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5 Reasons to Avoid Finger Lakes, New York

The Finger Lakes are a popular vacation destination in upstate New York, but there are plenty of reasons to avoid the area. 

How can you determine if this is a good spot for your next trip?

That’s where we come in. We’ve put together five good reasons to steer clear of the region.

Let’s dive in!

About Finger Lakes, New York

According to Native American legend, the Creator blessed the Finger Lakes, leaving behind an imprint of his hands. Perhaps this consecration is what draws visitors to the area. Or maybe it’s the countless attractions and unparalleled beauty. 

Despite the lore, geology shows us that New York’s these eleven bodies of water formed at the end of the last Ice Age. As glaciers melted, the runoff produced some of the country’s purest freshwater sources.

This region is popular year-round. It’s central to several major cities, such as New York, Boston, and Washington, DC, so folks can escape urban chaos and relax. On the other hand, there’s plenty to do and see in the area so you won’t get bored. 

Delicious food, fancy wine, beautiful scenery, and rich cultural history combine to form the ultimate getaway. But only if you’re into that sort of thing.

Here are a few reasons you might want to avoid the Finger Lakes.

Pro Tip: While exploring the Finger Lakes, check out these 7 Best Small Towns in New York (And Awesome Nearby Campsites).

Couple hiking in the Finger Lakes
The Finger Lakes are beloved by all types of travelers.

#1 You Hate the Outdoors

Stunning scenery and breathtaking vistas? Who needs ‘em? If you’d rather sit inside and watch paint dry, avoiding the Finger Lakes in upstate New York is probably best. 

Getting outside is a way of life in this area. Kayaking, paddle boarding, and boating will keep water lovers happy. And landlubber will enjoy hiking and biking through the lush, green wilderness during temperate seasons. 

The Finger Lakes Trail is nearly 1,000 miles of maintained pathway. It’s open all year and popular for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in winter. 

Watkins Glen State Park features a rugged, dramatic gorge with steep ravines and otherworldly sights. The park is home to 19 different waterfalls visitors can enjoy from a distance and up close. Because of the unique ecosystem, many rare plant species grow here. It’s open from May to October, so plan accordingly.

#2 Arts and Culture Are of No Interest to You

Ithaca is the largest town in the Finger Lakes region, and there’s no shortage of arts and culture here you may want to avoid. Strolling through town, you’ll see over 150 murals painted on buildings, parking garages, and electrical boxes. 

But the arts scene goes much deeper. The Tompkins Center for History and Culture takes visitors through life in early Ithaca. It’s also a community art space for creators to come together. 

The Corning Museum of Glass houses the largest glass collection in the world. There are live glass shows and hands-on classes where you can blow your creation. The Rockwell Museum highlights the area’s rich lore, including the region’s role in the Civil War and Underground Railroad. 

Mark Twain spent summers in the Finger Lakes and found inspiration for some of his most famous stories here. While you’re in town, you can even visit his gravesite. 

Finger Lakes waterfall
From stunning scenery to an abundance of culture, the Finger Lakes have something for everyone to enjoy.

#3 You Are Not a Wine Enthusiast

Sommeliers and common wine drinkers alike flock to the Finger Lakes. Over 140 wineries live in the community, with Canandaigua, Cayuga, Keuka, and Seneca at the heart of the viticulture scene.

Red wine drinkers can enjoy pinot noir, merlot, and cabernet franc. If you’d rather sip a light white, the area is known for its rieslings but also produces chardonnay and pinot gris. 

The Seneca Lake Wine Trail is especially popular. During summer, most of the region’s 25 vineyards open daily for tours and tastings of the 600 varietals offered. It’s an established American Viticulture Area, so you know you’ll be enjoying the cream of the crop.

Several vintners have overnight accommodations, so you can live out that dream of owning a vineyard. We hear some offer complimentary pours during your stay, so be sure to check reviews! 

Of course, if wine isn’t your thing, this may be another reason to avoid the Finger Lakes. 

#4 You Dislike Cows

We can’t think of anything better to pair with wine than cheese. A whole lot of cheese. And there’s no better place to find this combination than the Finger Lakes. 

Much like the upstate’s wine culture, dairy is a big business. It isn’t just cheesemongers who make the most of the area. Boutique ice cream parlors are all over the place. 

You won’t only taste chocolate and vanilla, although they’ll be delicious, too. The ice creameries around here get very creative. Flavors like maple bacon, Seneca salt caramel, and lavender are a few examples. Some shops even use local vintages to flavor their confections. 

All this dairy has to come from cows. Avoid the area if you hate them or are lactose intolerant because these gentle giants are all over the Finger Lakes. They’re almost as celebrated as the cheese and ice cream they help produce. 

Well, that might be a stretch. But a few farms let you get up close and personal with these bovines and even allow you to milk the cows!

Woman wine tasting in the Finger Lakes
Wine lovers will enjoy drinking their way through the Finger Lakes.

#5 History Is Boring to You

You should probably avoid the Finger Lakes if learning about the past makes you start snoozing. But if you’re interested in history, this part of New York is the place to be. 

Famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman’s former home became a national landmark in 2017. This site in Auburn, New York, is now called the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park.

The women’s rights movement also has significant roots in the Finger Lakes. The Seneca Falls Convention was the first women’s suffrage assembly, and over two days in 1848, it kicked off the entire movement. Today, the area is known as the birthplace of women’s rights. 

A visit to the Women’s Rights National Historical Park comprises three historic homes and the Wesleyan Methodist Church. You can check it out during the Convention Days celebration every July for an immersive experience. 

Pro Tip: These 7 Spectacular Castles in New York will leave you speechless.

Should You Avoid the Finger Lakes?

New York’s Finger Lakes region has something for almost everyone unless you’re the rare type who wants to avoid the outdoors, ice cream, or happiness.

But if you like sipping regionally celebrated wines while enjoying fresh cheese, the Finger Lakes should be on your bucket list. The same goes for history buffs and nature enthusiasts. Don’t miss a chance to check out this underrated corner of the world.

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