Watkins Glen International

#11 in Best Things To Do in The Finger Lakes
Watkins Glen International picture
Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance

Key Info

2790 County Route 16

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Sports, Tours, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
3.8

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

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 can follow in their footsteps with the Drive the Glen program. Guests can take two laps on the 3.4-mile course and also receive a commemorative finish line photo. The venue also hosts large regional events, such as the Finger Lakes Wine Festival.

Visitors from all over the world love the Drive the Glen program, calling it the highlight of the trip, and recommend arriving early to avoid long lines. Others enjoyed watching practice rounds and taking in the scenic views of Seneca Lake (both of which can be experienced for free). 

You'll find the raceway in Watkins Glen, at the southern tip of Seneca Lake; parking is free. There is no admission charge to watch practice rounds or explore the grounds on days when the raceway is not hosting an event. Gate hours vary on event days, but in general, both the box office and the track are open from Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A pass for the Drive the Glen experience, which is offered on nonevent days through late October costs $25 per vehicle. For more information about the raceway and events, visit the Watkins Glen International website.

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Time to Spend
#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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