The Finger Lakes is located in the Northwest region of New York State. The two known areas between are Rochester and Buffalo; this lake region does look like fingers. Finger Lakes offer many different attractions; this weekend itinerary brings you to dramatic rocky gorges, waterfalls, and wine!
There are five lakes in the Finger Lake, the most known attraction to the area is Watkins Glen by the Seneca Lake. Seneca Lake is known for Watkins Glen and the Seneca Wine Trail. I have a blog post just about the Seneca Win trail you can check out here, or an in-depth post on Watkins Glen State Park blog post to check out here.
While both of these attractions are stunning and beautiful in their own way, I was amazed by other hidden gems I found in the local area. The local area has spectacular attractions!
Distance from NYC: 228 miles (~4 hours)
Distance from Buffalo, NY: 146 miles (~2.5 hours)
When to visit: Spring and Summer, in the fall the gorge trail at Watkins Glen is limited
Why go: Wineries, Watkins Glen State Park, and hidden waterfall spots
Supplies Needed for Camping Weekend:
Tent, I use a Kelty Tent
Sleeping Bag, Nemo Mummy Bag
Air Mattress, USR Mattress
A tool to blow up Air Mattress
Self-inflating mat, REI inflatable mat
Camping pillow, Welty pillow
One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is having a different list for camping of all the things you need. There should be a list for sleeping gear, hiking gear, cooking gear, and go-to meals. It can be life-changing.
Needed Cooking Items:
Coleman Classic Two-Burner Stove
GSI 10' frying pan
GSI Outdoors Glacier Base Camper Cookset - Medium
Camping Cooking Utensils - spatula, knives, cutting board, scissors, and tongs
Sponge and dish soap
Coffee or espresso maker
Meal Ideas for a campsite:
Eggs, pancakes, and pastries
Nachos over a fire, something I learned from our fail of making nachos, a lid is super important
Tacos, this is a great and easy meal to make at a campsite.
Day 1 - Travel Day and Seneca Wine Tour
Arrive, check-in, and set up camp at the Watkins Glen KOA. After having
Fox Run Winery:
On the west side of Seneca Lake, it is elevated over the water, which gives stunning views of the lake. There is an archway that frames the property nicely along with the lake. From the archway, you get views of the gravel parking lot next to the estate, picnic area, and vineyard.
We didn't get food, but the cafe food smelled amazing. If you have time, get food, have a picnic, and get a bottle of wine and enjoy the space! Unfortunately, we had a 3 PM reservation and a 25-minute drive.
Three Brothers Wineries and Estates:
There are three different wineries to you can make a reservation at. Stony Lonesome Wine Cellars, Passion Feet Wine Barn, and Bagg Dare Wine Company are the wineries on the property and one brewery, War Horse Brewing Company.
If you want to go to all the locations, you can make a reservation for $40 for Friday to Sunday. If you wish to visit a specific area, it's only $15. Monday through Thursday, you do not need a reservation; I believe the rates stay the same.
Our reservation was for Passion Feet because this is where they have the wine slushies. Also, a tip, if you just want to try the slushies and not the wines, my sister didn't do the tasting by did a free seat and was still given the wine slushy to try. It was so interesting! I would say it was very sugary so not the best for a hot summer day.
Video from my set up and driving around the lake.
Day 2 - Explore the Gorges and Waterfalls
Watkins Glen State Park is about a seven-minute car ride from the KOA.
Watkins Glen is a stunning attraction to the Finger Lakes. I did a whole post about Watkins Glen State Park and the main attractions there. I suggest reading this blog post to get a more detailed post. This is a 2-mile loop of stunning gorges and 18 different waterfalls!
Chequaga "Shequaga" Falls or Montour Falls
Shequaga Falls is located in Montour Falls, New York, part of the Montour Falls Historic District. This is a seven-minute drive from Watkins Glen State Park. I can envision this is a stunning fall when the 165-foot tall waterfall is located right on Main Street.
I will say we did not get the best experience here. There wasn't significant snowfall in winter 2019-2020, so the waterfalls weren't flowing strongly in August 2020. I would like to tell you there was some water, but it was dry. No water was coming down. The best time to visit this location would be the winter or spring. I cannot foresee the end of June, having a decent flow.
What is impressive, this fall comes between two homes. Imagine enjoying this view from your own backyard.
Eagle Creek Falls
From Shequaga Falls, Eagle Creek is about a 6-minute drive. To get the location, find the falls on All Trails. This fall is located at Havana Glen, which is a campground.
A swimming hole filled by a fantastic waterfall is a must when you're in the gorges. The sun comes through and keeps you warm. This alone, I would say, is a spot where you could book the campground here to just walk to the falls. There is about a half-mile hike in and out. Wear your bathing suit! The water was so fresh and clean here for swimming. You get to walk along a gorge, to a rocky space that opens up to this amazing pool being supplied by a waterfall.
This area has picturesque and all the actives in one. Get the photo from the shoreline with the waterfall or walk along the rocks and get a picture next to the falls. You can also jump into the water next to the falls!
Now, as a disclaimer, be very careful. Scan the water for where rocks jut out into the water. Some spots are deeper than others, a small jump is good, high jumps, I do not recommend.
The final stop of the falls exploration is a 6-minute drive from Eagle Creek Falls. This location you're able to put into google maps to find.
Another swimming hole that is a bit of a challenge to get to. The parking narrow for this location. Once you park, this one has rougher conditions to get to the Falls. If you are looking to get to the higher level falls, there is a rope you need to use to walk along the path to the falls.
I recommend wearing well gripping shoes. I have water shoes fro jeep since they can be used for a light walk that has wet conditions. These shoes have been
These are the most substantial falls we went to. The sound of the water is so therapeutic.
After making dinner at the campsite, go back to the town and have dessert! There are two ice cream spots in town, we went to Colonial Inn & Creamery. It was lovely to eat ice cream on the Adirondack chairs.
Then go look for an amazing spot to look for the sunset. On the east side of the lake is the spot to go looking for the perfect sunset view.
Day 3 - Taughannock Falls
From Watkins Glen KOA to Taughannock Falls, it is about a 35-minute car ride. Taughannock Falls is located by Cayuga Lake. The drive is beautiful with all these farmlands you pass by. It is mainly back roads or route roads to get to the falls. When you enter the spot, you will have the visitor center to a parking lot.
At the parking lot, you're level with the top of the falls at a distance. Then you get to walk this gorgeous view into the gorge with a fantastic view. I did not get the magnificent view I was hoping for.
From the low snowfall the previous winter, there was barely any water flowing. I recommend going spring or early winter to see fully flowing falls. I recommend this blog post for amazing photos of the falls and additional things for the area!
Facts & Attractions of the Finger Lakes:
Watkins Glen is the known attraction of the Finger Lakes
The Finger Lakes are known for their Riesling wine
American currency is in American dollars and cents
The Finger Lakes it is in New York, and the capital is Albany
I hope you enjoyed hearing about my trip to the Finger Lakes in New York. If you have any questions about the area, please email me at email@example.com.
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