Skaneateles Lake

#1 in Best Things To Do in The Finger Lakes
Skaneateles Lake picture
Matt Champlin/Getty Images

Key Info

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Recreation, Shopping, Sightseeing, Free Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.7scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

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 with local shops, restaurants, inns and bed-and-breakfasts. The sparkling, clear lake is a favorite for boating and fishing. 

Many recent visitors to Skaneateles Lake said it was a favorite stop and loved the charming, historic town, saying that both dining and shopping were excellent. Visitors also commented on the lake's calm and clean "crystal clear" waters and said that even though it's off the beaten path it's well worth a visit. Several recommended one of the local boat tours, such as those provided by Mid-Lakes Navigation, as a way to learn the history of the area. 

Locals and visitors alike flock to the lake during the summer, so lodging rates at the local hotels, inns and B&Bs are at their highest this time of year. Fall is also a popular time to visit, but fall and spring accommodation rates are modest, averaging around $100 per night. Numerous private vacation rentals are also available around the lake. To learn more about Skaneateles, check out the chamber of commerce website.

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More Best Things To Do in The Finger Lakes

Skiing1 of 10
Watkins Glen State Park2 of 10
Type
Time to Spend
#2 Skiing

During the winter 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 Mountain and Greek Peak, offer a variety of winter sports from downhill skiing and snowboarding to snow tubing and snowshoeing.

Bristol Mountain boasts the highest vertical rise between the Rockies and the Adirondacks and recent visitors complimented the nice layout and great fall line skiing, as well as the separate beginner slope with its own dedicated chair lift. Greek Peak Mountain Resort near Cortland features both day and night skiing. Families who visited recently loved the convenience of on-site childcare and multiple options for dining, plus many were impressed with the ski school. Although both large resorts offer cross-country terrain, many locals and recent visitors love the unspoiled and less crowded trails in state parks like the Finger Lakes National Forest or the Cummings Nature Center.

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