Mendon Ponds Park green cover

Land That I Love: Your Guide to Roaming the Earth Around Rochester

Enjoy the beauty and wonders of the world by making the most of the many natural, zoological, horticultural, historical, and geological experiences offered by our parks, gardens, and farms. Our region is full of unique and fascinating places to discover!

As a side note, I’m also interested in finding places ideal for very long walks. If you have a spot where you enjoy miles of easy-to-moderate walking (some hills or slight elevation changes are acceptable) away from automobile traffic, please share in the comments below. I’m thinking of places like Letchworth, Hamlin Beach, rail trails, etc. I’m especially keen to find places that inspire introspection and promote solitude and serenity.

Best of Rochester - Day Trips Around Rochester book

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York

Take a Walk

The best thing you can do for your body and mind is simply take a walk. Enjoy our favorite places to meander, mosey, saunter, or stroll.

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Guided Walks and Tours Around Rochester, NY

Local experts who highlight the rich history, geology, ecology, and community of the greater Rochester region lead these guided walks.

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20 Paved, Gravel, and Boardwalk Pathways for Easy Strolls

These paved pathways and boardwalks are ideal for folks using strollers, walkers, wheelchairs, or managing other mobility challenges.

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18 Wonderful Winter Walks in Monroe County

These winter walks in Rochester and Monroe County will inspire you to time outside, breathing in cold, fresh air and soaking up a little sun.

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22 Fabulous Fall Hikes in Monroe County

Our favorite fall hikes offer a variety of elements and views. The presence of water, trees, and solitude helps rank these high on our list.

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18 Beautiful Boardwalks

These boardwalks are integrated into larger trail systems to assist individuals in navigating wetlands and conserving wildlife.

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36 Places to Immerse Yourself in Green

I find green to be a soothing color, especially when surrounded by it. Here are some of my favorite places to go green!

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80+ Hiking Trails Around Rochester

Less traveled than in our parks, these hiking trails around Rochester offer a secluded and rustic area to immerse yourself in nature.

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Gardens & Arboretums

These carefully designed gardens, often cultivated for decades or even centuries, display exceptional collections of flowers and trees. Ideal destinations for walks between April and August, many of these places also feature interesting architectural and landscape elements that make them great for winter walks.

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Highland Park in Rochester

Highland Park has even been described as a museum of exotic trees, many of which are the tallest of their species in the state, though few are native.

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Rochester’s Olmsted-Designed Parks

Rochester is fortunate to be one of a handful of American cities with a park system comprised of Frederick Law Olmsted-designed parks.

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Durand Eastman Park

Durand Eastman Park’s 977 acres include an arboretum, hiking trails around Durand and Eastman Lakes, and a swimming beach on Lake Ontario.

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George Eastman Museum

The George Eastman Museum is a beautiful tribute to his life & legacy, and is the world’s oldest photography museum with one of the oldest film archives.

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Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion

Located in the City of Canandaigua, Sonnenberg Gardens is an exceptional example of the lavish wealth and philanthropy of the Gilded Age.

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Nature Centers & Preserves

The various nature centers, preserves, and management areas all work to protect and maintain natural spaces for the benefit of all.

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Mendon Ponds Park

Mendon Ponds is Monroe County’s most expansive park, with woodlands, ponds, wetlands, and 21 miles of color-coded trails across 2,500 acres.

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Helmer Nature Center

The terrain at Helmer Nature Center is hilly and tree-covered, making is an excellent place for peaceful woodland exploration.

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Explore Letchworth State Park

Letchworth has something for everyone, from hiking one of the park’s 29 trails and picnicking beside a waterfall to taking a scenic drive.

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OptOutside: Ideas for Spending Time Outdoors on the Day After Thanksgiving

Anyone can OptOutside on Black Friday. Join a guided walk through Highland Park on Friday, November 24, at 1 p.m., or explore independently.

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MacKay Wildlife Preserve

Visitors to MacKay Wildlife Preserve will find a sea of round moss-covered boulders, a collection of hardwoods, and unusual land formations.

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Parks & Historic Sites

Beyond the gorge trails, nature centers, and gardens, these exceptional parks offer unique experiences and amenities worthy of exploration.

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22 Monroe County Parks

Monroe County parks are free and offer 12,000 acres of natural, zoological, horticultural, historical, and geological experiences.

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Ganondagan State Historic Site

Ganondagan is the original site of a 17th-century Seneca town, which at its peak had 150 longhouses where one replica stands today.

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4 Rock Cities Near Rochester

Explore these cool, mossy rock cities near Rochester, like Little Rock City near Ellicottville and Thunder Rocks in Allegany State Park.

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Geologic History of the Rochester Area

These day trips into Rochester’s geologic history will remind you just how amazing our corner of the Earth is.

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50 New York State Parks Within a Two-Hour Drive of Rochester

Venture into one of these New York State Parks within a two-hour drive of Rochester and discover what makes them unique.

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Farms & Farmers’ Markets

Exploring local markets and roadside produce stands is a great way to immerse yourself in the community and support family farms. But the real fun begins when agritourism combines with harvest time!

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9 Rochester U-Pick Seasons

There are U-Pick farms all around the Greater Rochester Area. Often times, picking your own product is as much a family adventure as it is entertainment!

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🍎 Apple Everything! Rochester’s best ciders, fry cakes, fritters, pies, and more

Come mid-September, we begin to crave all things apple. Apple cider. Apple cider donuts. Apple fritters. Apple pie. And warm fry cakes.

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🍁 Maple Weekends: 13 Sweet Sugar Shacks Near Rochester

During Maple Weekends, March 16-17 and 23-24, 2024, producers open their sugar shacks to honor the art and science of turning sap into syrup.

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🎃 Pumpkin Patches & Farms Around Rochester

Experience the perfect autumn day at our Rochester-area pumpkin farms with wagon rides, fresh apple cider and donuts, and corn mazes.

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Rochester Public Market

The Rochester Public Market is the best place to find the freshest locally grown produce, seafood, beef, cheese, bread, and beverages.

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Where do you like to roam?

Your insights and experiences are valuable. Please share them in the comments.

Debi Bower, Day Trips Around Rochester NY

Debi Bower is the founder and creative director of and author of the award-winning book Day Trips Around Rochester, New York.

People often ask me if I get free access to places while exploring. The answer is no unless I’m invited to previews or granted behind-the-scenes access as part of my media role. Generally, I don’t mention my project, Day Trips Around Rochester, NY, because I want the same experience you would have. I create and share content simply because it brings me joy. I would appreciate your support—a cup of coffee or two to help fuel future field trips—if you have found valuable information here that has helped you explore the Rochester area.

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