Length: 38 miles
Width: 3.5 miles
Depth: 435 feet
Counties: Tompkins, Cayuga, and Seneca Counties,
Towns: Ithaca and Seneca Falls
Cayuga Lake, the longest of the Finger Lakes, is surrounded by year-round lake homes, vacation rentals, and wineries, offering gorgeous opportunities for a lakeside getaway in the heart of New York’s Wine Region. Dozens of wineries and breweries circle the lake and a drive along the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway offers a scenic tour of some of New York’s award-winning wineries. Crossing three counties (Seneca, Cayuga and Tompkins Counties), Cayuga Lake stretches for nearly 40 miles from historic Seneca Falls to beautiful Ithaca, New York.
BOATING– At nearly 40 miles long and over a mile wide, Cayuga Lake offers an endless number of options when it comes to boating. From Sailboats to powerboats to paddleboards – there are options for anyone. Get all the details from Marinas to boat launches to boat rentals in our Cayuga Lake Boating Guide.
FISHING– There is a large assortment of fish in Cayuga Lake, The northern and southern ends of Cayuga Lake feature shoals that make for great fishing. Check out the area around the southern end of the lake (April/May for Atlantic salmon, Rainbow trout, Brown trout and Northern Pike), especially the waters near Ithaca and Cayuga Lake State Park.You’re likely to find plenty of pike, bass, bullhead and perch. For the full list of what you may catch and other helpful tips see our Cayuga Lake Fishing Guide.
SWIMMING– There are nearly a dozen options available to the public for swimming in Cayuga Lake including at several state parks, town parks and one option on private property. Check out our Finger Lakes Swim Guide.
Like most of the Finger Lakes, the area around Cayuga Lake is good for bicyclists. There are no marked biking trails on the lake, but the 101-mile circuit around the lake is a popular road route. Several organizations host annual rides including the Cayuga Lake Triathlon which takes place mid August.
There are some great places to hike around Cayuga Lake, many of which afford the opportunity to see breathtaking waterfalls.
Robert Treman State Park, just five miles south of Ithaca, offers some of the most scenic hiking trails in the area.
Taughannock Falls State Park is a great hike with a reward at the and–an incredible waterfall! Check out their trail map.
Cayuga Nature Center overlooks Cayuga Lake. They have miles of hiking trails, a six story treehouse, an indoor education facility and plenty of space for special events.
For the complete list of hiking trails see our Cayuga Lake Hiking guide.
Cayuga Lake has several state parks that surround the lake, giving access to boating, kayaking, camping, swimming and other amenities.
Waterfalls, Gullies and other natural springs are peppered around Cayuga lake. Most require a short hike but others have lookout points like Taughannock Falls.
Nothing says eclectic quite like Ithaca and the arts & culture scene there is a prime example. Stroll through art galleries, take in their street art or catch one of their live music nights. Ithaca has a couple of performing arts centers including the Hangar theater which is one part renovated airplane hangar, and one part professional theater.
For a family friendly outing, visit the Museum of the Earth. A 8,000 permanent exhibition that takes you on a journey through 45 billion years of history. Hands-on visual exhibitions include North Atlantic Right Whale, mastodon skeletons as well as a live coral reef tank. PRO TIP: Get the Wine and Travel Card App for Buy One Get One on admission.
Check out everything Ithaca has to offer in our Towns & Villages- Ithaca guide.
Seneca Falls is the home of Women’s Rights. There’s a national historic park and a hall of fame dedicated to the Suffrage movement. Read more about Seneca Falls museums and historical sights in our Towns & Villages- Seneca Falls guide
Ithaca has a very active events calendar from cooking/baking demos and competitions to live entertainment, marathons, kids events and more. The Ithaca Festival, one of the largest festivals where over 100 local and regional artists showcase their work, over 70 performances throughout the city on various stages, plus craft foods and beverages to sample and bring home.
Seneca Falls– Every year the town celebrates with an It’s A Wonderful Life Festival in December where cast members and other special guests associated with the film give a guest appearance. There is also a, “Its a Wonderful Life” museum that is open all year round. See their page for more details.
Seneca Falls has several historical sights commemorating the beginning of Women’s Rights. These are our top three picks:
Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway is an 87-mile loop surrounding Cayuga Lake that features scenic views of the lake and its shores. It’ll take you by many wineries, the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge, several towns and state parks. There are Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway signs located along the route in about 10-mile intervals and at intersections to let you know where to turn.
Cayuga Lake is surrounded by wineries and breweries, most with beautiful scenic vistas of the lake. There are currently a total of 25 wineries to visit near Cayuga Lake, Thirteen of those are on the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail. The Cayuga Lake Wine Trail is the oldest wine trail in the United States. Started by Mary Plane of Cayuga Vineyards (since renamed Cayuga Ridge) in the early 1980s, the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail has blossomed into a string of highly regarded vineyards. As the winemaking industry has grown, so has the Cayuga Wine Trail.
Save before you visit: Download the Wine & Travel Card app on your phone and enjoy discounts at the following Cayuga Lake area destinations (plus dozens more in the region).