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Each lake is connected by rivers ultimately leading into Lake Ontario. The Erie Canal runs through the Finger Lakes to the north. The Cayuga-Seneca Canal connects Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake to the Erie Canal in Montezuma. Beyond the major waterways, there are numerous smaller lakes, ponds and tributaries — all offering an enormous variety of water sports: fishing, swimming, boating, kayaking and more.

The region’s great outdoors is open for hiking, biking and camping at New York’s great state parks, from “The Grand Canyon of the East," Letchworth State Park, to Watkins Glen gorges to Taughannock Falls, a spectacular waterfall that drops 121 meters into a basin. Beside Lake Ontario are the great Chimney Bluffs.

Most well known are the area’s wine trails. These trails showcase some of the nation’s premier wineries, and tastings are often not limited to just wine – beer, distilled spirits, juices and ciders can be sipped throughout the region. There’s a trail for every interest: art trails, history and museum trails, the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail, the Finger Lakes Beer Trail, the Seaway Trail, and trails along the Erie Canal. Travel between Cortland, Ithaca and Owego to explore Natural Choices – an organic and eco-friendly trail.

Don’t miss the New York Wine and Culinary Center in Canandaigua or the original home of Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse. The foods of the Finger Lakes are legendary – grape pies, garbage plates, ice cream from Ithaca (home of the original Sundae) and fresh farm market – found roadside and in many farm and craft markets.

Complementing all this natural beauty are cities, towns and villages offering treasures of history and culture:

  • Syracuse is home to the Great New York State Fair.

  • Rochester has the Strong National Museum of Play and the George Eastman International Museum of Photography.

  • Corning showcases 3,500 years of glass making at the Museum of Glass.

  • Elmira celebrates its ties to Mark Twain and nearby is the National Soaring Museum.

  • Auburn is known as “history’s hometown” and has a vibrant arts scene.

  • The Women’s Rights National Historic Park can be found in Seneca Falls.

  • Visit the picturesque town of Hammondsport, named “America’s Best Small Town."

  • In Watkins Glen, check out Watkins Glen International for auto racing on its world-famous track, or head to the park and hike among the waterfalls and gorges.

Summer, winter, spring or fall. On the water or on the slopes. In the woods or through the vineyards, no matter what you’re looking for on your vacation, you’ll find it in the Finger Lakes.

Fun Fact

Aerial view of Skaneateles Lake in New York state
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The math is off: 11 lakes make up the Finger Lakes, so named because they spread out like thin fingers across central New York state.

Hot Air Balloon over Asheville, North Carolina
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