AAA Travel Tips / Glamping in the Finger Lakes Region

Glamping in the Finger Lakes Region

Courtesy of Corning Museum of Glass
By AAA Travel Editor Laurie Sterbens
June 30, 2020
If you’re yearning to get out and explore some of America’s spectacular outdoor scenery but aren’t exactly the type to lug around a backpack and sleep on the ground, a “glamping” (glamorous camping) getaway may be just the thing for you. New York’s Finger Lakes region is the perfect place for an outdoorsy getaway, with beautiful scenery and a wealth of fun things to do for all types of travelers. AAA’s Finger Lakes Road Trip loops through the region, offering access to its many wineries, parks, lakes and attractions, with scenic views all along the way.
RV in scenic park
iStockphoto.com/welcomia

Where to Stay

One of the best ways to experience camping—but in comfort—is in an RV. A motorhome allows you to travel through the countryside in comfort and includes features such as air conditioning, a refrigerator, cooktop, microwave and a private bathroom and shower—definitely a step up from tent camping. And the good news is you don’t have to buy one! RVs of all sizes are available from rental companies and private owners all across America. AAA members receive $40 off their first night of an RV rental with Outdoorsy, a program that connects RV renters with RV owners. The Finger Lakes Road Trip is lined with AAA Approved campgrounds that offer additional amenities such as swimming pools, playgrounds, laundry and internet service. Click the camping icon at to find your ideal stop for the night.
If you’re seeking a more unique glamping experience, there are quirky rentals available throughout the region. Check out GlampingHub.com’s Finger Lakes options. Rentals easily reachable from the Finger Lakes Road Trip include a fun tipi, a “treehouse,” a tiny house, yurts and safari tents. If these options are still a bit rustic for your comfort level, cozy cabins and comfortable nature lodges are available, too.
Of course, after a day of hiking, boating or wine tasting, who could blame you for opting to ditch rustic lodgings altogether and treat yourself to a stay at a nice resort? There are several AAA Four Diamond hotels along the route, including the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, whose lakefront views and proximity to wine trails earned it a AAA Inspector’s Best of Location badge. If a European-style historic inn appeals to you, Geneva On The Lake, a replica of the Villa Lancellotti in Frascati, Italy, also offers spectacular lake views. The Mirbeau Inn & Spa is slightly off the path at the north end of Skaneateles Lake, but its relaxing, spa-like atmosphere makes it worth the short detour. The Mirbeau boasts a AAA Inspector’s Best of Housekeeping badge as well as a Best of Landscape badge for its beautiful, Monet-inspired gardens.
Corning Museum of Glass in New York
Courtesy of Corning Museum of Glass

What to Do

Looking for fun things to do on a family road trip? You’ll find plenty in the Finger Lakes region, which is packed with parks and attractions, including these near the Finger Lakes Road Trip route:
Museum of the Earth, a AAA GEM (Great Experience for Members) attraction, presents 4.5 billion years of life on Earth through natural history displays, art and interactive exhibits. See giant skeletons of a mastodon and right whale, and amateur paleontologists of all ages can explore in the Discovery Lab.
• Cool off in a giant wave pool or splash through a raft ride at Roseland Waterpark, a 56-acre aquatic attraction on Canandaigua Lake. Thrill seekers can slide down the 65-foot Cliff water slide or speed through the winding Twister. In the mood to relax? Settle into a tube and drift along a lazy river through the tree-lined outer edge of the park.
Watkins Glen State Park, also a AAA GEM attraction, is near the south shore of Seneca Lake. Stop for a picnic and a hike on the Gorge Trail, which winds alongside the gorge stream and over, under and past 19 waterfalls. Be sure to pack a swimsuit—the park also has an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
With more than 120 wineries, the Finger Lakes region is an ideal destination for a romantic getaway or a fun group trip. There are three wine trails in the region, all easily accessible from the Finger Lakes Road Trip. The Cayuga Lake Wine Trail is said to have been the first wine trail in America and features award-winning wines from the Cayuga Lake American Viticultural Area. The Keuka Lake Wine Trail offers a diverse group of wineries for those who want to sample a variety of wine styles. The Seneca Lake Wine Trail is the largest and most active trail, located at the south end of Seneca Lake, not far from Watkins Glen State Park. The Finger Lakes region also is home to small food producers, craft breweries, distilleries and lots of local restaurants ranging from casual to fine dining, making it the perfect destination for a food- and wine-focused road trip.
If your vacations typically include a museum visit or two, you can find fascinating art and history along this road trip route. The Corning Museum of Glass, a AAA GEM attraction, houses a vast collection from more than 35 centuries of glassmaking. View live glassmaking demonstrations, learn about the science of glassmaking and even experience making your own glass creation. The Rockwell Museum, also a AAA GEM attraction, is a branch of the Smithsonian Institution that portrays the American experience through art and objects including landscape paintings, historic firearms and Remington bronze sculptures. Families will enjoy the Art Lab, which offers hands-on projects inspired by the museum’s art and architecture.
Architecture buffs will find two AAA GEM attractions worth touring on the Finger Lakes Road Trip. Rose Hill Mansion, overlooking Seneca Lake, is among the country’s finest examples of Greek Revival architecture. The mansion’s interior is filled with mid-19th-century furnishings owned by the family who occupied the estate from 1850 to 1890. Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park was built in 1887 as a summer home of a New York banker. The Queen Anne-style mansion overlooking Canandaigua Lake features a mixture of architectural styles inside and is surrounded by more than a dozen themed gardens.
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