Fun On and Off the Water in Orleans County
In Orleans County, NY – located halfway between Rochester and Niagara Falls – 24 miles of Lake Ontario shoreline is the main attraction. Both the lake and main tributary, the Oak Orchard River, are the reasons why this is a world-class recreational fishing and boating destination. As proof, the lakeside hamlet of Point Breeze was bestowed the title “Ultimate Fishing Town” by a national fishing organization. Of course, Orleans County is also known to be the home of another famous waterway – The Erie Canal.
However, there are many reasons to visit our area on or off the water. The Great Lakes Seaway Trail (Route 18 and the Lake Ontario State Parkway) traverses Orleans County along the northern coastline. The trail is a 518-mile scenic drive along the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, the Niagara River and Lake Erie. Scenic Lake Ontario State Parkway is a bird lover’s paradise as hundreds of species can be spotted during their migration - from majestic Bald Eagles and blue herons to waterfowl, bluebirds and hummingbirds. Among the lake plains of Orleans County, you’ll discover many local treasures that await along the way.
First, let’s talk about the water. The hamlet of Point Breeze on the Oak Orchard River is where much of the action takes place with a cluster of marinas, yacht clubs, restaurants and lodging. Lake Ontario is a stellar fishing spot due to the array of trophy-size salmon and trout that inhabit the waters. The lake’s cool, deep waters are the perfect feeding ground for salmon and trout, thus growing large and strong. The Oak Orchard River flows into Lake Ontario and also an excellent spot throughout the year to reel in trout or salmon.
There are a few different ways to experience the water in Orleans County. Fishing charters are the perfect way to spend a day and hopefully catch some trophy fish. Point Breeze’s most popular draw in the summer months are the charter boats. There are currently over 30 sportfishing charters servicing the region. The captain and crew of these boats have extensive knowledge and cutting-edge equipment that will increase the chances of catching your next trophy. The charters provide everything you need to be successful. They take care of the rods, reels, tackle, and can process the fish that were caught. Charters are a day (or half-day) of fun, whether someone is a skilled angler, or just a beginner.
Renting a boat is another way to have fun on the lake or nearby waterways. Captain’s Cove Motel & Marina is currently under a major transformation including new floating docks, an overlook and tackle shop. Located on the Oak Orchard River at the “Bridges”, Captain’s Cove offers rentals of pontoon boats, rowboats, kayaks and canoes. An added bonus: hotel patrons have free use of kayaks and canoes that can be launched right from the property. A bit inland, in Waterport, Oak Orchard Canoe and Kayak offers their customers expert advice and “try before you buy” with their huge selection of canoes, kayaks, paddle boards and accessories. The Oak Orchard Yacht Club puts on a display at their weekly sailboat races every Thursday evening in the summer on Lake Ontario near the mouth of the river. It makes for a great photo-op against the setting sun!
Take the family to the newly renovated Yates Town Park on the shores of Lake Ontario. A state-of-the-art playground replete with a sophisticated water fountain, a pavilion, cartop boat ramp, fishing pier and walking trail offer a great way to spend a sunny afternoon on the waterfront and take in the night skies.
Lighthouse lovers will want to pay a visit to the Oak Orchard Lighthouse Museum in Point Breeze. Explore the replica lighthouse that guides boaters to the mouth of the Oak Orchard River. A journey to the top, provides an outstanding view looking out over Lake Ontario. The lighthouse also features historical items associated with the local maritime history and a gift shop.
Away from the water, a variety of relaxing and meaningful experiences await. Stop by a local outdoor market among the thousands of acres of orchards, discover an award winning winery or soak up a summertime evening music series that characterizes the homey, laid back vibe of Orleans County.
Enjoy the sounds of summer by visiting a local music series. On Monday evenings in the summer, the Yates Community Library hosts Concerts on the Lawn. The free series features weekly concerts in a serene, park-like setting overlooking Johnson Creek. Exit the Lake Ontario State Parkway in Point Breeze Tuesday nights to rock out at the Oak Orchard Neighborhood Association Summer Concert Series at the Orleans County Marine Park on the Oak Orchard River. This series is dedicated to different genres such as country, oldies, R&B and classic rock and includes food and beverage vendors and raffles. There is a $2 admission per person or $5 for families whereby proceeds are given back to support community organizations.
Located along Rt. 18, Circle R Fruit Farm in Waterport is an open-air market well worthy of a visit for fresh, locally-grown produce, Amish-made baked goods and serving up Perry’s ice cream. A food truck is on-site to serve lunch and dinners among the apple orchards. It’s a favorite spot among those camping at Lakeside State Park.
New this year is an Amish market - Dutch Country Market – located on Rt. 18 in Lyndonville complete with a deli, bakery and grocery store, and includes Amish made goods such as handmade quilts, Adirondack chairs, bird houses and other woodworking crafts.
The summertime months are a wonderful time to explore Orleans County. Large and small adventures await for those who like to explore. All you need in Orleans County is to jump on a boat or in a car, and the fun will come to you.