Books About Rochester cover

My Favorite Books About the Rochester Area

I have compiled a list of my favorite books about Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, and the surrounding regions, including the Genesee Valley, Finger Lakes, Western New York, Central New York, and the Southern Tier.

The authors of these books cover various topics, such as Rochester’s geological and human history, and provide great inspiration for places to visit. I refer to this list year after year for knowledge and enjoyment.

I update this list occasionally, so please bookmark this guide and come back to it for inspiration. I’ve provided links to borrow the books from a Monroe County Library (MCLS) or to purchase them online via Amazon or Bookshop. When you buy a book from Bookshop, a portion of the sale goes to support local booksellers. In case you can’t find the book on the shelf of your local bookstore, you can always place an order for it there.

And the best place to look for used books is your local bookstore.

This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase after clicking a link, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Waterfalls

Hiking Waterfalls in New York: A Guide to the State’s Best Waterfall Hikes
by Randi Minetor

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

200 Waterfalls in Central and Western New York – A Finders’ Guide
by Rich and Sue Freeman

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

Waterfalls and Gorges of the Finger Lakes
by Derek Doeffinger

Library | Amazon

Waterfalls of New York State
by Scott A. Ensminger, David J. Schryver, and Edward M. Smathers

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

New York Waterfalls: A Guide for Hikers & Photographers
by Scott E. Brown

Library | Amazon

W is for Waterfall: An Alphabet of the Finger Lakes Region of New York State
by Aileen Easterbrook and Johanna van der Sterre

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

Off the Beaten Path

New York Off the Beaten Path®
by Randi Minetor (Revised)

Bookshop | Amazon

Upstate New York Off the Beaten Path®: A Guide To Unique Places
by Susan Finch and Julie A Hill and Associates LLC

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

Upstate Uncovered: 100 Unique, Unusual, and Overlooked Destinations in Upstate New York
by Chuck D’Imperio

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

Weird New York: Your Guide to New York’s Local Legends and Best-Kept Secrets
by Chris Gethard

Library | Amazon

Unknown Museums of Upstate New York: A Guide to 50 Treasures
by Chuck D’Imperio

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

Secret Places: A Guide to 25 Little Known Scenic Treasures of New York’s Niagara-Allegheny Region, Including the Beautiful, the Bizarre, the Special, and the Sublime
by Bruce Kershner

Library

Secret Buffalo: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure
by Elizabeth Licata

Library

General Guidebooks

Explorer’s Guide Finger Lakes
by Katharine Delavan Dyson

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

Explorer’s Guide Buffalo & Niagara Falls
by Christine A. Smyczynski

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

Explorer’s Guide Western New York: From Niagara Falls and Southern Ontario to the Western Edge of the Finger Lakes
by Christine A. Smyczynski

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York
by Debi Bower

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

100 Things to Do in Rochester Before You Die
by Robin L. Flanigan

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

100 Things to Do in Buffalo Before You Die
by Elizabeth Licata

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

100 Things to Do in Syracuse Before You Die
by Linda Lowen

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

The Getaway Guy: Road Trip Getaways with Mike O’Brian (50 Fun-Filled Getaways in and around New York State!)
by Mike O’Brian

Library

365 Things to Do in Ithaca, New York: Complete Insider’s Guide to All Things Ithaca
by Laurel Guy

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

Upstate New York: Towns That We Love
by Barton M. Cockey

Library | Amazon

Scenic Drives

Scenic Driving New York: Including the Adirondacks, the Catskills, and the Finger Lakes
by Randi and Nic Minetor

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

Backroads & Byways of Upstate New York
by Christine A. Smyczynski

Library | Amazon

Hiking

Best Easy Day Hikes Rochester
by Randi Minetor

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

Best Easy Day Hikes Buffalo
by Randi Minetor

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

Best Easy Day Hikes Syracuse
by Randi Minetor

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

Take a Hike: Family Walks in the Rochester Area
by Rich and Sue Freeman

Library

Take a Hike: Family Walks in the Finger Lakes & Genesee Valley Region
by Rich and Sue Freeman

Library | Amazon

Five-Star Trails: Finger Lakes and Central New York: Your Guide to the Area’s Most Beautiful Hikes
by Timothy Starmer

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

50 Hikes in Western New York: Walks and Day Hikes from the Cattaraugus Hills to the Genessee Valley
by William P. Ehling

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

50 Hikes in Central New York: Hikes and Backpacking Trips from the Western Adirondacks to the Finger Lakes
by William P. Ehling

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

Cycling

Take Your Bike: Family Rides in the Rochester (NY) Area
by Rich and Sue Freeman

Library

Take Your Bike: Family Rides in New York’s Finger Lakes Region
by Rich and Sue Freeman

Library

Paddling

Take a Paddle: Quiet Water for Canoes and Kayaks in New York’s Finger Lakes
by Rich and Sue Freeman

Library | Amazon

History

While these books will inspire your travel planning, they are predominantly about historical events, architecture, and landforms.

Any of Arch Merrill’s books
by Arch Merrill

Library | Yesterday’s Muse

Cobblestone Quest: Road Tours of New York’s Historic Buildings
by Rich and Sue Freeman

Library | Amazon

Rochester Routes: Tours of Monroe County’s Historic Places
by Patricia Braus

Library | Amazon

Roadside Geology of New York
by Bradford B. Van Diver

Library | Amazon

The Finger Lakes Region: Its Origin and Nature
by O. D. von Engeln

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

Rocks That Rock: An Explorer’s Hiking Guide to Amazing Boulders and Rock Formations of Central & Western New York (Interesting Rock Formations, Geology, and Hikes)
by Russell Dunn

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

Explore More

New & Used Bookstores Around Rochester

Books take us on a journey through time and space. If you’re looking for a new adventure, check out these bookstores around Rochester.

Read more

31 Monroe County Libraries

A free library card allows you to access 31 Monroe County libraries, including Central Library and Libby, the digital library.

Read more

Unplugged and Offline: Take the Day Trips Around Rochester, New York, Guidebook on the Road

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York, the book, encourages offline spontaneity, serendipity, and the joy of getting lost in the right direction.

Read more

Rochester’s Fun Facts: Oldest, Original, Only, & More!

Rochester’s fun facts will inspire you to explore more. And these are just some of the historical tidbits that make Rochester special.

Read more

Rochester: The Image City

Rochester evolved from the Flower City to the Image City when Eastman invented a way for the masses to capture everyday moments on film.

Read more

The Flower City: Exploring Rochester’s Extraordinary Flowers and Trees

Rochester became a global center for flower and tree nurseries in the mid-1800s, fostering our identity as The Flower City.

Read more

H2O Heritage: Exploring Rochester’s Freshwater Resources

Rochesterians are fortunate to be surrounded by abundant freshwater resources that present us with unique stewardship opportunities.

Read more

Day-Trip Destinations

These day trips are filled with carefully chosen options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as memorable experiences and events.

Read more

What are your favorite books about the Rochester area?

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 daytrippingroc.com 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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