Taughannock Falls State Park#7 in Best Things To Do in The Finger Lakes
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 a beach. The park also boasts trails for cross-country skiing, sledding slopes and skating ponds, making it a year-round destination. In the summer, concerts are held along the lake shore.
Recent visitors were disappointed that a dry summer also dried up the fabulous waterfall, but even so, loved the easy walk to the viewpoint (nearly 2 miles up and back) and the new visitor center. Those traveling with kids were also pleased with the playground.
Located on the south end of Cayuga Lake off SR89, Taughannock Falls State Park is open year-round from dawn to dusk. Park on the west side for the closest access to the gorge trail. Vehicle entry fees, which are collected from mid-April to mid-October, cost $8. Camping fees range from $18 to $28 per night, with an additional $5 per night fee for out-of-state visitors. Cabins are also available for $210 to $238 per week; nonresidents pay an additional $7 per night. You can also rent kayaks, canoes, paddleboards and paddleboats. To view a trail map and see information about seasonal road closures, visit the state park's website.
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#1 Skaneateles Lake
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.
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