Discover Owasco Lake, New York

Welcome to Owasco Lake: your gateway to fun, relaxation, and discovery in the heart of New York State. Nestled among rolling hills and picturesque landscapes, Owasco Lake is not just a destination; it’s an experience waiting to be explored.

Dive into the region’s rich history and natural beauty while uncovering exciting activities for every family member. Whether you’re drawn to water sports, scenic trails, or simply unwinding on the shore, Owasco Lake promises unforgettable moments and cherished memories.


Best time to visit
Best things to do

Top 3 Facts about Owasco Lake, New York


Origin and Size

Owasco Lake is one of the Finger Lakes in central New York State, known for its distinctive elongated shape. It spans approximately 11 miles in length and covers an area of about 6,600 acres.


Drinking Water Source

The lake serves as a vital source of drinking water for several communities in the region, including the city of Auburn. Its clean, clear waters are carefully monitored and protected to ensure quality.


Fishing Paradise

Owasco Lake is renowned among anglers for its excellent fishing opportunities. It supports a diverse fish population, including species like lake trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, and yellow perch. The lake hosts various fishing tournaments throughout the year.


Must See Attractions

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Emerson Park


Located on the northern shore of Owasco Lake, Emerson Park offers stunning views of the lake and various recreational amenities. It’s a great spot for picnicking, swimming, and enjoying the playgrounds and walking trails.

Merry-Go-Round Playhouse


This historic theater, located near Owasco Lake in Auburn, hosts professional musical productions throughout the summer season. It’s known for its intimate atmosphere and high-quality performances.

Finger Lakes Scenic Railway

Scenic Railway

Take a scenic train ride that runs along the northern end of Owasco Lake. The railway offers themed excursions and special events, providing a nostalgic way to enjoy the lake’s beauty.

Annual Events and Festivals


Owasco Lake Day

Held in mid-summer, Owasco Lake Day celebrates the lake with various family-friendly activities, live music, local vendors, and fireworks.

It’s a community-focused event that highlights the beauty and recreational opportunities of the lake.


Skaneateles Antique and Classic Boat Show

Held in Skaneateles, a town near Owasco Lake, this event showcases a stunning display of antique and classic boats on Skaneateles Lake.

It usually takes place in July and includes boat rides, exhibits, and entertainment.

August or September

Auburn’s Founders Day

Celebrated in August or September, Auburn’s Founders Day commemorates the city’s rich history with parades, historical reenactments, craft vendors, and local food.

It often includes activities that spill over to the shores of Owasco Lake.

Top Hiking Trails

Emerson Park Trails

Emerson Park, 6914 E Lake Rd, Auburn, NY 13021

Emerson Park offers several short, scenic trails along the northern shore of Owasco Lake.

The trails are relatively easy and perfect for a leisurely walk with beautiful lake views.

Fillmore Glen State Park Trails

Fillmore Glen State Park, 1686 NY-38, Moravia, NY 13118

This state park, located a short drive from the southern tip of Owasco Lake, features several trails, including the Gorge Trail, which follows a creek through a deep gorge with multiple waterfalls.

The North Rim and South Rim trails offer elevated views of the gorge and surrounding forests.

Bear Swamp State Forest Trails

Bear Swamp Road, Sempronius, NY 13118

Situated south of Owasco Lake, Bear Swamp State Forest provides a network of trails suitable for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

The forested trails vary in difficulty and offer serene natural surroundings.

Best Golf Courses

Highland Park Golf Club

3068 Franklin Street Rd, Auburn, NY 13021

Located just north of Owasco Lake, Highland Park Golf Club offers an 18-hole championship course with scenic views, rolling hills, and well-maintained greens.

The course is known for its challenging layout and beautiful setting.

Owasco Country Club

6750 E Lake Rd, Auburn, NY 13021

Situated on the eastern shore of Owasco Lake, Owasco Country Club is a private club featuring a picturesque 9-hole course.

The course offers a mix of challenging holes and serene lake views, making it a favorite among local golfers.

Skaneateles Country Club

3344 W Lake Rd, Skaneateles, NY 13152

Although located slightly further from Owasco Lake, Skaneateles Country Club is a prestigious private club with a top-notch 18-hole course.

The course overlooks Skaneateles Lake and provides a beautiful and challenging golfing experience.

Water Sports


Owasco Lake is ideal for boating enthusiasts. You can explore the lake on motorboats, sailboats, or pontoon boats.

There are several marinas and boat launch sites around the lake, such as Emerson Park, where you can rent boats or launch your own.


Owasco Lake is renowned for its excellent fishing opportunities. Anglers can fish for species such as lake trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, and yellow perch.

Shore and boat fishing are popular, with several fishing tournaments held throughout the year.


Swimming is a favorite pastime at Owasco Lake, with several public swimming areas and beaches, such as those at Emerson Park.

The clean, clear waters make for a refreshing swim in the summer months.

Winter Activities

Ice Fishing

Once the lake freezes over sufficiently, ice fishing becomes a popular activity. Anglers can set up ice shanties and fish for species such as lake trout, yellow perch, and northern pike.

Always check ice conditions and safety guidelines before heading out.


The areas around Owasco Lake have several snowmobile trails that offer thrilling rides through picturesque winter landscapes.

The New York State Snowmobile Association maintains a network of trails that connect to the region’s extensive snowmobile trail system.


Snowshoeing is another excellent way to enjoy the beauty of winter around the lake.

Hiking trails in Emerson Park, Fillmore Glen State Park, and other nearby natural areas are perfect for snowshoeing, allowing you to trek through snow-covered landscapes at your own pace.

Where to Eat

Elderberry Pond Restaurant

$$ – $$$ • Farmt-to-Table Dining

Prison City Pub and Brewery

$$ – $$$ • Hearty Meals, Craft Beer

Hollywood Restaurant

$$ – $$$ • Italian, American

Where to Shop

Found in Ithaca

Antiques store

Fingerlakes Mall

Shopping mall

Gretchen’s Confections

Confectionary store

Where to Sleep

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Mason Street Getaway

555 Mason St, Saugatuck, MI 49453, USA
Number of Guests 5
Bathrooms 2
Bedrooms 2
Sq Footage 1,165
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Generator, Smoke detectors
$475.00 / day
sparkles New

JP Rest House

V262+C5P, Manikganj, Bangladesh
Number of Guests 4
Bathrooms 2
Bedrooms 4
Sq Footage 2,400
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Generator, Smoke detectors
$300.00 / day
sparkles New

Tips on Renting a Vacation Home on Owasco Lake

Plan Ahead

Owasco Lake is a popular destination, especially in summer—book several months in advance to secure the best properties.

Location, Location, Location

Determine if you want direct lake access or if a short walk/drive to the lake is acceptable.

Read Reviews

Look for properties with positive reviews and high ratings. Read comments about cleanliness, the host’s responsiveness, and the listing’s accuracy.

Contact the Host

If you have specific needs or questions, contact the host before booking. Inquire about things like parking, boat rentals, or any special arrangements.

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Going Deeper: History and Cultural Significance of Owasco Lake

Owasco Lake, nestled among the eleven Finger Lakes of New York, holds a rich tapestry of history and cultural significance.

Have you ever wondered about the early inhabitants? The lake’s northern end was once home to one of the first settlements of the Cayuga tribe, an integral part of the Iroquois Confederacy.

By the early 19th century, the lake became a hotspot for resorts and social events. Picture this: glamorous casinos and luxurious resorts lining the shores, all catering to the upper class. Imagine arriving via the Syracuse Railway along the lake’s west side.

Interestingly, the name “Owasco” is thought to derive from either the Native American word “osco,” meaning “crossing place,” or “wasco,” meaning “floating bridge.” These names reflect the lake’s historical significance as a transportation hub.

Frequently Asked Questions about Owasco Lake

You can expect to catch various fish, including smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and northern pike. The lake is also home to walleye, brown trout, lake trout, and panfish such as yellow perch and bluegill.

Certainly! Besides fishing, you can enjoy boating, swimming, and hiking. Pack a picnic or visit nearby historical sites and parks for a more relaxed day. Wildlife watching and photography are also popular activities.

Emerson Park provides the primary public access point for swimming. It has a designated swimming area with lifeguards during the summer season. There are also picnic areas and playgrounds within the park.

Motorboats, sailboats, kayaks, and canoes are all welcome on Owasco Lake. Powerboats must follow specific speed regulations near shorelines and designated zones to ensure safety and protect the environment.

The water quality is generally good, supporting various recreational activities like swimming and fishing. However, occasional harmful algal blooms might affect some areas temporarily. It’s good to check the Cayuga County Health Department’s updates before heading out.

Yes, several wineries are in the Finger Lakes region, close to Owasco Lake. Popular options include Treleaven Wines in King Ferry, Anyela’s Vineyards in Skaneateles, and the Finger Lakes Cider House in Interlaken. These locations offer tastings and tours.

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