Best Things To Do in Finger Lakes: Weekend Itinerary


Best things to do in Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes Region is one of the top destinations in upstate New York. The region is known for its many gorges, breathtaking scenery, outdoor activities, wineries, and craft breweries. There are numerous unique places to stay, see, eat, and things to do in Finger Lakes Region. 

In partnership with the Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council, we got to go on an adventurous road trip to welcome the Fall season. If you are looking for a long weekend getaway, look no further, these are all the best things to do in Finger Lakes Region.

Day 1 of Things to do in Finger Lakes Region

Glamping Yurt at Plum Point Lodge
Best Things to do in Finger Lakes Region

Since we came from Northern Virginia, it took us about five hours and thirty minutes to drive to our first destination, Plum Point Lodge. Plum Point Lodge is a lakefront country-style hotel on the Western shore of Seneca Lake, surrounded by wineries. We stayed in one of Plum Point Lodge’s dog-friendly glamping yurts.

Dinner at Sapalta
Best Things To Do in Finger Lakes Region

For our first dinner at Finger Lakes, we went to Sapalta, located in Plum Point Lodge, a farm-to-table restaurant. Sapalta also has a large selection of local spirits, beer, wine, and a variety of locally made ice cream, cheeses, and other delectable ingredients.

Try Spotted Duck’s Ice Cream

After our dinner, we had to stop for a second dessert at Spotted Duck Ice Cream and Farm, a 10-minute drive from Plum Point Lodge – they are voted Upstate New York’s Best Ice Cream Stand, and I can see why! It’s must-try ice cream.

Day 2 of Things to do in Finger Lakes Region

Breakfast at Amity Coffee

We started our morning with a coffee and breakfast sandwich at Amity Coffee, a 15-minute drive from Plum Point Lodge. We loved the coffee shops’ cozy atmosphere and the window seat nooks. If you travel with a dog like us, the coffee shop has a couple of tables outside where you can sit and enjoy your coffee. 

Hiking Keuka Outlet Trail

After breakfast, we drove to Keuka Outlet Trail. The Keuka Outlet Trail offers a scenic, well-maintained 7-mile trail between Penn Yan and Dresden in New York’s Finger Lakes region. The entire Keuka Outlet Trail is gorgeous, but there are two main points of interest along the trail: the two stunning waterfalls, Seneca Mills Falls and Cascade Mills Falls.

The waterfalls are located roughly 1.3 miles apart along the trail. You could park in one spot and visit both, but you can save some time by using two different parking areas.

Parking off of Ridge Rd: (N 42.66724 / W 76.99413)

There are two suggested parking spots. One, with room for three to four cars (closer to Seneca Mills Falls), is right at the trailhead and junction of Ridge Rd and Outlet Rd. Another that can fit ten cars (Closer to Cascade Mills Falls) is just west of this on Outlet Rd.

Seneca Mills Falls
Best Things to do in Finger Lakes Region

It is a 40-foot Waterfall and is the most popular destination along the Keuka Outlet Trail.

  • Length: 0.3 Miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Kid Friendly: Yes
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes
  • (N 42.66051 / W 77.00421)
Cascade Mills Falls
Best Things to do in Finger Lakes Region

A 20-foot Waterfall is adjacent to an abandoned factory between Penn Yan and Dresden, New York.

  • Length: 0.5 Miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Kid Friendly: Yes
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes
  • (N 42.66397 / W 76.98489)
Lunch at FLX Frybird

For our lunch, we went to FLX Frybird, “a modern chicken emporium.” They offer spiked cocktail slushies, milkshakes, wine, beer by the glass, sodas, and fresh pressed juices. If you love blue cheese like me, I recommend getting the Buffa Love sandwich! – it was terrific. They have outdoor seating if you bring your dog(s) with you. 

Hiking Taughannock Falls
Best Things to do in Finger Lakes Region

After lunch, we went to one of the impressive natural attractions of the Northeast, Taughannock Falls State Park! Taughannock Falls has an incredible drop of 215 feet, making it 33 feet taller than the majestic Niagara Falls. We first checked out the Taughannock Falls Overlook View Point and then drove to the main entrance of the park to hike the gorge trail to the base of the falls.

Best Things to do in Finger Lakes Region
  • Length: 0.9 Mile
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Kid Friendly: Yes
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes
Glamping at Firelight Camp
Best Things To do in Finger Lakes

We then checked into our second accommodation at Finger Lakes, the Firelight Camp. The Firelight Camp offers elevated camping and glamping experiences in luxury safari tents.

Dinner and try some cider at South Hill Cider
South Hill Cider

We went to South Hill Cider for our dinner, only 10 minutes from Firelight Camp! South Hill Cider is known for crafting unique ciders from hand-foraged wild apples, abandoned orchards, and heirloom varieties. I opted for a light, so I ordered a small cheese platter and a cider. Seriously the best cider I’ve had so far in the US.

Day Three of Things to do in Finger Lakes Region

Hiking Robert H. Treman State Park

We started the day pretty early to beat the crowd. We went straight to Robert H. Treman State Park, a beautiful park with a ragged gorge as its scenic highlight. There are many hiking trails, swimming areas, and campsites available.

Lower Enfield Falls and Swimming Hole
Lower Enfield Falls and Swimming Hole

A short and easy hike will lead you to this 70 ft. tall waterfall with a swimming hole ranging in depth from around 2 feet to 20 feet. 

  • Length: 0.4 Mile
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Kid Friendly: Yes
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes
  • Note: swimming is allowed in a lifeguarded area only

There is an option to hike the longer route, which will go through the Enfield Glen, then pass by Lucifer Falls, but we opted to do it as a separate hike instead.

Luifer Falls via Gorge Trail
Lucifer Falls

Lucifer Falls is a 115-foot Fall, which is the tallest of a dozen waterfalls in the park.

  • Length: 1.1 Mile
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Kid Friendly: Yes
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes
Lunch at Stone Cat Cafe
Stone Cat Cafe

It was then time to rest from adventuring, so we grabbed a quick lunch at Stone Cat Cafe. A casual dining restaurant with a lot of indoor and outdoor seating, serving regional organic cuisine and garden-to-glass cocktails.

Note: although they have outdoor seating, they only take service dogs.

Hiking Watkins Glen State Park

We then drove to Watkins Glen State Park, an incredible park with an almost two-mile hike and over 800 stone steps that will take you past 19 waterfalls and gorges. You will also get to experience walking over, under, and even behind several of these waterfalls.


  • For convenience, the park offers shuttle rides for visitors between the Main Entrance and the Upper Entrance during the busy season. So instead of hiking the entire loop, you’ll be able to do the hike one way and hop aboard the convenient shuttle for a ride back to where you parked—more info: here
  • Dogs are NOT permitted on the gorge trail for safety reasons.
  • We had a dog walker take our dog for a walk while we explored the gorge trail. You can get in touch with Donna Swarthout, a dog walker from I Trot With Spot. She will meet you at the visitors center and walk your dog. 
  • Dogs are allowed on the outer rim trails.
Walk Around Pier House and Seneca Lake Harbor

After exploring Watkins Glen State Park, we stop by the Pier House and Seneca Lake Harbor. This pier is on the southern tip of Seneca Lake and is one of New York’s “Finger Lakes,” it is surrounded by a region of sweet wine vineyards.

Dinner and Beer at Grist Iron Brewing Company

Our last stop for this trip is dinner at Grist Iron Brewing Company, a microbrewery that boasts a unique variety of brews – all created on-site!

Meet Sunshine
and Sancho

I’m so glad you’re here (and so is Sancho). I’m Sunshine! A Virginia-based travel enthusiast on the hunt for cozy stays, great views, unique experiences, and dog-friendly adventures. Sancho and I have spent the past 3 years exploring Virginia (and beyond) in order to share our favorite places and uncover hidden gems.

Join us on a journey to get out of our comfort zone, take the road less traveled, and explore alongside our furry family members.

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