The Finger Lakes Travel Guide

USA  #3 in Best Places to Visit in New York State

Best Things To Do in The Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes region of central New York is known as an outdoor lover's paradise. Home to several expansive state parks, including Watkins Glen and Taughannock Falls, the area boasts excellent hiking trails and spectacular waterfalls. What's more, the region's 11 glacial lakes offer opportunities for boating, fishing and water sports. Oenophiles will be happy to hear this section of the state is ripe with wineries and wine trails. Meanwhile, families will love the Strong National Museum of Play, while history buffs will enjoy touring the Corning Museum of Glass or the George Eastman International Museum of Photography.

How we rank Things to Do

Updated February 23, 2017

  • #1
    Skaneateles Lake
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    #1 in The Finger Lakes
    Recreation, Shopping, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Recreation, Shopping, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Located about 23 miles southwest of Syracuse, Skaneateles Lake is the sixth-largest of the Finger Lakes. The name means "long lake" in the Iroquois language and indeed, the 16-mile-long lake crosses three counties: Onandaga, Cayuga and Cortland. The historic Skaneateles Village dates back to the Revolutionary War and is filled

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  • #2
    Skiing
    View all Photos
    #2 in The Finger Lakes
    Skiing, Sports
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Skiing, Sports
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    During thewinter season, which runs from December through March, the Finger Lakes region is a destination for both downhill and cross-country skiers. The two major year-round resorts,Bristol MountainandGreek Peak, offer a variety of winter sports from downhill skiing and snowboarding to snow tubing and snowshoeing.

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  • #3
    Watkins Glen State Park
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    #3 in The Finger Lakes
    Hiking, Recreation, Swimming/Pools
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Recreation, Swimming/Pools
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    One of the most popular state parks within the region, Watkins Glen is known for its 19 waterfalls and picturesque trails, especially the Gorge Trail. This looped path, which spans 2 ½ miles, winds over and under the falls and through the spray of the Cavern Cascade. A shuttle runs

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  • #4
    Corning Museum of Glass
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    #4 in The Finger Lakes
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Corning Museum of Glass offers one of the world's best collections of art and historical glass, from a portrait of an Egyptian pharaoh to works by Tiffany and Chihuly. The museum's Innovation Center focuses on the science of glass, featuring hands-on exhibits and live glassmaking demonstrations. Visitors can also

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  • #5
    Seneca Lake Wine Trail
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    #5 in The Finger Lakes
    Sightseeing, Tours, Wineries/Breweries
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Tours, Wineries/Breweries
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Seneca Lake Wine Trail, situated in the heart of the Finger Lakes wine region, is one of the most popular trails, offering more than 35 wineries, cideries and breweries in a concentrated area adjacent to the 75-mile shoreline, making it easy to visit several in a daytrip. Known for

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  • #6
    Robert Treman State Park
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    #6 in The Finger Lakes
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Swimming/Pools
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Swimming/Pools
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Robert Treman State Park is known for its rugged and stony gorge, Enfield Glen, and the 115-foot Lucifer Falls. In fact, Lucifer Falls is just one of 12 waterfalls along the park's 9 miles of winding trails. The park also features a stream-fed swimming area beneath a waterfall, campsites, cabins

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  • #7
    Taughannock Falls State Park
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    #7 in The Finger Lakes
    Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The waterfall at Taughannock Falls State Park is one of New York's most spectacular natural sights, descending more than 200 feet over 400-foot-tall rocky cliffs above the gorge. Trails offer stunning views from above the falls and campsites and cabins line the sparkling lake, which also offers a marina and

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  • #8
    The Strong National Museum of Play
    View all Photos
    #8 in The Finger Lakes
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Who wouldn't love a museum dedicated to play? The Strong National Museum of Play in downtown Rochester has something for kids of any age. From "Sesame Street," board games, dolls and books to the latest electronic games, the museum is home to the world's most comprehensive toy collection. Interactive exhibits

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  • #9
    George Eastman Museum
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    #9 in The Finger Lakes
    Historic Homes/Mansions, Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Historic Homes/Mansions, Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Located in Rochester, this facility – the world's oldest museum of photography and one of the oldest film archives – is housed within the former estate of George Eastman, a photography and film pioneer. The National Historic Landmark pays homage to the history of photography and motion picture film, offering

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  • #10
    Cornell University
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    #10 in The Finger Lakes
    Sightseeing, Tours, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Tours, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, this Ivy League private university is located in Ithaca. When you're not exploringCornell's 745 acres, head to Collegetown for budget-friendly eats and university apparel, or nearby Cayuga Lake for more outdoorsy pursuits. 

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  • #11
    Watkins Glen International
    View all Photos
    #11 in The Finger Lakes
    Sports, Tours, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sports, Tours, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Since 1948, Watkins Glen has been one of the premier racing facilities in North America, hosting everything from the Formula One United States Grand Prix to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Legendary drivers, including Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Tony Stewart, have tested their skills on this course, and visitors

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Explore More of The Finger Lakes

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