Vacation In Finger Lakes

Vacation in Finger Lakes is the best time out of the year to visit Finger Lakes. There are numerous amenities and activities which make it a wonderful vacation spot. Moreover, you can find numerous fine-looking hotels as well as campgrounds to stay at this popular tourist destination.

Finger Lakes is an ideal location. The comprehensive Finger Lakes vacation packages, hotels and resorts in Ithaca, Geneva, Corning, Watkins Glen and Elmira cater to any and all tourists who travel here to enjoy the outdoor adventure activities or who stay here to breathe in history of the region.

Did you ever want to visit Finger Lakes, NY? I recently visited Finger Lakes, NY. This article is a short vacation guide showing what to do and where to stay when visiting Finger Lakes, New York.

The Finger Lakes region of New York has long been a popular vacation destination among those who prefer smaller cities with character to large urban areas. The region is located in the Southern Tier across the border from Pennsylvania in the north, and the Catskills in the south.

The Finger Lakes region of New York State boasts 90 wineries, and almost as many vineyards. The region is also home to several large beer distributors. It is well known that the region produces more wines than anywhere else in the United States after Napa Valley. The Finger Lakes is an excellent destination for a destination wedding or a romantic weekend getaway.

Vacation In Finger Lakes

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.


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:

For luxury, I recommend the following Airbnbs/ hotels:

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).

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


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.

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