Nine Reasons to Vacation at Keuka Lake

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The Finger Lakes region is known to be one of the most beautiful environments on the east coast of the United States. The Finger Lakes make for an amazing location to vacation to whether you are looking for a short weekend get-away or a week-long break from civilization. One of the most beloved lakes out of the 11 is called Keuka Lake, most well-known for its natural shape of a Y. Below is a list of nine great activities to do when you visit Keuka Lake for your next vacation get-away.


The Windmill

Every Saturday, there is a massive farmers market between Keuka and Seneca Lakes, known as the Windmill. There are hundreds of different stores to shop from, and they fill up more than five barns full of vendors. The event begins early in the morning and goes until 3pm in the afternoon. This venue draws all the locals and only a few tourists, giving you the chance to experience the space with a sense of locality.


Finger lakes are especially known for their world class wineries.  Keuka Lake is filled with roughly 20-30 different wineries surrounding the lake, many that have beautiful views of Keuka Lake. I would strongly recommend going for an afternoon tasting, during your time visiting the Finger Lakes Region.

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Visit the small town of Hammondsport

Keuka lake borders three towns that are good for visiting; Branch port, Penn Yan, and Hammondsport. Hammondsport is the town that is located at the base of the Y of Keuka Lake, in 2012 it was named best small town in the United States. It consists of many small shops along with a couple of great restaurants. It also includes a quaint little town center that features free concerts and small art festivals throughout the weekends in the summer and fall.

Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen is the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks. Located on Seneca Lake (The lake direct on the east side of Keuka) but, can still be a great morning or afternoon adventure to explore. It consists of very scenic waterfalls that all lead into the lakes themselves and will leave visitors astonished.

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Hiking Trails

For those who want to get out into the wilderness and hike for days straight there are great Finger Lakes trails that stretch over two hundred miles long. For those of you who would enjoy hikes with great views that only consist of an hour or two, Keuka Lake offers visitors opportunities for both experiences. As stated above about Watkins Glen and it’s waterfalls, there are many more waterfalls that can be discovered throughout trails around Keuka Lake.

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The Lake

You must go swimming during the summer time when you visit. In June the water is a tad chilly but during July, August, and September the water temperature is very warm. When swimming you can even snorkel and go fishing on the lake. Pick a day or two to go down to the lake and enjoy the day by the water. Don’t forget the sunscreen and inter-tubes.


When out on the lake you should go boating as well as swimming. Boating doesn’t have to just be going out in a motor boat. Boating on Keuka Lake includes row boats, kayaks, paddle boards, jet skis, canoes, sailing, and so much more. Some of my favorite activities to do on the lake including tubing and water skiing. The lake is over twenty miles long and a mile in width so there is plenty of ground to cover, which creates for some great adventures.

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Nothing wraps up the day in a better way than sitting near a warm fire, watching the sunset, telling stories with your friends and family, and making smores. (If you haven’t tried it, the best smores include Reese Cups instead of regular Hershey chocolate.) Arguably the most beautiful part of the campfires is being able to experience the moment with your friends and family.

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Enjoy the Night sky

Lastly, if there is one thing you must do above all else is enjoy the view. You can look in almost every direction on Keuka Lake and it will be a breathtaking view, especially at night. During clear nights you can see thousands of stars especially due to the limited light pollution.

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Written by: Matthew Dinehart