If you’ve never visited the Finger Lakes during the winter, you’re missing out on an amazing trip! Our quiet upstate New York region transforms into a beautiful snow-covered wonderland. Whether you’re taking a holiday vacation or you’re visiting early in the new year, there are so many wonderful things to do during the coldest months. Preview some of our favorite winter activities in the Finger Lakes and events and start planning your next vacation today! If you want even more great things to do, download our free Vacation Guide.
Winter Activities in the Finger Lakes
Conduct Your Own Finger Lakes Winter Wine Tour
The Finger Lakes Wine Region is one of the best in the nation. The climate and soil in the region create the perfect environment for growing grapes. Winter is a fantastic time to visit area wineries. You can sip a glass of delicious wine and enjoy an outstanding view of the snow-covered land. There are still plenty of awesome events you can attend at wineries in winter, so check out the Finger Lakes Wine Region calendar before you visit!
Go Ice Fishing
It may surprise you to learn that winter is one of the best seasons for fishing in the Finger Lakes. When the lakes partially or completely freeze over, our beautiful lakes become a hotspot for lake, rainbow, and brown trout as well as landlocked salmon. Keuka Lake is especially good for ice fishing, so check out our selection of rentals along the lake and book today!
Strap on Some Skis
The Finger Lakes region is known for having excellent skiing potential. The cold bodies of water help to create “lake-effect snow,” which is the best type for winter sports like snowshoeing or cross-country or downhill skiing. There are two excellent ski resorts in the area: Bristol Mountain Ski Resort and Greek Peak Mountain Resort. Both offer fantastic rental programs, downhill mountain trails, and Nordic skiing centers. If you’d prefer to explore some of our beautiful state parks, consider snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Hammond Hill State Forest and Letchworth State Park are both excellent sites for Nordic skiing. The trails within both parks are well-maintained, perfect for beginners or experienced skiers.
Finger Lake Winter Events
Enjoy the Finger Lakes in December
It’s a Wonderful Life Celebration
One of the best Cayuga Lake events is the It’s a Wonderful Life Celebration. The town-wide festival takes place in Seneca Falls, which was said to be the inspiration for the classic film. Visitors can enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, special screenings of the film, holiday-themed competitions, and charity events that benefit local groups!
Watkins Glen Village Christmas
One of the most iconic holiday events is the Wakins Glen Village Christmas. It has been running for over 25 years in early December. Village Christmas includes a Dr. Seuss parade, fireworks, and arts and crafts. It also includes a meet and greet with Santa and Mrs. Claus! This Seneca Lake event is perfect for the whole family.
Visit the Dryden Theatre for a Movie Screening
End your year on a good note! Eastman’s Museum Dryden Theatre hosts a fantastic New Year’s Eve Dinner & a Movie. Enjoy a holiday-themed meal at the museum’s cafe before you watch a classic piece of cinema. Tickets to the screening and dinner are just $25 and include food, a beverage, dessert, and admission.
Enjoy a Delicious Dinner at New York Kitchen
The Finger Lakes is home to some of the best restaurants in the world. Enjoy some fine dining cuisine at the Dr. Konstantin Frank Sparkling Winemaker Dinner. This special dinner welcomes a representative from Dr. Frank’s Wine Cellars to educate guests on their various sparkling wines. Meanwhile, you’ll enjoy a multi-course dinner. Each of the dishes pairs perfectly with a delicious wine from the cellar. Treat yourself and reserve your table!
Visit the Finger Lakes in January
Get a Deal at the Bargain Bash
Each year, Seneca Lake Wine Trail launches their event season with the Bargain Bash. This week-long sale allows wineries to clear their inventory and prepare for the upcoming harvest. You can visit participating wineries to score fantastic deals on everything from bottles of wine to souvenirs! Check the website to see a list of participating wineries. If you’d like a preview of some of our favorite spots on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, check out our blog!
Don’t Miss the Finger Lakes in February
Free Fishing Days
As we said, ice fishing is a favorite activity in the Finger Lakes during the colder months. For out-of-state guests who may not have a New York State fishing license, the Free Fishing Weekend is an excellent opportunity to cast your line without too much paperwork. The first Free Fishing Weekend typically takes place in mid-February. These weekends are popular so be sure to book your home along the lake quickly!
Vintage, Vines and Valentines
Head to the Naples Valley Visitors Association to enjoy a romantic afternoon! The annual Vintage, Vines, and Valentines event encourages visitors to explore the cozy village of Naples, NY. You’ll find anything from local wines and beer to kid-friendly activities and homemade chocolates. There are horse-drawn wagon rides, a bonfire, and an open mic as well. This is an excellent festival for guests of all ages!
Keuka Lake Wine Trail Wine and Cheese Lovers Weekend
Another great Valentine’s Day event is the Wine and Cheese Weekend from Keuka Lake Wine Trail. It showcases two of the most popular products from the Finger Lakes. When you purchase a ticket, you’ll get to visit various area wineries (and receive a complimentary Keuka Lake Wine Trail glass) and enjoy a sample the winery’s drink that’s perfectly paired with cheeses. Don’t miss one of the best Keuka lake events! For more information on local dairies and creameries, read our blog on the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail!
Stay with Finger Lakes Premier Properties
There’s no better place to enjoy a Finger Lakes winter getaway than in one of our stunning rental homes! Discover the widest selection of beautiful lakeside and off-lake rentals when you browse through our inventory. From small cabins to luxurious accommodations, you’ll have no trouble relaxing from your day of enjoying Finger Lakes winter activities.
Consider booking Bluestone Cottage, our waterside property perched on the edge of Keuka Lake. If you’re interested in ice fishing, you won’t find a better place to stay in the region! This beautiful four-bedroom, one-bathroom home is the perfect place for a family vacation or getaway with friends. Imagine sipping your coffee on the private balcony or roasting marshmallows in the fire pit.
Browse the rest of our accommodations and book today! We look forward to having you.