Don’t let tight budgets stop you from enjoying incredible, free Rochester day trips. They’ll cost only gas and time—pack a zero-waste lunch and save even more. These 10 ideas will give you over 350 actual destinations, not even including hundreds of wall art pieces!
We drive past some of Rochester’s most unique features every day, completely unaware that these hidden places are just minutes away from where we work and live.
Our roadside waterfalls near Rochester are spectacular, and for some, you do not need to get out of your car. Impressive waterfalls are not all buried in dark ravines accessible only by difficult trails.
Monroe County parks are free, so take advantage of 12,000 acres of natural, zoological, horticultural, historical and geological experiences! Make it a goal to visit all of them for 20 unique and free Rochester day trips! Take advantage of our town parks and city parks as well.
Signing up for a free library card gives you access to all 32 Monroe County libraries! The Monroe Country Library System comprises town & village locations, Rochester Public Library branch locations, and the Central Library.
Here are a few less populated, rustic, or unusual trails around Rochester that will inspire you to take a hike. A diverse collection of rail-trails, waterside trails, and inland trails.
Here are a few unusual Finger Lakes, Western New York and Rochester-area roadside attractions. Pinpoint these on your map while exploring other free Rochester day trips!
Depending on your definition, water trails are either formally marked routes along a navigable waterway, or simply any waterway suitable for canoes, kayaks, and small motorized watercraft.
Our nature centers, wildlife preserves, management areas, etc., all serve to protect and sustain life, while making nature accessible to people to enjoy and learn from.
Free outdoor concerts around Rochester start ramping up in June, when the city and surrounding towns kick off their summer music series and festivals.
NYS Parks are free off season; roughly November-April. You can also visit for free when you borrow an Empire Pass from a Monroe County Library!
While the wine, beer, and food destinations will have fees for tastings, many of the self-guided tours are free—it’s just you and the open road! Explore the back roads and city streets of Western New York, Southern Tier, Genesee Valley, and the Finger Lakes regions looking for Wells Barns, barn quilts, cobblestones, fairy doors, art studios, and remnants of our history.
These are just our top 10 free Rochester day trips!
There are more! Filter our day trips by our “free” tag to explore other ideas. There are also places that charge an admission, but it is free to explore the grounds, like the Memorial Art Gallery, The Strong National Museum of Play, George Eastman Museum, and the Rochester Museum & Science Center.