Imagine seeing beautiful views of sparkling water or vineyards just outside your window. Enjoy your morning coffee on a private deck, surrounded by the sounds of nature, or take a leisurely stroll through charming villages filled with small shops and restaurants offering fresh, local food. All this becomes possible when you choose one of the many vacation rentals in the Finger Lakes. Whether a cozy cottage by the lake or a luxurious cabin tucked away in the woods, these accommodations offer comfort and convenience, opening doors to authentic experiences that will stay with you. So get ready for an unforgettable adventure as we explore what makes the Finger Lakes a captivating destination, made even more special by its unique vacation rentals.
Formed over 200 million years ago by retreating Ice Age glaciers, the Finger Lakes boast 11 freshwater lakes and encompassing forests, creating an idyllic haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Nestled in upstate New York, this region offers over 1,000 waterfalls, charming towns, vineyards, and many national and state parks. Immerse yourself in the serene natural landscape or venture into nearby cities like Syracuse or Ithaca.
The lakes' presence generates a unique climate that shields the area from harsh winters and scorching summers, making it an ideal hub for grape cultivation. Renowned for over 100 wineries and a vibrant farm-to-table culinary scene, the Finger Lakes showcase a dedication to locally sourced products.
Finger Lakes vacation rentals provide an ideal vantage point to absorb the breathtaking scenery of upstate New York. Surrounded by numerous state parks, the Finger Lakes offer endless outdoor activities—whether you choose to hike or bike the expansive trail system spanning over 950 miles, explore the "Grand Canyon of the East" at Letchworth State Park, marvel at the waterfalls of Watkins Glen State Park, or embark on food and wine tours covering everything from exquisite wines to delectable sweets and cheeses.
Nestled just 29 miles outside Rochester, Canandaigua Lake is a peaceful haven for those looking for a lakeside getaway. With numerous lakefront cottage vacation rentals available, this serene destination is unique for having one of only two islands in the expansive Finger Lakes. Explore by paddling out to Squaw Island using canoes or kayaks, a sanctuary recognized as the state's smallest Fish and Wildlife Management Area. Alternatively, enjoy some relaxation on land at the city pier. The summer atmosphere comes alive around the lake as locals engage in the traditional Native American Ring of Fire celebration.
For those pursuing outdoor adventures, Cayuga Lake, the longest of the Finger Lakes, offers many activities. Enjoy fishing or strolls through the vineyards, such as the picturesque Izzo's White Barn Winery. Cyclists will revel in the opportunity to cruise along the scenic byway or embark on a challenging ride from Ithaca, at the lake's northern tip, to the breathtaking Taughannock Falls. This cycling route caters to riders of all ages, providing a scenic escape that avoids the bustling highway.
Discover the intimacy of Honeoye Lake, one of the smallest and shallowest lakes among the eleven. Ideal for both swimming and fishing, this hidden gem is often less crowded, offering a serene escape. Vacation rentals and cottages dot the surrounding landscape, seamlessly blending with rolling hills and farmland. At the north end, Sandy Bottom Beach Park beckons visitors to bask in the sun or head to the northeast for a captivating exploration of the Wesley Hill Nature Preserve.
Embrace the distinctive Y-shape of Keuka Lake, spanning nearly 20 miles and surrounded by charming small towns. Choose lakefront rentals in Hammondsport at the southern tip for easy water access and proximity to scenic vineyards. Pulteney and Branchport exude relaxing small-town vibes amid abundant natural scenery and outdoor activities on the western side. Journey north to Keuka Park and Penn Yan, where more vineyards await exploration. While in Penn Yan, take advantage of the Keuka Lake State Park or the Finger Lakes Museum & Aquarium. The lake's eastern flank in Barrington unveils endless hiking and skiing trails, ensuring there's something for every outdoor enthusiast.
Indulge in the picturesque beauty of Skaneateles Lake, located approximately 20 miles outside Syracuse. Delight in the serene, crystal-clear cerulean waters while enjoying a carefully chosen vacation rental. Take advantage of the nearby Clift or Thayer parks for strolls or venture into the quaint and historic downtown area. Here, peruse local shops, dine at notable restaurants, and immerse yourself in the regular festivals and events that add a touch of vibrancy to this charming community.
Situated just outside the Finger Lakes region, Syracuse beckons with its unique blend of big-city attractions and a welcoming small-city feel. Immerse yourself in the excitement of an NCAA game at Syracuse University during basketball season. Discover the wonders of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, stroll through the historic Clinton Square, or explore the diverse offerings of the city's many museums. Syracuse invites you to experience a city that seamlessly blends urban vibrancy with a friendly, small-town atmosphere.
Travel just an hour north of the Finger Lakes, and you'll find the captivating city of Rochester, situated on Lake Ontario's shores. The cityscape is diverse, offering plenty of outdoor and indoor activities. Enjoy the beauty of an arboretum in Highland Park, take a leisurely stroll along the Genesee Riverway Trail, or engage with interactive exhibits at the Strong National Museum of Play. The iconic Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse stands as a reminder of the city's rich history. Known as the "festival city," Rochester hosts numerous exhibits, festivals, and events in the spring and fall, creating a continually changing landscape of cultural and entertainment delights.
Seneca Lake, the largest and deepest of the Finger Lakes, showcases nature's grandeur. Explore the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, home to the most wineries in the region. A short 25-minute drive takes you to the Finger Lakes National Forest, a sanctuary with a five-acre blueberry patch and 30 miles of trails for hiking, snowmobiling, or cross-country skiing. Choose from various lakefront or cottage vacation rentals to ensure you enjoy prime views of the beautiful landscape.
Embark on a journey through the Finger Lakes, where each destination offers a unique blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and cultural experiences. Whether you're seeking the tranquility of lakeside retreats, the excitement of vibrant cities, or the charm of vineyard-dotted landscapes, the Finger Lakes has it all. Discover the perfect mix of relaxation and exploration in this captivating region of upstate New York.
Embark on a journey through the Finger Lakes' renowned vineyards using three distinct wine trails: Keuka Lake Wine Trail , Seneca Lake Wine Trail , and Cayuga Lake Wine Trail . Each trail showcases award-winning wines, inviting you to enjoy on-site tastings complemented by year-round events with delightful food and wine pairings. Many of our Finger Lakes vacation rentals are strategically positioned along these scenic wine trails.
Explore beyond the celebrated wineries and discover the diversity of local beverages. Follow craft brew trails, savor the rich flavors of gin, whiskeys, and vodka at nearby distilleries, or enjoy both alcoholic and nonalcoholic cider crafted from the region's abundant apple orchards.
Delight your palate with a top-notch culinary experience at local restaurants, where fresh produce from nearby farms is skillfully incorporated into every dish.
Discover some of the Northeast's most breathtaking waterfalls by exploring State and National Parks. Witness the awe-inspiring Taughannock Falls, boasting an impressive 215-foot drop.
Extend your outdoor adventures beyond waterfall viewing, with the area's parks offering many activities. Whether it's hiking, biking, or picnicking, there's something for every nature enthusiast.
Embrace the lakes during the summer with activities like swimming, boating, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and rafting for an immersive waterfront experience.
Seize the opportunity with nearby paddleboard rentals, allowing you to spend a leisurely day drifting on the serene lakes.
Experience the outdoors year-round with winter activities such as downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. Dive into the details of Finger Lakes Winter Events and Festivals for a complete winter adventure.
Embark on a cultural exploration by visiting nearby cities. Discover unique museums like the Corning Museum of Glass, Branchport’s Finger Lakes Museums and Aquarium, and Rochester’s Strong National Museum of Play.
Explore the region's history by delving into the Underground Railroad system. Walk the historic Heritage Trails from Rochester to Syracuse to learn more about this crucial period.
During warmer months, immerse yourself in the delightful experience of berry and cherry picking. As autumn unfolds, indulge in the harvest season with apple, grape, and pumpkin picking.
Immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural scene with diverse festivals. Experience events ranging from arts and jazz festivals to boat regattas and outdoor concerts. Rochester, in particular, hosts numerous events throughout the year, so be sure to check the schedule while planning your trip.
Take a leisurely walk on the pier, located just beyond the New York Wine and Culinary Center. Enjoy the peaceful view and explore Boathouse Row, a group of around 80 vibrantly painted water homes.
Test your luck at Tioga Downs Casino, where you'll find 950 slot machines, or experience the exciting thrill of a horse race at the casino's race track.
Explore many fun Finger Lakes vacation activities with our curated blog topics, ensuring your getaway is filled with excitement and unforgettable experiences.
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Getting around the Finger Lakes can be a bit tricky, especially in rural areas where public transportation is limited. It's a good idea to plan your mode of travel in advance, and having a car is strongly recommended.
Driving: The easiest way to reach the Finger Lakes, especially from the northeastern U.S., is by driving. Conveniently located within a few hours of major cities, it offers flexibility in travel.
Flying: For those coming from further distances, two major airports nearby are the Greater Rochester International Airport and Hancock International Airport in Syracuse.
Bus: Greyhound buses depart from many major cities, stopping in Ithaca, Syracuse, and Rochester.
Amtrak : Trains connect to Syracuse and Rochester from major cities like New York City and Boston.
Car: Renting a car or driving your own is the most convenient way to navigate the Finger Lakes. Many small towns close to the lakes lack public transportation, and having a car provides the freedom to explore nearby towns and cities.
Water Taxi: While boat tours abound, some areas offer water taxis for convenient travel to nearby destinations, particularly suitable for exploring nearby locales.
Taxi: In larger cities like Ithaca, Syracuse, and Rochester, hailing a taxi is a quick and efficient mode of transportation.
Bus: Public buses operate in Ithaca, Syracuse, and Rochester. Additionally, vineyards often offer shuttles to and from their locations within smaller towns.
The Finger Lakes region is a unique and fantastic destination throughout the year, offering many warm and cold weather activities.
Summer or Spring: Ideal for lakefront rentals, indulge in swimming, fishing, kayaking, and lakeside hikes.
Winter: Embrace winter sports with cottage vacation rentals. Enjoy skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.
Autumn: Welcomes many festivals, making it a delightful time to explore the Finger Lakes region.