In my opinion, New York’s Finger Lakes region is one of the most overlooked destinations in the state. Not only can you enjoy summer lake activities but it’s also home to some of the best wineries in the country. If you’ve never been to the Finger Lakes, Keuka Lake is a great place to start. Read on to get all of the details on my Guide to New York’s Finger Lakes: Keuka Lake.
How to Get to Keuka Lake:
Due to its remote location, the best way to get to the Finger Lakes is via car. Doing this also gives you the flexibility to easily explore the area and visit some of the more off the beaten path locations. If you don’t feel like driving the whole way, you can fly into the Rochester Airport and rent a car from there.
When to Visit Keuka Lake
New York’s Finger Lakes region is best enjoyed from May to October. While it’s beautiful any time of the year, due to the climate, it tends to get chilly earlier in the year and last a bit later.
Where to Stay on Keuka Lake:
On a long stay in the Finger Lakes, a rental house is the best option, and my top recommendation is Glenn Scott Manor. Not only is the property itself large and luxurious (with room for 9 to sleep), but the town of Hammondsport is only a short 10 minute ride away. It’s also centrally located so it makes winery hopping a seamless experience. Plus, it comes equipped with a fire pit with amazing views of the region.
If you prefer a traditional hotel experience, The Park Inn in Hammondsport is a great option. Located above their wonderful restaurant, it’s situated right in the center of town and strikes a balance of modern-day luxuries and the building’s historic architecture.
What to Do around Keuka Lake:
Go Winery Hopping.
You can’t go to the Finger Lakes without visiting all of the wonderful wineries that line it. My personal favorite is Point of the Bluff Vineyards, but other great options include: Weis, Dr. Konstantin Frank, and Heron Hill. Read more about my recommendations in my post on the Best Wineries on New York’s Keuka Lake.
Book a fun group activity at Point of the Bluff Vineyards.
They hold a series of concerts in their event space, as well as more curated experiences like flower arranging, harvest dinners, and more. We had the chance to try their full moon yoga while we were there and there’s just nothing like it! I highly recommend seeing what events they’re offering during your visit.
Stop by the Point of the Bluff Farmers Market.
Hosted every Thursday from 5-7pm, this is a great place to shop home-grown fresh produce and goods from local artists and makers. You can also purchase wine at the bar so you can enjoy a glass while browsing through the goods.
Go Swimming at Champlin Beach.
Located right in the town of Hammondsport, Champlin Beach is a great place to relax and cool off in the lake.
Wander through Watkins Glen State Park.
If you need to take a break from winery hopping, take a quick ride to Watkins Glen. A roughly 30 minute drive from the lower part of Keuka Lake, the park is lined with a picturesque gorge and three trails that you can trek through.
Sign Up for Water Activities.
Naturally, the lakes are the centerpiece of the Finger Lakes region so getting out on the water is a must. You can easily rent a kayak or canoe, hop on a boat for a sunset wine cruise, or grab a jet ski for a few hours. Click here for more info from a local vendor.
Have a Picnic.
With so many wineries and picturesque viewpoints, Keuka Lake is the ideal place for a picnic. Grab some local treats in town, a local wine of your choice (mine is the 2017 Rooftop Reds Riesling) and set yourself up for a relaxing afternoon.
Grab a Drink at the Krooked Tusker Distillery.
While wineries are the main focus of the Finger Lakes, the area is also lined with a number of breweries and distilleries. A small batch distillery, Krooked Tusker has a fun outdoor setup with life size games so it’s a great spot for an afternoon drink.
Where to Eat on Keuka Lake:
You can’t go to Keuka Lake without stopping by The Park Inn for dinner. Chef Dan Eaton crafts a seasonal menu that accentuates the finest locally sourced products. I HIGHLY recommend the ricotta stuffed squash blossoms and the fried chicken and waffles if they’re still seasonally available. I also love the relaxed atmosphere and the tasty signature cocktails.
A combination of an ice cream shop and a diner, the Crooked Lake Ice Cream Company is a fun, relaxed and classic spot for breakfast, lunch or ice cream. I recommend ordering the Crooked Lake Breakfast Sandwich – that onion jam is to die for!
Sometimes there really is no better meal than a classic charcuterie board at a winery. One of my favorite parts about the Point of the Bluffs board is that everything included, even down to the jam, was sourced locally.
Sometimes you just need a simple meal of burgers and beer and this is just the spot to get it on Keuka Lake. I recommend placing a takeout order and enjoying it fireside at Glenn Scott Manor like we did.
My Guide to New York’s Finger Lakes: Keuka Lake only brushes the surface of all of the things that there are to do, see and amazing places to drink in the area so leave your recommendations in the comments!
Interested in exploring the other Finger Lakes? Check out my Guide to the Best Wineries on Cayuga Lake.2