Finger Lakes Winter Activities

17 January 2024

If you were contemplating a stay-cation this winter, you are in luck.  There are so many things to do in this area that you could stay busy for two weeks, without a problem.  Or, you might want to split the time up into long weekends.  In any event, here are some great activities to consider.


Bristol Mountain – Downhill skiing and snowboarding with a 1,200 foot vertical rise.  No need to go all the way to Colorado for these thrills.  Bristol can accommodate beginners as well as those with tons of experience.  There are almost 36 different trails to consider, and some of them are lit at night for an awesome experience.  For a little different choice, go ziplining.  Don’t miss the cafe for a little relaxation after a day outside.

Cumming Nature Center – Go north from Naples and you will find the Bristol Hills.    There you will find 15 miles of trails just waiting for cross-country.  In fact, there are three miles designated just for  snowshoers.  Equipment is available for rental, so that makes it super simple.

Ganondagan State Historic Site – Hike or snowshoe through the 500 acres of this area once populated by the Seneca and Haudenosaunee native people.  In February you can enjoy the Native American Winter Games and Sports.

Ice Fishing – If you are fond of fishing, you needn’t wait until spring.  There are plenty of trout, bass, crappie, and perch just waiting for your hook at Canandaigua, Canadice, and Honeoye lakes.  It takes a little gear and a good shanty but worth it.


The Smith Opera House – is far more than high-brow music.  Check their schedule for music from rock bands to a symphony orchestra.  They also feature movies that you probably won’t find on NetFlix like classics and indies.  They opened their doors in 1894 so you get to view an historic building at the same time.

Seneca Art and Culture Center – Located at Ganondagan State Historic Site this facility allows us to better understand those who settled this land long ago.  Starting with an animated film, the exhibits are well worth an afternoon.  They also offer classes and will present special events and performances.

Foster Cottage Museum – Located in Clifton Springs, this is the spot where occupational therapy was “invented”.  Back in 1854 one took a “water cure” to regain health.  Now this cottage and the nearby buildings recreate what it was like during those times.

Hill Cumorah Visitors Center – This is the origin of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Learn about this denomination at its center in Manchester.

Skating Rinks – You don’t need to be outdoors to enjoy a winter sport.  Try the Geneva Recreation Complex and the Greater Canandaigua Civic Center and see which you prefer.  Skate rentals are available at both locations.  If you would rather just watch somone else, the Geneva Recreation Complex is the host to both Hobart and William Smith home hockey games.

Roseland Bowl Family Fun – This is a center that has a variety of entertainment options for the whole family from laser tag to bumper cars.  Hint, it is also a fun place for a date.

Eastview Mall – If you haven’t tired of shopping from the holidays, or if you are just trying to lose a couple of extra pounds, try this locale in Victor.  They have several branches so that you can walk in climate controlled comfort, window shop, and pick up a couple of bargains in the process.

1840 Inn on the Main – Perfect for a stay-cation in Canandaigua and within walking distance of the downtown area.

Spa Experience – If you need a special treat, massages, mineral baths, body wraps, and other services, this site will fill the need.  The Springs Integrative Medicine and Spa in Clifton Springs even offers a menu just for kids.  So, what are you waiting for?

Food and Libation

Finger Lakes is known for its vast assortment of wineries, distilleries, brewers, and other liquid refreshments.  With the winter months and fewer tourists, the pace is slower and perfect for great conversations and lots of laughs.  Hire a service to take care of the driving so that you can fully enjoy the experience.

Belhurst Castle – In Geneva this historic setting is lovely to enjoy some adult beverages before the fire pit and view Seneca Lake.  If the weather is too inclement, try the fireplace at Stonecutter’s Restaurant.  While this establishment is full of luxury and elegance, it is still very comfortable and the atmosphere is casual.

New York Kitchen – If you want to hone your culinary skills, this is the best place to do it.  As a group you will prepare dishes as directed by an expert and many of the classes include a meal and wine to complete the event.

Try some of the small cafes around like Monaco’s Coffee in Geneva or Simply Crepes in Canandaigua.

Microclimate – If you are in the mood for something a bit more spirited, try the cozy wine bar in Geneva.  They offer a great selection from local Finger Lakes to almost anywhere in the world.

As you can tell, things don’t stop in the Finger Lakes just because the seasons change.

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