Travel Guide: Things to do in Canandaigua Lake, NY

This summer was my second time staying on Canandaigua Lake in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. It’s becoming a tradition in my family to rent a house on the lake and spend good old fashioned quality time together. Though there are quite a few things to do in Canandaigua, but most of our time is spent enjoying the waterfront view!

What is Canandaigua, NY known for?

Canandaigua Lake is known as one of the cleanest lakes in New York State. It’s one of the largest glacial lakes that make up the Finger Lakes Region.  The lake is 15.5 miles long and it’s maximum depth is 276 feet.

Canandaigua’s shores aren’t short of beautiful million dollars homes, some of which are just for the summer.

Where is Canandaigua Lake?

Canandaigua Lake is located in New York State in the Finger Lakes Region.

  • Distance from NYC: 275 miles
  • Distance from Rochester: 30 miles
  • Distance from Boston: 375 miles
  • Distance form Niagara Falls: 100 miles
Kayaking on Canandaigua Lake

Canandaigua Lake

Towns of Canandaigua Lake

Naples

Naples is on the Southwest part of the Lake. You may pass through this small village on your way to Canandaigua.  Two notable places to stop here are Roots Cafe and Grimes Glen.

City of Canandaigua

The City of Canandaigua lies on the North part of the lake. Here you will find restaurants, grocery stores, breweries a park and some water activities.

Bristol

Bristol lies to the west of Canandaigua lake and known for the Bristol Mountain Ski Resort. Make sure to stop at the County Road 12 Overlook while you’re there for an epic view!

Map of Canandaigua Lake: My Top Picks

The Best Things to Do

Take a boat out on the lake.

Bring your own boat or rent one locally. I listed this activity first because it’s definitely one of my top things to do! You get a totally different perspective of the lake and riding around keeps you nice and cool in the summer heat. The amazing water quality makes for a perfect place to swim.

Local companies you can rent from:

  • Sutters Marina
  • Seager Marine
  • German Brothers Marina
  • Smith Boys

Visit the Wineries.

Canandaigua has a small wine trail which consists of a few tasting rooms. Since I opted for a day at the Seneca Lake wineries, I didn’t actually try out any of these locations.

  • Hazlitt’s Red Cat Cellars (Naples)
  • Arbor Hill Grapery & Winery (South Bristol)
  • Heron Hill Tasting Room (Naples)
  • Inspire Moore Winery (Next to Roots Cafe in Naples)

Neighboring, Seneca Lake has a much fuller and more popular wine trail. If you’re a wine lover, I suggest doing the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. There are 35 wineries on this lake, but here are my favorites:

  • Anthony Road
  • Fox Run
  • Glenora
  • Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard
  • Heron Hill Winery


 

Stop at the County Road 12 Overlook.

A vista of the lake and rolling hills on the way to Naples. The perfect picnic location!

Visit City Pier and see adorable boathouses.

A group of 80 boathouses which are too cute not to photograph! Located right next to Kershaw Park.

Visit Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion Historic Park.

Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion Historic Park is a 50-acre estate is one of just two public gardens in all of the New York State Parks System. It opened to the public in 1873 and every year hosts about 35,000 visitors.

Check out Kershaw Park.

On the North shores of Canandaigua Lake, Kershaw Park features a playground, beach, bathhouse and public dock.

Ski at Bristol Mountain Resort.

A premier ski and snowboard resort for those brave enough to visit upstate New York in the winter!

Take the kids to Roseland Water Park!

Roseland Water Park is a fun day for the family, featuring a wave pool, raft wide and water slides!

Admire the incredible Waterfalls of the Finger Lakes region.

One of the best things about this area, is clearly the nature. Don’t miss out on the some of the coolest waterfalls you’ll ever see, one of which is taller than Niagara Falls!

  • Grimes Glen (Naples)
  • Ithaca Falls (Cayuga Lake)
  • Watkins Glen (Seneca Lake)
  • Taughannock Falls (Cayuga Lake)

Purcahse fresh everything at Canandaigua Farmer’s Market.

A farmer run market with 30 vendors! Vendors can only sell what they produce, so you’re sure to get the freshest of it all from jams and fruit to meat and honey.

Visit Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum.

A historic home and impressive collection of horse drawn vehicles that will open your eyes to some local history.

Where to Eat and Drink : The Best Restaurants and Bars Nearby

To be honest, while I was in Canandaigua I didn’t eat out too often. Since we rented a lake front property with plenty of outdoor space we ended up grilling most of the time then having a drink by the fire pit.

Even so, I did get to try out a few of the local spots!

New York Kitchen

New York Kitchen is not just a restaurant, but a place to learn all about the state’s produce, beer, wine and spirits. Take a cooking class, taste test in the 100% New York tasting room or eat at their delicious restaurant and food truck.

I had a blueberry ale from the tasting room and the fried chicken from the food truck and both were soo yummy!

Nolan’s

I didn’t get chance to eat here but their outdoor patio looked so nice! Nolan’s is a steak and seafood restaurant on the North end of the Lake, not far from Kershaw Park. You’ll find a number of local brands stocked at their bar.

Roots Cafe (Naples)

As I sat reading the menu at Roots Cafe, I saw one item after the next say either local or homemade, immediately a light bulb went off.

Every dish I tried was full of so much freshness.  Though all of the items were tasty, the miso burger definitely surprised me. The flavor combo was delicious and perfect fries made the dish even better.

 

Star Cider

Star Cider has a great first impression, how could you not love the big red barn look? Then I tried their cider slushie and i was in love. It was so refreshing!

Twisted Rail Brewing Co.

A brewery with a lake view and cute outdoor seating on their deck. They have a variety of beers on offer from stouts to wheat beers to sours.

Young Lion Brewing

Another brewery located on the North end of the lake and one of the larger microbreweries in New York State. Their core beers include their award winning Czech Pilsner, IPA, Double IPA, Stout, and Bourbon Barrel Stout.

Where to Stay

Rent a house on Canandaigua Lake.

This is what I have done for the past two years. There’s nothing like waking up and having your morning coffee on your own private dock!

Stay at one of these top inns or resorts nearby:

  • Chalet of Canandaigua
  • Belhurst Castle (Seneca)
  • Geneva on the Lake (Seneca)
  • The Inn at Glenora (Seneca)
  • The Lake House on Canandaigua (opening August 2020)

 

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