What is the best time to visit the Finger Lakes?

There is always something amazing to do in the Finger Lakes, New York

The Finger Lakes region in Central New York is a stunning travel destination with 9,000 square miles of land to explore. It is famous for its 11 lakes, waterfalls, and wineries. Whether you’re an avid outdoor adventurer or a wine connoisseur, there’s certainly something interesting to do in the Finger Lakes.

You might be wondering when to visit the Finger Lakes? Here, we factor in temperature, activities, scenery, and pricing so that you can choose when to visit this scenic region and the best places to visit in the Finger Lakes.

Sunrise in one of the Finger Lakes New York

Visit the Finger Lakes in the Spring

Spring in the Finger Lakes region is the off-season for tourism, which means fewer crowds and less expensive rates. But just because it isn’t the most popular time to visit, don’t assume there’s nothing to do.

Warmer weather and thawed out trails are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who want to see the spring blooms of the region but beat the crowds. And for foodies, there are many wine tours and food events during this season hosted by the multitude of local wineries and breweries.

Visit the Finger Lakes in the Summer

Summer is the peak season for tourism, so expect higher room rates than in other months. But summer is the perfect season for fresh-air fun in the region’s eleven glacial lakes.

There are water sports, boating activities, ample fishing spots, and hiking trails at your disposal. You can take advantage of the beautiful lakes that give this region its name. There is a multitude of boat rental facilities across the region, with a vessel for every traveler’s needs. Check these out to see what each lake has to offer.

Even if the fun in the sun gets tiring, there’s still a lot to explore. The region hosts many festivals that take place in the summer. Try some wine at the Finger Lakes Wine Fest, or enjoy the local culture at the Grass Roots music and dance festival and the Canandaigua Lakefront Art Show.

Visit the Finger Lakes in the Fall

House in the Finger Lakes New York

If you visit the Finger Lakes in the fall, you’ll be treated to the spectacular autumn foliage that New England is famous for. The fall leaves of Finger Falls attract visitors from all over the globe.

It’s also the harvest season for the region’s wineries, which means that it is the perfect time of year to visit for any wine connoisseurs. Enjoy the bounties of the harvest while surrounded by the beautiful natural beauty of a New England autumn.

Visit the Finger Lakes in the Winter

For those who prefer the exhilaration of snow sports, the Finger Lakes region is a premier ski, snowboard, and snowshoe location. Local wineries also boast renowned ice wines — made from grapes that freeze on the vine!

The Finger Lakes region is also perfect for holiday cheer. The Watkins Glen Village Christmas celebrations have carolers, holiday crafts, shopping, and even Santa’s reindeer. The Canandaigua Christkindl Market is a German-inspired holiday market held on the historic grounds of the Granger Homestead and hosts local artisans and live entertainment.

When Is the Best Season to Visit the Finger Lakes?

The Finger Lakes is truly a year-round traveler’s haven. If you’re traveling on a budget, the spring and winter off-season prices offer you an affordable way to explore the region.

If you’re an adventurous athlete, the summer water sports and winter snow sports will give you the excitement you need. And for food-lovers, the bountiful fall harvest is the best choice for you.

Ready to plan your trip?

No matter what the season is when you visit the Finger Lakes, it’s a region full of beauty to discover. If you’re ready to learn more about the region, visit the official tourism website. 

And if you plan to figure out your finances better, don’t forget to download our Travel Budget Template for free. 

What are the Finger Lakes?

Finger lakes seen from above by Nasa image

The Finger Lakes are a group of 11 lakes that resemble fingers due to their long and narrow shapes. Two of the 11 lakes are among the deepest in the United States – Cayuca and Seneca measure 435 feet (133 m) and 618 feet (188 m) respectively. They are in upstate New York and were created during the last ice age, from 21,000 to 10,000 years ago.

What are the names of the Finger Lakes?

Canadice, Canandaigua, Cayuga, Conesus, Hemlock, Honeoye, Keuka, Otisco, Owasco, Seneca and Skaneateles are the 11 lakes known as Finger Lakes.

What are the things to do in the Finger Lakes?

There is a wide variety of activities to do in the Finger Lakes region. On-the-water activities include swimming, fishing, kayaking and paddleboarding. Off-the-water activities include hiking, biking, besides enjoying breweries and wineries that are famous in the region, like the ones at the Keuka Lake Wine Trail.