A Distinctive Guide to the Finger Lakes Region, New York

New York's Finger Lakes region stretches across 11 lakes in an area once covered by glaciers. Seneca Lake (618 feet) and Cayuga Lake (435 feet) are two of the most popular lakes which face Cornell University in Ithaca. This region has many lakes, which provide a variety of activities in the Finger Lakes. It also boasts several gorges, natural pools, waterfalls, and state parks. Most famously, hundreds of wineries and cideries. This region is a great place to visit in Upstate New York. It's a beautiful spot for wine and

food lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and history/culture buffs. Likely, you will not make it back to the Finger Lakes if this is your first trip. You’ll be coming back for more.Here’s a complete guide to Finger Lakes, broken down by topic, if you consider a vacation to these fantastic places.

A Quick Review of the Finger Lakes

Because of their unique shapes, the Finger Lakes got their names. These narrow, long lakes are located in a valley/basin where hundreds of meters-deep glaciers have eroded. This vast area covers approximately 9,000 miles and extends across New York State and south as the Pennsylvania border. This area is home to many Iroquois tribes, including Seneca and Cayuga nations.

These lakes cover a large portion of New York State. This Finger Lakes travel blog post will focus on Keuka and Seneca. These lakes are the most well-known and best, to begin with, if you’re first traveling to the Finger Lakes.

Staying in the Finger Lakes

Let’s get started. Seneca Lake and Keuka Lake are the best and most active spots to stay in the Finger Lakes. For budget accommodation and luxury, Airbnb and boutique hotels are great options. We have created a guide listing the top Finger Lakes towns and lakes. Here are some quick hotel suggestions if you need them.

Keuka Lake

Penn Yan

Outdoor lovers can hike or bike the Keuka Lake Outlet Trail. Follow the Penn Yan Keuka Lake Wine trail if you are a wine lover. Stay in Penn Yan at Los Gatos Bed and Breakfast or Trimmer House Bed and Breakfast. This stunning luxury cabin, ideally located between Penn Yann & Geneva, offers a beautiful Airbnb experience. It has the best of both Keuka Lake & Seneca Lake.


This charming area has an aviation museum and antique shops close to Keuka Lake. Watkins Glen, Corning, and Corning can be reached within 20 minutes. Moonshadow Bed & Breakfast is a charming bed & breakfast close to many wineries.

Cayuga Lake

Cayuga Lake is equally famous for its unique reasons. It is home to the well-known college town of Ithaca and close to many wineries, tours, fantastic food, and other attractions. There are many things to do in this area.


Ithaca is a great place to call home in the Finger Lakes. Ithaca College and Cornell University are in this highly educated, progressive community. Glamping at Firelight Camps is a great way to spend a memorable time in the natural world. The Argos Hotel is a charming boutique hotel in Ithaca that offers glamping.


This region is my favorite in the Finger Lakes due to its beauty, farmlands, and proximity to places like the Finger Lakes Winery, Americana Winery, and Thirsty Owl. From here, you can drive 15-20 minutes to Seneca Lake.

Skaneateles Lake

You will also find many historical sites. Hazelhurst, a gorgeous yellow mansion on the lake, can be viewed. You can also visit the James and Lydia Canning Fuller House, which was built in 1815. It was once part of the Underground Railroad. The Skaneateles Historic District, which includes the charming and intimate downtown, is the most popular. After a long day of shopping and strolling, grab dinner and a drink at Elephant and Dove. This restaurant serves healthy and delicious food. For a traditional bed and breakfast, Sherwood Inn was established in 1807.

Watkins Glen State Park

Watkins Glen State Park, the most famous in the area, is a must-see for anyone who loves waterfalls, gorges, and hiking. The park’s most famous attraction is the rainbow bridge. It is located about one mile from the entrance, on relatively flat ground and some steps. Avoid crowds and get there early on a weekday to avoid the crowds.

There are many other trails that you can explore in the park, which is why they rarely have visitors. The South Rim trail is a great option. It takes you to a beautiful forest that extends for approximately another mile, where you can view a creek up high.