finger lakes in the fall, girl picking apples

Top 10 Things to Do in the Finger Lakes in the Fall

What’s your favorite season? If you love cool weather, pumpkin spice, and cozy sweaters, then fall is likely your favorite time of year. This season is a great relief from the summer heat and boasts some great things to do. Thinking about visiting the Finger Lakes in the fall? Let us help you plan with the family-friendly recommendations below. For more vacation inspiration, download our free Finger Lakes Vacation Guide! It’s filled with local insight into how to explore our area during each season!  

Download our Free Vacation Guide

Everything You Need to Know About the Finger Lakes in the Fall

Due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, some of the fall activities in the Finger Lakes may be adjusted or canceled to meet social distancing guidelines. We appreciate your understanding during this time!  

1. Fall Foliage  

The first two weeks of October are the peak time for leaf-peeping in the Finger Lakes region of New York. You can enjoy the Finger Lakes fall foliage from the dock of your lakeside home on Seneca Lake, Cayuga Lake, or Keuka Lake. 

The chair lift at Bristol Mountain Fall Sky Rides is one of our favorite leaf-peeping experiences. While you’re there, you can take it to the next level by coasting through the trees on the zip line at their Aerial Adventures Park!   

2. Scenic Drives  

Explore more of our region of New York with a Finger Lakes scenic driveRoute 14S is one of our favorites! This scenic drive winds through the Seneca Lake Wine Trail and Watkins Glen State Park. Both destinations are especially beautiful in the fall!   

3. U-Pick Farms   

Nothing says “autumn” quite like the taste of a freshly baked apple pie or a spiced hot toddy. Get an unbelievably fresh taste of the flavors of fall with a u-pick experience in the Finger Lakes. 

Our area is home to several orchards and farms that are great for local apple, grape, and pumpkin picking. 

4. Hiking Trails   

There’s no better time to explore the Finger Lakes by foot than on a crisp fall day. From picturesque gorges and waterfalls like those at Watkins Glen State Park to the gradual hiking trails of the Cummings Nature Center along Canandaigua Lake, there are trails to suit hikers of all skill levels. Along the way, take in the beautiful views of bright orange and yellow fall foliage!  

5. Wine & Grape Harvest   

Fall is one of the best seasons to visit the Finger Lakes Wine Country. With more than 100 wineries throughout the region, you can taste a variety of award-winning wines during their peak harvest season. The grape harvest typically begins in the first week of September and lasts through the end of October as the different varieties ripen.   

6. Naples Grape Festival and Other Fall Festivals 

Located at the southern end of Canandaigua Lake, the town of Naples hosts an annual festival that celebrates the local grape harvest at the end of September. The Naples Grape Festival features live music, wine tasting, vendors, and, of course, a myriad of local grape fare. Enjoy this delicious event to kick-start the fall season! 

Naples Grape Fest is just one of several big annual fall events in the Finger Lakes. Some others you might consider attending are Oktoberfest at Deer Run Winery, Finger Lakes Beer Festival, or a few of the farmers markets

7. Corning Museum of Glass    

There are a variety of museums to explore throughout the Finger Lakes Region of New York. For the fall season, be sure to visit the Corning Museum of Glass for their glass harvest and glass pumpkin blowing events.  

8. Corn Mazes & Pumpkin Patches   

Pumpkin patches aren’t just for the little ones. Make a race out of a corn maze or see who can carve the best pumpkin for some fun off-lake activities during your fall stay. Many local markets now offer local wine and craft beers for a delicious fall pairing!  

9. Haunted History Trail of New York State  

The Finger Lakes has a long history of tales from the beyond. Fall is the perfect opportunity to get spooked by the history of the region. Here are a few of our favorite places to snag a scare:  

  • Haunted History Trail of New York State   
  • Mansion Mysteries at Sonnenberg Gardens  
  • Bristol Mountain’s Aerial Adventures   

10. Make Yourself at Home with Finger Lakes Premier Properties   

Need a place to stay in the Finger Lakes in the fall? Look no further than Finger Lakes Premier Properties! We offer a diverse portfolio of rental homes across the Finger Lakes region. With nearly 300 rental properties to choose from, you’re sure to find a home to fit your vacation style.   

Browse a full inventory of our Finger Lakes rental homes to start planning your trip! 

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