15 Best Things to Do in Watkins Glen

15 Best Things to Do in Watkins Glen

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A small village located between Niagara Falls and New York City, Watkins Glen is the perfect place for enjoying vacations in the Finger Lakes area.

This village offers a wide variety of activities for all visitors.

Known for its beautiful landscapes and plenty of outdoor activities, the village is a paradise for all hikers, bikers and other adventurists.

The village is especially suitable for people who love and enjoy the water as this village is all about lakes, waterfalls, brooks and forests.

The top 15 places/events that you should consider visiting in Watkins Glen are:

Seneca Lake

Seneca Lake
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As one of the most famous and beautiful lakes, Seneca Lake is the largest in volume and the second-longest in length in the Finger Lakes region. Seneca covers more than 43,000 acres and has a shoreline that spreads over 75 miles.

The lake is as deep as 600 feet and looks quite beautiful.

There are numerous ways you can enjoy this lake.

However, the best place to enjoy Seneca Lake is on a lake cruise.

There are many service providers who offer rental equipment to visitors or allow visitors to launch their own boats.

The best is Captain Bill’s  Cruises, which is a favorite among locals as well as visitors.

Captain Bill’s offers various dining options to visitors.

In addition, you can also enjoy extremely delicious lunch and afternoon snacks.

There is also the option to take a cruise on the captain’s vintage 49 passenger vessel which shows you the breathtaking views around the lake and its beautiful water.

Brick Tavern Museum


A famous federal structure that was designed completely in 1828, Brick Tavern Museum is located near Seneca Lake and Watkins Glen.

The museum has beautiful exhibitions which portray the story of the rich past of Schuyler County.

The exhibitions mostly represent the history of fields such as American textiles, native artefacts, medical items, fashion items, transportation and industries.

The museum also has its own research room which allows the genealogists to understand the past of the village in a better, easier manner.

The museum is managed by the Schuyler County Historical Society and is definitely worth a visit if you are a history enthusiast.

Castel Grisch


Covering almost 40 acres of land and offering breathtaking views of Seneca Lake, Castle Grisch is a beautiful winery established in the year 1983.

The winery offers more than 14 varieties of wines.

What makes this winery different from others in the village is its commitment towards using the best quality grapes plucked freshly for the process of making the wines.

This vineyard produces the highest quality wines, ranging from red wines to white ones.

You can also enjoy freshly produced wine in the tasting room of the winery that is open seasonally from May to December.

Apart from the wines, Castle Grisch also offers great views on its outdoor patio.

Farm Sanctuary

Sheep at Farm Sanctuary
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Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen is a beautiful farm that covers an area of over 271 acres and beautiful green pastures in Finger Lakes region of New York.

Sanctuary is a perfect place for family day out. This organization offers refugee to more than 500 animals.

Most of the animals are either rescued or orphaned. Sanctuary also employs its own guides who help visitors and keep them entertained by telling them various stories about how different pigs, turkeys, cows and other animals came to be in the Sanctuary.

The place also has a small gift shop and a tiny deck to enjoy the scenery.

Farm Sanctuary is part of a bigger network that of sanctuaries that provide shelter to domestic animals who are in need and to educate and create awareness among the visitors about farm animals and their plight.

Finger Lakes Wine Festival


The one event you should definitely not miss if you are in Watkins Glen is the Finger Lakes Wine Festival.

The festival is organized every year in the month of July and hosts over 90 wine-producing companies, famous restaurants, hotels and local vendors of a variety of items ranging from kitchenware to musical instruments.

The Finger Lakes Wine Festival is an event where you can get in touch with local artists, chefs, musicians and other visitors from around the world and enjoy some great company.

You can also eat great food, listen to fabulous music and sip delicious wine.

The festival also provides various learning opportunities such as culinary classes and cooking demonstrations.

The event is a perfect place to get your hands on some locally produced chocolates, candles, paintings, oils, cigars and more.

Organized under a tent, this event is a perfect place to enjoy your time with friends and family.

Glen Mountain Market Bakery & Deli


Glen Mountain Market Bakery & Deli is popularly known as the most famous and lively spot in Watkins for grabbing some delicious coffee, freshly made pastries and mouthwatering cold cuts and is a place you should definitely check out.

This café, deli and bakery offer freshly made variants of coffee free from any chemicals.

All the coffee beans used in the bakery are procured from the local market nearby.

You can also buy some fresh bread and other items such as cookies, pastries, brownies and Choco bars.

In addition to its regular options, Glen Mountain Market Bakery & Deli also offers gluten-free choices.

Beyond its bakery items, you can also try their great sandwiches, wraps, salads and other homemade fares like soups, cheese and egg dishes.

Grist Iron Brewing Company


Opened recently in 2015, Grist Iron Brewing Company is a popular microbrewery in Watkins.

This brewery produces its own range of beers and unique American style sides with a slightly different touch.

The brewery is also a great place in case you are looking to make some new friends and get into touch with locals.

While enjoying the different styles and flavors of items, you can also refresh your mind with the ambiance of live music present almost every weekend throughout the year.

The taproom of this brewery is also quite great and offers delicious grubs paired well with their beer.

Hector Falls

Hector Falls
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Hector Falls is a majestically beautiful waterfall in Watkins located on a huge expanse of limestone and extends to the Seneca lake.

Almost 170 feet tall, the waterfall and its various cascades can be viewed from the main road itself.

The lower portion of Hector Falls is on a privately owned property and can only be viewed by boat.

However, you can easily rent or join tour groups to enjoy the entire cascading effect of the fall.

The waterfall gets its water from Hector Falls Creek.

Spring is the perfect time to visit this palace since the water flow is reduced in the summer.

Painted Bar Stables


A unique attraction in Watkins, painted bar stables is a beautiful and well managed stable that offers its services to the visitors throughout the year.

The stable provides amenities for visitors to enjoy the nearby trails using its trained and well-behaved horses.

The trails around the stable are quite beautiful and scenic which makes the entire experience more enjoyable.

You can also take lessons in horseback riding, lease horses, or board horses depending upon your preferences.

The rides are planned carefully and involves only the trained horses and guides.

The place is perfect for people who are looking to enjoy the natural scenery of Watkins and horseback riding along the trails.

If you are travelling with a group of 10 to 15 people, this is a perfect adventure sport for you in Watkins.

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls
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Another scenic and unbelievably beautiful waterfall in Watkins, Rainbow Falls is located in the State Park area.

This waterfall is located at the southern end of Seneca Lake.

Along with the 19 beautiful waterfalls in the State Park area, there are trails that you can explore that lead to these falls.

Rainbow Falls is easily reachable and allows visitors to hike around the area.

Rainbow Falls is located over the largest cascade in the park, which is over 60 feet tall.

The entire scenery around Rainbow Falls is very beautiful and filled with colors.

Seneca Lodge Restaurant


Seneca Sunrise Coffee is hands-down the best coffee roaster in the village of Watkins Glen.

Most of the coffee that is sold here is certified to be organic, shade grown and is sourced from all over the world.

The coffee at Seneca Sunrise Coffee smells delicious and takes away everyone’s blues and negativity.

Depending on your preference, you can buy a hot coffee or a cold brew.

In addition to the coffee, you can also buy the beans to make your own coffee at home.

The beans produced at Seneca Sunrise Coffee are also sold at many grocery stores around the world.

Seneca Sunrise Coffee


Seneca sunrise coffee is hands down the best coffee roaster in the village of Watkins Glen.

Most of the coffee is sold at this place are certified to be organic, shade grown, and is sourced from all over the world.

The coffee in this place smells delicious and takes away everyone’s blues and negativity.

Depending on your preference, you can buy a hot or a cold brew. In addition to the coffee is, you can also buy the beans for making your own coffee.

The beans produced at Seneca sunrise coffee are also sold at many other grocery stores around the world.

The Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor


Located right on the southern corner of the State Park area, the Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor is a unique ice cream parlor in Watkins.

It is a family-owned business and has been serving the visitors as well as the locals for more than 30 years.

The ice cream parlor has more than 30 ice cream flavors, frozen treats, cakes and other gelato products.

The ice cream parlor is unique because everything that they offer is made fresh, only after the order is received.

In addition to the regular items, the parlor also offers vegan and non-dairy variants.

The Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor is also perfect for getting your customized cakes with printed photographs on top of them.

If you are a person who has a sweet tooth, this place is definitely a cool choice for you.

The Windmill Farm and Craft Market


The Windmill Farm and Craft Market is a very large farm and craft market that has been operating for more than 30 years.

It is a very famous tourist attraction in Watkins, as well as for the nearby areas.

The craft market has more than 200 sellers who sell locally produced items.

From freshly produced farm items to clothes, tattoos, vintage cars, furniture, etc., everything is available in this market.

The Windmill Farm and Craft Market is so interesting that you can spend an entire day without even realizing how time has passed.

In the morning, you can enjoy breakfast or browse some antique items to enhance the beauty of your home.

You can later enjoy lunch and a show or a concert afterwards. This place is definitely a catch.

Watkins Glen International

Watkins Glen International
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A very famous car racetrack known for its great services, Watkins Glen International is located at the southern tip of Seneca Lake.

The racetrack was constructed originally in the year 1956 and has been maintained regularly since then.

The racetrack has hosted the Formula One United States Grand Prix for 20 consecutive years.

Apart from the Formula One racing, the racetrack also hosts other racing events, such as the World Sports Car Championship, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the International Motor Sports Association and many more.

In addition to the races, it also organizes various music concerts. The most famous is the 1973 summer jam with the Grateful Dead.

Watkins Glen is definitely a must-visit place in New York.

Even though it appears to be a small village at first glance, this village offers everything that a person desires on a vacation.

With its lively locals and delicious foods, the place will definitely be one of your favorites.