The Finger Lakes of New York are teeming with exciting trails to explore, bridges to cross, and mountains to climb, but sometimes you need an activity that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. In this blog, we are going to talk about the best free things to do in the Finger Lakes!
Want to learn more about the Finger Lakes? Read our vacation guide for all our recommendations on things to do, places to visit, and events in the Finger Lakes of Upstate New York.
Top 10 Free Activities in the Finger Lakes
- Keuka Lake Outlet Trail – The Keuka Lake Outlet Trail & Preservation Area is a seven-mile adventure connecting Keuka and Seneca. The only natural waterway connecting any of the two Finger Lakes, there is so much to see as you walk, bike, or ski across the trail!
- Yates County History Center – The Yates County History Center is a great stop to see a mix of permanent and temporary exhibits, such as their restored carriage house.
- The Windmill Farm & Craft Market – Often described as the “friendliest” farm and craft market, this Penn Yan destination has been greeting friendly faces for over 35 years.
- Smith Memorial Park – The kids will love this park/campground on the north end of Seneca Lake. Filled with beginner hiking trails, a boat launch, and a swimming beach, there is always a great time to be had.
- Seneca Lake State Park – This 141-acre state park features a waterpark, beach, biking trails, and great fishing points on Seneca Lake.
- Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge – Found at the north end of Cayuga Lake, The 10,004-acre Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is a massive preserve made up of swamps, pools, and channels. Home to migratory birds, it is the best spot to go birdwatching in the Finger Lakes.
- Cayuga Nature Center – The Cayuga Nature Center is the best place to learn more about the Earth and explore the natural history of the Cayuga Lake area.
- Watkins Glen State Park – Watkins Glen State Park sits on the south end of Seneca Lake in the village of Watkins Glen. The park is a biodiverse gorge filled with wonders like the Rainbow Bridge and Jacob’s Ladder.
- Parish Glen / Conklin Gully – Conklin’s Gully is a challenging hike that is guaranteed to get your feet wet.
- Cayuga Museum of Art & History – The Cayuga Museum of Art & History is housed in a historic mansion in Auburn, NY. The Willard Mansion was finished in 1843 and is a great stop for cinephiles.
Stay With Us in the Finger Lakes
After you have fun at one of the free things to do in the Finger Lakes, stay inside at one of our very own Finger Lakes vacation rental properties! We offer rentals on several of the most popular Finger Lakes that can fit everything from a couple on a honeymoon to a multi-generational family unit! Click below to see all of our properties!