Our area is best-known as a summer vacation destination. After all, there’s nothing more idyllic than days on the lake under the summer sun. However, our quiet upstate New York region transforms into a beautiful snow-covered wonderland. Whether you’re taking a holiday vacation or visiting early in the new year, there are so many wonderful Finger Lakes winter adventures to enjoy during this season. Peek at some of our favorite winter adventures in the Finger Lakes below!
Top 4 Winter Adventures in the Finger Lakes
Please note that due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, some of these winter activities and events in the Finger Lakes may be adjusted, postponed, or canceled. The safety of our community of locals and visitors alike is of the utmost importance to us. Please continue to check the events’ websites linked below, or visit the Finger Lakes Chamber of Commerce’s website for the latest information. To see how we’re keeping our guests safe, please view our COVID-19 Response. Thank you for understanding!
1. Finger Lakes Wine Tour
The Finger Lakes Wine Region is one of the best in the nation. The climate and soil in this area create the perfect environment for growing grapes. Winter is a fantastic time to visit area wineries. Enjoy a wine tasting with outstanding views of the snow-covered land!
2. Ice Fishing
It may surprise you to learn that winter is one of the best seasons for fishing in the Finger Lakes. When the lakes partially or completely freeze over, these beautiful bodies of water become a hotspot for various types of trout, salmon, and pan fish. Keuka Lake is especially good for ice fishing!
3. Ski & Snowboard at Terrain Parks
Skiing and snowboarding at local terrain parks are two of the most popular Finger Lakes winter adventures. The Finger Lakes region is known for having excellent skiing potential. The cold bodies of water help to create “lake-effect snow,” which is the best type for winter sports like snowshoeing or cross-country or downhill skiing.
There are two excellent ski resorts in the area: Bristol Mountain Ski Resort and Greek Peak Mountain Resort. Both offer fantastic rental programs, downhill mountain trails, and Nordic skiing centers. If you’d prefer to explore some of our beautiful state parks, consider snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Cummings Nature Center and the Keuka Outlet Trail are both excellent sites for Nordic skiing. The trails within both parks are well-maintained, perfect for beginners or experienced skiers. You can also visit the resorts’ tubing centers for some adrenaline-packed fun for everyone!
4. Taughannock Falls
The Finger Lakes region boasts more than 500 miles of hiking trails. While most of the trail systems close in the winter, Taughannock Falls State Park Trails remain open throughout the cold season. Most of the terrain here is flat, which makes it a bit safer under icy conditions. We still encourage guests to remain cautious as they explore this area, though, as ice and snow can easily go undetected.
Finger Lake Winter Events
Enjoy the Finger Lakes in December
It’s a Wonderful Life Celebration
One of the best Cayuga Lake events is the It’s a Wonderful Life Celebration. The town-wide festival takes place in Seneca Falls, which was said to be the inspiration for the classic film. Visitors can enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, special screenings of the film, holiday-themed competitions, and charity events that benefit local groups!
Watkins Glen Village Christmas
One of the most iconic holiday events is the Watkins Glen Village Christmas. It has been running for over 25 years in early December. Village Christmas includes a Dr. Seuss parade, fireworks, and arts and crafts. It also includes a meet and greet with Santa and Mrs. Claus! This Seneca Lake event is an excellent fit for the whole family.
Enjoy a Delicious Dinner at New York Kitchen
The Finger Lakes is home to some of the best restaurants in the world. Enjoy some fine dining cuisine at the Dr. Konstantin Frank Sparkling Winemaker Dinner. This special dinner welcomes a representative from Dr. Frank’s Wine Cellars to educate guests on their various sparkling wines. Meanwhile, you’ll enjoy a world-class multi-course dinner. Each of the dishes pairs perfectly with a delicious wine from the cellar. Treat yourself and reserve your table!
Visit the Finger Lakes in January
Get a Deal at the Bargain Bash
Each year, Seneca Lake Wine Trail launches their event season with the Bargain Bash. This week-long sale allows wineries to clear their inventory and prepare for the upcoming harvest. You can visit participating wineries to score fantastic deals on everything from bottles of wine to souvenirs! Check the website to see a list of participating wineries.
Don’t Miss the Finger Lakes in February
Free Fishing Days
As we said, ice fishing is a favorite activity in the Finger Lakes during the colder months. For out-of-state guests who may not have a New York State fishing license, the Free Fishing Weekend is an excellent opportunity to drop your line without too much paperwork. The first Free Fishing Weekend typically takes place in mid-February.
Vintage, Vines and Valentines
Head to the Naples Valley Visitors Association to enjoy a romantic afternoon! The annual Vintage, Vines, and Valentines event encourages visitors to explore the cozy village of Naples, NY. You’ll find anything from local wines and beers to kid-friendly activities and homemade chocolates. There are horse-drawn wagon rides, a bonfire, and an open mic as well. This is an excellent festival for guests of all ages!
Keuka Lake Wine Trail Wine and Cheese Lovers Weekend
Another great Valentine’s Day event is the Wine and Cheese Weekend from Keuka Lake Wine Trail. It showcases two of the most popular products from the Finger Lakes. When you purchase a ticket, you’ll get to visit various area wineries (and receive a complimentary Keuka Lake Wine Trail glass) and enjoy a sample of the winery’s drink that’s perfectly paired with cheeses. Don’t miss one of the best Keuka lake events!
Book Your Winter Stay at The Best Western Plus Vineyard Inn and Suites
There’s no better place to enjoy a Finger Lakes winter getaway than in one of our stunning suites! With so many options, you’ll have no trouble relaxing after a day of enjoying Finger Lakes winter adventures.
Browse a full inventory of our rooms & suites to start planning your trip. We can’t wait to see what Finger Lakes winter adventures you discover!