A road trip is a great way to get some time away from the hustle and bustle. But an even better option is to book a vacation in Finger Lakes Ny with special family packages that range from affordable beach getaways to relaxing spa retreats.
No matter what you’re doing, you have to take a vacation occasionally in Finger Lakes Ny.
Leave your cares behind when you visit Finger Lakes, a place to just relax and unwind.
Where to go for your next vacation? With hundreds of beautiful lakes throughout North America, the Finger Lakes region of New York is a natural choice.
Are you ready to get away? Do you want to see a new part of the country but don’t want to go too far? If that sounds like you, put Finger Lakes in your travel plans. It’s often listed among the top 10 most beautiful places in the United States. And it’s easy to see why when you look at the pristine lakes dotted with islands.
Vacation In Finger Lakes Ny
The Finger Lakes get their name from their unique shapes (pictured above). These long narrow lakes are in a basin/valley eroded by glaciers hundreds of meters deep. The vast region covers ~9,000 square miles, stretching across New York State and as far south as near the Pennsylvania border. The area is also an essential part of the homeland belonging to the Iroquois tribes (including Seneca and Cayuga nations).
Since these lakes span across a large chunk of New York State, in this Finger Lakes travel blog post, we are going to focus on Keuka, Seneca, and Cayuga. These are the most popular lakes and the best ones to start with for first-time travel to the Finger Lakes.
WHERE TO STAY IN THE FINGER LAKES
Let’s get you situated. The best and most active places to stay in the Finger Lakes are Seneca Lake, Keuka Lake, and Cayuga Lake. And one of the best accommodations is Airbnb and boutique hotels for both luxury and budget accommodation. Since the Finger Lakes are expansive, we have also dedicated a guide to the best lakes and towns to stay in the Finger Lakes. However, if you’re looking for quick hotel recommendations, below are a just few of many!
1) Seneca Lake
This is the largest and deepest lake (~650 ft). On Seneca Lake, I recommend staying in the towns of:
- Watkins Glen – This is one of the best towns to stay in the Finger Lakes because it’s perfectly located between major attractions, restaurants, and wineries. Moreover, you’ll be in between both Keuka and Cayuga Lake! So this is the best town to stay in if it is your first Finger Lakes vacation. The town is also home to one of the best New York State Parks: Watkins Glen State Park
- Geneva – More upscale and cute town with great food.
- Burdett – Near some of the popular wineries in the Finger Lakes and delicious restaurants.
For luxury, I recommend the following Airbnbs/ hotels:
- Vinifera Inn located within the Belhurst Castle & Spa.
- Geneva On the Lake. This historical and luxurious hotel has a restaurant on-site and even a fitness center!
2) Keuka Lake
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Keuka Lake is uniquely shaped like a Y, thinner/smaller, and more quaint yet near tons of things to see and do. This is my favorite one. You can stay in Hammondsport (near antique shops and an Aviation museum) or Penn Yan (a cute little town with good food and near outdoor opportunities yet still close to Seneca Lake).
- Penn Yan – For outdoor lovers, consider hiking or biking the Keuka Lake Outlet Trail. If you love wine, follow the Keuka Lake Wine Trail from Penn Yan. While in Penn Yan, stay in town at the Los Gatos Bed and Breakfast or Trimmer House Bed and Breakfast. For a beautiful Airbnb experience, this STUNNING luxury cabin is perfectly situated between Penn Yann and Geneva so you can get the best of both Keuka Lake and Seneca Lake.
- Hammondsport – This area was super cute with an aviation museum, antique shops, and close access to Keuka Lake. From here, Watkins Glen and Corning are both about 20 minutes away. Catch up on sleep at the adorable Moonshadow Bed & Breakfast, located near many popular wineries.
3) Cayuga Lake
Cayuga Lake is just as popular for its own unique reasons. It’s home to the popular college town of Ithaca and close to several wineries, tours, and incredible food. You will not run out of things to do here!
- Ithaca – Ithaca is one of the best small cities in the Finger Lakes to base yourself out of. This highly educated and progressive town is home to the prestigious Cornell University and Ithaca College. For a unique stay in nature, consider glamping at Firelight Camps. If glamping in New York is not your thing, check out The Argos Inn, a cute boutique hotel choice in Ithaca.
- Interlaken – This is one of my favorite regions in the Finger Lakes because of its vast beauty, farmlands, and proximity to places like the Finger Lakes Cider House, Americana Winery, and Thirsty Owl. You can also drive to Seneca Lake from here within 15-20 minutes.
4) Skaneateles Lake
Located on the clear shores of Skaneateles Lake, the village of Skaneateles is one of the best upstate NY towns to visit for friendly locals, good food, walkable streets, and tons of boutique shopping. Skaneateles is truly a hidden gem and yet just an hour away from major cities like Syracuse and Ithaca. Here, you can wake up to beautiful views of the lake by staying at a waterfront rental and later take a guided boat tour with dinner, or rent a personal watercraft. Skaneateles Lake is famous in the region for having some of the clearest and cleanest water in the entire state of New York.
There are a number of historic sites here too. You can view Hazelhurst, a beautiful yellow mansion on the lake. Or, see the James and Lydia Canning Fuller House (built in 1815), which was once a part of the Underground Railroad. Ultimately, the Skaneateles Historic District is the most popular place to visit, as it encompasses the quaint and cozy downtown area. After a day of strolling and shopping, have dinner and a cocktail at Elephant and Dove (truly some of the best food in the region with healthy options). And for a classic bed and breakfast, consider resting at Sherwood Inn, established in 1807.
Skaneateles also holds many festivals for locals and tourists alike. A few are:
- The Curbstone Festival
- Skaneateles Antique and Classic Boat Show
- A Dickens Christmas
OUTDOOR THINGS TO DO IN THE FINGER LAKES
Let’s start with the outdoors. Scroll to the other sections, if you’re not into nature!
The Finger Lakes offers several waterfalls, NY state parks, hiking trails, and much more. Here are some of the best things to do in the Finger Lakes for outdoor lovers. If you have physical limitations, below we’re including some accessible adventures too!
If you don’t fancy the outdoors, then keep scrolling down for the NON-outdoor things to do below!
5) Watkins Glen State Park + Trails
The iconic Watkins Glen State Park is a must visit for all who travel to the region who love: waterfalls, gorges, hiking, and natural wonders. This park’s most iconic attraction is the rainbow bridge which is about a mile walking from the entrance on relatively flat grounds + some steps. Get there early to avoid crowds or on a weekday.