Anchoring the southern end of Seneca Lake is the small town of Watkins Glen (population 2,100), the county seat of Schuyler County. Watkins Glen is famous for its storied ties to auto racing. European style road racing took hold in America in 1948 when a local law student and racing enthusiast organized a race that spanned the asphalt, cement and dirt roads in Watkins Glen. In 1956, the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Race Course (now known as Watkins Glen International) opened, and it has played host to NASCAR, SCCA, and Indy Car events as well as concerts and other events.
Beyond auto racing, the village of Watkins Glen remains a tourist attraction, with a quaint Main Street, a wide pier and a popular park that is the site of concerts and festivals each summer. Watkins Glen State Park is a big attraction for visitors, with three excellent hiking trails. Our favorite is the Gorge Trail that passes over and under waterfalls as it winds through the gorge at the heart of the park. Watkins Glen State Park has all the amenities you could ask for in a park: camp sites, tent and trailer sites, showers, a pool–even a gift shop. In addition to hiking, fishing, hunting and cross-country skiing are popular activities in the park.
You'll find more than a dozen bed & breakfasts in the village, as well as a few hotels. Lakefront cabins and private home rentals are also available.