Essential Travel Guide for Vacationing at New York’s Finger Lakes

Essential Travel Guide for Vacationing at New York’s Finger Lakes

No matter what time of the year you choose for a vacation in New York’s Finger Lakes region, you’ll find gorgeous scenery and plenty to do. There are over 1,000 waterfalls tucked within the lakeside landscape for great photo opportunities. Here are some of the things you should know to make your trip special.


Why Visit the Finger Lakes Area?

The Finger Lakes area includes 11 lakes, which were created a million years ago by glaciers during the Ice Age. Today they offer spectacular scenery and opportunities for adventure. The names of the lakes come from the Iroquois tribes that inhabited the region: Otisco, Skaneateles, Owasco, Cayuga, Seneca, Keuka, Canandaigua, Honeoye, Canadice, Hemlock, and Conesus.

The region has been home to inventors, writers, religious and political leaders, and activists. It also has a rich agricultural history, particularly in dairy and wine production. Therefore, you’ll enjoy touring vineyards and sampling their products, as well as visiting restaurants focusing on local produce.

Top Attractions

Image via Flickr by Cubosh

The Finger Lakes region has many opportunities for outdoor recreation. Whether you’re interested in fishing, boating, or hiking the miles of wooded, rugged landscape, you’ll have a tough time choosing a destination. Watkins Glen State Park is one of the most popular state parks in the area, with 200-foot cliffs on either side of a sparkling stream. The gorge trail takes you over waterfalls with scenic overlooks, and even underneath Cavern Cascade. Fish for rainbow trout, have a picnic, or swim in the Olympic-size pool.

Skaneateles Lake is another popular attraction, both for the lake itself and the historic Skaneateles Village. There, you can explore shops, restaurants, and bed and breakfasts. Boat tours of the lake are available as well.

Don’t miss the Corning Museum of Glass. It houses a huge collection of historic glass pieces and art works, including works by Tiffany and Chihuly. You can learn about the science of glass production, see live glassmaking demonstrations, and even take a beginner’s glassmaking class.

If wine is on your mind, tour the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. You can either appoint a designated driver and explore the 35-plus wineries, breweries, and cider makers in the area or join a professional sightseeing tour. The region is famous for its riesling, chardonnay, pinot noir, and cabernet, as well as hard cider and mead.

When to Visit

Image via Flickr by See1,Do1,Teach1

Although the Finger Lakes area is popular all year, summer and fall are the peak seasons. If you don’t mind crowds or peak room rates, it’s a great time to enjoy the area in all its glory — particularly when it’s transformed by autumn foliage. However, you can save some money and dodge the crowds in winter and spring and still find plenty to do.

Where to Stay

Syracuse is one of the best places to stay while exploring the Finger Lakes, due to its easy accessibility to both highways and a major airport. The Hotel Planner website can help you book a room and get the best possible rate even during peak season.

These are just a few reasons you’re going to love a trip to the Finger Lakes in New York. Whether families or couples, old or young, or winter or summer, there’s always something to do and beautiful scenery to see.