A Wonderful New York State Vacation Idea…
One of my favorite family travel adventures of the past decade was to the Finger Lakes region of New York State. In this article, I’m at last pulling together all my tips on what to see and do in the Finger Lakes: from the canyons of Watkins Glen, to the Tiffany windows of the Corning Museum of Glass.
I highly recommend rolling through this area — be it for a short peek or a full vacation. At just 4 hours driving from NYC, 4.5 hours from Pittsburgh, and under 6 hours from Boston (fit in a visit to the Western Massachusetts gems of Bash Bish Falls and Mount Greylock on the way!), the Finger Lakes offer more than enough activities to keep you entertained for a week or more.
To help with trip planning, here are my recommendations for..
Watkins Glen State Park
I didn't realize how impressive a state park could be until I walked the ravines and gorges of Watkins Glen State Park. The trail even takes you UNDER a waterfall! Do not miss this gem. Click through for more information about hiking logistics for kids and adults, as there are options for most.
The Corning Museum of Glass
One of my favorite museums in the world is this collection of glass art from throughout the world, spanning history. Yes, there are also Chihuly pieces and Tiffany windows, but there are also surprises that delight, and hands-on activities for all ages.
Keuka and Seneca Lake Wineries
Whether or not you drink wine, these two Finger Lakes vineyards are particularly beautiful and welcoming. The competition is tight for the best New York State wineries, but these two are in the running for top prize.
The Town of Elmira in New York State
Rich in Mark Twain history (how did I not realize his ties to the Finger Lakes?!) and bustling with arts and festivals, we chose Elmira for our hotel base on this vacation. In addition to a fascinating trolley tour, it also has an arts festival and nature center that's ideal for children.
Make Your Own Glass Project in Corning, NY
Another excellent base for Finger Lakes exploration is the town of Corning, NY. It is known for its glass museum, but also a splendid spot to wander and eat. This article shows our hands-on glass making class.
Fabulous Finger Lakes Restaurants
Imagine eating a locally-grown meal while sitting on a patio next to a glistening blue lake, under fluffy clouds... Here are a few restaurants and cafes to find that bliss!
Finger Lakes Hotels:
Though we hadn’t stayed in a Holiday Inn for years, our family had a really excellent and affordable stay in the Elmira Holiday Inn (click that affiliate link to see current rates and deals) and found the location worked well for all of the attractions above.
Other friends have enjoyed being based in Corning, NY. The town is so hip and so central! Check out this affiliate list of the best reviewed Corning hotels and deals.
If we go back to the Finger Lakes as a family or for a romantic getaway, however — and I hope we do — I think the best way to do it is to rent a house on one of the (wait for it…) LAKES!
I mean, you can’t really rock out a region with “Lakes” in the title and not take advantage of that sparkling blue water, right? My go-to for condo and home rentals is Vrbo, and an easy click to that affiliate link will bring you right to a map to see the sweetest lakehouse deals in the Finger Lakes. Happy vacationing!
What are YOUR Finger Lakes Thoughts?
There are so many other Finger Lakes attractions beyond this list that I haven’t visited yet (Letchworth State Park and Ithaca, are your ears burning?) and I’d love to hear what YOU would add to this list.
May you drink in the many joys of the Finger Lakes!
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