Chimney Bluffs State Park

49 New York State Parks Within a 2-hour Drive of Rochester

If you visit multiple New York State Parks in one day, you only pay admission at the first park. Keep your receipt and show it at each new park that day for free entry.

Most of our beautiful parks have 2 things in common; hiking trails and water. As wonderful as both elements are, I encourage you to venture into each of these parks and discover what makes them unique!

Fees noted below for the New York State Parks are subject to change. Dates are for 2018; use them as a general planning guide, then check each park’s website for current information.

Finger Lakes Region
New York State Parks

Gorge Trails Buttermilk Falls Ithaca

1. Buttermilk Falls

$8 vehicle entry fee collected:

  • 4/29 – 6/16: 8:30 AM – 6 PM, weekends & holidays
  • 6/17 – 9/4: 8:30 AM – 6 PM, daily
  • 9/5 – 10/22: 8:30 AM – 6 PM, weekends & holidays

The upper park has a small lake, hiking trails through woodlands and along the gorge and rim, picnic areas and playing fields. The lower park has a campground, natural pool and playing fields, beyond which is Larch Meadows. Larch Meadows is a wetland area through which a nature trail winds.

Read about our experience

Cayuga Lake State Park Swing
Cayuga Lake State Park

2. Cayuga Lake

$7 vehicle entry fee collected:

  • 5/27 – 6/23: 9 AM – 6 PM, weekends & holidays
  • 6/24- 9/4: 10 AM – 6 PM weekdays, 9 AM – 6 PM, weekends & holidays
  • 9/5 – 10/9: 9 AM – 6 PM, weekends & holidays

The scenic highlight of the park is its expansive view of Cayuga Lake. A variety of aquatic activities from swimming to fishing as well as its many campsites and cabins.

Chimney Bluffs State Park
Chimney Bluffs State Park

3. Chimney Bluffs

$5 vehicle entry fee collected:

4/1 – 10/31 Daily (All Day)

The most dramatic landscape on the Lake Ontario shore. Experience the massive earthen spires while enjoying the park’s lake shore nature trails. Experience them from above and below.

Read about our experience

Geologic History of the Rochester Area

These day trips into Rochester’s geologic history, filled with drumlins, fossils, house-sized boulders and a meromictic lake, will leave you awe-struck!

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5 Exceptional Waterfalls Near Rochester

Think of this as a starter-set of five exceptional waterfalls near Rochester that you should absolutely visit if you haven’t already!

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4. Fair Haven Beach

$8 vehicle entry fee collected:

4/1 – 10/31 Daily (All Day)

One of the finest public lakefronts in upstate New York, with towering shoreline bluffs, sandy beaches and adjoining hilly woodlands.

5. Fillmore Glen

$7 vehicle entry fee collected:

  • 5/7 – 6/16: 9 AM – 6 PM, weekends & holidays
  • 6/19 – 9/4: 9 AM – 6 PM, daily
  • 9/5 – 10/9: 9 AM – 6 PM, weekends & holidays

An oasis of cool, dense woods crowding into a long, narrow gorge. Explore its unique geological formations, five waterfalls, and a botanically rich glen.

Honeoye Lake from Harriet Hollister
Honeoye Lake from Harriet Hollister

6. Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area

No entry or parking fees.

One of the most striking scenic views in the Finger Lakes Region.

Read about our experience

New York State Parks: Keuka Lake
Keuka Lake State Park

7. Keuka Lake

$7 vehicle entry fee collected:

  • 5/13 – 6/16: 9 AM – 5 PM, weekends & holidays
  • 6/17 – 9/4: 9 AM – 5 PM, daily
  • 9/5 – 10/19: 9 AM – 5 PM, weekends & holidays

Views of vineyard-covered slopes, glimmering water and clear blue sky provide a backdrop for a variety of outdoor activities.

7 Wineries with Scenic Keuka Lake Views

For your Finger Lakes wine tour, our priority is simply to show you which wineries have the most spectacular scenic Keuka Lake views!

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Fall Foliage: 6 Breathtaking Views Near Rochester

These five destinations offer colorful fall foliage and varied landscapes so you can appreciate them each in their own unique way.

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8. Long Point

$7 vehicle entry fee collected:

  • 5/7 – 6/16: 8 AM – 6 PM, weekends & holidays
  • 6/19- 9/4: 8 AM – 6 PM, daily
  • 9/5 – 10/9: 8 AM – 6 PM, weekends & holidays

Located on the shore of Cayuga Lake the park provides boat launch facilities, a beach with swimming area, picnic areas, and fishing access.

9. Newtown Battlefield

No fees charged.

A pristine granite monument marks the site of the 1779 hillside battle between The Continental Army and British regulars, Loyalist rangers and 1000 Hodinöhsö:ni’ warriors.

10. Pinnacle

No fees charged.

Pinnacle State Park has breathtaking views and tremendous vistas, including the Canisteo River Valley, Harris Hill and the village of Addison.

11. Robert H. Treman

$8 vehicle entry fee collected:

  • 4/29 – 6/16: 8:30 AM – 6 PM, weekends & holidays
  • 6/17 – 9/4: 8:30 AM – 6 PM, daily
  • 9/5 – 10/22: 8:30 AM – 6 PM, weekends & holidays

An area of wild beauty, with the rugged Enfield Glen gorge as its scenic highlight scattered with 12 waterfalls, including the 115-foot Lucifer Falls.

12. Sampson

$7 vehicle entry fee collected:

  • 5/20 – 6/16: weekends and holidays only: 6 AM – 4 AM
  • 6/17 – 9/4: 8 AM – 4 PM Monday – Thursday, 7 AM – 4 PM Friday-Sunday

Located on Seneca Lake, Sampson was once a military training base before becoming an area of grasses, wildflowers, shrubs and trees on flat, rolling woodlands surrounding ravines.

New York State Parks Seneca Lake Geneva
Seneca Lake State Park

13. Seneca Lake

$7 vehicle entry fee collected:

  • 5/13 – 6/11: 10 AM – 6 PM, weekends & holidays
  • 6/17 – 9/4: 8 AM – 6 PM, daily
  • 9/9 – 10/9: 10 AM – 6 PM, weekends & holidays

The banks of the blue water of Seneca Lake create a relaxing experience for swimmers and picnickers. Children will be delighted with our Sprayground and Playground facilities.

39 Natural Swimming Areas

On a hot day, you can sit under a waterfall, swim in a lake, or jump in a creek at one of these refreshing natural swimming areas.

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Gorge Trails Near Rochester

Gorge trails call out to us from their deep, dark, and cool caverns. If you haven’t already, check these five spectacular trails off your list!

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Water: Stony Brook
Stony Brook State Park

14. Stony Brook

$7 vehicle entry fee collected:

  • 5/5- 6/10: 9 AM – 5 PM, weekends & holidays
  • 6/16- 9/3: 10 AM – 6 PM, daily
  • 9/8- 10/8: 9:00a – 5:00p, weekends & holidays

Hilly woodlands, a deep gorge with rugged cliffs, three waterfalls and fascinating rock formations comprise the park offering camping, hiking and swimming in a stream-fed pool.

Read about our experience

Water: Taughannock Falls
Taughannock Falls

15. Taughannock Falls

$8 vehicle entry fee collected:

  • 4/22 – 5/29: 7 AM – 5:30 PM, weekends & holidays
  • 5/29 – 9/4: 7 AM – 5:30 PM, daily
  • 9/4 – 10/16: 7 AM – 5:30 PM, weekends & holidays

215 foot namesake waterfall is one of the outstanding natural attractions of the Northeast. Trails offer spectacular views from above and below the breathtaking falls.

Read about our experience

Watkins Glen New York State Parks

16. Watkins Glen

$8 vehicle entry fee collected:

Mid-May to Mid-October

Within two miles, the glen’s stream descends 400 feet past 200-foot cliffs, generating 19 waterfalls along its course.

Read about our experience

Genesee Region
New York State Parks

Darien Lakes State Park
Darien Lakes State Park

17. Darien Lakes

$7 vehicle entry fee collected when beach is open, $6 when beach is closed:

  • 5/20 – 6/11: 9 AM – 6 PM, weekends & holidays
  • 6/17 – 9/4: 9 AM – 6 PM, daily
  • 9/9 – 10/15: 9 AM – 6 PM, weekends & holidays

Darien Lake’s varied terrain includes hills, woodlands, ravines, streams and Harlow Lake. The park features campsites as well as a rustic bridge over a channel to Picnic Island.

New York State Parks Hamlin Beach
Hamlin Beach State Park

18. Hamlin Beach

$7 vehicle entry fee collected when beach is open, $6 when beach is closed:

  • 5/20 – 6/11: 9 AM – 6 PM, weekends & holidays
  • 6/17 – 9/4: 9 AM – 6 PM, daily
  • 9/9 – 10/15: 9 AM – 6 PM, weekends & holidays

Clear water, sandy beaches and tent and trailer campsites entice thousands of visitors each year.

Read about our experience

77 Hiking Trails Around Rochester

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.

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Water Trails: 58 Places to Explore Rochester’s Waterways

Water trails are either formally marked routes along a navigable waterway, or simply any waterway suitable for kayaks and small motorized watercraft.

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New York State Parks: Irondequoit Bay Park beach path
Irondequoit Bay Park beach path

19. Irondequoit Bay State Marine Park

Fee collected for boat launch only.

Irondequoit Bay Marine Park is a launch site for small and power boats providing fishing access to Lake Ontario. It has a small toilet facility and a boat clean out station. Previously a Monroe County Park that has transition to the state.

Lakeside Beach New York State Parks
Lakeside Beach State Park

20. Lakeside Beach

$6 vehicle entry fee collected:

  • 5/26 – 6/10: 10 AM – 6 PM, weekends & holidays
  • 6/16 – 9/3: 10 AM – 6 PM, daily
  • 9/8 – 10/8: 10 AM – 6 PM, weekends & holidays

The park offers outstanding panoramic views of Lake Ontario and surrounding farms and fruit orchards. Camping, hiking, fishing, and picnicking bring thousands to Lakeside Beach.

Rochester-Area Day Trip: Letchworth State Park
Middle Falls in Letchworth State Park

21. Letchworth

$10 vehicle entry fee collected:

  • 5/6 – 5/20: 9 AM – 5 PM, weekends only
  • 5/25 – 10/28: 9 AM – 5 PM, daily

The “Grand Canyon of the East,” Letchworth is one of the most magnificent areas in the eastern U.S. Waterfalls, cliffs, and a deep gorge are just some of the parks stunning features.

Read about our experience

Ice Fishing on Silver Lake
Ice Fishing Silver Lake

22. Silver Lake

$6 parking fee, payable at kiosk

The park provides a boat launch facility for boating and fishing on the lake. The area also has picnic facilities and a comfort station which is open year round.

Transcending Places: 37 Alternate Reality Destinations Around Rochester

Rather than an escape, I prefer to think of these as transcending places that encourage us to transcend space, time, and state of mind.

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39 Quirky Roadside Attractions

Spend a day checking out these unique and unusual roadside attractions, like shoe trees, a skeleton army, and a metal dragon, within 2 hours of Rochester.

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Niagara Region
New York State Parks

23. Artpark

$10 vehicle entry fee collected:

04/30 – 09/30

Although it is primarily a venue for music, visitors enjoy 4 scenic hiking trails and various picnic spots throughout Artpark.

24. Beaver Island

$7 vehicle entry fee collected when beach is open:

  • 5/27-6/18: 8 AM – 6 PM, weekends only
  • 6/19-9/4: 9 AM – 6 PM, weekdays; 8 AM – 6 PM, weekends & holidays
  • Option to use automated pay station available.

Located at the south end of Grand Island the park boasts a wide range of outdoor activities. Enjoy the park’s 18-hole golf course, swimming and boating facilities, or trail systems.

25. Buckhorn Island

No fees charged.

The vast marshlands and meadows of Buckhorn Island border the Niagara River. Explore the nature trails or spend the day fishing or cross-country skiing depending on the season.

26. Buffalo Harbor

Fees only for use of boat launch.

Buffalo Harbor State Park offers beautiful views of Lake Erie. The park is home to a 1,000 slip marina, a restaurant, boat launches, personal watercraft launches, fish cleaning station, restrooms, and a beach for strolling and sunbathing.

27. De Veaux Woods

No fees charged.

De Veaux Woods State Park has two ball diamonds, a playground, nature trails through a meadow and Old Growth Woods, and a path that leads across the Robert Moses Parkway to Whirlpool State Park with access to the Niagara gorge trail system.

28. Devil’s Hole

No fees charged.

Devil’s Hole State Park overlooks the Devil’s Hole Rapids. The park has picnic areas, scenic overlooks and hiking trails, and is one of the more popular spots for fishing.

29. Evangola

$7 vehicle entry fee collected when beach is open, $6 when beach is closed:

  • 5/26-6/17: 9 AM- 5 PM, weekends & holidays only
  • 6/23-9/3: 9 AM – 5 PM, daily

Evangola State Park features a beautiful arc-shaped shoreline and natural sand beach on Lake Erie. The park also offers picnic facilities, 80 campsites, and playing fields.

 New York State Parks: Old Fort Niagara State Park New York
Old Fort Niagara in Fort Niagara State Park

30. Fort Niagara

$8 vehicle entry fee collected:

6/18 & 6/19, 6/25 – 9/5 10 AM – 6 PM

Fort Niagara State Park offers boat access to the Lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario. Adjacent to Old Fort Niagara, the park offers hiking, swimming and many other activities.

Read about our experience

31. Four Mile Creek

No fees charged.

Located on the shores of Lake Ontario only 15 minutes from the mighty Niagara Falls the park offers a variety of camping options as well as trails exploring shores and marshlands.

Golden Hill New York State Parks
Golden Hill State Park lighthouse

32. Golden Hill

$6 vehicle entry fee collected:

4/28-10/14: 8 AM – 4:30 PM

Located on the scenic shore of Lake Ontario the park is home to The Thirty Mile Lighthouse. The park offers boating, fishing, hiking, and walking tours of the lighthouse.

33. Joseph Davis

No fees charged.

Fields, woodlands and ponds provide the landscape for the wide variety of recreation. Fishing, hiking, and frisbee disc golf are just some of the activities offered by the park.

Knox Farm State Park
Knox Farm State Park

34. Knox Farm

No fees charged.

Situated on a former country estate the park is adjacent to the historic village of East Aurora. The park features a variety of habitats and is home to several species of farm animals.

 New York State Parks: Niagara Falls NY USA
Folks standing on Luna Island looking down Bridal Falls to the Cave of the Winds adventure.

35. Niagara Falls

Vehicle entry fee collected, and varies depending on the lot. See park website for full details. For Parking Lot 2 on Goat Island:

  • $8 – 4/1- 5/15
  • $10 – 5/15-10/29
  • $8 – 10/30-3/31

The oldest state park in the United States offers numerous islands, famous Prospect Point area and many unique views of the world famous falls.

Read about our experience

36. Reservoir

No fees charged.

Reservoir State Park is a favorite of local residents in Niagara County. The park offers a variety of sports facilities including tennis, baseball, roller hockey, soccer, and softball.

Discover Niagara Shuttle Whirlpool State Park
Whirlpool State Park

37. Whirlpool

No fees charged.

Spectacular views of swirling rapids, the whirlpool and the Niagara River Escarpment as well as a network of nature trails that descend into the gorge.

38. Wilson-Tuscarora

$6 vehicle entry fee collected, $7 when swimming is available:

  • 5/25 – 6/21: 9 AM – 6 PM, weekends
  • 6/22 – 9/3: 9 AM – 6 PM, daily

A well-preserved natural area for many varieties of plants and wildlife, encompassing 395 acres of mature woods, open meadows and marshland on Tuscarora Bay.

39. Woodlawn Beach

$7 vehicle entry fee collected.

Located on Lake Erie, within the Buffalo metropolitan area, the park offers a beautiful, long natural sand beach with lovely panoramic views and spectacular sunsets on the lake.

County Parks: Our Favorite 5 to Explore

The Monroe County Parks systems includes 20 parks that are all worth exploring, but these are the five you absolutely must see if you haven’t already!

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9 Hidden Places Around Rochester

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 live.

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Central Region
New York State Parks

40. Chittenango Falls

Vehicle entry fee collected via automated pay station:

  • Weekdays: $3/car
  • Weekends/Holidays: $5/car

Glacial sculpted 400 million year-old bedrock is responsible for the park’s picturesque 167 foot namesake waterfall. Enjoy the views offered by trails winding through the gorge.

41. Green Lakes

$8 vehicle entry fee collected.

Green Lakes State Park features two glacial lakes surrounded by upland forest. The park also features an 18-hole golf course, as well as 10 miles of trails.

42. Sandy Island Beach

$7 vehicle entry fee collected.

The scenic dunes found at the park were formed by a giant inland sea that preceded Lake Ontario. Walkovers and viewing platforms have been built to protect the fragile dune environment.

43. Selkirk Shores

$7 vehicle entry fee collected:

6/22 – 9/3 (Fri, Sat, Sun & holidays)

Overlooking a bluff on Lake Ontario the park offers Great Lakes swimming, fishing and spectacular sunsets. Boat launch sites as well as camping facilities are also available.

44. Verona Beach

$7 vehicle entry fee collected.

Located on the eastern shore of Oneida Lake the park is a picnicker’s and camper’s delight. Shaded picnic areas and the campground boast a view of the park’s scenic beach.

33 Roadside Waterfalls Near Rochester

Impressive waterfalls are not all buried in dark ravines accessible only by difficult trails. And for some, you do not need to get out of your car.

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15 Miles on the Erie Canal

The Erie Canal spans 100-miles between Lockport and Lyons, with Rochester located right in the middle. Choose just 15 miles to explore for a great day trip!

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Historic Sites
New York State Parks

45. Fort Ontario State Historic Site

46. Ganondagan State Historic Site

47. Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park

48. Old Fort Niagara State Historic Site

49. Darwin Martin House State Historic Site

Which are your favorite New York State Parks?

Share with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!


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