The Finger Lakes Travel Guide
Getting Here and Around
Rochester and Syracuse are the main hubs for air travel in the Finger Lakes. Fly into these cities if you plan to travel along the Route 5/U.S. 20 road connecting Canandaigua, Geneva, Seneca Falls, Auburn, and Skaneateles. Ithaca and Corning have smaller airports and might be better bases for the southern tier of Hammondsport, Elmira, Watkins Glen, and Trumansburg.
You can also reach Rochester and Syracuse by Amtrak, a route that connects to Toronto and New York City. Other cities and towns in the Finger Lakes cannot be reached by train. Nearly all towns and cities have bus connections.
Once you arrive, driving is really the only way to get around. None of the cities have great public transportation systems. Interstate 90, the New York State Thruway, connects Rochester and Syracuse in about an hour and a half, but most of the historic Finger Lakes towns are along rural roads south of the interstate. Route 5/U.S. 20 is a fairly well-maintained roadway, but the smaller lakeside routes and winding, hilly roads around Ithaca and Watkins Glen can be treacherous in winter. Major routes to the west and east are Interstate 390, connecting Rochester to Corning, and Interstate 81, south of Syracuse to Binghamton (cut west to Ithaca on Route 13 at Cortland).
Wine tours, in limos, vans, or buses, are readily available around the major lakes.