We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

From NYC to Finger Lakes to Niagara Falls and back in 3 Days

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
21 posts
1 review
Save Topic
From NYC to Finger Lakes to Niagara Falls and back in 3 Days

We are travelling from NYC to Niagara Falls. We have 3 days and plan to enjoy Finger Lakes region on the way as well. We will start on Friday morning (26th August) and plan to get back by Sunday night (28th Aug). Our plan is the following:

a) Drive from NYC to Senaca Falls on day 1 (overnight at Seneca Falls)

b) Drive from Seneca Falls to Niagara Falls, spend day 2 at Niagara and come back to Seneca Falls (overnight at Seneca) - all in the same day

c) Drive from Seneca Falls back to NYC on day 3

Questions:

1. We want scenic drives while we are on the road but not taking very long detours - can take different routes for going and coming back. What are our options, given that day 2 will be at Niagara and we will be driving on day 1 and day 3.

2. How sould we spend our time in Finger Lakes?

3. Is Seneca Falls a good pace in Finger lakes to stay or is Skaneatles / Auburn a better place?

Thank you very much in advance for any advice / tips, fellow travelers.

Vestal, New York
Destination Expert
for Auburn, Finger Lakes
Level Contributor
7,069 posts
184 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: From NYC to Finger Lakes to Niagara Falls and back in 3 Days

What type of town accommodations are you interested in? What are you interested in doing/seeing? Are you interested in walkable lake access?

Answers to these would help answer questions 2 and 3.

As for scenic drives, Route 89 from Ithaca to Seneca Falls or and Route 414 from Watkins Glen to Waterloo/Seneca Falls will provide nice lake views.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
21 posts
1 review
Save Reply
2. Re: From NYC to Finger Lakes to Niagara Falls and back in 3 Days

Thanks rjr for the reponse. Interests would be 1. any scenic drives in and around finger lakes, 2. wineries and 3. any interesting activities to do (me and my wife like leisure time but some one or two activities to plan around always help).

ideal accomodation town would be somewhere where we can fine enough restaurants for dinner / breakfast and a nice place to spend a relaxing evening. Scenic places would be great.

Vestal, New York
Destination Expert
for Auburn, Finger Lakes
Level Contributor
7,069 posts
184 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: From NYC to Finger Lakes to Niagara Falls and back in 3 Days

Ithaca would be a recommended destination as it has many fine restaurants, plenty of lodging options, multiple performing arts options, three wonderful state parks (Taughannock, Buttermilk and Robert Treman) plus many other public natural areas and lake access, an extensive weekend farmers market at the foot of the lake and access to several wineries. It is a city of about 30,000 people so if you are looking for a less populated and busy town, Ithaca may not be for you.

Canandaigua is also a very pleasant town (about 15,000 people) with good lodging and dining options and lake access. The Finger Lakes Wine and Culinary Center is there as is Sonneburg mansion and gardens (worth a stop). There are fewer wineries along the lake but drives along both sides of the lake are scenic; I especially like Route 21 to Naples.

Hammondsport and Penn Yan are pleasant smaller towns at each end of Keuka Lake. Both have great lake and winery access. There is an interesting museum (Curtiss) outside Hammondsport that is worth a stop. dining and lodging options are less prevalent than in Ithaca or Canandaigua. A drive on 54A is especially scenic.

Skaneateles is the choice of many; it is located right on the lake and is also a smaller town. It is a very pretty; good for strolling along the main street and/or taking a boat tour. There are less options activity and winery-wise than the other towns mentioned above. The drive along either side of this lake is very scenic as well.

Hope this gives you some ideas ... enjoy the Finger Lakes!

Boston...
Level Contributor
1 post
1 review
Save Reply
4. Re: From NYC to Finger Lakes to Niagara Falls and back in 3 Days

If you come up Route 17 in NY, it's beautiful. I would drive Route 90 through Locke and continue on that road into Aurora. There are beautiful farm and lake views over rolling hills. Stop a the Aurora Inn for photos and there's a great restaurant across the street, The Fargo. Just outside Aurora is the MacKenzie Childs Pottery "factory" and showroom. Amazing! Also great for photo ops. You don't need to buy anything, just walk around and enjoy. from there find your way through Auburn (it's a dump) and stay in Seneca Falls. It was the town It's a Wonderful Life was based upon. From there you can get on Route 5&20 and continue to Skaneateles where you should take a quick stop and see the lake and shops. Great architecture. Also further West on 5&20 is the town of Cazenovia, cute + an interesting outdoor sculpture park just outside town. Then you better step on the gas and get to Niagara Falls before your weekend is over. Up near Niagara Falls there's a town called Niagara-on-the-Lake that's adorable.

Irondequoit, New...
Level Contributor
631 posts
63 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: From NYC to Finger Lakes to Niagara Falls and back in 3 Days

Skeneatales is in the opposite direction of Niagara Falls from Seneca Falls, you'd have to backtrack about 35-45 minutes. Cazenovia is even further. Personally, in the time frame mentioned, I wouldn't do it should you decide to stay in Seneca Falls. Skeneatales to Seneca Falls would be, OK, I guess. Cazenovia is not on your way for this trip at all.

I second Ithaca as a good choice, very easy to get to from NYC, most of what people look for in the Finger Lakes is nearby.

Vestal, New York
Destination Expert
for Auburn, Finger Lakes
Level Contributor
7,069 posts
184 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: From NYC to Finger Lakes to Niagara Falls and back in 3 Days

I disagree with the "Auburn is a dump" statement.

Perhaps the poster never left 5&20 and only saw the prison and the retail strip along there. There are less empty storefronts in Auburn's downtown than in Seneca Falls and many beautiful homes and buildings on the N/S main drag (Rt. 34) and scattered throughout town. There is also alot of amazing history there as well.

Auburn, New York
Level Contributor
7 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: From NYC to Finger Lakes to Niagara Falls and back in 3 Days

On the way back I would consider driving along the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway (CayugaLake.com) which is Route 90 and runs along the east side of Cayuga Lake. This will take you through the charming village of Aurora. Try and stop for lunch at either the Aurora Inn or Pumpkin Hill Bistro. Both are special treats! You should also stop at the wineries along the way as wine tours and tasting are a must in the Finger Lakes! Heart & Hands Wine Co., Long Point Winery and King Ferry Winery are all right on Route 90 and make fine wines. As for accommodations, Auburn will offer you plenty of lodging options, from the Holiday Inn to very upscale B&Bs like 10 Fitch, you can find pretty much anything that suits your taste and pocketbook! This is a very busy time of year in the Finger Lakes, so make your reservations in advance. More information on Auburn and the Finger Lakes visit tourcayuga.com Have fun!

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
21 posts
1 review
Save Reply
8. Re: From NYC to Finger Lakes to Niagara Falls and back in 3 Days

Thanks very much for your feedback and great suggestions. We are traveling this Frioday and very excited about the trip. We did not pick Ithaca coz we wanted to stay closer to Niagara Falls as we need to go to Niagara Falls, see all of it and plan to come back the same day. Right now, we are booked for Seneca Falls, probably already too late to change the hotel bookings to one of the other cities.

Question: For our route planning, we plan to take Route 90 one way and still trying to think what scenic route we can take on our way back? No wineries on the way back as I will be driving through to New York, so no wine tasting for me.

Also - Is Route NY17 like a national highway now? I hope there are not any red lights on that route?

Vestal, New York
Destination Expert
for Auburn, Finger Lakes
Level Contributor
7,069 posts
184 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: From NYC to Finger Lakes to Niagara Falls and back in 3 Days

The only red light left on Rt. 17 that I can think of is shortly before the Liberty exits. It is an interstate in several sections but still a state highway in others.

As far as a scenic route from NF (back to Seneca Falls), consider US 20 or SR 5. They eventually converge (near Avon, NY I believe) and remain that way to until Auburn, where they diverage again. From Auburn, I personally would choose US 20.

10. Re: From NYC to Finger Lakes to Niagara Falls and back in 3 Days

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 10 October 2012, 22:16
Get answers to your questions about Finger Lakes