Stony Brook

Opening in May for the Summer Season

Rochester is open for the season! Some of our favorite places and businesses have been closed completely since October or November while others have been limited in access and services. We’re excited to enjoy the warmer days of springtime at our favorite places and businesses opening in May.

The Great Outdoors

Opening in May: Stony Brook State Park gorge trail
Stony Brook State Park gorge trail

While you can explore some of our parks all year long, many have limited resources, limited access, and trails that are closed completely. In May, the begin to reopen.

  • All 20 Monroe County Parks are fully open May 1-Oct 31. That means gates, roads, trails, picnic areas, and restrooms! Monroe County parks are free, so take advantage of 12,000 acres of natural, zoological, horticultural, historical and geological experiences.
  • New York State Park Gorge Trails, like Watkins Glen and Letchworth’s Lower Falls, tend to remain closed until later in the month when the pathways are free from debris and winter damage and are deemed safe to open.
  • The Erie Canal officially opens for the season on Friday, May 17, 2019. Recreational boating fees are still waived through 2021!

20 Monroe County Parks

Monroe County parks are free, so take advantage of 12,000 acres of natural, zoological, horticultural, historical and geological experiences!

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

Venture into one of these New York State Parks within a 2-hour drive of Rochester and discover what makes them each unique!

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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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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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Businesses & Activities
Opening in May

Sam Patch exiting Lock 32
Sam Patch exiting Lock 32

You’ll find many of our seasonal businesses located along our lake shores. In preparation for the long Memorial Day weekend, destinations start opening in May, sometimes weekends-only, before getting into the full summer swing. Some key dates & locations to note:

Top 38 Ice Cream Shops Around Rochester

Ice cream, gelato, Italian ice, frozen yogurt, and custard—we love these shops for their outstanding atmosphere, taste, variety, and innovation.

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The Lake Ontario Seaway Trail

The Lake Ontario Seaway Trail is the portion that runs along the southern Lake Ontario shoreline, from Fort Niagara in Youngstown to Fort Ontario in Oswego.

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Sam Patch Erie Canal Tours

Sam Patch Erie Canal Tours are a great way to experience the canal, the locks, and learn about its history along your narrated cruise.

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The Vintage Drive In

Yes, there are still drive-in theaters near Rochester! The Vintage Drive-In in Avon is the closest, but there are five others within a 90 minute drive.

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15 Discover Niagara Shuttle Stops

The Discover Niagara Shuttle is a 2-hour round-trip journey from any starting point if you’d like to simply enjoy the ride. Otherwise, you can hop on and off at any stop–no ticket required!

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6 Amusement Parks Near Rochester

When May comes around, you find the amusement parks with dry-rides opening on the weekends, with the water parks opening closer to Father’s Day in mid-June.

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Penn Dixie Fossil Park and Nature Reserve

At Penn Dixie, you keep every fossil you find, though it takes a keen eye and persistence to find the fossils, many of which are smaller than pebbles.

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May Flowers

Opening in May - Powder Mills Park Daffodil Meadow Trail
Powder Mills Park Daffodil Meadow Trail May 1

Although April is one of my favorite times to visit the magnolia collection in Highland Park, May is when flowers and flowering bushes and trees burst to life!

Look for lilacs, tulips, daffodils, pansies, tree peonies, hyacinth, azaleas, flowering dogwood, crab, cherry, pear, and horse chestnuts.

  • Make sure to hike the Daffodil Trail in Powder Mills Park around May 1, and the Highland Park lilacs around May 10.
  • Set your sights on late-April to early-May to see the native blue belles, trillium, and ferns in their full spring glory in Breese Park.
  • Sonnenberg Gardens open May 1

Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion

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

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Ellwanger Estate Garden

While the Ellwanger Estate is private, the garden is maintained by the Landmark Society and is periodically open to the public for special events.

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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.

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May Events

Lilac Festival in Rochester, NY

Highland Park draws crowds numbering in the thousands during Rochester’s week-long Lilac Festival in May, though the lilacs are not the only sights to see!

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What businesses and activities are you most looking forward to opening in May?

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


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