Moraine State Park is located approximately 40 miles north of Pittsburgh in western Pennsylvania, with easy access from Interstate 79. Once you arrive, the official park map may be of use.
The geology of Moraine State Park was formed by the retreat of four glaciers over the millenia. Lake Arthur (3,225 acres) is on the site of an ancient, much larger lake, Lake Watts, and was formed by damming Bear Run. The outlet is into the Beaver River, which in turn flows into the Ohio, thence the Mississippi. There is no navigable outlet or inlet to the Lake, however. The bottom is thus rocky but aerated, and the stocked fish healthy and edible. It’s not a deep lake: according to the hydrographic chart, the deepest parts are only about 30 feet. Puddle Duck participants will have access to sandy areas for beaching. Weather for the closest town is usually listed at Butler http://www.uswx.com/us/wx/pa/014
Two active sailing clubs are based at the lake. On a breezy, summer day you will see everything from Optimists, Puddle Ducks, Sunfish to Flying Scots and Catalina 25s. Lake Arthur features one private and two public marinas and 10 launch ramps. Much of the organized sailing activity by the Moraine Sailing Club is out of Watts Bay, in the center of the North Shore of the lake. Davis Hollow, also on the North shore and a bit to the East of Watts Bay, features a marina with full facilities. Regatta events will be centered on the south shore, where this a launch ramp and several docks. The prevailing wind is from the West-Northwest, but also shifts to South to South-Southwest with some weather fronts. Western exposure of the main body of the lake is ideal for sailing, making it the most popular sailing destination for Pittsburgh area residents.
Visiting Puddle Duckers wanting to tent camp are invited to use the Muskrat Cove group camping area in Moraine State Park. This mown grass area is shaded by trees and has water, picnic tables and lavatories but no shower facilities. Puddle Ducks can be launched from the shoreline and sailed a short distance across the bay to the Pleasant Valley area which is the site for the main activities. There is no charge for the use of Moraine State park facilities. Please indicate in registering if you have a pop-up or van. For those with large trailers or RVs, you will want to make a reservation at one of several nearby commercial campgrounds; they can be found outside the park and a full list is obtainable from the Butler Tourism and Convention office. www.visitbutlercounty.com
(What follows is the subjective recommendations of some area sailors; no guarantee or endorsement of these businesses is intended!)
Locust Brook Lodge
My wife and I highly recommend the Locust Brook Lodge – a modern B&B with 6 nicely appointed clean rooms and a great breakfast. It is just off 422 on the way to Butler and is very convenient to Lake Arthur South Shore. (10-12 minutes). Add 10 minutes to Watts Bay on the North Shore.
I have used the Evening Star motel just off I-79 and Rt 108 (Slippery Rock exit). It’s about 15 minutes away via West Park Rd. (Don’t have to take I-79). Very plain but cheap and clean.
We frequently stay at the Fairfield Marriott in Butler. It’s about 10mins from the lake, but the hot tub is nice and free breakfast.
They just built a new hotel in slippery rock – the Fairfield Inn and suites.
Crescent Bay Boat Rental – rents single and double kayaks, paddle boats, canoes, small motor boats, run-a-bout motorboats, sailboats, and four sizes of pontoon boatsIn addition to water-based activities, visitors enjoy the 7-mile paved bike trail that winds through the north shore of the lake. Bike rentals are available during the season. The park includes a section of the North Country Trail – a 4,600 mile trail connecting New York to North Dakota. Nature lovers also enjoy a Native Plant and Butterfly Trail and observing waterfowl from the Observation Deck located along old 422.
The annual event features activities on land, in the air, and on the water. Approximately 65,000 visitors enjoy it each year. In addition to sailboat racing, visitors enjoy watching hot-air balloon launches and rafting up to watch the fireworks on Saturday night.