It’s amazing how many lakes our one little region can hold – but water is an undeniable part of the outdoor adventure around here! Situated between the magnificent Niagara Falls, the sparkling Finger Lakes (11 in all) and on the shores of the Great Lake Ontario, we are steps away from a whole host of wonderful water activities. Dive into our list of local lakes and lakeside fun for your next must-do trip!
Hemlock Lake lies about 25 miles south of Rochester, in the southeast part of Livingston County. As one of only two Finger Lakes with an undeveloped shoreline, you might say its beauty comes quite “naturally.” A heavily wooded shoreline follows the water’s edge, lined with hillsides and sloping features that are reminiscent of areas like the Adirondacks. It’s a great place for fishing (special regulations apply), with variations of trout, salmon, bass, and others filling its waters.
Maximum depth: 91 feet
Maximum width: 0.5 miles
Length: 7 miles
Just a stone’s throw (really a short drive) from Hemlock Lake lies Conesus Lake, the most westerly of the 11 Finger Lakes. It’s open for fishing, boating, swimming and other freshwater activities, and is considered to be smaller and quieter than many of the other major lakes nearby.
Maximum depth: 66 feet
Maximum width: 1 mile
Length: 8 miles
It’s the onshore Beachcomber resort that makes Conesus Lake really shine, as one of the best ways to enjoy a true “life on the lake” retreat. Named The Beachcomber in 1952, the destination’s roots go back even further – to before prohibition in the 1930s! It is one of the few restaurants and inns from that period that has stood the test of time. Today, it sits on the southwest shore of Conesus Lake, and prides itself on offering everything from great food to overnight accommodations to dock rentals for visiting boaters. Walk up to the outdoor-style grill, grab a beer and play some darts, or hang out in the sand playing beach volleyball or lounging in an outdoor beach chair. Sit down in The Crab Shack, a cozy vintage restaurant, for some fresh lakeside bites paired with a selection of local wines and beers. Or book a room overlooking the lake and stay a while! A bonus: all guests receive complimentary use of on-site kayaks.
Keep traveling west and it won’t be long until you run across Silver Lake, just a short drive from Letchworth State Park. While not a Finger Lake, Silver Lake did originate from retreating glaciers as they moved across western New York several thousand years ago. Today, it provides public access for trailered boat and canoe launches at Silver Lake State Park, along with ice and warm-weather fishing and angling. Visitors looking to cast a line can find largemouth bass, walleye, northern pike, and panfish in its waters, especially at the north and south ends of the lake, where dense beds of aquatic vegetation lie.
Maximum depth: 37 feet
Maximum width: unknown
Length: 7.4 miles
Stay for a day, a weekend, or a whole week when you book overnight accommodations at Silverlaken Estate. Sleep in a canvas tent, a luxury log cabin, a tree tent, a tiny house or a cozy lakefront cottage – all are options at Silverlaken and offer a great way to stay lakeside. Complimentary kayaks, paddleboats, sailing and a small boat launch and dock for guests ensure easy access to the water, anytime.
Harlow Lake spans just 12-acres, almost more of a pond than a full lake. But its offers are just as great – from family-friendly fishing to wading, swimming, a beach, and more! Recently restored, it holds bass and yellow perch, and various species of waterfowl and other aquatic life.
Located in Darien Lake State Park, visitors can bring the whole family (including pets!) and spend the day exploring the park, the lake, Eleven Mile Creek and all of the adjacent trails and hiking paths. Cross a rustic bridge over the lake channel to “Picnic Island” and enjoy a pre-packed lunch or rent out one of two picnic pavilions for a small fee. Go horseback riding along one of the park’s equestrian trails, play disc golf, or rent one of 154 campgrounds – 141 of which come complete with electric hookups (13 without) – and spend the night.
We saved the biggest and best for last – our very own Great Lake, Lake Ontario! The easternmost of the five Great Lakes, it is the smallest in surface area, but larger in volume than Lake Erie – and stands as the 13th largest lake in the world. All that mass means plenty of wet and wild fun, from boating and sailing, to fishing, to simply jumping in for a swim… the list goes on.
Maximum depth: 802 feet
Maximum width: 53 miles
Length: 193 miles
Point Breeze, NY, is the hub of the 2013 Ultimate Fishing Town (named so by the World Fishing Network) where fishing is a world class attraction year-round for catching colossal King Salmon, Trout, Steelhead and more. The Oak Orchard River, running through the town, has six marinas and two yacht clubs with hundreds of boat slips and a significant fishing charter fleet. Pay a visit to the replica Oak Orchard Lighthouse museum for a little history lesson while there. An icon for maritime history in the area, it serves as a beacon to welcome boaters from the international waters of the Great Lakes at the mouth of the Oak Orchard River.
Don’t just stop at the lakes when looking for water-related fun. The Historic Erie Canal offers boat tours and cycling trails along its waters. The Genesee River runs through our region, with white water rafting tours, paddling instruction and river kayaking adventures. Oatka Creek has several launch points for kayaks, canoes and paddleboards for an easy downstream journey through calm waters. The list goes on… so pack and plan accordingly for lots of outdoor water enjoyment!
Discover all the adventurous things you can see and do in the Fresh Air Adventures region. Then bring your travel packet with you to use while you're visiting destinations in the area.