Robert H Treman State Park

My 2019 Day Trips

I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the unique and wonderful places I explored this year, most within two hours of Rochester, NY. Some of these day trips were with my husband, daughters, or friends. Others were solo ventures—a leap out of my comfort zone into the wild unknown.

I hope this 2019 list helps inspire your 2020 adventures!

Best of Rochester - Day Trips Around Rochester book

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York

My 12 favorite day trips

Trail of Hope
Trail of Hope
Clyde River
Clyde River
River Road through Marengo Marsh Clyde Galen
River Road / Marengo Marsh
Fox Sisters Hydesville
Fox Sisters
Zurich Bog sign
Zurich Bog
Roadside Attraction Clyde Blockhouse
Clyde Blockhouse
Lake Ontario Bear Creek Boat Launch
Bear Creek
LeRoy Island
LeRoy Island
Casey Park
Casey Park
Hill Cumorah
Hill Cumorah

1. Wayne County

One of my favorite adventures this year was spending an entire day—from dawn to dusk—exploring all of Wayne County with my new friend, Bethany. She reached out through our Facebook page and offered to show me everything she loves about her home county.

Bethany took me through every village and showed me notable places and hidden spaces on sketchy back roads, where I began to question my bold trust in a person I’d never met! (Yes, I’m talking about you, River Road through Marengo Marsh.) And together, we discovered a few places neither of us had been to before.

In 2020, I’ll return the favor by showing her all around Monroe County and the City of Rochester over multiple days. Thank you, Bethany, for being such a passionate tour guide!

Moss Lake
Moss Lake Bog

2. Moss Lake

While doing research for our article, 39 Other Great Lakes Around Rochester, Moss Lake was a delightful new discovery for me. I’d spent a few childhood days on Rushford Lake but had not been aware of Moss Lake until a few years ago and only visited for the first time this year.

It’s a National Natural Landmark, and the moss is fascinating. Several families I met there were visiting as part of an annual summertime pilgrimage. It seems to hold special meaning for people, and I’m committed to going back in 2020 and spending time walking around the lake and over the boardwalk, which, at the time, was closed due to high water levels.

Middleport Lift Bridge
Middleport Lift Bridge
Fairport Lift Bridge

3. All 16 lift bridges over the Erie Canal

Ever since I found out there are only 20 lift bridges over the Erie Canal and that 16 are between Fairport and Lockport, I’ve committed to seeing all of them. A beautiful Saturday came along, and I decided that this was the day!

Of course, it wasn’t all about the bridges, as they are pretty similar. It was more about exploring the canal towns and cities that the Erie Canal brought to life in the 1800’s. There is a unique way of life between Rochester and Buffalo. I learned so much along the back roads that follow the canal.

Finger Lakes Live Steamers ride
Finger Lakes Live Steamers

4. Finger Lakes Live Steamers Open House

I stumbled onto this Finger Lakes Live Steamers event in 2018 while doing research for our article about Rochester’s railroading history. I committed to actually attending the open house in 2019 and was so excited to see it in person! It was so popular I decided not to ride the trains (the lines were extraordinary!)

Rather, I spent the day wandering around, taking in the atmosphere and the displays throughout the property. People were so happy to be there, and it’s no wonder why. It’s a purely joyful time, and it’s free!

Rochester NY Twilight Criterium
Twilight Criterium
Twilight Criterium
Twilight Criterium
Twilight Criterium

5. Twilight Criterium 

The Rochester Twilight Criterium was something I had only heard of on the news. But WOW, was it worth seeing in person! It’s hard to describe what it looks like to see these internationally renowned cyclists racing on Rochester’s city streets, cutting corners at intense speeds around our most historic buildings.

The walkways are strategically laid out so spectators can explore the entire course without having to cut through it. There are places, though, where you can cross once the racers have passed by.

Guide Walk High Falls
High Falls pedestrian bridge
High Falls walking tour ROC the Riverway
high falls
Guide Walk to High Falls

6. Guided Walking Tour of High Falls

It has not happened before, but I hope it happens again! During ROC the Riverway Weekend, this guided hike down to the base of High Falls (RG&E property) was revealed on the activities agenda. I knew I had to be there, but so did roughly 100+ other people.

I think the organizers were pleasantly surprised at the level of interest and grateful for all of us being respectful voyagers. If we hear of this happening again, we’ll let you know!

Maple Sugrar kettle fire
Cumming Nature Center
Tapped Maple Trees Letchworth
Tapped Maple Trees in Letchworth
Wohlschlegel's Maple Farm Naples view
Genesee Country Village Museum maple
Genesee Country Village

7. Maple Farms

I spent both Maple Weekends in March exploring all of the farms I could realistically get to. The weather happened to be amazing as you can see from photographs! This was the first time I had been to many of them. There’s nothing like tasting fresh Maple syrup.

Washington Square Park Dachshund Parade
Dachshund Parade
Dachshund Parade
Dachshund Parade
Washington Square Park Dachshund Parade

8. Dachshund Parade

If you need a moment of pure joy, go see the annual Dachshund Parade in May at Washington Square Park. It’s a big old pile of cuteness!

Green Lakes State Park dad
My dad looking out over Round Lake
Green Lakes State Park tree roots water
Green Lakes State Park
Green Lakes State Park Round Lake south trail
Green Lakes State Park Green Lake calcium
Green Lakes State Park Green Lake bench
Green Lake

9. Green Lakes State Park

I had not been to to Green Lakes since 1991 (I know, right?) but have wanted to get back. What made this trip so special was that I went with my father, who drove. The weather was perfect as we walked around Round Lake (a National Natural Landmark) and part of Green Lake. Both tell a beautiful story of our geologic history. As you can see from the photos, the color of the lakes changes with perspective and sunlight.

Geneseo Air Show paratroopers safety check
Geneseo Air Show paratroopers
Geneseo Air Show Memphis Belle
Geneseo Airshow Nick Tahous cover
National Warplane Museum

10. Geneseo Air Show

I’ve always loved air shows but have not been to one in years. I’ll find a way to watch from a distance as planes are doing wide loops around the show, but I miss out on so much. The commentary, ground displays, and low-flying demos are all worth the admission price. The National Warplane Museum in Geneseo is a special place to witness and participate in aviation history.

Griffis Sculpture Park bathers
Griffis Sculpture Park
Griffis Sculpture Park
Griffis Sculpture Park
Griffis Sculpture Park

11. Griffis Sculpture Park

This was a place so nice I went there twice, but still didn’t see all of it! Griffis Sculpture Park is expansive, and the trails are rustic, so they can get rained out to the point the park will close them. I’m putting this back on the to-do list for early summer 2021.

Chautauqua Lake
Chautauqua Lake
Chautauqua Institution
Chautauqua Institution
National Comedy Center
Panama Rocks scenic
Panama Rocks

12. Chautauqua Lake

This particular trip is special because my husband and I decided to spend the weekend exploring. You can realistically explore Panama Rocks Scenic Park, the National Comedy Center, or Chautauqua Institute on a day trip, but we opted to stay in Jamestown during the National Comedy Festival and experience events throughout the weekend.

Even still, it wasn’t enough time! I could have spent an entire week at Chautauqua Institute, and a full day at Panama Rocks, and two days at the National Comedy Center.

Other day trips throughout the year

The crazy thing is that this isn’t even everything! This doesn’t capture all of the places I stopped along the way. It doesn’t include scenic drives or vistas I went out of my way to see.

What’s beautiful about a day trip are the things you don’t plan for or expect to see when you’re just driving along, things you can’t capture with a camera.

One example of something that lives only in my mind’s eye is a scene along a winding back road, heading toward Allegany State Park, when I came upon an Amish carriage. The children were waving to me with such joy. I have a more vivid memory of that than many things I’ve photographed.

Strasenburgh Planetarium
RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium
Lamberton Conservatory holiday lights
Lamberton Conservatory
Mendon Ponds Park birdsong trail
Mendon Ponds Park


Experienced the new state-of-the-art technology at the Rochester Museum & Science Center Strasenburgh Planetarium

Fed the nuthatches & chickadees along the Birdsong Trail in Mendon Ponds Park

Warmed up at the Holiday show at Lamberton Conservatory

Letchworth State Park
Lake Ontario Polar Plunge
Lake Ontario Polar Plunge
Flower City: Dutch Connection at Eastman Museum
Dutch Connection
Eastman Theatre
Eastman Theatre


Visited the ice volcano at Letchworth

Witnessed the Polar Plunge at Lake Ontario Beach Park

Enjoyed the extraordinary tulip displays throughout the George Eastman Museum during the Dutch Connection

Attend a free choral event at Eastman Theater where 20+ different choirs throughout Rochester came together to sing their own music and to sing together. It was beautiful! There’s so much free music at Eastman Theater throughout the year.

Cumming Nature Center
Cumming Nature Center
Caledonia Ice Festival
Caledonia Ice Festival
Spring Creek Caledonia Fish Hatchery
Spring Creek behind Caledonia Fish Hatchery


A beautiful winter wander around Cumming Nature Center during Maple syrup season

Ice Festival at the Caledonia Village Inn

Caledonia Fish Hatchery & Spring Creek

French Quarter
French Quarter
Phillis Wheatley Community Library
Phillis Wheatley Library
Honey Locust Farm Old Fashioned Days
Honey Locust Farm Old Fashion Days
daffodils blossoms highland park April cover
Highland Park


I’ve spent many hours driving around Rochester, but in April, I focused on capturing some of Rochester’s architectural heritage as research for the article about Rochester’s Fun Facts.

There is no place like Highland Park in April. Except for Highland Park in May. And June…

Old Fashion Days at Honey Locust Farm in Caledonia

Corbetts Glen tunnel
Corbetts Glen
Durand Eastman spring
Durand-Eastman Park
Hamlin Beach State Park Yanty Creek Marsh boardwalk
Hamlin Beach State Park
Richardsons Canal House
Richardson’s Canal House
Del Monte Spa Auburn Line Depot
Del Monte Spa depot
Summer Outdoor Concerts Lilac Fest cover
Lilac Fest


Enjoyed springtime in Corbett’s Glen Nature Park

Attended Lilac Fest in Highland Park

Wandered around the Village of Fairport, the Erie Canal and Thomas Creek

Hiked around the arboretum in Durand-Eastman Park

Walked along the Genesee River through Breese Park, enjoying the Trillium and Bluebells

Spent time in Bushnell’s Basin along the Erie Canal

And time exploring the historic Village of Pittsford and doing more research about Rochester’s transportation history

Hiked the Yanty Marsh trail in Hamlin Beach State Park

El Camino Trail Wall Therapy street art woven blanket
Wiscoy Creek Falls
Wiscoy Creek Falls
Maplewood Rose Garden
Maplewood Rose Garden
George Benson Rochester International Jazz Fest June 2019
George Benson at Jazz Fest 2019


Joined the Genesee Land Trust on a 5k along the El Camino Trail and took more photos of Rochester’s extraordinary street art

Attended Fairport Canal Days

Explored Maplewood Rose Garden & Lower Falls

Took an exploratory drive down and around NY-19 to many roadside waterfalls, including Wiscoy Creek Falls

Spent hours enjoying the talent of headliners and high school students alike during Jazz Fest

Allegany State Park Red House Administration Building
Red House Administration Building
Bergen Swamp trail
Bergen Swamp
Seabreeze Amusement Park water park
Salamanca Seneca Powwow Grand Entry many
Veterans Pow Wow
Salamanca Seneca Powwow drum circle
Vetrans Pow Wow
Ganondagan State Historic Site
Robert H Treman State Park
Robert H Treman


Explored Bergen Swamp

Took a relaxing and informative ride on the Sam Patch

Found the fairy houses in their new home along the Fairy-Birdsong Trail at Mendon Ponds Park

Paid homage to Arch Merril, visiting his gravesite in Brighton Cemetery.

Spend an entire day reliving my childhood at Seabreeze Amusement Park

Headed to Salamanca to attend the Veterans Pow Wow and spend a few hours in Allegany State Park

Spent the day at Ganondagan State Historic Site during the Indigenous Music & Arts Festival

Took a guided tour of the National Susan B Anthony Museum & House

Enjoyed the extraordinary new wall art in Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park at Manhattan Square

Finally took a trip to Robert H Terman State Park

I had the most delicious Coney Island hot dog at the World’s Smallest Diner in Watkins Glen, stopping at Spotted Duck Ice Cream on the way home (I love research!)

FUA Krew subway graffiti
FUA Krew at MAG
Harts Woods Perinton
Hart’s Woods in Perinton
Fort Ontario
Fort Ontario
Park Ave Festival Rochester Berkeley
Park Ave Festival


Checked out the new FUA Krew exhibit at the Memorial Art Gallery

Enjoyed the day at the Park Ave Fest

Wandered through Hart’s Woods, another of our National Natural Landmarks

Spent a day along the Lake Ontario Seaway Trail, with several stops including Fair Haven Beach, B. Forman Park, and Fort Ontario in Oswego

Oatka Creek Park goldenrod birch trees
Oatka Creek Park
Christine Sevilla Wetlands Reserve sunfilled boardwalk
Christine Sevilla
Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge
Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge
Lower Falls Maplewood
Lower Falls
Saint Bernards park
Saint Bernard’s park
Fringe Fest Massaoke
Massaoke at Fringe
Cobbs Hill water tower inside
Cobb’s Hill Water Towers


Enjoyed a colorful hike through Oatka Creek Park

Even more color on the Cobbs Hill Water towers

Wandered the trails through Helmer Nature Center

Explored the hidden pond behind St. Bernard’s Seminary along the Genesee Riverway Trail

Walked the Jump Off Trail in Ontario County Park to see how fall foliage was progressing, with stops at Jerome’s U-Pick Grapes, Lynnie Lou’s for grape custard, and the Olde Country Store

Explored Genesee Land Trust’s Christine Sevilla Wetlands Preserve

Wandered around the moss-covered boulders in MacKay Wildlife Preserve

I spent a day walking the trails through Iroquois Wildlife Refuge and driving through Montezuma Wildlife Refuge

I had so much fun during Massaoke at Rochester Fringe Fest

I spent a few hours wandering around Seneca Falls

Participated in a guided walking tour from Seth Green along St. Paul Blvd. to Maplewood with the Lower Falls Foundation

Livonia, Avon & Lakeville Railroad
Livonia, Avon & Lakeville Railroad
Allegany State Park Thunder Rocks pathway
Thunder Rocks
Medina Railroad Museum train ride
Medina Railroad
Mount Morris Dam
Mount Morris Dam
SUNY Geneseo
SUNY Geneseo
Mount Hope Cemetery autumn cover
Mount Hope


Took two heritage train rides: Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum in cooperation with the Livonia, Avon & Lakeville Railroad at the beginning of the month and Medina Railroad at the end.

I spent a day wandering around Mount Morris & Geneseo

I went back to Allegany State Park specifically to explore Thunder Rocks

Took a guided fall foliage walking tour through Mount Hope Cemetery

fallen Ginko leaves
fallen Ginko leaves
Endicar Irondequoit neighborhood holiday lights giraffe
Endicar Drive in Irondequoit
RMSC Carl planetarium
RMSC Planetarium
Little Theater Cafe Music
The Little
Mount Hope Cemetery winter pyramid side
Mount Hope Cemetery
University of Rochester
University of Rochester


I took a drive to see as many Ginko trees as possible while their pools of bright yellow leaves lay undisturbed by wind

Walked along the lake shore and down the pier at Webster Park

I thoroughly enjoyed a lecture by The Landmark Society of Western New York on Rochester’s Great Architects at the Little Theater

Enjoyed a beautiful, free holiday concert at the University of Rochester

I spent many hours during the end of the month and into December exploring holiday lights around Monroe County

Took a winter drive through Mount Hope Cemetery

Renewed my membership for RMSC because I love the planetarium. I wish they’d host an adult sleepover under the stars!

Genesee Country Village demo
Genesee Country Village
ROC Holiday Village nighttime
ROC Holiday Village
Public Market winter shed
Public Market
Seneca Park Zoo winter tiger 2
Seneca Park Zoo
Frederick Douglass Memorial Plaza Highland Park
Frederick Douglass Memorial Plaza
Edgerton Model Railroad autumn display
Edgerton Model Railroad
Lehigh Valley Trail Genesee River bridge
Lehigh Valley Trail
Lamberton Conservatory holiday show path
Lamberton Conservatory
Channing Philbrick Park
Channing Philbrick Park


Strolled around the Genesee Country Village & Museum’s Holiday Open House

Participated in the Frederick Douglass Memorial Plaza dedication in Highland Park

Visited the Seneca Park Zoo

I stopped by the Edgerton Model Railroad about 1/2 hour before they closed and need to go back! There’s so much detail to appreciate.

Celebrated the season at ROC Holiday Village and the Public Market

Explored the Strong National Museum of Play and the new parking garage and entrance

Enjoyed the tropical temperatures inside Lamberton Conservatory

Took a wonderful winter hike along Irondequoit Creek through Channing H. Philbrick Park

Hiked a small portion of the Lehigh Valley Trail in Livingston County from River Road to the Genesee Valley Greenway crossing at Wadsworth Junction as our last day trip in 2019.

Explore More

My 2021 Day Trips

My 2021 day trips focused on exploring new places and outdoor spaces with smaller groups, with nine standing out as clear favorites.

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My 2020 Day Trips

My favorite day trips in 2020 weren’t so different from our 2019 trips except they were a little less often, with less stops and less people.

Read more

132 Things to Do Around Rochester

We’ve pulled together a list of fun and unique things to do around Rochester, NY, within two hours of home—perfect for quick getaways.

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What were your favorite day trips around Rochester in 2019? What are you planning for 2020?

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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