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Watkins Glen Things to Do

Things to Do in Watkins Glen, New York State

Watkins Glen Things to Do

Traveling to upstate New York is a wonderful trip. Watkins Glen is one of its beautiful towns that offers plenty to see and so.

Downtown Watkins Glen

This is a very picturesque town. If you stroll about Watkins Glen you can get plenty of information at the local visitors’ center. Plan to have lunch or a cup of coffee, or just enjoy the views. Look for the plaques along the sidewalk which are dedicated to some of the NASCAR drivers who have competed here.

See the Glen that Gave the Town Its Name

Yes, there is an actual Watkins Glen and it is one of the jewels of upstate New York. It is a state park and is a fantastic place to hike, look at great rock formations and wonder at the force of water as it wears the rocks down. The stream has cut a deep chasm through the rock cliffs, creating numerous waterfalls (19 in all!) and scenic vistas. The glen is actually 1.5 miles long and the cliffs reach up to 300 feet. The people at the park say the trail has over 800 steps, so definitely take your time.

The Gorge Trail winds through this beautiful place. You have got to take this trail, it is a simply breath-taking experience. Two other trails follow the tops of the cliffs. You’ll have a moderately strenuous hike, OK for a fit hiker with good hiking shoes. There are more than 300 campsites and a swimming pool. The trail is open from May to October, and there is a fee to enter.

Cruise on Seneca Lake

Seneca is the largest, deepest and likely the most scenic river in the Finger Lakes. Captain Bill’s Seneca Cruises offers both sightseeing cruises and meal cruises (lunch, dinner and even seasonal teen cruises). The cruises start at the waterfront in Watkins Glen.

See the U.S. Salt Works, towering cliffs along the eastern shore, 165-foot Hector Falls, the wineries and just get great views of the town. These seasonal water tours give you a lot of historical information too, which is really interesting.


What a great place to hit the wineries, there are about 40 around Seneca Lake alone. Riesling here are exceptional with most wineries specializing in that variety. There are also nice Chardonnays and some other sweet wines that are quite good. The people in the tasting rooms are well-versed in wine and are extremely engaging and interesting. Wine aficionados will be interested in the annual Fingerlakes Wine Festival, usually held in the second week in July. There are more than a hundred wineries represented and you can try all their wines (and buy them too) There is also live entertainment, food and arts and crafts. Oh and when visiting the wineries?  Bring a designated driver.

Watkins Glen and Seneca Lake are both picture perfect places.

Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about things to do in Watkins Glen, New York State.

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