Weekend Adventures in the Finger Lakes
October 28, 2014

One of our favorite weekend vacation destinations is to the Finger Lakes Region of upstate NY. Often known for their great local wineries and breath taking fall foliage, there are some other really amazing things to be sure to do if you are in the area. Below are a few of my top picks. 

Taughannock Falls State Park    

Taughannock Falls State Park is located in Trumansburg, just 8 miles North of Ithaca. Taughannock Falls itself is a 215-foot waterfall that can be seen from down below by walking the 0.75 mile on Gorge Trail or by driving to the Falls Overlook. Gorge Trail is flat, scenic, and stroller friendly. Once you arrive at the bottom of the falls, the view is spectacular. It is definitely a great family photo opportunity so be sure to have your camera! 

On the other side of NY 89 is the park, which is situated right on Cayuga Lake. It offers all sorts of activities for family fun, including camping and hiking. The playground is fantastic and according to my 9-year-old Lucas, it is the best playground ever so be sure not to miss it. The park offers kayak and boat rentals, and when the weather is warmer, there is an area of the beach that is staffed by life guards as well. There are many picnic areas and plenty of spots to relax by the lake. 

The Farm Sanctuary

The Farm Sanctuary, located in Watkins Glen, is where my family always stays when we head up to the Finger Lakes Region. This 175-acre farm shelter is the home for hundreds of rescued animals and visitors are able to take guided tours that allow you to learn about and get to know the animals who live there. If you opt to stay in one of the cabins at the Farm Sanctuary Bed & Breakfast, you are invited to help with shelter chores and are free to walk around the grounds to enjoy the farm. We even had one of the farm’s cats, Sorella make herself at home in our cabin at nighttime. Right along side of the Farm Sanctuary is Sugar Hill State Forrest, another great hiking destination in the area. 

Watkins Glen State Park


Hiking the gorge path at Watkins Glen State Park is a must-do if you are in the area. No matter which path or trail you choose to take, the views are amazing. You will see streams, numerous waterfalls, intricate rock formations, and all sorts of beautiful scenery. Be sure to wear proper foot ware as there are many slippery areas due to all of the water. This is the second year that my toddler Miles made the trek through Watkins Glen without any problem. It is such an adventure that he marched himself all the way to the end and back. Check here to see last year’s post about our day at Watkins Glen State Park. 

Ithaca Children’s Garden

The Ithaca Children’s Garden is a grassroots organization that is located right on Cayuga Waterfront Trail, just outside of downtown Ithaca. They have educational programming and events for children but it is open to the community to enjoy. It is a 3-acre garden full of learning experiences for children, including the Hands On Nature Anarchy Zone, the Bulb Labyrinth Memorial Garden, and Gaia’s (the resident turtle) wetlands habitat. While we were there the kids had fun running and exploring the garden freely. All of the areas are nature-based and made from local materials and by community residents. It is definitely a unique experience not to miss with your little ones. 

Some other highlights of the area: 

Robert H. Treman State Park

Buttermilk Falls State Park

GreenStar Co-Op

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge






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