Niagara Falls to the Finger Lakes – A road trip inspired by waterfalls and the wine country

A road trip is always a good idea, especially when you’re in search of stunning natural scenery and that’s exactly what my friend and I had in mind when we set out on our adventure from the Niagara Falls to the Finger Lakes. The route features some of the most breath-taking waterfalls and best wineries in North America.

Niagara Falls


The starting point of our road trip inspired by waterfalls and wine was Niagara Falls, Ontario. The city of Niagara Falls is famous for its rich history, fascinating cultural heritage, and of course the Niagara Falls. We were lucky to catch a spectacular fireworks display over the Niagara Falls on the evening of our arrival. The fireworks only run on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday between May and October.

After a good night sleep we had scheduled another visit to the falls, this time during the day. Seeing the falls lit up at night is pretty, but you can’t appreciate the full extent of its natural beauty until you have visited the falls in the daylight.

After the most scenic border crossing with picturesque views of the Niagara Falls we headed to Niagara Falls airport with a local bus to pick up our rental car. We were a little surprised to see the deserted looking airport when we arrived. It looked like no plane had landed there in days. Once we located the rental car booth we found a note informing us that all customers wishing to pick up their rental car must do so from a different location. That’s something the online booking site had not told us. A friendly security guard then tried to arrange a taxi for us to ensure that we can pick up the car before the shop closes, but even that was unsuccessful. Luckily we managed to catch a bus in time to get our road trip started.

Finger Lakes Region


An hour later than expected we were heading towards the stunning Finger Lakes region, that got its name from the 11 North-South lakes that reminded early map makers of fingers. I had really wanted to make it in time to see the sunset over Lake Cayuga, but twilight was fast approaching and we suddenly found ourselves surrounded by deer. We had been warned that this route is known for its high deer population and drivers are always advised to take it steady. Thankfully none of them seemed too disturbed by our presence and continued eating as we drove past. I noticed the sun’s reflection on water in the distance. Were we this close to the lakes already? We took a right to drive down to the water and stopped just in time to see the last pastel-coloured clouds disappear and make way to the darkness.

Firelight Camps


After four hours of driving and enjoying the beautiful natural scenery of New York State we arrived at the Firelight Camps, a fairy-tale-like glamping resort where you can feast on some of the best wines and fresh food the region has to offer.


We had a wonderful relaxing night by the fire sampling some delicious regional wines and spent the night in style in one of their tastefully decorated tents.

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The beds are so comfortable that getting up in the morning isn’t easy, but follow the smell of the coffee and you will be rewarded. The complimentary breakfast is an oasis for any travelling foodie and a great way to start a day of exploring the region.

Cider House


While the area is known for the award-winning wines, it is also home to cider producers and craft breweries. After having tried some regional wines the previous night, I could not wait to find out a little more about the cider production in the region.


The Cider House is located in Interlaken, along the Cayuga Lake and they offer various tasting options of some of the best local ciders. We chose to share the 5 for $5 option as we still had quite a bit of driving ahead of us. The most impressive part of the tasting was the Ice Cider which is typical for the region and is made from the juice of frozen apples.

The Waterfalls


All across the region you can find a spectacular range of mesmerising waterfalls.

The Buttermilk Falls are located just outside of Ithaca and were the first stop of our waterfall adventure. We opted to leave the car in Ithaca and walk to the falls. Alternatively you can reach the falls on foot by following the hiking trail that starts near the Firelight Camps.


Next on our itinerary were the scenic Taughannock Falls, one of the tallest in the Finger Lakes region. We followed the signs for the overlook for a quick picture stop, but you can also wander along on the trails overlooking the beautiful landscape and the falls.


We finished our day of chasing waterfalls with a visit to the Lower Falls in the Robert H. Treman State Park. They’re easy to reach from the lower parking lot and we were rewarded with beautifully shaped falls and a swimming area, perfect for a refreshing stop. Unfortunately swimming is only permitted with a life guard present, which meant we couldn’t take a dive.

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