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Chautauqua – Allegheny

Chautauqua, New York

Extending from the southeastern shore of Lake Erie down to the Pennsylvania border, the westernmost region of New York State is an outdoor playground. Here, you’ll find campgrounds, bike paths, hiking trails, and sandy beaches in scenic state parks as well as farmers markets, wineries, and local historical sites.

Lying off the main driving route between New York City and Niagara Falls, Chautauqua-Allegheny remains little-explored by out-of-state travelers, though its charming scenery, white picket fence-towns, historic covered bridges, and pristine lakes have made it a popular vacation destination for New Yorkers. For active travelers, there are countless activities on offer, from boating on Lake Erie and rafting on the Allegheny River to hiking, biking, and horseback riding at Allegany State Park.

For less physically demanding pursuits, admire large-scale sculptures in the beautiful setting of Griffis Sculpture Park, follow the self-guided Amish trail, or delve into 20th-century American pop culture at the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum. Located Jamestown, Lucille Ball’s hometown, this museum focuses on the life and work of the I Love Lucy stars.

  • Chautauqua-Allegheny is a must-do for outdoorsy types.
  • If you’re traveling in winter, allow yourself extra time to get from place to place, and know that lake-effect snow can lead to road closures; check local conditions before setting out.
  • Rural parts of Chautauqua-Allegheny are not well-served by public transport so if you plan on traveling around, consider renting a car.

Interstate Highway 86 runs through the Chautauqua-Allegheny region. Driving from New York City will take about 5–7 hours, depending on your final destination. If you’re coming from Buffalo, follow Interstate 90 west.

Winter snowfall in the region can be very heavy, especially at higher elevations. Unless you’re visiting a ski resort, it’s more pleasant to come in summer, when daytime temperatures can reach highs around 80°F (26.5°C). Fall is cooler with colors of the soon-to-shed foliage making it especially scenic.

More than 20 wineries are strung along the southern shore of Lake Erie, constituting what’s now known as Lake Erie Wine Country. Follow the route through Victorian-era villages and past vineyards, making stops at tasting rooms to sip and savor locally produced wines.


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