Going Off Road | New York's Finger Lakes

With the excitement surrounding New York City and the grandeur and romance of Niagara Falls, much of the regions in between go unnoticed. While NYC and the falls are both wonderful, New York has so much more to offer in the way of adventure and natural beauty. That’s where the Finger Lakes region comes in.

Image Source: TripAdvisor

Image Source: TripAdvisor

The Finger Lakes is a group of eleven narrow lakes in Central New York, bordered to the north by Lake Ontario and to the south by Pennsylvania. From waterfalls and wine trails to art and history, the Finger Lakes region has a little something for everyone. There are so many ways to see the area! It's a wonderful road trip destination, but some of the best ways to see the sights don't require a car at all. So while this is still a part of our Fall Road Trip series, here are 7 creative ways to experience the Finger Lakes!

1. Hiking

Image Source: HikeThruNY

Image Source: HikeThruNY

The Finger Lakes are home to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in all of northeastern America. With over one hundred waterfalls in the region, every hike, no matter the difficulty, is sure to bring you to some dazzling sights. You can find a map of the major falls here

2. Kayaking

Image Source: Wander the Map

Image Source: Wander the Map

If you’d rather be on the lakes than hiking around them, try renting a kayak for the afternoon, and explore the waters! There’s over a hundred miles of shoreline, as each lake flows into the next. Stephanie Cohen wrote about the absolute best places to paddle the Finger Lakes here

3. Flying

Image Source: ShutterStock

Image Source: ShutterStock

See the lakes in a whole new way by taking a scenic airplane ride. From the air, it is quite apparent where the name “Finger Lakes” comes from, as you get a glimpse of the long, digit-like waters sprawling across the region. Christina, a blogger on “My View From the Middle Seat” wrote about her experience flying over the lakes. You can read it here

4. Sailing

Image Source: Schooner Excursions

Image Source: Schooner Excursions

A popular weekend pastime of many New Yorkers, sailing on the Finger Lakes is a great way to spend time. If you aren’t an experienced sailor – no worries – many companies offer chartered tours. Enjoy a day out on the water, relaxing and spending time with your traveling companions.

5. Gliding

Image Source: Jon Irlbeck

Image Source: Jon Irlbeck

Hang-gliding is perhaps the most adventurous way to experience the lakes. While some may not be up for such an adrenaline-pumping activity, it is surely exhilarating. Just as there are charters available for sailing, there are plenty of tandem hang-gliders available for hire. And for the more docile in nature, there’s also hot air balloons for rent! 

6. Dining

Image Source: Finger Lakes Visitor Connection

Image Source: Finger Lakes Visitor Connection

Besides the lakes, this region is most famous for its vineyards, wineries, and fine dining. Pick your favorite cuisine, and follow “the trail.” The Finger Lakes is known especially for its wine trails, which are a collection of several wineries and breweries, all working together to provide visitors with an authentic and local experience. 

7. Learning

Image Source: FingerLakes.com

Image Source: FingerLakes.com

If the outdoors isn’t exactly your cup of tea, the Finger Lakes region has numerous museums on many interesting topics. Explore thousands of years of artistic history at the Corning Museum of Glass, or express your inner child at The Strong National Museum of Play!


In what exciting way will you decide to explore the Finger Lakes?


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