Cayuga Lake is part of a sacred Native American legend explaining the origin of Finger Lakes. This legend say that the area came to be after a Creator blessed the area with an outstretched hand. As he moved his hand downward, he left an imprint on the land and thus Cayuga Lake, and the other Finger Lakes were born. From a geological aspect, the lakes were created by the last existing glaciers of the ice age which in part had a hand in creating the endless waterfalls and spectacular gorges. Whether one of both are true, the fact is that the Finger Lakes are simply spectacular.
Cayuga Lake cottage rentals are the best way to immerse yourself in the excellent Finger Lakes lodging available. The boat landing, at more than 40,000 square feet, entices any water enthusiast with a craft to launch. Take one of the popular Cayuga cruises or head over on your own to the Cayuga-Seneca Canal with direct access to the Erie Canal. The shoreline, at almost 100 miles in total, is home to a wide range of cottages and other vacation homes providing ample space, which means even in the thick of summer, it is less crowded than other lakes. Some of the best communities to source out vacation rentals in include Aurora, the Village of Cayuga, Union Springs, and West Shore in the city of Ithaca.
Another advantage many Cayuga Lake cottage rentals offer are sweeping grounds on the lake. This means plenty of fun both on and off the water. Paired with magnificent sundecks, outdoor grills, and well-equipped outdoor eating areas, the majority of vacations easily take place outdoors. From simple A-frame designs to large, multi-story homes, the many types of homes reflect the individuality of the area which sets it apart from other lakes like Keuka and Seneca. Some rentals don’t have much green space to speak of, but do boast large, multi-level decks that function both as scenic lookouts and as good spots to cast out and try Cayuga Lake fishing with varieties like smallmouth bass, trout, and smelt up for grabs.
From mid-April to the middle of October, cruise season is in full swing. Cayuga Lake cruises depart from the M/V Columbia Pier in Ithaca, New York, the largest proximate city. There are several types of cruises available, including lunch, brunch, happy hour, dinner, and cocktail cruises. Cayuga Lake cruises such as Happy Hour cruises occur on special dates while brunch cruises are weekend deals. Dinner cruises can be enjoyed after September 1 and on while cocktail cruises depart daily. Reservations are required for these popular excursions, which are one of the top things to do while at Cayuga Lake.
Cayuga Lake cruises almost span the entire lake. They begin in Ithaca and past the southern headwaters, some of the finest scenery is featured, including the gorges and waterfalls that are famous in the area. Many of the popular New York wineries come into view, creating a pretty scene. Each year more than 250 cruises hit the waters on large cruise boats with open but covered upper decks and a fully equipped indoor area including a bar, restrooms, and ample seating.
Aside from cruises and good old waterfront family fun had by Cayuga Lake cottage rentals, there is plenty more entertainment. Cayuga Lake’s sixteen wineries all offer tastings, special events, and loads of great scenery. The motto “Ithaca is Gorges” entices visitors to one of several convenient state parks for hiking alongside famous waterfalls and gorges, like Lucifer Falls inside Treman State Park. Cottage renters and locals alike love browsing through Ithaca Farmer’s Market where fresh produce, meats, baked goods, flowers, crafts, and wines are available. Ethnic food stalls are popular and the scenic lakeside setting is enchanting.
Back on Cayuga Lake, kayaking and canoeing are excellent activities. Casting a line out of the canoe usually yields some good catches too. The Ithaca Boating Center offers guided tours of Cayuga Lake for both small and large groups, making it a perfect family outing. After fun at the lake, take a chance to explore the heart of Ithaca, called Ithaca Commons, and Cornell University campus for a complete impression. Ithaca Commons boasts artsy stores, boutiques and many book shops while the campus is home to a beautiful arboretum and lovely botanical gardens as well as more colorful shops and cafes.