These day trips are filled with carefully chosen options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at some of the most popular local restaurants, as well as unique experiences and events that make each destination truly special. You’ll find a range of ideas to help you make the most of your time and create lasting memories.
Start Planning Your Day-Trip Adventures
A perfect day in Rochester would involve visiting one of the city’s world-class museums, spending time in its exceptional parks, and seeing both High Falls and Lake Ontario.
Of the five Finger Lakes closest to Rochester, Canandaigua Lake and the city’s historic downtown have the most to offer visitors.
Nestled in the hills at the southern end of Canandaigua Lake, Naples is known for its beautiful natural surroundings and annual Grape Festival.
Explore Letchworth State Park
Whether you want to picnic beside a waterfall, hike one of the park’s 29 trails, or enjoy a scenic drive, Letchworth has something for you.
Situated midway between Rochester and Syracuse on Route 5 and 20, Geneva feels like the center of the Finger Lakes region.
Explore Seneca Falls
Seneca Falls, on historic Route 5 and 20, is the birthplace of the Women’s Rights movement and is the inspiration for It’s a Wonderful Life.
Explore Watkins Glen
The heart of the village of Watkins Glen is the 1.5-mile-long gorge, a truly breathtaking and awe-inspiring showcase of nature’s beauty.
The Village of Skaneateles is the perfect place to get away and enjoy the pace of lake life, surrounded by unique boutiques and restaurants.
A day trip to Syracuse should include a walk through its unique state parks and renowned museums and indulging in delicious local food.
Explore Buffalo’s Delaware Park
Delaware Park combines Buffalo’s cultural and recreational offerings along a two-mile path that winds around lakes, gardens, and meadows.
Explore Buffalo’s Waterfront
From Canalside to Outer Harbor and RiverWorks to Silo City, there are a dozen excellent day trips from Rochester along Buffalo’s waterfront.
Explore Niagara Falls, USA
Niagara Falls is majestic year-round, and I recommend going at different times throughout the year to witness the uniqueness of each season.
Ranked as one of the “Top Ten Small Towns,” spend a day in Lewiston, with its excellent shops, restaurants, and Niagara River views.
Explore East Aurora
From Vidler’s to the Aurora Theatre to the Roycroft Arts & Crafts movement, the early 1900s are alive and well on Main Street in East Aurora.
Corning’s Gaffer District features nearly one hundred boutiques, specialty and antique shops, art galleries, glass studios, and restaurants.
Spend a day in the City of Ithaca, exploring the waterfalls, restaurants, shops, and festivals that make this Ivy League college town unique.
Map of Destinations
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Other Regional Guides
Explore Routes 5 & 20
Routes 5 & 20 is a 67-mile stretch of scenic highway where NY-5 & US-20 converge, following an ancient foot trail of the region’s first people.
Explore the Finger Lakes Region
The Finger Lakes region includes cities, villages, farmland, and 11 lakes that collectively create one of the most popular tourist destinations.
Explore the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor
Nearly 80% of the upstate population lives within 25 miles of the Erie Canal. Explore the 115-mile stretch between the Cayuga-Seneca Canal and Niagara River.
Explore Livingston County
Take a drive through the Livingston County countryside to explore charming village Main Streets, historic districts, nature trails and lakes.
Explore Monroe County
Monroe County is the heart of the Greater Rochester Nine County Region. The City of Rochester is surrounded by 19 towns and villages.
Things to See Along the Way
Finger Lakes Welcome Center in Geneva
As you’re driving the back roads and
scenic bi-ways of the Genesee Valley, Western New York and the Finger Lakes Region, keep your eyes open for our fascinating roadside attractions.
I travel not to go anywhere but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Many of the region’s most stunning waterfalls can be viewed from the road, parking area, or a short walk on a pathway.
Have fun finding these fun roadside attractions—shoe trees, a skeleton army, a metal dragon, a shark girl—within two hours of Rochester.
12 Self-Guided Tours
These self-guided tours around Rochester are like a regional scavenger hunt! Learn the stories behind some of the things you see along our roadways.
Which are your favorite villages and cities for a day trip?
Your insights and experiences are valuable. Please share them in the comments.