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!  

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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! 

browse our full list of properties

Fall U-Pick Experiences

We love fall in the Finger Lakes – golden, leafy landscapes, hay rides and corn mazes, the smell of fresh-pressed apples and grapes in the air! It’s the time of year when our lake communities slow down to celebrate the changing seasons and boast fresh produce, new wines, and harvest festivals. However, no autumnal visit to Finger Lakes is complete without a visit to one our region’s many U-pick orchards and farms. Experience the harvest for yourself and pick fresh apples, pumpkins, grapes, and more!

Here are a few of our “picks” for your U-pick experience:

Apple Barrel Orchards – Penn Yan, NY

The perfect fall day is spent just outside Penn Yan among the rows of apple trees and grape vines! Sample tasty ciders or local food truck fare. U-pick season for apples and concord grapes starts in September. Learn more!

Indian Creek Farm – Ithaca, NY

40 acres of fresh picking fun minutes from downtown Ithaca! In addition to hundreds of apples, you’ll find fresh veggies, pears, and pumpkins to pick yourself or pick up at the farm stand. Plus, kids will love the playground! Plan your visit!

Reisinger’s Apple Country – Watkins Glen, NY

This orchard encourages you to taste the apples in the field and pick your favorites to bring home! Homemade cider donuts are made fresh every weekend and the barn store is full of local flavors, like maple syrup and jellies. Learn more!

Jerome’s U-pick Fruit Farm – Naples, NY

This local favorite is one of the best places to pick your own grapes through September and October! Plus, pumpkins are plentiful here in the fall. Check their Facebook page for farm updates and crop conditions.

The Apple Station– Union Springs, NY

There is so much to experience at this vintage country store at the north end of Cayuga Lake! Pick apples in the orchard, sample apple wines and spirits in their tasting room, and watch as cider donuts are made right in front of you. Check it out!

Wickham’s Pick’n Patch & Corn Maze – Stanley, NY

This patch offers the quintessential fall experience! Pick the perfect pumpkin then find your way out of the 8-acre corn maze. There’s also a funhouse, apple blasters, a petting zoo and so much more! Plan your visit!

Grisamore Farms – Locke, NY

This fifth generation family farm sits between Cayuga and Owasco Lakes. Highlights include the massive farm store, acres of U-pick fields, Grisamore Cider Works, and a variety of kids activities. Hayrides are available throughout October and drop you off at the pumpkin patch just in time for Halloween. Learn more!

Popple Ridge Pumpkin Patch – Bradford, NY

This farm is an easy drive from Seneca and Keuka Lakes. In addition to pumpkins they offer hayrides, pedal carts, Corn Nerf, and zip lining. Bring a picnic lunch and spend the day here! Learn more.


Fall in love with the Finger Lakes this year and start planning your getaway! Our local vacation planners can help you design the perfect itinerary, packed with festivals, fall events, and more. Call us today! (888) 231-9470