Spring is often overlooked as a time to visit the Finger Lakes, but for many travelers it’s the perfect way to cure cabin fever lingering from the long winter months. Plan a wine tour, fishing trip or weekend getaway with fewer crowds, lower rates, and our 3for2 Discounts. Our vacation rentals still feature the same great views and gorgeous sunsets, and are often equipped with cool weather activities, like billiard games and hot tubs.
In addition to spending quality time at your lakeside home, here are some suggested itineraries for your spring stay:
The Naples area is full of glens and gullies with beautiful waterfalls to experience – the best and easiest to access being in Grimes Glen State Park. Post hike, head into Naples for a tour of the old Witmer Wine Complex, home to Hazlitt’s Red Cat Wine Cellars. Your spring visit should include checking out the Bristol Valley Theater – more information on their Swing into Spring series is coming soon – and stopping at Monica’s Pies for a famous grape pie. Head north for dinner at Brew & Brats at Arbor Hill Winery and enjoy dessert back at the lake house!
Recommended Rentals: Deer View, Glen Hollow
There’s something for everyone in Downtown Canandaigua! Spend all day discovering your new favorite shops and restaurants or plan your spring visit around one of these attractions:
- Stop and smell the flowers at the Spring Wildflower & Orchid Show at Sonnenberg Mansion & Gardens. Celebrate the arrival of spring with guided tours, educational talks and family activities. A true history buff will want to continue onto the Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum and the Ontario County Historical Society.
- See what New York Kitchen has going on during your stay. This culinary center is home to a tasting room, restaurant, and food truck and holds events year round, like cooking classes, Beer Bingo, comedy nights and more.
- Let your favorite wineries come to you! Spend your evening strolling around downtown and sampling local wine and food on the Canandaigua Wine Walk.
Recommended Rental: Sunny Slope
Spring Events on Canandaigua Lake: Spring Carnival Weekend at Bristol Mountain, Spring Wildflower & Orchid Show, Canandaigua Wine Walk
A day of hiking and bird watching at Montezuma Wildlife Refuge is naturally followed by a spirit tasting at Hidden Marsh Distillery at Montezuma Winery. Bring home a bottle of your favorite to make craft cocktails next to the lake.
Recommended Rental: Lakeside Getaway
Experience the real “Bedford Falls” – Seneca Falls is dedicated to being the inspiration for Its A Wonderful Life. This small town is also home to the Women’s Rights National Historical Park and countless museums and historic landmarks. Take a sunset walk along the canal and end the evening with small plates at 84 Fall.
Recommended Rental: Stonepoint
Many Cayuga Lake Wine Trail stops are clustered at the northern end of the lake – take a whole day and try them all, from Swedish Hill to Thirsty Owl. For the craft beer fan, there’s Fleur de Lis Brew Works, a French inspired beer parlor, and further south, Lost Kingdom Brewery and Firehouse Distillery, which has an actual firetruck mounted to the wall – the perfect spot for a group photo!
Recommended Rental: Blue Heron Lodge
A hike to the iconic waterfall at Taughannock Falls State Park is a must for any Cayuga Lake stay. While near the town of Trumansburg, stop into Americana Vineyards and Bacchus Brewing for tastings or lunch at the Crystal Lake Cafe. Schedule your stay during Maple Weekend at Wellspring Forest Farm to take a sugar bush tour and taste local sap and syrup made right on the farm while enjoying live music and food.
Recommended Rental: Camp Lotta Bull
Ithaca is a city like no other. Be sure to check out the Ithaca Farmers Market in the morning, then hike the roaring spring rapids of Buttermilk Falls. Head across the street to Ithaca Beer Co. for pub fare and tasty brews or over to the Commons for a unique shopping and dining experience.
Recommended Rentals: Lakeview Landing, The Lily Pad
If you’re staying on the East side of Cayuga Lake, be sure to check out the village of Aurora, home to Mackenzie-Childs – take a tour of the Farmhouse and shop their collection of eclectic home décor. Get lunch at the Fargo Bar & Grill, then head up to Long Point Winery and Aurora Ale & Lager Co. for libations. End your day at Treleaven Winery for their Barrel Room Music Series or Trivia Nights – they’re open much later than the average Finger Lakes winery.
Recommended Rental: Aurora Escape
Spring Travel Tip: April and May offer the perfect conditions to fish for Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, brown trout and northern pike on Cayuga Lake and its tributaries.
Spring Events on Cayuga Lake: Bacon on the Lakein, Wine & Herb Festival, Maple Fest
A day trip along Route 20A will bring you to Golden Oak Alpaca Farm and Store for local goods and alpaca products, Wizards of Clay for handmade artisan pottery, then land you at Noble Shepherd’s Brewery for local craft beer tastings and live music every Saturday night.
Recommended Rental: Riesling Rod & Reel
Start your Sunday with the ultimate Bloody Mary from The Honeoye Boathouse Grill. This over-the-top cocktail comes complete with a giant lobster tail and half a cheeseburger! Walk off brunch with a spring hike through Harriet Hollister Spencer State Park, offering the most breathtaking and instagrammable views of Honeoye Lake.
Recommended Rentals: Heart of Honeoye, Good Vibe Getaway
Spring events on Honeoye Lake: Spring Carnival Weekend at Bristol Mountain
Penn Yan is clad with modern amenities and old world charm. Start your day with breakfast at the Penn Yan Diner followed by a tour of the historic Oliver House Museum. Take a stroll through Downtown and shop stores stocked with locally crafted goods, like Staving Artist Woodwork – they use the staving from wine barrels to create home décor and furniture that is uniquely Finger Lakes. Travel just outside the town’s limits for a tasting at Abandon Brewing. Take in unobstructed views of Keuka Lake for as far as the eyes can see while the trees are just starting to bud.
Recommended Rentals: At The Lake, Maya’s Place, Crooked Lake Lodge
A day trip to Hammondsport, the “Coolest Small Town in America,” is a must this spring. Venture out to the Finger Lakes Boating Museum and Glenn H. Curtiss Aviation Museum before stopping into the Brewery of Broken Dreams for a tasting. If you prefer wine, no worries! Nearby wineries include Bully Hill Vineyards, Heron Hill Winery and Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars. Stop into Crooked Lake Creamery for a sweet treat mid-day.
Recommended Rental: Pinot Point
Spring Travel Tip: Travel by boat once OnKeuka Water Taxi starts their Spring 2019 season!
Spring Events on Keuka Lake: Keuka in Bloom, Tapas & Wine Weekend
Go fishing! Geneva is the “Lake Trout Capital of the World” and host to the National Lake Trout Derby on Seneca Lake – plan your stay in May to get in on the action. For excellent fishing anytime this spring, cast off the dock of your lakeside rental or charter a fishing boat for the day with an experienced guide.
Recommended Rental: Sunrise on Harmony
Take a day to explore walkable downtown Geneva – stop into the quirky shops that line the streets, see what’s happening at Smith Opera House, or taste your way through the diverse dining options, from English-American Beef and Brew to The Elephant Thai restaurant. Walk to downtown breweries, like Lake Drum and Twisted Rail, then cross the street and watch the sunset over Seneca Lake at the newly reconstructed waterfront park. The lake view goes on for miles!
Recommended Rental: Lake Orchard View
You can make a day out of tasting at the northernmost Seneca Lakes wineries, including Three Brothers Estates, Zugibe Vineyards, Ravines Wine Cellars, and White Springs Winery, to name a few. Make Ventosa Vineyards your final Sunday stop for live music, crispy oven-baked pizza and gorgeous views from their Tuscan villa style patio.
Recommended Rental: Heron House
Watkins Glen State Park is worth seeing in any season. Water levels may be higher than usual due to winter snow melt, creating more intense cascading waterfalls. Don’t miss the Spring Run of Rainbow Trout on Catherine Creek this spring for some of the best fishing of the year! Spend the rest of your day in downtown Watkins Glen – pick up locally roasted coffee for the morning from Seneca Sunrise Coffee or stop into Babcha’s Pierogies, a hidden gem serving meals you swear were cooked by your grandma!
Recommended Rental: SailWinds
Stretch your legs and dirty some paws with a spring hike through Finger Lakes National Forest. Nearby is a pocket of some of the Finger Lake’s best breweries – Lucky Hare, Two Goats, Grist Iron, and Scale House Brewing, all within minutes of each other and each with their own stunning views of Seneca Lake. Best of all, many of these places welcome your furry friends!
Recommended Rental: Absolutely Shore
Just west of Watkins Glen sits a 175-acre Farm Sanctuary. Opening back up in May, you can take guided tours and spend the day with happy, healthy farm animals. They also offer helpful resources for cruelty free dining during your stay.
Recommended Rental: FairWinds
Spring Travel Tip: Available through the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, the Polar Passport and Wine Weekday passports allow to explore wine country during the off-season without breaking the bank. Learn more!
Spring events on Seneca Lake: Seneca 7’s, Pasta and Wine Weekend, Spring Wine and Cheese Weekend, National Lake Trout Derby, Spring Run of Rainbow Trout
For more recommendations and a complete list of all there is do in the Finger Lakes this spring, contact our local vacation planners.