Finger Lakes Region -- New York
The Finger Lakes are a chain of lakes in central New York State -- shaped, unsurprisingly, like fingers. The chain consists of 11 lakes: Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca, Cayuga, Skaneateles, Owasco, Otisco, Honeoye, Canadice, Hemlock and Conesus.
Formed by glaciers, the lakes extend from an approximately 75-mile (120-kilometer) long line, from Syracuse to Rochester. The lakeshores are dotted with bucolic farmland, quaint towns and hundreds of wineries. The drive is lovely any time of year, but we recommend an autumn trip to take advantage of the dazzling foliage.
The region covers about 9,000 square miles (23,309 square kilometers), so most people choose a specific lake or towns upon which to focus. Travel enthusiasts recommend making a loop starting and ending in Ithaca. This loop is about 175 miles (280 kilometers) long. Give yourself a couple of days to make this trip. Along the way, you'll encounter lovely lakefront homes, farms and wine tastings. The area also features many natural gorges with cascading waterfalls -- a great idea for a day hike.