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

Quarantined in the Finger Lakes

Creating memorable experiences in the Finger Lakes isn’t only for the out-of-towners. Here at Finger Lakes Premier Properties, we strive to be a resource for everyone to enjoy their time in the our picturesque region. During this period of social distancing and limited travel, in order to #flattenthecurve, we’ve provided some inspiration for making the most of our time apart.

Take A Breath of Fresh Air

Local and New York State Parks are still open, but visit responsibly. As Spring weather welcomes warmer temperatures, you’re bound to see more people stretching their legs at public parks. Luckily for us, there is a plethora of parks with great trails for hikers of all levels.

The New York State Parks have only closed access to playgrounds, athletic courts, and sporting fields to reduce the spread of COVID-19. To explore a park near you, visit their website.

Another one of our favorite resources for creating new adventures is GoFingerLakes.org. You can download the app or visit their site to find the best spots for hiking, biking, paddling, and outdoor recreation across our 6,000-square-mile area. On this site, you can even use their advance search for the best locations for waterfalls, pet-friendly trails, bird watching, and more.

The Lake is Open!

It may be obvious, but the lakes offer great activities for responsible social distancing. Take advantage of the free entertainment they provide from paddling to fishing.

No matter what species of fresh water fish you’re looking for, the Finger Lakes has it. For family outings you can cast from most public and state parks for a lakeside activity. For the serious anglers, different lakes are better for certain types of fish. For example, Seneca Lake attracts fishermen for its Perch and Trout and hosts tournaments each year. In addition to the lakes, the ponds and streams throughout the region also offer plentiful opportunities for casting a line or net, which can be brought home for a fresh dinner. For more information about fishing in the Finger Lakes, click here. Before you grab your fishing pole, take a look at New York State regulations and licensing by clicking here.

If you own a kayak or canoe, take advantage of your extra time and get paddling. If you don’t live lakeside, you can launch from parks scattered along the shores of each lake. For fresh scenery and the chance to view wildlife, paddle an inlet where you can also find some great fishing spots. Click here for resources on where to launch.

Savor the Flavors

Just because you can’t sit down in your favorite restaurant doesn’t mean you have to fend for yourself at every meal. Create a special evening or make a picnic out of it by ordering take out from local restaurants. Below you can review menus of favored venues around our region offering to-go or delivery options.

Canandaigua Restaurants with Take Out:

Naples Restaurants with Take Out:

Penn Yan Restaurants with Take Out:

Hammondsport Restaurants with Take Out:

Geneva Restaurants with Take Out:

Watkins Glen Restaurants with Take Out:

Seneca Falls Restaurants with Take Out:

Ithaca Restaurants with Take Out:

(check back as we will be updating this page with more options)

Don’t forget the wine and beer!

You may not be able to do a tasting on site, but you can still purchase your favorite bottles and growlers while supporting our local beverage industry. Find complete lists by visiting the wine trail and beer trail links below.

We hope everyone stays healthy, safe, and connected during this unprecedented time. Join us on Facebook as we will be posting live photos, videos, and updates from our picturesque region.