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Finger Lakes, NY Fun: from Seneca Lake Wineries to Watkins Glen

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.

Finger Lakes
The Finger Lakes in New York State are perfect for vacation!

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…

Finger Lakes: Things to Do

The Finger Lakes, NY have lots of things to do: Seneca Lake wineries, Watkins Glen, Corning Museum of Glass, Keuka food, great hotels, & more family travel fun.

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 (the following are affiliate links) Elmira Holiday Inn (click 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.

For other ideas, check out the site for Finger Lakes Wine Country, the Finger Lakes section of NY State Tourism, and the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance.

May you drink in the many joys of the Finger Lakes!


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Sunday 10th of October 2021

We love the Finger Lakes area. There is so much there is to see and do. I think we could fill a whole week chasing waterfalls and drinking wine. We can’t wait to go back! We also really enjoyed the Corning Museum of Glass.

Lillie Marshall

Monday 11th of October 2021

Yay, fellow Finger Lakes lover!


Tuesday 11th of June 2019

I've heard such good things about the Finger Lakes! It looks fabulous.

Lillie Marshall

Tuesday 11th of June 2019

You've heard correctly!

Jody Robbins

Monday 10th of June 2019

I've never been, but isn't it an up and coming wine region, too? I wonder if Dirty Dancing was set here?

Lillie Marshall

Tuesday 11th of June 2019

It's a hugely up and coming wine region! The vineyards are a delight to visit, and you can take home bottles as well. I just looked it up and seems Dirty dancing takes place in Virginia, though.

Shira Halperin

Monday 10th of June 2019

Great article! Waterfalls, fantastic view, scenic drive, pleasant stay. All about nature's beauty.


Monday 10th of June 2019

We're pretty close to the Finger Lakes. We should check it out!

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