Finger Lakes Winter Vacation

I’m about to head upstate for a winter vacation. The temperature is -7 degrees fahrenheit. I’m hoping to venture outside but I think I will mostly stay indoors and relax, since the town looks like this all winter. Here are my top 5 picks for Finger Lakes winter activities. You have finally decided to book a winter getaway to the beautiful Finger Lakes regions of Upstate New York. You have never been before, and it seems such a charming and welcoming place. You visit dozen’s of sites to get ideas, but you are overwhelmed with the information being given.

Finger Lakes is a region of lakes in Upstate New York. There are four public Finger Lakes with recreational use: Canadice, Cayuga, Owasco and Skaneateles. These lakes offer swimming, boating and fishing opportunities in the warmer months and skating, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in the winter months. During the fall season, the Finger Lakes region is a perfect destination to enjoy spectacular autumn foliage views. The winter sun sets early around here. By 3:30 p.m., when kids are usually headed home from school, it’s already dark.

Finger Lakes Winter Vacation

Finger Lakes Winter Activities

Outdoor Winter Recreation in the Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes is the place to be for outdoor enthusiasts all year round, and the winter is no exception. The region’s propensity for snow, chilly temps, and glacially-designed topography make it an ideal hub for seasonal recreation.

Skiing & Snowboarding

Whether you’re carving through snow that’s freshly fallen or man-made, the region’s ski resorts have an abundant supply. Unsurprisingly, there are a variety of ski and snowboard destinations to check out for winter lovers who have a need for speed, and snow. No matter what area of the region you decide to explore, there is skiing and snowboarding fun to be had:

  • Located in picturesque Canandaigua and boasting a state-of-the-art snowmaking system, Bristol Mountain Ski Resort is a well-known destination for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts. The resort offers 1,200 of vertical, two high-speed quads, and 35 slopes and trails that will leave you breathless and ready for more. For nighttime runs, many of the slopes also offer lighting.
  • Central New York’s family-centric Greek Peak Mountain Resort is open during all four seasons and offers 54 trails, six aerial lifts, two surface lifts, beginners’ slopes, and terrain parks, as well as a state-of-the-art ski- and board-tuning facility.  For sledding action, don’t forget to check out the tubing center, or hit the Nordic Center for cross-country and snow shoe trails.

Cross-Country Skiing/Snowshoeing/Hiking/Ice Skating/Sledding

With snow come a variety of opportunities to go out in nature and get your blood pumping in the chilly air. The Finger Lakes has an abundance of state parks to explore. Whether you’re hitting the trails on just your two booted feet, or strapping on the cross-country skis or snowshoes, there are beautiful wild places to discover that are conveniently located across the area. The region’s glacial history offers inspiring gorges and waterfalls to take in and interesting terrain to cover. For additional seasonal fun, parks like Taughannock Falls State Park have designated sledding and ice-skating areas. Check here for a list of state parks in the region and the specific recreation they provide.    


Speeding across ice and snow behind the “wheel” of a snowmobile is a popular winter pastime, and New York State has 10,000 miles dedicated to this specific sport.  Within the Finger Lakes region, a number of trails offer wintery lake views, including along Ontario, Honeoye, Keuka, Seneca, and Canandaigua Lakes, in addition to trails that meander through the beautiful Fillmore Glen State Park in Moravia. It’s sure to be an exhilarating way to sightsee while covering more ground.

Ice fishing

If ice fishing is the sport for you, the Finger Lakes offers many opportunities to catch perch, walleye, trout, or a variety of other fish species depending on what lake or pond you decide on. Check the Department of Environmental Conservation website for rules and regulations within each county, and then head to the ice. If you’re new to the sport, make sure to tag along with someone else as it takes special equipment and skill to make sure your fishing trip is safe and enjoyable.


Located near several popular skiing destinations, the Finger Lakes offers visitors and residents easy access to mountainous slopes whether it’s for family fun, sport, or a romantic getaway. Man-made and natural snow allow ski enthusiasts of all skill levels to enjoy the valleys and hills that make up our region’s topography. But downhill skiing isn’t the only way to slide crisply across the snow, strap on the cross-country skis at any number of parks in the area or grab a pair of snowshoes and take on the drifts.

Surrounded by lakes and ponds, when the ice freezes it’s fun to don your skates and show off your best figure eight. But the winter recreation continues if you’re a dedicated lover of the art of fishing. Depending on the lake, ice fishing in the Finger Lakes yields perch, walleye, trout, and more.

If speed is more your style, there are a number of trails designated for snowmobilers to adventure through forests and across our picturesque countryside.

Hit the Trails

There’s really no perfect season to sip some wine, because there’s no bad time of the year to indulge. Named the top wine region in USA Today 2018 10 Best Reader’s Choice national poll, you can choose to explore any of the region’s wine trails centered around Keuka, Seneca, Canandaigua, and Cayuga lakes. Cozy up inside one of our region’s more than 120 unique wineries sipping on award-winning vintages while gazing out on rolling hills covered in white and perhaps some frozen lake views.

If wine isn’t your thing, or you’re just in the mood for some good brews, the Finger Lakes has become a veritable craft brewery haven. We’re especially known for our hard ciders, made from those New York State apples, which is a unique alternative to wine tasting. If you’re looking for something a little harder in your beverage, we are also home to a number of distilleries.

Whether you prefer wine, brews, or spirits, hit the trail for some good drink and adventure.

Holiday Activities

The holiday season in the Finger Lakes region brings with it a variety of cheer-infused activities for adults and children of all ages. Whether it’s craft shows with locally-made goods perfect for gifting, musicals, plays, after-dark fun for adults, or a visit with Santa, there is something going on throughout the month of December for everyone. Check here for a list of events.


As the shopping season kicks off after Thanksgiving, the region is abundant in its popular retail destinations. Whether you opt for a mall or outlet, or something a bit more unique with Finger Lakes flair, there are gift shops, antique stores, and boutiques for that perfect gift or personal purchase. Meander through any town center nestled in the Finger Lakes and you’ll be sure to find an enticing shop to peruse and enjoy.


While you’re visiting, there are a variety of places to stay, from hotels to vacation rentals. If you’re looking for quaint and a fireplace to cozy up to, there are a number of homey bed and breakfasts to choose from. Looking for a bit more elegance? From high-end to boutique, there are budget-friendly hotel and motel options as well as luxury stays, but both offer convenient locations to check out all the wonderful activities and adventures the region has to offer. And if relaxation is what you’re after, check in at a spa or resort for a little self-care before heading out for some winter fun.

The Finger Lakes region also offers opportunities for unique winter activities such as ice sailing, curling, and more. Find out more about these and other unique winter experiences.

Leave a Comment