take a walk cover stony brook

Opening in May for the Summer Season

As the temperatures rise and flowers bloom, we can’t wait to bask in the warmth of spring and visit the places we love most. After a long winter season, many of these businesses and locations will finally be reopening their doors in May. While some have been closed entirely during the colder months, others have remained partially open but with limited access and services. Whether it’s a favorite local restaurant, a scenic park, or a cherished boutique, we’re eager to experience the joy of being out and about once again.

Best of Rochester - Day Trips Around Rochester book

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York

Best of Rochester Award-Winning Book for Best Published Literary Work of 2023.

State & County Parks

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

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

All 22 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.

Like Watkins Glen and Letchworth’s Lower Falls, New York State Park Gorge Trails tend to remain closed until later in the month when the pathways are free from debris and winter damage and deemed safe to open.

The Erie Canal officially opens for the season in mid-May.

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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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Gorge Trails Near Rochester

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

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49 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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Explore the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor

Nearly 80% of the upstate population lives within 25 miles of the Erie Canal. Explore the 115-mile stretch between the Cayuga-Seneca Canal and Niagara River.

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Water Trails: Over 50 Places to Explore Rochester’s Waterways

Paddle your way to peace and quiet along Rochester’s water trails. Use these launches for canoes, kayaks, and small motorized watercraft.

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Businesses & Activities

Sam Patch exiting Lock 32
Sam Patch exiting Lock 32

You’ll find many of our seasonal businesses located along our lake shores. Destinations start opening in May, sometimes weekends only, before getting into the full summer swing in preparation for the long Memorial Day weekend.

Although you can stroll around the Genesee Country Village & Museum on Sundays in the wintertime, mid-May through Labor Day is when history comes to life through activities, refreshments, house tours, and guides. On weekends, you’ll find major special events like the Civil War Reenactment and Laura Ingalls Wilder Days. The village is closed on Mondays except for Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Sam Patch Erie Canal Tours holds its inaugural run on Mother’s Day each year. Colonial Belle opens in mid-May, along with all boating activities along the canal.

The free Discover Niagara Shuttle begins its scenic run between Niagara Falls State Park and Fort Niagara State Park weekends starting the first week of May, with daily service beginning Memorial Day weekend.

Plus, Olcott Lakeview Village Shoppes, The Silo, Panama Rocks & Rock City Park, Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures, Balloons Over Letchworth, and more! Tell us your favorites in the comments below, and we’ll add them to the list.

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The Best Ice Cream Shops Around Rochester

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

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Explore The Lake Ontario Seaway Trail

The Lake Ontario Seaway Trail 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 and learn about its history along your narrated cruise.

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Seabreeze, Darien Lake, and Other Amusement Parks Near Rochester

When May comes around, you find the amusement parks with the dry rides opening on the weekends and water parks opening 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, flowering bushes, and trees burst to life.

Look for lilacs, tulips, daffodils, pansies, tree peonies, hyacinths, 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.

Sonnenberg Gardens opens on May 1.

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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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Ellwanger Garden

Maintained by the Landmark Society, the Ellwanger Estate Garden 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

Summer Outdoor Concerts Lilac Fest cover
Lilac Fest

As spring takes hold in Rochester, there’s a palpable energy in the air as locals eagerly anticipate reopening favorite parks, attractions, and businesses. The merry month of May is an exciting time, with events and activities occurring throughout the city.

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May Events: Celebrating Rochester in Full Bloom

Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated May event is the Rochester Lilac Festival, a 10-day celebration of the city’s vibrant floral heritage.

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Make Mom’s Day: 7 Ways to Celebrate Mother’s Day 2024

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12, 2024. And if you’re wondering how to make this day extra special for your mom, we’ve got you covered.

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Earth Day 2024: Get Involved in Activities Around Rochester

Spring is in full swing, and it’s the perfect time to observe Earth Day (April 22, 2024) and embrace sustainable practices for a better future.

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Farms & Farmers’ Markets: Your Guide to Locally Grown Produce

Exploring local markets and roadside produce stands is a great way to immerse yourself in the community and support family farms.

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

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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