COVID-19 NOTE: Some of the information you find in our articles may currently be inaccurate due to closures and cancellations.
Stony Brook

Opening in May for the Summer Season

Rochester is open for the season! We’re excited to enjoy the warmer days of springtime at our favorite places and businesses opening in May.

Some of our favorite places and businesses have been closed completely since October or November while others have been limited in access and services.

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

The Great Outdoors

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, 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 in mid-May.

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 two 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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Sam Patch exiting Lock 32
Sam Patch exiting Lock 32

Businesses & activities opening in May

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:

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 as well, 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… tell us your favorites in the comments below and we’ll add them to the list!

44 of the Best 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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17 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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Seabreeze, Darien Lake, and Other 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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Opening in May - Powder Mills Park Daffodil Meadow Trail
Powder Mills Park Daffodil Meadow Trail May 1

May Flowers

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 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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Summer Outdoor Concerts Lilac Fest cover
Lilac Fest

May Events

Lilac Fest

Lilac Festival Weekends at Ellwanger Estate

Tree Peony Festival

Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival

Zoo Brew Friday nights, once a month May through September, with special events throughout the year

Flavors of the Market Saturday mornings, May through September

Flower City Days at the Market Sundays mid-May and early-June

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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Date Night in Rochester: The Ultimate Guide for Spending Quality Time Together

Whether it’s your first date night in Rochester or 50th, spending time exploring with your partner is a great way to connect and learn about each other.

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

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


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COVID-19 NOTE: Please follow the most current recommendations from the CDC and New York State for spending time away from your home.

The great outdoors can provide a well needed respite & escape during stressful times. Please move quickly through parking lots, trail heads, and scenic areas. If crowded, choose a different park, trail, or time to visit. Please day trip responsibly and locally—seek solitude!