Everything You Need to Know About 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

Top 10 Things to Do in 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. You can enjoy the Finger Lakes fall foliage from the dock of your lakeside home or on an outdoor adventure. 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 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. 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   

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! 

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.  

Even better, fall kicks-off our off-season sales! Take advantage of the September Secret, when many of our homes begin to offer a one-night free special. Click here to see if your favorite home is running any special offers during your stay! 

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

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

Where to Find the Best Finger Lakes Fall Foliage

The Finger Lakes region is famous for its incredible displays of orange, reds, yellows, and browns during the fall season. Leaf peepers and photographers come from all over the country to enjoy the amazing sights. Let Finger Lakes fall foliage become part of your annual tradition. Here are some of the best places to see the foliage! If you need help planning the rest of your trip to the Finger Lakes, download our free Vacation Guide. It’s full of our personal recommendations for everything in the region, from restaurants to hiking trails and more! It’s the perfect all-in-one guide to this area we call home, and we’re so excited to share it with you. Download it today!

Where to see Finger Lakes Fall Foliage

Canandaigua Lake

Start your leaf peeping adventure at the northernmost tip of Canandaigua Lake and head down West Lake Road. This drive is enough of an opportunity to see some incredible foliage, but it also conveniently takes us to our next stop on the tour of trees.

About 15 minutes into your drive south, you’ll come across Onanda Park. This quiet, lakefront park in the town of Canandaigua is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic lunch or an easy stroll. One of our favorite things to do here is to sit in some of the available chairs and gaze out on the water. However, if you’re looking for a great hike, we’ve got the inside scoop. There are 73 acres of Uplands located across the road. You can hike two miles of hiking trail over the hillside and encounter gorgeous vistas.

After your hike, continue to explore on Route 21S towards Naples, you will discover a vast array of photo-worthy sights as you climb and descend the hills surrounding Canandaigua Lake. Along your ride grab a snack at one of the many fruit stands offering freshly picked grapes, or better yet, a grape pie from the infamous Monica’s Pies just outside Naples.  Fortunately, this area also neighbors many of our vacation rentals that fit the bill for the perfect foliage-oriented weekend. 

Seneca Lake

Another wonderful scenic drive begins in Geneva, near Seneca Lake. Drive along NY 14 South and look at the stunning views of the lake on the left and the trees on the right. This road continues to Watkins Glen, where you can explore the town or head to the state park, which has some of the best hiking trails in the Finger Lakes. Explore the Gorge Trail, which is famous for its winding staircases and views.

Cayuga Lake

Cayuga Lake State Park is ideal for families traveling with small kids. The little ones will love playing on the swing sets and other equipment, and you’ll love the priceless views!

If you’re in the mood for a glass of wine, the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail is the perfect opportunity for another scenic drive. Wineries like Toro Run or Thirsty Owl are perfect places to stop and enjoy the view and a glass of wine!

Keuka Lake

The Keuka Outlet Trail is a rail-trail in the heart of the Finger Lakes. This path stretches between Keuka and Seneca Lake, with plenty of opportunities to see the vistas for which the Finger Lakes are famous, including waterfalls and historic buildings.

Stay with Finger Lakes Premier Properties

Are you ready to experience the Finger Lakes fall foliage? We’ve got just the homes you need! Finger Lakes Premier Properties has the best selection of vacation rentals around, including many rentals that are just a short distance from the sites above! For example, Stone Crest, our gorgeous six-bathroom, four-bathroom estate is just two miles from the Keuka Outlet Trail. If you’d prefer to spend your time in Watkins Glen, book Dean Lake House, a four-bedroom, two-bathroom property which is less than a mile from town. The possibilities are endless!

Check out our full selection of rentals and book today! We look forward to having you.