On the Water - Local Lake Guide

Our famous lakes

There is an old Native American legend that the Finger Lakes came into being when the Great Spirit placed the imprint of his hand in blessing on this upstate land.  The impressions left behind filled with water forming pristine lakes dotting the sacred ground.  Although it would make sense to have 10 Finger Lakes, there are actually 11 Finger Lakes and we are not quite sure that happened, it must just have been what the Great Spirit wanted!

A little less romantic but probably more accurate, geologists tell us that the formation of these scenic lakes began millions of years ago by glacial action including erosion, wearing away bedrock and gouging river valleys into deep troughs where eventually water filled the valleys and the Finger Lakes resulted in much the same form seen today.

Cayuga County is home to three Finger Lakes:

  • Cayuga Lake – 40 miles long, 435 feet deep
  • Skaneateles Lake – 15 miles long, 350 feet deep
  • Owasco Lake – 11 miles long, 117 feet deep


Although not Finger Lakes, Duck Lake, Otter Lake and Lake Como also provide ample opportunities for water activities.

Cayuga County also meets the southern shore of Lake Ontario, one of the Great Lakes.   Ontario means “Beautiful Lake” and it certainly is as well as serving as an important transportation hub and recreation and fishing resource.  The charming village of Fair Haven sits on Lake Ontario and has been popular destination for boaters and visitors for over 100 years.

MAKE SOME WAVES