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 from winter’s icy grip, snowmelt and heavy spring rains swell our waterways. The buds on trees begin to open, and so do seasonal businesses.

It is a time of awakening. Enjoy delightful early springtime day trips around Rochester filled with March migrations, April showers, and May flowers.

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.

Spring Migration

Montezuma NWR
Montezuma NWR

During late February, Canada and snow geese migrate towards the north through New York. Their numbers increase to tens of thousands during the spring waterfowl migration, which usually peaks from the last two weeks of March to the first two weeks of April.

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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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April Showers

Maplewood Lower Falls
Rochester’s Lower Falls

As the spring rains merge with snowmelt, every tributary swells and pushes downstream. Our rivers, creeks, and waterfalls become powerful, both awe-inspiring and destructive.

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16 Places to Visit After Heavy Rains

These creeks, rivers, and waterfalls rage after heavy rains or quick snow-melts, offering a spectacular multi-sensory experience.

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Easy Waterfalls

Not all waterfalls are hidden in dark ravines. Many of the region’s most stunning waterfalls can be viewed from the road or a short walk.

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H2O Heritage: Exploring Rochester’s Freshwater Resources

Rochesterians are fortunate to be surrounded by abundant freshwater resources that present us with unique stewardship opportunities.

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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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May Flowers

Highland Park daffodils
Highland Park

As the winter season comes to an end, keep an eye out for the signs of spring. The flowers and buds will start to bloom after their long hibernation. I’m excited to see lilacs, cherry blossoms, magnolias, tulips, and daffodils! It’s been said that “Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.”

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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

Highland Park has even been described as a museum of exotic trees, many of which are the tallest of their species in the state, though few are native.

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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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Gardens & Arboretums

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

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Reopening in May

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

We have missed some of our favorite places and businesses as they have either been closed completely since October or November or have had limited access and services. However, we are excited that come May, these places will be open again, allowing us to enjoy the warmer days of springtime in Rochester.

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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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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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21 Discover Niagara Shuttle Stops

The Discover Niagara Shuttle is a two-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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Attend a Springtime Event

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March Events: Celebrating Rochester’s Sweetest Month

We celebrate spring’s arrival in March by tapping maple trees for syrup and observing the return migrations of Canada and snow geese.

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April Events: A Guide to Rochester’s Spring Fling Activities

As winter’s chill begins to fade, we eagerly await the start of spring, with its promise of warmer weather, longer days, and April events.

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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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June Events: A Guide to This Month’s Jazzin’ Festivities

Many of the recurring summer events begin in June, such as Food Truck Rodeos, Party in the Park, Zoo Brew, and Concerts by the Shore.

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Our Top 10 Father’s Day Ideas for a Memorable Day with Dad

Treat Dad to a drive at the Glen, a ride on a large-scale model railroad, a classic car show, and more for an unforgettable Father’s Day.

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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 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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