Canandaigua Lake, the fourth largest of all of the Finger Lakes, is a favorite destination for many visitors who come to the western edge of the region to enjoy the beautiful scenery and numerous activities. Canandaigua Lake takes its name from the Seneca for "chosen place," and it is the spot that Finger Lakes visitors choose when they want to get away from it all. With scenic vistas and vast tracts of undeveloped forests and meadows, Canandaigua is highly regarded for its natural, untouched beauty.
At the north end of the lake, the town of Canandaigua (population 7,649 according to the 2000 census) is the largest town on the lake. Naples (population 2,441) anchors the southern end of the lake. Naples, home to the Naples Grape Festival, is among the towns considered to be at the very heart of the Finger Lakes wine industry, as viticulture in this hilly area has been big business for over a hundred years.
Naples Grape Festival - Sleepy Naples comes to life in a big way every September, when tourists from far and near flock to this small town to celebrate the grape.
Take a Cruise - Several operators offer cruises on these waters, making sure visitors get a good taste of local flavor to make their visit to Canandaigua Lake memorable.
What To Do
The area around Canandaigua Lake provides a scenic backdrop for bicyclists touring the region. The 35 mile loop around the lake and an extended 47 mile circuit that ventures a little further eastward are both popular on-road routes, with spectacular views of the lake and the surrounding woodlands. Both routes feature steep inclines and winding roads that make for challenging riding. But if you're a fit rider, you'll love exploring the roads around Candandaigua Lake.
Canandaigua Lake is a great spot for boaters. The Canandaigua Lake State Marina, at the north end of the lake, is a popular place to put in, with a small launch fee. Also in the town of Canandaigua, the German Brothers Marina and Sutter's Marina both offer recreational boat rentals and other facilities.
A few operators offer cruises on Canandaigua Lake, including one on the Canandaigua Lady, a double-decker, paddle wheel steamboat that evokes images of a bygone era as it floats across the lake.
Canandaigua Lake is a good place for fishing, especially for lake trout, rainbow trout, and brown trout, but you'll need a fishing license. You can get a license at City Hall on Main Street in Canandaigua or at the local Wal-Mart. There is a fishing pier in Canandaigua that is a popular place to drop a line. At the south end of the lake, Naples Creek is a favorite spot for locals and anglers in the know. For the off-season visitor, a good ice fishing spot is in Onanda Park.
Among the best areas for hiking in all of the Finger Lakes, the Canandaigua region is rich with hilly trails and scenic vistas. The 900 acre Cumming Nature Center in Naples has six miles of hiking trails that wind through the expansive park. Onanda Park, just south of the town of Canandaigua, features some of the best views of gorges and waterfalls around Canandaigua. The Hi Tor Wildlife Management Area, just outside of Naples, has some trails that range from moderate to challenging, some that traverse steep and sometimes rocky terrain. For serious hikers, Hi Tor is the place to explore - you can make a multi-day hike of it in Hi Tor. More sedate day hiking can be had at the Ontario County Park in Naples.
Where To Stay
Canandaigua Lake is ringed with private homes and cottages, some of which are available for rent. For all other lodging options, you'll find the most choices in the town of Canandaigua, with a couple of large hotels, some chain hotels, and a selection of B&B's. Lodging options are also available at the south end of the lake in Naples.
Where to Eat
When you're visiting Canandaigua Lake, you'll find the most dining options in the town of Canandaigua, which offers everything from formal, fine dining to casual eateries to fast food and pizza joints, some of which are right on the lake. Venture outside of Canandaigua, and you'll find several good dining options all the way at the south end of the lake in Naples.
Canandaigua Lake Facts and FAQ's
How Long is Canandaigua Lake?
From North to South, Canandaigua Lake is 15.5 miles long. The town of Canandaigua is to the North while to the South lies Bristol Harbor, Woodville, and the High Tor Wildlife Management Area.
How Wide is Canandaigua Lake?
The maximum width, as reported by the DEC, is 1.5 miles wide. It is the fourth largest Finger Lake.
How Deep is Canandaigua Lake?
The fantastically clear waters of Canandaigua Lake are 276 feet deep at its deepest point.