Street view of Skaneateles, New York, a charming lakeside town atop one of the Finger Lakes, just 20 miles from Syracuse. Editorial credit: PQK /

6 Senior-Friendly Towns in the Finger Lakes

Imagine waking up to the gentle lapping of lake waters, spending afternoons exploring charming towns rich with history, and indulging in local wines and farm-fresh produce. The Finger Lakes region, with its serene landscapes and vibrant communities, is a paradise for seniors and retirees seeking both relaxation and adventure. Here, the pace of life is perfectly balanced. It offers a blend of leisurely strolls along scenic trails, invigorating cultural activities, and close-knit community events. These 6 towns will have visitors ready to set down roots and settle in to enjoy the golden years of life in comfort and excitement.


Gazebo and small park on the shore of Skaneateles Lake in Skaneateles, New York, on a beautiful autumn morning.
Skaneateles Lake in Skaneateles, New York.

Retirement is an adventure, and Skaneateles is a perfect destination for seniors seeking both relaxation and activities. Begin the new life with a boat tour on Skaneateles Lake, where residents can enjoy calm waters and great fishing opportunities. For history enthusiasts, the Skaneateles Historical Society offers fascinating exhibits detailing the local heritage. A leisurely stroll on the Charlie Major Nature Trail, which is flat and conveniently accessible, is ideal for those who prefer a gentle walk or run surrounded by nature. Staying active is easy at the Skaneateles Community Center, where seniors can participate in fitness classes and swimming programs designed for all levels. Don't miss out on the local farmer’s market, a delightful spot for fresh produce and local crafts, perfect for a weekend outing with friends. For music lovers, the annual Skaneateles Festival presents a blend of classical and contemporary performances, offering a cultural treat that enriches the local community and visiting retirees alike.


Main Street in downtown Canandaigua, New York.
Main Street in downtown Canandaigua, New York. Editorial credit: Ritu Manoj Jethani /

Canandaigua provides an inviting mix of activities and services, making it seniors feel at ease in the Finger Lakes. The calm waters of Canandaigua Lake present numerous opportunities for fishing, boating, and lakeside relaxation. For those with a penchant for history and gardens, Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion offer a tour of beautifully maintained gardens and a grand mansion, while The Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum provides a peek into 19th-century life, complete with antique carriages. Healthcare needs are well-addressed by the Canandaigua VA Medical Center, ensuring comprehensive services for senior residents. Culinary enthusiasts will enjoy the New York Kitchen, which features wine tastings and culinary classes, perfect for exploring new interests. For outdoor relaxation, Kershaw Park offers accessible walking paths and picnic spots by the beach, making it an ideal location for leisurely afternoons. This town is perfect for hosting family and friends and keeping them coming back for more.


Downtown street view and buildings in Geneva, New York, situated at the northern end of Seneca Lake.
Downtown street view and buildings in Geneva, New York. Editorial credit: PQK /

Geneva is an excellent choice for retirees, offering a blend of history, nature, and healthcare services close to home. Seneca Lake State Park is a local gem with accessible walking trails, fishing spots, and areas for picnicking, ensuring that outdoor activities are easy and enjoyable. Dive into local history at the Geneva Historical Society, where interactive exhibits bring the past to life, which tie perfectly with The Smith Opera House, where seniors can attend concerts, movies, and theatrical performances. Fresh produce and artisan goods are plentiful at the Geneva Farmers Market, a delightful spot for seniors to explore and shop locally for seasonal fruits and vegetables. Finger Lakes Health provides a wide range of medical services and senior care, ensuring that all possible healthcare needs are met. Finally, the Rose Hill Mansion offers guided tours of a historic 19th-century estate, providing a fascinating glimpse into the region's history.

Penn Yan

Penn Yan Historic District featuring an ATM sign from Community Bank on the left, and Struble’s Arcade, a Victorian commercial building, on the right.
Penn Yan Historic District in New York. Editorial credit: PQK /

For seniors looking to explore adventure on the Finger Lakes, Penn Yan offers an array of activities that cater to diverse interests. Start your visit with a leisurely walk or bike ride along the Keuka Lake Outlet Trail, a flat and accessible path perfect for all mobility levels. Dive into the history of the area at the Oliver House Museum, which features exhibits detailing the long history of Penn Yan. Art enthusiasts will appreciate the Arts Center of Yates County, which hosts art classes and exhibits from local artists. Keuka College is another gem, offering educational programs and cultural events that are open to the public, providing ample opportunities for lifelong learning. The Penn Yan Public Library frequently hosts community events, book clubs, and educational workshops, providing a sense of community and fostering friendships for all residents. After a day of activities, relax at the Water Street Wine Bar, where you can enjoy local wines with a view of the waterfront, combining leisure with a touch of local flavor.


Keuka Lake surrounded by green trees in summertime.
Keuka Lake surrounded by green trees in summertime.

Hammondsport, known for its rich aviation history, is a town with plenty to offer. Begin with a visit to the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum to learn about aviation and local heritage, a fascinating dive into the past. Keuka Lake is a prime spot for boating, fishing, and lakeside picnics, offering peaceful and enjoyable outdoor activities. Depot Park features walking paths, a playground, and picnic areas, providing a perfect setting for a relaxed afternoon. The Finger Lakes Boating Museum offers intriguing exhibits on the region’s boating history, ideal for those interested in maritime activities. A visit to Pleasant Valley Wine Company, one of the oldest wineries in the area, includes tours and tastings that highlight the local winemaking tradition. Invites friends and family to the annual Hammondsport Firemen’s Carnival. It is a must-attend event with rides, games, and local food, creating a lively community atmosphere and plenty of fun.


e of Cornell University, known for its vibrant shopping and restaurant scene.

Pedestrianized street in downtown Ithaca, New York. Editorial credit: Spiroview Inc /

Ithaca stands out as a dynamic destination for seniors, combining natural beauty with vibrant community activities. Cayuga Lake is a focal point for fishing, boating, and tranquil waterfront walks, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The Ithaca Farmers Market is a bustling spot offering a wide range of local produce, crafts, and prepared foods, perfect for a leisurely weekend visit. The Cornell Botanic Gardens provides accessible gardens and walking paths, showcasing stunning plant collections and offering a peaceful retreat. For those interested in natural history, the Museum of the Earth features engaging exhibits with a focus on the region’s geological history. Ithaca Commons is a pedestrian shopping area filled with restaurants and local shops, ideal for exploring and dining. The Lifelong Senior Center offers an array of fitness classes, social activities, and educational programs tailored to seniors, ensuring that every visitor can find something to enjoy and engage in.

A Retirement Haven in the Finger Lakes

Whether you're drawn to the allure of peaceful lakeside living or the excitement of seasonal festivals, the Finger Lakes promises a fulfilling and enjoyable retirement experience. There is always something to do regardless of your interests. These welcoming towns with their accessible outdoor activities, and array of social opportunities ensure that life in the Finger Lakes is not just about relaxation, but also about discovery and joy.

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