Lake Destinations in New York State - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Jun 30, 2023

Lake Destinations in New York State

Read About 14 of New York’s Most Beautiful Lake Destinations to Plan Your Next Vacation!

Sometimes your next adventure can be found right next door! While New York State is home to the largest city in the country, it also borders two of the Great Lakes and is home to the beautiful Finger Lakes. In fact, there are thousands of outstanding lake destinations in New York State to hike, boat, fish, swim, or relax in the sun.


To make things easy, we’ve broken down some of the top lake destinations in New York including what makes each of them unique and a viable weekend harbor!


Northern Lakes

Lake George

The town of Lake George is filled with tourist shops and local restaurants. Lake George also delivers outdoor fun in the Adirondacks throughout the whole year. In the summertime, parasail over the lake, hike in the Adirondacks, or bike around the lake. On a cold or rainy day, shop at the outlets at Lake George or hang out with friends at an arcade. Lake George has plenty of fun for all ages with multiple beaches, boat rentals, and campgrounds.



Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain, situated between the Adirondack Mountains of New York and the Green Mountains of Vermont, is New York’s 3rd largest lake. Lake Champlain is well-known for bass fishing and is a popular ice fishing destination. The lake’s bikeway is a 350-mile loop around the lake. In Plattsburgh, NY you can find camping, hiking, biking trails, and paddling in the warmer months. For the colder months, downhill and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are a fun option for the family to enjoy.



Oneida Lake

Located just 10 miles north of Syracuse, NY lies the largest lake within the borders of New York State. Swim and relax at Sylvan Beach and be entertained at Sylvan Beach Amusement Park. Visit Verona Beach State Park on Oneida Lake for 4 miles of nature and hiking trails and 8 miles of horseback and mountain bike trails. In the winter season, those trails are accessible by cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. This park also offers camping, shaded picnic areas, hiking trails and rental boats including sport, fishing, and pontoon boats.

Central Lakes

Skaneateles Lake

Visit the lake which provides drinking water to more than 220,000 people in the Syracuse area. Being the cleanest Finger Lake in New York State, Skaneateles Lake’s crystal clear water is perfect for boating and swimming. This charming and historic downtown is very welcoming to visitors and attracts tourists year-round. Spend your time in an inn on the lake and dine-in at one of the downtown restaurants.


Green Lakes

Known for its beautiful, bright turquoise water, Green Lakes State Park in Manlius, NY has a lot to offer. Get a closer view of the water by renting a rowboat or clear kayak. Bring your camper or tent and stay at the full hookup campground. Spend your week swimming at the beach, hiking around the lake, or golfing in the 18-hole Green Lakes golf course. In the winter, bundle up and enjoy 15 miles of trails cross-country skiers can use.



Keuka Lake

Enjoy “The World’s Most Beautiful Wine Region,” home to many wineries alongside the coast of Keuka Lake. Spend the sunny days on the lake renting a boat, camping, or hiking, and spend the rainy day at the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum to learn about early aviation and regional history. Stay at the head of the lake in Hammondsport, NY to enjoy local restaurants and tourist shops, or head north to Keuka Lake State Park for a weekend filled with swimming, grilling, and fishing.



Cayuga Lake

Cayuga Lake is home to exceptional waterfalls and gorges. Adults can spend their evening on the Cayuga Lake Wine Tour that circles most of the lake. After a long day of camping, swimming and relaxing on the beach, visit Ithaca and enjoy the local cuisine for dinner. Seneca Falls, at the northern tip of Cayuga Lake, offers beautiful gorges and hiking trails. The area also provides geocaching, bicycling, birding and boat renting.



Seneca Lake

New York State’s largest Finger Lake hosts about 40 wineries and vineyards along the coast. Along the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, there are many wineries to choose from while circumnavigating the lake. Being the Lake Trout capital of the world, Seneca Lake is the host of the National Lake Trout Derby. At Seneca Lake State Park there are excellent marinas, paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing. The park also hosts a sprayground for children.



Otsego Lake

Otsego Lake is 9 miles of crystal clear and drinkable water, perfect for swimming, kayaking, and boating. It is also the main water source and beginning of the Susquehanna River. Cooperstown, NY is the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum and you can experience a historic, well-maintained downtown at the head of the lake as well. At the northern end of the lake, Glimmerglass State Park supplies lifeguarded beaches, hiking trails, camping spots and year-round fishing.

Western Lakes

Lake Erie

With more consumable fish than all the other Great Lakes combined, spending the day fishing out on Lake Erie is sure to be worth your while. Alongside the New York coast of Lake Erie, there are many attractions to be found. Camp for the weekend at Lake Erie State Park and hike or bike along the ¾ mile park coast. You can also enjoy swimming and grilling at the Lake Erie Beach Park rental pavilion. Fun Fact: Due to Lake Erie’s smaller size and maximum depth of 210 feet, Lake Erie has the warmest temperature of all the Great Lakes.


Lake Ontario

The smallest of the Great Lakes, Lake Ontario offers 200 miles of waterfront on the New York State coast. The coast is lined with parks, beaches, and hiking trails for everyone to enjoy. Multiple tourist towns lie along the Lake Ontario coast, with picturesque scenic views, beach houses, and cabins. Popular for its fishing, many come to Lake Ontario for freshwater sports fishing, while the lake supplies many great fishing spots.



Chautauqua Lake

The “thumb of the Finger Lakes” is known for fishing and sailing. Many boat launches outline Chautauqua Lake, along with beaches, campgrounds, and restaurants in Lakewood, NY. Gather a few friends and rent a speed or power boat from one of the many marinas. Spend your day on a relaxing sailing trip, a guided fishing trip, or stay the weekend and compete in a fishing tournament on the lake.



Honeoye Lake

Another one of New York State’s Finger Lakes, Honeoye Lake is a peaceful scene lined with cottages in the Town of Richmond. Perfect for both a relaxing vacation or an active getaway, at Honeoye Lake you can bike around the 19-mile lake, kayak, canoe, and swim. Honeoye Lake offers great sport fishing opportunities. This smaller lake usually freezes over in the winter, so it is perfect for ice fishing, snowmobiling, and ice skating in colder months.



Canadice Lake

Although it is the smallest Finger Lake, what Canadice Lake lacks in size it makes up for in beautiful scenery. Perfect for kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding, Canadice Lake is only 0.3 miles wide at its widest point. Take a 4-mile walk or bike ride on the trail along the western shore of Canadice Lake. Canadice Lake is great for fishing with its large variety of fish and allows ice fishing in the winter. As a water source for the City of Rochester, swimming is prohibited in Canadice Lake to prevent contamination.


New York State offers an abundance of natural beauty to behold. Click here to read about six of our favorite places to watch the sun rise and set in the state!