Highland Park in May

Springtime in Rochester

There’s no better way to usher in springtime in Rochester than with the tapping of maple trees for syrup! As the Earth breaks loose winter’s icy grip, the snow melt and heavy spring rains swell our waterways. Buds begin to open, as do seasonal businesses.

It is a time of awakening.

Things to look forward to during the spring:

  1. Spring Migration
  2. April Showers
  3. May Flowers
  4. Reopening for the Season
Montezuma NWR
Montezuma NWR

Spring Migration

Starting in late February, Canada and snow geese migrate north through New York and increase their number to the tens of thousands. Spring waterfowl migration may peak from the last two weeks in March to the first two weeks in April.

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

At 10,828 acres, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is the state’s largest refuge. Alabama Swaps amasses 19,000-acres designated for wildlife.

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Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is a 7,000-acre preserve located on the north end of Cayuga Lake, under one of the most active flight lanes in the Atlantic Flyway.

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Braddock Bay Wildlife Management Area

If you’re cruising on Edgemere along the ponds, or on the parkway near Manitou, you’re enjoying the Braddock Bay Wildlife Management Area.

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Nature Centers and Preserves Around Rochester

The various nature centers, preserves, and management areas all work to protect and maintain natural spaces for the benefit of all.

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Maplewood Lower Falls
Rochester’s Lower Falls

April Showers

With spring rains converging with snowmelt, every tributary swells with water pushing its way downstream. Our river, creeks, and waterfalls become powerful forces of nature–both awe-inspiring and destructive.

16 Places to Visit After Heavy Rains

In the heat of summer, some of these creeks and rivers have very low water volume. But after heavy rains or quick snow-melts they rage.

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Freshwater Creeks Around Rochester

These beautiful creeks around Rochester impact us in such subtle ways they sometimes disappear into the background of our lives.

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Easy Waterfalls

Many of the region’s most stunning waterfalls can be viewed from the road, parking area, or a short walk on a pathway.

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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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Highland Park daffodils
HIghland Park

May Flowers

Seek out signs of spring as flowers and buds awake from their long winter’s nap. I’m looking forward to lilacs, cherry blossoms, magnolias, tulips & daffodils! 

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.”

Powder Mills Park

Powder Mills Park favorites include the fish hatchery, Daffodil Meadow Trail in early May, The Mushroom House, and fishing Irondequoit Creek.

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Highland Park in Rochester

Host to the Lilac Festival in May, Highland has the most extensive collection of lilacs in the country, with 500 varieties across 1,200 shrubs.

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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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Webster Arboretum at Kent Park

Covering 32 acres, the arboretum boasts a pond, winding paths, various trees and shrubs, and formal gardens with over 200 daylily cultivars.

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Gardens & Arboretums

These carefully designed gardens, often cultivated for decades or even centuries, display exceptional collections of flowers and trees.

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

Reopening in May for the Summer 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.

Come May, we’re excited to have them open back up to enjoy the warmer days of springtime in Rochester.

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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22 Monroe County Parks

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

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18 Discover Niagara Shuttle Stops

The Discover Niagara Shuttle is a 2-hour round-trip from any starting point if you’d like to simply enjoy the ride. Or, hop on and off.

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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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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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53 of 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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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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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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What do you enjoy most about springtime in Rochester, NY?

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 book Day Trips Around Rochester, New York.


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