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Seneca Lake

Coordinates: 42.646°N 76.874°W

Elevation: 500 feet/152 meters



Running vertically (north/south) just like a finger, Seneca Lake spans Ontario, Yates, Seneca, and Schuyler counties. From a geographical perspective, it is located in the center of the Finger Lakes, which could provide a certain mediating effect as far as weather is concerned.


At 38 mi./61 km. long, Seneca Lake is the second The pier at the Seneca Lake waterfront, Watkins Glen, New York USAlongest of the Finger Lakes. At its widest point, it is nearly 3 mi./4.8 km., making it the widest of the lakes. The lake with the largest volume--roughly 4.2 trillion U.S. gallons--Seneca Lake holds 50% of all the water in the Finger Lakes. Seneca Lake is also the deepest of the Finger Lakes at 618 ft./188.3 m. and the second deepest lake in the country (by depth below sea level).


Named for the Seneca Indian Nation, one of the six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, the word seneca is thought to be derived from the Indian word assiniki, meaning "stony place" or "place of stone." Some people speculate that this refers to the southern end of the lake which has the steepest shoreline of any of the Finger Lakes. However, there are also many streams feeding into Seneca Lake with rocky gorges and beautiful, stony waterfalls.


Seneca Lake is classified as a mesotrophic lake with Private dock at Glenora Point on Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes, New York USA.adequate phytoplankton levels to feed a variety of fish. The lake provides drinking water to about 70,000 people and is clean and relatively clear--about 3 ft./1 m. in the summer and 30 ft./9 m. in the winter. As with many of the Finger Lakes, an ancient salt bed lies below Seneca Lake. This salt mixes with groundwater to make a brine that is processed in Watkins Glen into salt.


Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) appeared in the lake in 1992. They are the only non-native mollusk. Native mollusks in the lake include four species of clam and four species of snail.


The lake supports a variety of aquatic vegetation, including the non-native Eurasian milfoil. Interestingly enough, a 1994 study by Robert L. Johnson of Cornell University found that overwintering caterpillars of the aquatic moth Acentria nivea preferred the milfoil as a host plant.

A quiet spot on East Lake Road near the Village of Willard offers a shady public bench with a wide view of the Seneca Lake, in the Finger Lakes, New York, USA.

The lake contains many species of fish, some native and some non-native. The lake's rainbow trout population, though, is considered to be self-sustaining and reproduces mostly in Catharine Creek, which feeds the lake from the south. In addition to fish, the lake and surrounding area is home to a wide variety of wildlife. Seneca Lake is considered an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society, especially because, since the lake is so large and almost never freezes over, it provides an important wintering area for thousands of waterfowl.


The Watkins Glen Waterfront, also known as Seneca Seneca Lake dock at Watkins Glen, New York USAHarbor, if well worth a visit. Clean and pleasant, the harbor has a lovely public pier (great for an early morning breakfast), a boardwalk with public restrooms, a public boat launch, the village marina, a breakwater that provides excellent birding opportunities, boat tour launches, a restaurant, a gift shop, public parking, and a miniature golf course. Next to this area is the Seneca Harbor Wine Center.

Access to the Lake

Boat Tours

Captain Bill's Seneca Lake Cruises

1 N. Franklin St.
Watkins Glen, NY 14891

Finger Lakes Water Adventures


Schooner Excursions

Village Pier

Watkins Glen Waterfront

Watkins Glen, NY 14891


Seneca Sailing Adventures

Village Marina

Watkins Glen, NY 14891


Boat Rentals

Glen Harbor Marina

517 East 4th St.

Watkins Glen, NY 14891


Reagan's Canoe & Kayak Livery

440 Hall Rd.

Himrod, NY 14842


Roy's Marina

4398 Clarks Point

Geneva, NY 14456


Summit to Stream Adventures

3471 Salt Point Rd.

Watkins Glen, NY 14891


Village Marina

Seneca Harbor

Watkins Glen, NY 14891



Seneca Lake is said to be good for windsports especially in the vicinity of Seneca Lake State Park. However, there are no places to rent or buy equipment in that area. Bring your own so you won't be disappointed.

Lakeside Accommodations

24 Ducks Cottage Rental

4965 Sunset Shores

Hector, NY 14841


Dunham's Lakeside

5398 Peach Orchard Spur

Hector, NY 14841


Falls Point Beach House

Burdett, NY 14818


Sunrise Beach Homes and Estate Rentals



Bonavista State Park Golf Course

7194 County Road 132

Ovid, NY 14521



Although the 9-hole, par 36 golf course dominates the park, Bonavista has nearly 250 acres of woods, scrub, unmowed grass, and fairways with several ponds and a small gorge. Great for golf, wildlife watching, and, in the winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Part of the golf course and the pond at Bonavista State Park Golf Course.

Lodi Point State Park

c/o Sampson State Park

6096 State Route 96A

Romulus, NY 14541



Off County Road 136 about 5 mi./8 km. west of the Village of Lodi, this park has a hard surface ramp and parking for 68 vehicles. Open year round. Pavilion and picnicking facilities. Pets must be leashed.

Although Lodi Point State Park is small, it has a marina on a beautiful beach with calm, clear water.

Sampson State Park

6096 Rt. 96A

Romulus, NY 14541



Sampson State Park was once a naval training station, then an Air Force base, before becoming a state park. Military roads and buildings have been replaced with grasses, wildflowers, shrubs, and trees on flat, rolling woodlands surrounding ravines. On beautiful Seneca Lake, the focal point of the park is the 103-berth marina for seasonal and transient boaters. There are 245 electric campsites and 64 non-electric sites, picnic areas, playground and playing fields that include tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, a swimming beach, a recreation building, and organized activities including tours, hikes, and wildlife watches. The park is open year round. Camping from May through mid-October. Pets must be leashed. The park is home to the Sampson Air Force Base Veterans Association Memorial Museum and the Samson World War II Navy Veterans Memorial Museum.

The Marina at Sampson State Park on Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes, New York, USA.

Seneca Lake State Park

1 Lakefront Dr.

Geneva, NY 14456



Seneca Lake State Park offers a wide variety of recreational activities for both children and adults. Children will especially enjoy the sprayground with its 100 spontaneous jets of water. The playground is designed for children ages 4-12. The park also has 2 well-equipped marinas with 132 electric slips and 84 non-electric slips. Transient slips are available at both marinas.

The sprayground at Seneca Lake State Park.

Smith Memorial Park

5303 Smith-Bond Rd.

Hector, NY 14841



Operated by the Town of Hector, this park provides camping, picnicking, and boat launching facilities. Beach, showers, nature trail. Open from the first weekend in May through the last weekend in September.

Public Boat Launches

Geneva Chamber of Commerce--In the City of Geneva on Rts. 5 & 20. Launch ramps and temporary dockage. Brochure.


Montour Marina/Canal Launch--Off State Route 14 on Marina Dr. in Montour Falls.


Severne Point--On Severne Point Rd., of State Route 14, 8 mi./ south of Dresden. Hard surface ramp. Parking for 12 vehicles. Open year round. Brochure.


Watkins Glen--Off State Route 414 on canal portion of Catharine Creek. Hard surface ramps. Parking for 60 vehicles. Fee charged.


Malabar X docked at the Village Marina in Watkins Glen, the Finger Lakes, New York USA.

Lakefront Accommodations

Admiral Peabody's Lakeside Lodging

3305 Salt Point Rd.

Watkins Glen, NY 14891


Geneva on the Lake

1001 Lochland Rd. (State Rt. 14)

Geneva, NY 14456


Great-Getaway at Seneca Lake

4444 Hemlock Rd.

Dundee, NY 14837


The Lake House Bed & Breakfast

46 Hunt Rd.

Rock Stream, NY 14878


Nautical Nights Bed & Breakfast

4280 Locust Rd.

Dundee, NY 14837


Paradise on the Lake

4136 High Banks Rd.

Geneva, NY 14456


The Pearl of Seneca Lake B&B

4827 Red Cedar La.

Dundee, NY 14837


Rainbow Cove Resort

3284 Plum Point Rd.

Himrod, NY 14842


Scottish Glen Bed & Breakfast

107 MacLean La.

Dundee, NY 14837


Sunrise Landing Bed and Breakfast

4986 Apple Rd., Ext.

Dundee, NY 14837


Sunset on Seneca Bed & Breakfast

3221 State Rt. 414

Burdett, NY 14818


Thendara Inn & Restaurant

4356 E. Lake Rd.

Canandaigua, NY 14424


Wine Country Cabins Bed & Breakfast

8744 Lower Lake Spur

Lodi, NY 14860


Lakeside Rentals


Finger Lakes Premier Properties (formerly Rental Plus)



Lakefront Cottages at Lodi Point



Rental Plus

Resort Property Rentals of the Finger Lakes

Savannah House Cottages

Vacation Rentals by Owner




See Also:

Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association


Updated 23 July 2013








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