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The Finger Lakes

Explore The Eleven Finger Lakes

Science will tell you that the eleven pristine Finger Lakes were formed during the Pleistocene Ice Age. The procession of massive walls of ice cut deep into the planet’s crust, leaving behind deep basins that were then filled with the crystal-clear waters that we still enjoy today. But, there is another story on how the lakes came to be, a Native American legend passed down through generations. As the legend goes, a Great Spirit dearly loved this area of the Americas and felt led to bless it. When the Great Spirit laid his hands on the earth to bless it, he left behind the imprint of his fingers. Either way you want to tell the story, The Finger Lakes are undoubtedly a national treasure, and a striking reminder of nature’s beauty and power. 

Just like the fingers on your hands, each lake features its own unique attributes and differences—some locals even talk about them having different personalities. It’s not uncommon for visitors to love every lake, but have a favorite they can’t wait to return to year after year. There are lakes that are perfect for families and kids, romantic lakes, scenic lakes, lakes for water sports, or just sitting with your feet up and a glass of Finger Lakes wine in your hand. Let’s find your new favorite lake. 

The Finger Lakes

Canadice Lake

Canadice Lake is free of development and has the highest elevation. Despite being the shortest of the lakes, at just under 4 miles long, the Native American translation of Canadice Lake is “Long Lake.”

The Finger Lakes

Canandaigua Lake

The fourth largest of the Finger Lakes, Canandaigua Lake is a popular spot for boating and swimming. Canandaigua Lake’s City Pier is a historic treasure with its picturesque boathouses looking out towards Squaw Island, the Finger Lakes’ smallest island.

The Finger Lakes

Cayuga Lake

With over 100 miles of shoreline, Cayuga Lake is the longest of the Finger Lakes and clocks in at about 435 feet deep. It is home to Frontenac Island, one of only two small islands in the Finger Lakes, and the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail.

The Finger Lakes

Conesus Lake

Long considered the “jewel” of Livingston County, Conesus Lake is the western-most Finger Lake in Upstate New York. In summer, fishing, boating, and water skiing reign supreme, and don’t miss out on the Fourth of July fireworks display, known as the “Ring of Fire.”

The Finger Lakes

Hemlock Lake

The most undeveloped and pristine of the Finger Lakes, Hemlock Lake is preserved in its natural state. It is the only Finger Lake that was not named by the local Native Americans.

The Finger Lakes

Honeyoe Lake

Honeoye Lake is the shallowest of the Finger Lakes, reaching just 30 feet at its deepest point, making it a great lake for those who are afraid of the deep end.

The Finger Lakes

Keuka Lake

The third largest lake, Keuka Lake naturally resembles the letter “Y,” earning it the nickname “crooked lake.” It is the only lake in the country, and one of a few in the world, that runs both north and south. Here you will find the Keuka Lake Wine Trail.

The Finger Lakes

Photo Credit: Onondaga County Parks

Otisco Lake

Otisco Lake is the easternmost Finger Lake, and actually provides public drinking water for the region.

The Finger Lakes

Owasco Lake

Owasco Lake is 11 miles in length, making it the sixth largest of Finger Lake. It is home to both a cold water and warm water fishery, and is a popular place for swimming in the summer due to its shallow waters.

The Finger Lakes

Seneca Lake

The deepest of the Finger Lakes, bottoming out at over 600 feet, and the largest by volume. Seneca Lake is known as the Lake Trout Capital of the World and is home to the Seneca Lake Wine Trail.

The Finger Lakes

Skaneateles Lake

Pronounced Skan-ee-at-e-les. With its strikingly blue water, Skaneateles Lake is ranked among the cleanest lakes in America, and a favorite among travel enthusiasts looking for that amazing background for their social media posts.