Where to Stay in the Finger Lakes? 9 Best Places to Stay

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A large water fall with a plunge pool surrounded by trees
The Finger Lakes is an excellent getaway destination with many unique places to stay

If you're looking to escape the city, visiting the Finger Lakes Region in New York is a great weekend trip idea. The region is full of waterfalls, lakes, and wineries, so it's actually an excellent destination for anyone, not just New Yorkers.

The Finger Lakes region is large, with numerous small towns to visit and stay in and 11 thin, finger-shaped lakes that give the region its name. With so many towns and lakes to choose from, you may not be sure where to stay in the Finger Lakes. Deciding what you want out of your vacation, like being able to go to different wineries, can help you narrow down your search.

In this article, you'll discover the best areas of the Finger Lakes based on the vacation type you want. To learn more about the nine most popular towns and villages in the Finger Lakes region, keep reading!

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9 Best Places to Stay in the Finger Lakes, NY

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Best Areas to Stay in Finger Lakes

A small waterfall in between rocky mountains with algae growth
Watkins Glen State Park has lots of hiking trails and beautiful waterfalls

Watkins Glen

One of the most popular villages around the Finger Lakes is called Watkins Glen. It's on the southern shore of Seneca Lake, which is a natural New York landmark and the largest lake in the area. Staying here gives you easy access to plenty of water activities, such as boating, swimming, and fishing.

You'll also have access to the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, an association of 27 wineries along the lake that you can go to for wine tastings and events. If that wasn't enough, Watkins Glen also has a state park with plenty of hiking trails and waterfalls, so there's something for every type of traveler in this village.

Since Watkins Glen is so popular among tourists, accommodation can be expensive here. Thankfully, there's a variety of options, from budget B&Bs to luxury hotels.

🏨 Mid-range places to stay in and nearby Watkins Glen

🏖 Child-friendly places to stay in and nearby Watkins Glen

Aerial view of a city with lots of trees, a few buildings, roads, and a body of water
Ithaca has over 150 waterfalls and provides budget-friendly accommodation

Ithaca

If you're visiting the Finger Lakes to see waterfalls, Ithaca is the place to stay. Ithaca is a city located on Cayuga Lake with over 150 waterfalls, so it's the perfect area for nature lovers.

Like Watkins Glen, Ithaca has its own Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, so you can enjoy wine tasting here as well when you're not busy chasing waterfalls. If you want to get even deeper into nature, Taughannock Falls State Park is only 10 miles north of Ithaca. This park hosts the tallest waterfall in the Finger Lakes, as it's 215 feet tall.

You can find accommodation options here that are similar to Watkins Glen, ranging from budget to mid-range and luxury, depending on what you want to spend. This variation of activities and accommodations makes Ithaca one of the best towns to stay in Finger Lakes.

🏨 Mid-range places to stay in and nearby Ithaca

🏖 Child-friendly places to stay in and nearby Ithaca

💕 Romantic places to stay in and nearby Ithaca

Buildings lined across a road going downhill, a signpost, a few trees and cars
Visitors in Geneva can choose between luxury hotels or charming inns

Geneva

Since Seneca Lake is so big, there are plenty of towns, villages, and cities around it that you can stay in, like Geneva. It's not Geneva in Switzerland, but it may be just as nice.

This Geneva is a small town located on the northern shore of Seneca Lake. If you're looking for a more local experience, this is the place to stay. It's a farming and agriculture town, and most restaurants and hotels use local fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.

You have access to all the same activities as Watkins Glen since you're staying on the same lake, but Geneva isn't as busy, so you can have a more relaxing vacation here. There's a wide range of boutique hotels and quaint inns in Geneva, so you shouldn't have trouble finding accommodation that suits your needs.

🏨 Mid-range places to stay in and nearby Geneva

🏖 Family-friendly accommodations in and nearby Geneva

PQK/Shutterstock.com
A body of water with many boats on it and greenery surrounding it
Penn Yan is located by Keuka Lake and has easy access to the Keuka Outlet Trail

Penn Yan

Another rural town around the Finger Lakes is Penn Yan. It's located on the northern shore of Keuka Lake, which is the third largest after Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake.

This is the best place in Finger Lakes to stay for nature lovers, as you have access to the Keuka Outlet Trail and kid-friendly parks. Many farms in Penn Yan also welcome guests, so you can spend time sampling local delicacies.

Like other towns in the Finger Lakes, Penn Yan has the Keuka Lake Wine Trail, which allows you to check out different wineries. In addition, you can find numerous shops and restaurants in the downtown area, so you won't be bored in the evenings.

Mid-range bed and breakfasts are popular in this rural town, giving you a more local experience. You can also find some luxury hotels and budget-friendly apartments.

🏨 Mid-range places to stay in and nearby Penn Yan

🏖 Child-friendly places to stay in and nearby Penn Yan

🛎️ Luxury place to stay in and nearby Penn Yan

PQK/Shutterstock.com
An area of grass with yellow flowers next to flags, hills, and a modern building
Corning is a tranquil area known for its glass and crystal manufacturing

Corning

Although it's not on one of the Finger Lakes, Corning is still a popular town to stay in. Corning, also known as Crystal City, is home to some of the best glass and crystal in the US. So, if you're looking for a more cultural experience, Corning may be a good option for you.

Going to the Corning Museum of Glass allows you to learn more about the town's history of glass-making. It's actually the world's largest museum of glass artifacts and art! You can also visit the artisan glass stores on Corning's market street to buy some pieces for yourself.

You can still enjoy the Finger Lakes from Corning, as the town is only 20 miles southwest of Watkins Glen and Seneca Lake. Corning has many chain hotels, making it a more budget-friendly location.

🏨 Mid-range places to stay in and nearby Corning

🏖 Child-friendly places to stay in and nearby Corning

sainaniritu/Depositphotos.com
Canandaigua is where to stay in the Finger Lakes for a weekend trip
Canandaigua offers its visitors some of the best beaches in the Finger Lakes

Canandaigua

On the northern shore of Canandaigua Lake, the fourth largest lake, is Canandaigua town. It's only around 25 miles southeast of Rochester, so it's the best place to stay in the Finger Lakes for a weekend trip.

The town has tons to explore, with locally owned shops, restaurants, and galleries. There are also many hiking trails and parks for nature lovers. You can visit the Canandaigua Lake Wine Trail to sample different local wines as well.

Additionally, you can find one of the best beaches in the Finger Lakes in Canandaigua. It's called Deep Run Beach, and it has picnic tables, grills, and restrooms.

There are unique bed and breakfasts in Canandaigua with luxury and budget options. Most offer family rooms and suites, so if you're traveling with kids, Canandaigua may be the best option for you.

🏨 Well-priced accommodations in and nearby Canandaigua

🏖 Family-friendly accommodations in and nearby Canandaigua

💕 Romantic accommodation in and nearby Canandaigua

zhukovsky/Depositphotos.com
Statues of three women surrounded by greenery and a body of water
Seneca Falls features the National Women's Hall of Fame

Seneca Falls

Another great town you can stay in near Cayuga Lake is Seneca Falls. It's on the northern tip of Cayuga Lake, only 11 miles from Geneva.

If you're interested in history, Seneca Falls may be the best place to stay. Many people say it's the birthplace of American feminism, as the first Women's Rights Convention took place here in 1848. To learn more about this history, you can visit the National Women's Hall of Fame.

When you're through there, head to the waterfront area, Canal Harbor, to watch the boats coming and going. Cayuga Lake State Park is also nearby, so you can immerse yourself in nature.

Seneca Falls has plenty of chain hotels, and thanks to its proximity to Geneva, people often stay here for cheaper accommodation and then drive to Geneva for the day.

🏖 Child-friendly places to stay in and nearby Seneca Falls

A lake next to a small area of sand, grass, and trees under a blue sky with clouds
Hammondsport doesn't have many accommodation options but offers fun activities

Hammondsport

The most distinct lake in the Finger Lakes is one mentioned earlier, Keuka Lake because it's shaped like the letter Y. Another town you can stay in around this lake is Hammondsport, which is at the bottom of the Y-shaped lake.

Hammondsport is the best place to stay in Finger Lakes for sports enthusiasts, as you can take part in many adventurous activities, such as seaplane rides, paddleboarding, and fishing.

There are also some sport-themed museums, such as the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum or the Finger Lakes Boating Museum. If museums aren't your thing, you can visit one of the multitude of wineries or breweries along Keuka Lake, as you have easy access to the Keuka Lake Wine Trail.

Do note that Hammondsport has few accommodation options, so sticking to a budget may be harder here. You'll also want to book accommodation as far in advance as possible.

🏨 Mid-range place to stay in and nearby Hammondsport

🏖 Family-friendly accommodations in and nearby Hammondsport

🛎️ Luxury accommodation in and nearby Hammondsport

A small park with a gazebo overlooking the water with a walkway around it
The Charlie Major Nature Trail in Skaneateles is best suited for nature lovers

Skaneateles

Skaneateles is located on the north tip of the fifth largest Finger Lake, Skaneateles Lake. It's a quaint, small town with plenty to do. Although the town is small, it's full of restaurants, local shops, and art galleries in the historic downtown area.

You can also get into nature by walking the Charlie Major Nature Trail. If you want to swim, Skaneateles Lake isn't the best place to do it since it's a designated water source. That being said, there are designated swimming areas, they may just be a bit busy during the summer.

There are also activities for every season, such as apple picking in the fall and a Dickens Christmas celebration in the winter. Similar to Hammondsport, there aren't many accommodation options in Skaneateles. With so few options, it's not the best choice for budget travelers.

🏖 Family-friendly accommodation in and nearby Skaneateles

💕 Romantic accommodation in and nearby Skaneateles

Where to Stay in Finger Lakes, NY

A harbor lined with boats, hills in the distance, and a sparsely cloudy sky
Watkins Glen is good for first-timers as it has waterfalls, lakes, and hiking trails

Where to stay in Finger Lakes for first-timers?

If you're going to the Finger Lakes for the first time, the best town to stay in Finger Lakes is Watkins Glen. It has everything you could possibly want, including waterfalls, hiking trails, and wineries. of course, there's also a beautiful lake to enjoy.

With so much to do in Watkins Glen, you can visit by yourself, with a partner, or even with family. There's something for everyone. As mentioned earlier, the Seneca Lake Wine Trail and the Watkins Glen State Park are two of the top things to check out in Watkins Glen.

Bed and breakfasts are popular in Watkins Glen, so you won't need to worry about finding somewhere to eat every morning, and you can enjoy a cozier setting.

🏨 Mid-range places to stay in and nearby Watkins Glen

A tall waterfall with a plunge pool surrounded by rocks and greenery
Taughannock Falls is the tallest waterfall in the Finger Lakes

Where to stay in Finger Lakes for outdoor activities?

You can enjoy outdoor activities, like hiking and swimming, anywhere in the Finger Lakes, but especially in Hammondsport. Visit Depot Park or Champlin Beach to jump in the lake or charter a boat to gain even better access to the water. You can also fish, paddleboard, or kayak in Hammondsport.

If hiking is more your thing, Ithaca is an excellent choice. There are tons of waterfalls here, including the tallest one in the Finger Lakes, Taughannock Falls. You could spend every day of your vacation hiking in Ithaca and still not see all the waterfalls.

Both Ithaca and Hammdonsport have hotels, inns, and bed and breakfasts, so you can easily find accommodation that suits your needs and budget.

🏨 Mid-range place to stay in and nearby Hammondsport

🛎️ Luxury place to stay in and nearby Hammondsport

A rocky trail with a bridge over a shallow river surrounded by trees and rocks
Taughannock Falls State Park is where to stay in the Finger Lakes for camping

Where to stay in Finger Lakes for camping?

Although many people come to the Finger Lakes for luxury hotels and bed and breakfasts, there are budget-friendly options as well, like camping. With so many great lakes, hiking trails, and waterfalls, you may be wondering where to stay in the Finger Lakes region for camping.

There are campgrounds in or near most major towns around the Finger Lakes, particularly in Ithaca. In Taughannock Falls State Park, you can rent a campsite or cabin overlooking Cayuga Lake.

Staying in the state park also gives you early access to the trails, so you can see the 215-foot-tall Taughannock Falls before it gets too busy.

You can also stay in Keuka Lake State Park, located only six miles south of Penn Yan. There are tent and trailer sites with electric hook-up and bathroom facilities. You'll have access to the lake and a swimming area as well.

🏨 Mid-range places to stay in and nearby Taughannock Falls State Park

A body of water surrounded by rocks, houses, and trees under a partly cloudy sky
The Finger Lakes has over 100 wineries, with many villages having wine trails

Where to stay in Finger Lakes for wineries?

The Finger Lakes is the largest wine-producing region in the Eastern United States, so it attracts wine lovers. With over 100 wineries around the Finger Lakes, choosing the right one may be challenging. Multiple villages have wine trails, so you can visit multiple wineries to sample their offerings.

So, if wine is what you're after, staying in Ithaca, Watkins Glen, Penn Yan, Hammondsport, or Canandaigua may be a good option. Each of these towns has access to a wine trail, making it easier for you to go to lots of different wineries.

You can also find hotels and bed and breakfasts situated in wineries in these villages. They're not exactly budget-friendly, but this means you won't even need to leave your hotel to enjoy a glass of wine.

🏨 Mid-range places to stay in and nearby the Keuka Lake Wine Trail

In Summary

There's so much to do in New York State that you may have not even heard about the Finger Lakes before. Thankfully, it's now on your radar, so you can plan a trip to visit one of the many lakes, quaint villages, waterfalls, or wineries.

The main question you likely have is where to stay when visiting Finger Lakes. If you're visiting for the first time, staying in Watkins Glen is your best option.

If you want to visit one of the 100 wineries, many areas have wine trails, like Watkins Glen and Penn Yan. Campers and outdoorsy folks will love Hammondsport and Ithaca. As you can tell, there's something for everyone in the Finger Lakes!

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Written by Rebecca Low

rebeccalow WRITER After travelling around the world and living abroad in Spain and Singapore, freelance writer and editor Rebecca has settled down in her hometown, Toronto, to write about her unique travel experiences.

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