Discover Skaneateles Lake, New York

Skaneateles Lake spans 16 miles and is celebrated for its pristine waters and breathtaking scenery, making it a beloved destination for outdoor enthusiasts year-round.

Located in the heart of the Finger Lakes region, this picturesque lake offers various activities to suit every interest. Boating enthusiasts can explore its tranquil waters, while anglers will find ample opportunities to reel in various fish species. The lake’s clear waters also make it an ideal spot for swimming and kayaking, providing refreshing escapes during the summer months.

For those who prefer to stay on land, Skaneateles Lake boasts scenic hiking trails that offer panoramic views of its shores and surrounding landscapes. Picnic areas and waterfront parks provide perfect spots for relaxation and family gatherings, while local shops and eateries offer a taste of the region’s charm and hospitality.


Best time to visit
Best things to do

Top 3 Facts about Skaneateles Lake in New York


Water Quality

Skaneateles Lake is renowned for its exceptional water quality, consistently ranking among the cleanest lakes in the United States. Its clarity and purity make it a vital drinking water source for Syracuse and surrounding areas.


Fishing Paradise

The lake supports a diverse fish population, including species such as lake trout, rainbow trout, landlocked salmon, bass, and panfish. Anglers flock to Skaneateles Lake year-round to enjoy its excellent fishing opportunities.


Glacial Origins

Formed during the last glacial period approximately 10,000 years ago, Skaneateles Lake is one of the Finger Lakes of central New York State. It stretches over 16 miles in length and reaches depths of over 300 feet in some areas.


Must See Attractions

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Skaneateles Village


This charming village is not just a gateway to the lake but also a destination itself. Stroll through its streets to enjoy boutique shopping, delightful eateries, and historic sites. The residential ambiance and scenic parks like Thayer Park add to its appeal.

Clift Park


Clift Park is right on the lakefront, perfect for a leisurely day out. You can walk along the waterfront, enjoy a picnic, or take in the stunning views of Skaneateles Lake. It’s a spot where families and visitors can relax and unwind.

Carpenter Falls


This is a must-visit for nature lovers looking to explore the great outdoors. Carpenter Falls features picturesque cascades and lush surroundings a short distance from the lake. It’s ideal for hiking and photography.

Annual Events and Festivals


Skaneateles Antique and Classic Boat Show

Held annually in July, this event showcases a stunning display of antique and classic boats from various eras.

Visitors can admire meticulously restored vessels and enjoy activities like boat parades and waterfront tours.

August to September

Skaneateles Festival

This summer music festival typically runs from August to September, featuring renowned musicians performing a series of chamber music concerts.

The festival venues include the historic First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles and other scenic locations around the lake.


Skaneateles Winterfest

Taking place in February, Winterfest celebrates the beauty of winter with a variety of family-friendly activities.

Visitors can enjoy ice skating, sled races, snowshoeing, and even a polar bear plunge into the chilly waters of Skaneateles Lake.

Top Hiking Trails

Charlie Major Nature Trail

Shotwell Memorial Park, Skaneateles

This easy, family-friendly trail meanders through woodlands and along the lakeshore, offering picturesque views of Skaneateles Lake.

It’s perfect for a leisurely walk or a peaceful afternoon stroll.

Highland Forest Loop Trail

Highland Forest Park, 1254 Highland Park Road, Fabius

Located a short drive from Skaneateles Lake, this 2.8-mile loop trail winds through a mature forest featuring tranquil streams and diverse wildlife.

The trail is well-marked and suitable for hikers of all skill levels.

Bahar Nature Preserve Trail

Parking area off West Lake Road, Skaneateles

This moderate trail offers a scenic hike through a mix of hardwood forests and wetlands.

Highlights include boardwalks over marshy areas and opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife observation.

Best Golf Courses

Skaneateles Country Club

3344 W Lake Rd, Skaneateles, NY 13152

Located right on the shores of Skaneateles Lake, this historic and scenic golf course offers stunning views and a challenging layout.

It features 18 holes set amidst rolling hills and mature trees, providing a picturesque backdrop for golfers of all skill levels.

The Links at Erie Village

5904 North Burdick Street, East Syracuse, NY 13057

Approximately 20 miles from Skaneateles Lake, this championship golf course offers 18 holes of beautifully manicured fairways and greens.

Designed by Rick Jacobson, it combines natural beauty with strategic challenges.

Green Lakes State Park Golf Course

7900 Green Lakes Rd, Fayetteville, NY 13066

Located about 30 miles east of Skaneateles Lake, Green Lakes State Park Golf Course is known for its scenic beauty and unique landscape.

The course features 18 holes surrounded by two glacial lakes and lush forests, offering a memorable golfing experience.

Water Sports


Whether you prefer sailing, powerboating, or cruising on a pontoon boat, Skaneateles Lake’s clear waters and scenic shoreline provide an ideal setting.

Boaters can explore the lake’s 16-mile length, discovering secluded coves and enjoying breathtaking views of the surrounding hills.

Kayaking & Canoeing

Paddling enthusiasts can use Skaneateles Lake’s tranquil waters for kayaking and canoeing adventures.

Several public access points around the lake make it easy to launch and explore at your own pace, enjoying close-up views of the shoreline and wildlife.


Fishing enthusiasts will find Skaneateles Lake abundant with various fish species, including lake trout, rainbow trout, bass, and panfish.

Whether you fish from a boat or along the shoreline, the lake offers excellent recreational and competitive fishing opportunities.

Winter Activities

Ice Fishing

When the lake freezes over, it becomes a popular destination for ice-fishing enthusiasts. Anglers can drill holes in the ice and fish for species like lake trout, perch, and panfish.

Local guides and outfitters offer equipment rentals and guided ice-fishing excursions.

Ice Skating

Weather permitting, skating enthusiasts can enjoy ice skating in designated areas of Skaneateles Lake or at nearby parks and outdoor rinks.

It’s a picturesque setting to glide across the ice, surrounded by the lake’s tranquil winter scenery.


Explore the snowy landscapes around Skaneateles Lake on snowshoes.

Several local trails and conservation areas offer snowshoeing opportunities, allowing you to trek through wooded areas and enjoy the quiet beauty of winter.

Where to Eat

Bluewater Grill

$$ – $$$ • Seafood

Sherwood Inn

$$ – $$$ • American

Rosalie’s Cucina

$$ – $$$ • Italian

Where to Shop

Gallery 54

Art gallery

Skaneateles Antique Center

Antiques store

Skaneateles Bakery


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 Skaneateles Lake

Book Early

Skaneateles Lake is a popular destination, especially during the summer and fall foliage seasons. To secure the best accommodations and dates, it’s advisable to book your rental property well in advance, ideally several months ahead of your planned visit.

Research Locations

Skaneateles Lake offers a variety of rental properties, from lakefront cottages and cabins to larger vacation homes with panoramic views. Research different locations around the lake to find the setting that best suits your preferences—whether you prefer a secluded spot or proximity to town amenities.

Read Reviews

Before making a reservation, read reviews and testimonials from previous renters.

Ask About Lake Access

If lake access is important to you, inquire about the property’s proximity to the lake and any amenities provided (e.g., private dock, kayaks, paddleboards).

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Going Deeper: History and Cultural Significance of Skaneateles Lake

Skaneateles Lake holds a rich history deeply intertwined with the cultural fabric of the Finger Lakes region in central New York. The lake’s name originates from the Iroquois phrase meaning “long lake,” reflecting its 16-mile stretch and enduring importance to indigenous peoples long before European settlement.

In the early 19th century, the lake became a hub for commerce and transportation, with steamboats ferrying passengers and goods along its pristine waters. Its clear, spring-fed waters also attracted visitors seeking respite and rejuvenation, leading to the development of lakeside resorts and the establishment of communities like the picturesque village of Skaneateles.

Today, Skaneateles Lake serves as a source of drinking water for local communities and a cherished recreational haven. Its cultural significance is evident in annual festivals, art shows, and community events that celebrate its natural beauty and historical heritage, making it a beloved destination that continues to captivate visitors with its timeless allure.

Frequently Asked Questions about Skaneateles Lake

You can enjoy a variety of activities at Skaneateles Lake. Boating and fishing are quite popular, with many visitors hitting the water for recreation. Hiking trails around the lake offer scenic routes for all skill levels. And don’t forget swimming in the clear, clean waters during the summer months.

Several charming bed-and-breakfast inns, hotels, and vacation rentals are available near the lake. You might consider the iconic Mirbeau Inn & Spa for a luxurious stay. Alternatively, there are more budget-friendly options like local motels and campgrounds.

When hunger strikes, you have a range of dining options. The famous Doug’s Fish Fry is a must-try for seafood lovers, while the Sherwood Inn offers traditional American fare in a historic setting. For something more upscale, there’s Rosalie’s Cucina, known for its Italian dishes.

Fishing at Skaneateles Lake is regulated to preserve its pristine environment. Anglers need to have a valid New York State fishing license. The lake is stocked with trout, bass, and other species, but make sure to check the local regulations for season dates and catch limits.

Yes, the lake features designated swimming areas. Clift Park in the village of Skaneateles offers a popular spot with lifeguards on duty during the summer. It’s a great place for families to cool down and enjoy the water safely.

History buffs will appreciate the historic sites around Skaneateles Lake. The Skaneateles Historical Society Museum showcases fascinating exhibits about the local area’s past. Don’t miss the chance to visit the historic Sherwood Inn, which has been serving guests since the early 1800s.

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