We’re fortunate to say that we have no shortage of beautiful parks in New York State. We have the opportunity to explore giant waterfalls, gorges, and trails, here within our own state.
Watkins Glen should be at the top of your list as far as parks go. Along the path, you’ll see 19 different waterfalls, not to mention stunning landscapes, and the surrounding town is full of wineries and restaurants!
Checking into the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel
16 N Franklin St, Watkins Glen, NY 14891 / Website
I highly recommend staying at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. They have all the amenities that you’d be searching for, comfortable modern rooms, and the hotel is right on the water. Plus, it is also walking distance from a variety of shops and restaurants, and even the park. You can’t go wrong with a hotel that was voted ‘best waterfront hotel’ in the nation by USA today!
Enjoy Nature at the Watkins Glen State Park
1009 N Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891 / Website
The park is the centerpiece of this trip. The views look like something straight out of a postcard and it’s spectacular in person! At certain points during the hike, you can actually reach out and touch a waterfall. There are some amazing photo opportunities along the way too. The hike is mostly uphill- as long as you stay going in one direction, the path loops around bringing you back to the parking lot.
Pro tip: dress appropriately for a work out because it is an uphill intense hike, but trust me when I say it’s worth it!
After that hike pat yourself on the back; you earned this. There are plenty of wineries to choose from in this area, but Lakewood Vineyards (4024 NY-14, Watkins Glen, NY 14891) is easily one of my favorites. They had some delicious bubbly and whether you like sweet or dry, they can accommodate your taste. While you are sipping on your wine, take in the surrounding view of the vineyards. They are something to marvel at to say the least.
J.R. Dill Winery (4922 NY-414, Burdett, NY 14818) is another winery that is well worth a visit.
Shop & Eat
The boutique shop area consists of a select few antique shops, like Country Haven Treasure (208 N Franklin St, Watkins Glen, NY 14891), and some clothing and gift shops. They have an amazing cheese shop called the Seneca Cheese Company an Artisanal Cheese Tavern (29 N Franklin St, Watkins Glen, NY 14891) that has one of the best goat blue cheeses I’ve ever tasted; it’s so worth it to go grab a wedge!
That being said, the restaurants are all spot on! There are some great little places to grab lunch, but one of my favorite places is this wood fire pizza shop outside of Colonial Pottery & Creamery (701 N Franklin St, Watkins Glen, NY 14891). It’s quick and easy. The pizzas are modest and thin; a good size for one or two people and absolutely delicious.
If you’re looking for a spot to relax and have a diner-style breakfast with fresh coffee, Tobey’s Donut Shop (137 E 4th St, Watkins Glen, NY 14891) is your spot. If you’re searching for a nice dinner spot, I’d suggest the Seneca Harbor Station (3 N Franklin St, Watkins Glen, NY 14891), an 1876 train station turned delicious restaurant. For some good Italian eats, check out Jerlando’s Ristorante & Pizza Co. (400 N Franklin St, Watkins Glen, NY 14891).
Interested in more trips close to home? Check out our article on why Jamestown makes a great staycation for nature seekers and comedy lovers here.
This post was originally published in 2020 and has been updated.