21 Best & Fun Things to Do in Finger Lakes (NY)

The Finger Lakes region is known for its large number of wineries and growers. 

Due to the depth of the lakes, their natural beauty provides a lake effect to the nearby wine grapes.

Over 400 establishments and growers are located in the region’s various lakes. The City’s 11 narrow lakes, referred to as the “Finger Lakes,” are located in New York. 

There are also several smaller lakes nearby, and this article highlights all the fun things to do in Finger Lakes, NY.

Let’s get started!

Where is Finger Lakes, New York?

The region known as the Finger Lakes is made up of eleven narrow and long lakes located in New York state. There are various things to do in the area.

The region, which includes the Ontario Lowlands and the Northern Allegheny Plateau, is called the “Finger Lakes Uplands and Gorges” ecoregion.

The geological term (finger) refers to a lake that’s long, narrow, and in a deepened glacial valley, while the name of the region was given during the 19th century.

Some of the deepest lakes in the US are the Seneca and Cayuga Lakes. 

They measured 618 feet and 435 feet, respectively. The bottoms of these two bodies of water are also below sea level.

Fun Things to Do in Finger Lakes, NY

There are several things to do in Finger Lakes, New York, and we’ll reveal some of them in this article. These are 21 things to do in Finger Lakes, New York;

1. Harriet Tubman Home

Harriet Tubman was a freed African-American woman born into slavery in 1822. She eventually escaped and returned to help others.

Tubman carried out 13 missions and freed over 70 enslaved individuals. 

She later became an activist and abolitionist. During the American Civil War, she served as a spy and scout for the Union.

Due to Tubman’s efforts, around 700 more enslaved people were freed. In 1859, she purchased a home in Auburn, New York. 

She also helped the suffragettes and established a nursing home for the elderly.

Address: The Harriet Tubman Home is at 180 South St, Auburn, NY 13021.

2. Cornell Botanic Gardens

The University of Cornell is located in Ithaca, south of Cayuga Lake. The university’s Botanic Gardens is a part of the campus that spans over 3,500 acres.

The gardens are designed to provide various natural habitats. These areas include wetlands, woodland, wildflower preserves, and lake shores. 

It was also named one of the best college-run gardens in the country.

The gardens are used for various academic activities. Besides regular programs, such as lectures and tours, the gardens also host plant sales and workshop events.

Address: The Cornell Botanic Gardens is at 124 Comstock Knoll Drive, Ithaca, New York, 14850.

3. Glenn H Curtiss Museum

Photo by Ruhrfisch via Wikimedia

One of the area’s museums focusing on aviation pioneer Glenn Curtis is located in the southern part of Keuka Lake.

This museum features various artifacts related to his life.

Various aircraft, automobiles, and boats are displayed at the museum. 

Some notable aircraft featured in the collection include the first seaplane in Canada and the first aircraft to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. 

The museum also features bicycles and boats, such as the boneshaker and the velocipede.

Address: This museum is at 8419 State Route 54, Hammondsport, NY 14840.

See Also: Things to Do in LA California

4. Seneca Lake Wine Trail

The Winelands in the region is known for their unique offerings. For over a hundred years, the region has been producing wine grapes. 

Thirty different wineries participate in the region’s Wine Trail. These are made from local varieties and European cultivars. 

During the harvest season, the area’s Winelands transform into a patchwork of autumn foliage. This is the time of year when the harvest festivities begin.

The region hosts various events during this time, such as wine tasting events and pig roasts. Other activities include music events and photography classes.

Address: The Seneca Lake Wine Trail is at 2 N. Franklin St., Suite 320, Watkins Glen, NY 14891

5. Fox Run Vineyards

Fox Run Vineyards is a family-owned establishment that have been producing estate wines for almost two decades. Every day, the owners of this business conduct tours around their property.

The café is open during the winter season and serves locally-cooked meals. 

The food prepared by this establishment is prepared using ingredients grown in the garden or purchased from local suppliers.

This establishment also hosts weekly guided dinners with food and wine pairings. 

The dinners are held in the barrel room, which used to be a dairy barn. 

The participants of these events meet to discuss the best of both dining and wine.

Address: The Fox Run Vineyards is located at 670 State Rt. 14, Penn Yan, NY 14527.

6. Finger Lakes Cider House

The owners of the local cider house named their product “Kite and String” due to the combination of the two elements. 

The string’s earthy and light quality is why this beverage is known for its distinct taste.

The farm’s award-winning ciders are aged for up to 12 months. The fruit they’re made from is grown on the farm’s eastern slopes, overlooking the waters of Cayuga Lake. 

The area’s favorable climate and glacial soil help produce the farm’s ideal variety of apples and peaches.

The excess fruit from the farm is sold to the public. It can be bought from the store or picked up on the farm. 

The farm also sells small plates and lunch items. During the tasting event, guests are invited to try several different ciders.

Address: The Finger Lakes Cider House is at 4017 Hickok Rd, Interlaken, NY 14847.

7. Bristol Mountain Ski Resort

The area’s premier ski resort features over 138 acres of terrain. It has 38 slopes that are ideal for beginner and expert skiers. 

The facility also offers various activities and programs for its guests.

Besides skiing, the resort also hosts various events, such as races and weddings. 

The event center at the facility’s base can be used for multiple functions. This area features a mid-mountain restaurant and a large event room.

Address: The Bristol Mountain Ski Resort is at 5662 Route 64, Canandaigua, NY 14424.

8. Cayuga Wine Trail

The region’s 14 wineries have been recognized for their products. 

Due to the quality of their products, they’re known for being able to receive international and national awards. 

Some of these establishments have also experimented with producing other alcoholic beverages.

The area’s numerous restaurants and bars are also known for their excellent food and wine. 

Local transportation service is additionally available to help guests enjoy their evenings in the region.

The events held in the area, such as weddings and concerts, make visitors want to stay. 

Besides bars and restaurants, other establishments such as bakeries and coffee shops also attract locals.

Address: The Cayuga Wine Trail is located at 4565 NY-414, Romulus, NY 14541, United States.

9. Three Brothers Wineries

This region has several attractions: three wineries, a microbrewery, and a café. A tasting passport can allow visitors to access these facilities.

The local establishments crafted the various beverages available in the area, such as wine-slushies and beer. Each of the wineries has its distinct character.

One of the most prominent local wineries is Bagg Dare Wine Company. It produces sweet wines. 

Other establishments known for their semi-dry and sweet wines include Passion Feet Wine Barn.

Address: The Three Brothers Wineries is at 623 Lerch Rd, 14456 Geneva, New York

10. Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

The formation of the region’s lakes during the glacial period has left extensive marshy deposits at its southern and northern portions. 

As a result, these areas were important stopover sites for migratory birds.

Eventually, the land was reclaimed using various methods, such as canals and straightening rivers. 

The local wildlife refuge aims to restore the wetlands to function correctly.

A large area of land was set aside between the cities of Rochester and Syracuse. It’s also known as the Wildlife Drive. 

Through this drive, visitors can explore 1600 acres of wetlands and take in the sights and sounds of wildlife.

Address: The Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is at 3395 US Route 20, Seneca Falls, New York 13148.

11. Seneca Lake

One of the most popular areas in the region is Seneca Lake. This natural body of water is filled with water sports enthusiasts and has various settlements. 

The lake is around 38 miles long. It’s also about three miles wide.

The lake is 600 feet deep. Various attractions can also be found in the area, such as the Seneca National Forest and the farmers’ markets.

Address: The Seneca Lake is at 1 Lake Front Dr, Geneva, NY 14456, United States.

12. Women’s Rights National Historical Park

In 1848, the first Woman’s Rights Convention took place in Seneca Falls. 

A park named after them was also established in the area. The annual event of the convention still takes place in July each year.

Address: This historical park is at 136 Fall Street, Seneca Falls, NY 13148.

13. Roseland Waterpark

The area has various water attractions, such as a wave pool, a water slide, and a river to paddle. 

At each of these facilities, lifeguards are on duty to ensure the safety of the users.

Other water-based activities can be enjoyed on drylands, such as beach volleyball and water balloon fights. 

The Roseland Café serves refreshments during these activities.

Address: The Roseland Waterpark is at 250 Eastern Boulevard, Canandaigua, New York 14424.

14. Taughannock Falls State Park

The waterfall in this park is over 200 feet high and is located east of the Rocky Mountains. 

The park also has campsites, picnic areas, and a gorge overlooking Cayuga Lake.

Until 1925, the area was a popular tourist destination due to the popularity of travel by rail. 

During this period, various hotels and restaurants were established in the area.

Address: Taughannock Falls State Park is at 1740 Taughannock Blvd., Trumansburg, NY 14886

15. Buttermilk Falls State Park

This park is located south of the cities of Ithaca and Lake Cayuga. In 1924, Laura and Robert Treman donated 164 acres of land to the state. Eventually, this area has grown to over 800 acres.

Address: The Buttermilk Falls State Park is at 112 E. Buttermilk Falls Rd., (Off Rt. 13 S), Ithaca, NY 14850.

16. Watkins Glen State Park

Situated south of Seneca, this park is the most popular among the state parks in the region. 

In addition, it was named one of the best parks in the country in 2015. Multiple trails within the park run parallel to the route of the local trail system known as the Finger Lakes Trail.

Address: The Watkins Glen State Park is at 1009 N Franklin St, Watkins Glen, NY 14891.

See Also: Things to Do in Langley (WA)

17. Canandaigua Lake

The Canandaigua Lake, which measures 16 miles long and a mile wide, is the most easterly lake in the region. It’s also known for its high-quality water.

The City of Canandaigua and Naples is located south of the lake. There are also various summer homes and cottages in the area.

Address: The Canandaigua Lake is at 620 South Main Street, Canandaigua, New York 14424.

18. The Windmill Farm & Craft Market

The Windmill market between Keuka Lakes and Seneca was first established in 1987. 

Initially, there were 64 vendors inside two buildings. Eventually, the number of people participating in this market has grown to 175. 

This market is open on Saturdays and features various types of goods. A car show is also held each year at the exact location.

Address: The Windmill market is at 3900 New York 14A, Penn Yan, NY 14527.

19. Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Park

In 1863, Frederick and Mary Thompson bought a farmhouse near the northern end of Canandaigua Lakes. This property was situated on 14 acres of land.

The couple then bought another property that had a total of 300 acres. They then constructed a Queen Anne-style mansion on the site. 

Mary Thompson then started to renovate the gardens after her husband passed away in 1899.

Address: This attraction is at 151 Charlotte Street, Canandaigua, NY 14424

20. Sciencenter

The Sciencenter was initially established as a volunteer-run organization that operated out of a local elementary school. From 1993 to 2003, over 4,000 individuals helped build its new facility. 

The new facility, which was constructed with the help of over 5,000 volunteers, has a total area of 32000 square feet.

Address: The Sciencenter is at 601 1st Street, Ithaca, NY 14850.

21. Museum of the Earth

Photo by Jo Zimny Photos via Flickr

The museum features various exhibits designed to educate visitors about the prehistoric era. Some of these include the Right Whale and the Hyde Park Mastodon.

The museum also features a 500-foot-long mural showing the Earth’s history.

Visitors can explore the Smiths Wood and learn more about the past through this exhibit.

Address: The Museum of the Earth is located at 1259 Trumansburg Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850.