Named for the 11 long and narrow lakes running north to south, the Finger Lakes in Central New York is a popular destination for RV enthusiasts. The 9,000-square-mile area is a year-round outdoor playground for both adults and children. Home to wineries that rival those in Napa Valley, adults can sip their way through the countryside on the finest whites and reds. The young, and young at heart, will enjoy water sports, fishing, boating, and hiking through state parks and rocky gorges.
Visiting the Finger Lakes doesn’t have to be all about activity though! There are plenty of opportunities to kick back and relax. Take your time cruising through the wine country and enjoying miles of bucolic farmland. Swing by one of the three museums nearby and soak in the culture and history that comes along with the Finger Lakes. According to Native American legend, the 11 glacial lakes are thought to be “the Great Spirit,” leaving a handprint as a blessing on this specific area of NY.
The Finger Lakes is a classic vacation destination, but visiting the Finger Lakes in an RV empowers visitors to travel different through this beautiful northeastern territory. Slow down, sip wine, dine on local produce, learn about indigenous cultures, and then come back to your cozy home on wheels to recap your adventures around the fire.
Weather in the Finger Lakes
Known to be an ideal year-round spot to visit, the Finger Lakes are lucky enough to experience a shift from season to season, making it an interesting location to see year-round. Since the region boasts an array of outdoor activities, the most popular time of year to visit is late spring through summer (May-September). However, don’t let the season fool you. Unlike areas further south, the heat isn’t as much of a factor in the Finger Lakes. Mornings are a bit chilly, so bring a light sweater or jacket that you can remove later in the day. Afternoons hit the sweet spot in the low 80’s which tends to attract visitors outdoors to take advantage of the plethora of activities available. Spring and fall offer cooler temperatures without sacrificing any fun. The former offers blooming flowers and wine tastings galore, while the latter shows off its fall foliage and pumpkin farms. There isn’t a bad time to visit or bad weather to hold you back.
Roseland Waterpark and Wake Park
If visiting during warmer weather, make sure the Roseland Waterpark and Wake Park are added to the must-do list. The entire family will spend the day splashing, sliding, gliding, jumping, and laughing. At Roseland Waterpark, there are 56 acres of slides including body and speed types with water cannons and river rafting to explore as well. Not feeling much like sliding? No worries. Wade into the 27,000 square-foot wave pool using the beach entrance and soak in the sun at your own pace. Next door, an ultramodern, nine-tower overhead cable system pulls up to nine adventurous riders around Muar Lake. It’s the first and only cable wake park on this side of the US. Plan for a full day to ensure everyone has a chance to explore both parks. Prepare by outfitting the whole crew with a pool float and lounger.
Campgrounds Nearby Roseland Waterpark and Wake Park:
Ganondagan State Historic Site
The Ganondagan State Historic Site pays tribute to the grounds where a large Seneca community flourished 300+ years ago. It explores and educates visitors about the heritage of the Finger Lakes region. Customs and beliefs are kept alive through music, dance, agriculture, art, language, and sports. Spend the day hiking through 500-plus acres of rolling hills and forests that include miles of trails and a full-size replica of a Seneca bark longhouse from the 17th century. Inside you’ll find European goods and Seneca-crafted household items that have been acquired by trade throughout the years. Various events are held throughout the year to celebrate the culture, namely the Indigenous Music & Arts Festival in July and the Native American Winter Games in February. After expanding your knowledge of the Finger Lakes origin, pick up some delicious heirloom corn from the Iroquois White Corn Project to expand your belly.
Campgrounds Nearby Ganondagan State Historic Site:
Seneca Lake Wine Trail
With wineries spread around the breath-taking Seneca Lake, the Seneca Lake Wine Trail is located in the center of Finger Lakes wine country. Relax, slow down, and enjoy hopping from one to the next as you nibble and sip your way down the 70-plus mile long trail. Grab a bite to eat in between at picnic areas or scenic restaurants that offer breathtaking views of the New York hills. Fancy yourself a sommelier? The Seneca Lake Wine Trail is sure to have a grape to suit your tastebuds. Made from classic vinifera grapes, foxy native grapes, and French American hybrids, your wine cravings will be elevated, and your palette expanded. The wine trail is open year-round with wine-inspired seasonal events that include food pairings, special tours, and unique entertainment.
Campgrounds Nearby Seneca Lake Wine Trail:
Farmers Markets and U-Pick Farms
While the actual lakes of Finger Lakes are the main attraction for your RV adventure, the farmlands are more than just a supporting character. The abundance of fresh products grown on the beautiful land will make your mouth water and your head spin with recipe possibilities. Farmers markets are held weekly throughout Geneva, Victor, Clifton Springs, and Canandaigua where vendors are available to answer questions about their organic farming practices. Shop for locally raised meats and eggs, jams, jellies, ciders, and even homemade baked goods. U-Pick farms encourage visitors to pluck their own fruits and vegetables from the land for the freshest of options. Strawberries, corn, tomatoes, grapes (of course), and more are available for self-picking. Harvest your bounty and then bring it back to the campsite to cook on the grill.
Campgrounds Nearby Farmers Markets:
Whether you’re embarking on a family RV trip full of water activities, or venturing out on a flavor-packed sipping tour of original wine blends, visiting the Finger Lakes in an RV is the adventure that keeps delivering long after you’ve parked.