum! Exhibits introduce children to the magic of hands-on discovery.
More than 1,000 events are held at Canalside each year.
This family entertainment center has two laser tag arenas (including the largest in the Eastern US), along with a video arcade.
Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Guests travel to the Hurricane Deck, just 20 feet from Bridal Veil Falls. Children must be at least 42 inches tall. Open seasonally.
Adrenaline-inducing tour of the Niagara River. See website for height requirements. Open seasonally.
Hear the crashing waves. See the breathtaking views. Soak up every drop of powerful spray aboard the Maid of the Mist. Open seasonally.
A smaller aquarium with more than 40 exhibits, 128 different species of mammals, fish, birds and reptiles.
The strip in this small village features arcades, Putt-Putt, race cars, and a canopy tour. Weather dependent.
Along with swimming, you'll find a concession stand, a breakwall to climb, a big playground and windsurfers or kite flyers to watch.
Ashtabula County has 19 covered bridges, more than anywhere else in the state.
Get a turkey burger and root beer float, mixed in our vintage root beer barrel and served in a frosted mug. Yum. Open seasonally.
A family-oriented center devoted to agriculture and farming. Kids can milk cows, take a horsedrawn carriage ride and meet farm animals.
The Holden Arboretum features more than 20 miles of trails, a 65-foot high elevated walkway and a 120-foot tower.
Cuyahoga County, including Cleveland
Science comes alive with hundreds of hands-on exhibits that provide hours of fun.
The museum, which moved in 2017, features innovative exhibits and programs designed for kids through age 8.
Scavenger hunts and programming including Thursday Art Stories, Sunday Open Studios for Families, and Play Days.
From moon jellyfish to a Giant Pacific Octopus, you’ll discover more than 1,400 animals representing 250 species.
A can't miss spot for music lovers of all ages.
The 183-acre zoo is divided into several areas: Australian Adventure; African Savanna; Wilderness Trek; The Primate, Cat & Aquatics Building; The RainForest; and Waterfowl Lake.
Visiting Cleveland? Check out our sister site, Macaroni KID Cleveland East, for events and fun in the Cleveland area!
Watch ducks walk on the back of fish. Take bread. Free.
Have a kid that loves trains? Tour lasts 3 hours.
This forest covers three counties, but two of our favorite hikes are in Warren County: Jakes Rocks and Rimrock Overlook. Rent canoes and boats at Allegheny Outfitters, on the east end of Warren.
Visit the lake's shallow swimming beach, rent canoes, and grill out.
Home of the Kinzua Viaduct, partially destroyed by a tornado in 2003. Now, walk 600 feet out on the remaining support towers and gaze down through the partial glass platform.
Located in Allegheny Forest (see Warren County), visitors can climb gigantic rocks with descending crevice staircases and walk trails strewn with great monolithic rocks.
Take a step back in time on a century-old cable car and see the best views of downtown Pittsburgh while riding one of the few remaining inclines in the country.
Pittsburgh's most colorful public art is also the home of artist Randy Gilson.
Carnegie Science Center offers four floors of interactive exhibits that are geared for all ages.
A hands-on interactive children's museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania including the MAKESHOP, Attic, Studio, Backyard, Garage, Garden, Theater, Waterplay, and Nursery areas.
The nation's premier bird zoo.
You'll find more than 475 species represented by 4,000 animals at this combo zoo and aquarium.
Dozens of exotic and domestic animal species in this family-owned park. A favorite is the “Kiddie Zoo” where kids get up close to baby animals and a variety of domestic farm animals and deer. Open seasonally.
Walk-thru and drive-thru safaris available. You can hand feed many of the animals.
Known for its stands of old-growth forest, the park’s Forest Cathedral of towering white pines and hemlocks is a National Natural Landmark. A scenic 13-mile stretch of the Clarion River flows through Cook Forest State Park and is popular for canoeing, kayaking, and tubing.
Lawrence and Butler County
The spectacular Slippery Rock Creek Gorge is a National Natural Landmark and has scenic overlooks and waterfalls.
Moraine State Park includes 42 miles of shoreline and 70 miles of hiking trails.
Feed giraffes, bottle feed animals, take horse, pony and camel rides. Visit a walk-thru aviary, help feed an alligator, and visit the pirate ship playground. Open seasonally.