The picturesque Y-shaped Keuka Lake is the third largest of New York State’s Finger Lakes. Set right in the heart of New York’s wine country and surrounded by rolling hills dotted with vineyards, the lake stretches nearly 20 miles, from the village of Penn Yan in the north to the historic town of Hammondsport in the south. The northwest tip branches off to Branchport. Once known as Crooked Lake, Keuka Lake is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, with boating, fishing, mountain biking and hiking available from your vacation home’s front door. Keuka Lake Vacation Rentals occupy idyllic lakeside positions, and vacationing families returning year after year to enjoy the peaceful, tranquil settings.
1. Penn Yan
Named after the early Pennsylvania settlers (Penn) and the New England Yankees (Yan), this charming village sits on the northern tip of Keuka Lake’s eastern branch. Boating families enjoy the glorious lakeside locations occupied by many of the vacation rental properties in the area. Hitch up your boat and call into Morgan Marine on East Lake Road for your gas. Some rental properties include kayaks, canoes or paddle boats, and you can also hire these and other watercraft locally. Biking and hiking enthusiasts appreciate the village’s proximity to the start of the six-mile Keuka Lake Outlet Trail. When you’re not cooking up a feast on the barbecue, call by the Penn Yan Diner to breakfast on Eggs Benedict or feast on Grandma’s Salmonburger.
Voted America’s coolest small town by Budget Travel Magazine, Hammondsport features a delightful town square, a tavern, and a great ice cream parlor, the Crooked Lake, that serves breakfast and lunch. With a vacation rental in this area, you have access to specialty stores, a farmers market, a harvest and artists market, and some fine dining. Order Southern Italian fare at Union Block Italian Bistro, or relax on the deck at the Waterfront Restaurant with a beer and burger while taking in the beautiful views. Hop on the Keuka Water Taxi from May through October to cruise across the lake and explore the area.
This little lakeside hamlet in the town of Jerusalem is a crossroads community with a few stores and Keuka Corners pizza place. Rentals in the area are on the lake’s western shore around a sheltered basin with minimal waves, an ideal spot for kids to swim or learn paddle boarding. Some vacation properties come with an extensive private beach area and docks. If you are not already equipped, hire a boat from Bar Bay Boat Rentals at North End Marina.
4. Crescent Beach
Situated at the quiet, shallow end of the lake close to Branchport, Crescent Beach is ideal for swimming and relaxing during the day and stargazing at night. Enjoy the beautiful colors of the fall foliage around the lake as you relax on your front porch or down by your private dock. Take a set of bikes along peaceful country roads into Keuka Lake Park, located a mile away to the southeast. Stock up with fishing bait, mingle with locals and collect firewood at Fishy Business off Pepper Road.
The town of Pulteney sits on the lake’s western shore between Branchport and Urbana and overlooks the scenic Bluff Point. Surrounded by picturesque vineyards, a vacation rental here provides an ideal base for wine tours. Take the kids along for the ride to family friendly wineries, such as Bully Hill Vineyards, and let them enjoy grape juice and nibbles.
6. Bluff Point
Nestled in the fork of Keuka Lake’s Y, Bluff Point is a peaceful wooded area where you can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. A short boat trip across the lake takes you to the Switzerland Inn, where you can enjoy sitting on the deck with drinks and appetizers. During the summer, stop by Switzerland Inn on Sunday and Wednesday evenings to enjoy the live bands.
Urbana is a rural township, surrounded by vineyards that extend up into the highest hills. Close to the town of Hammondsport to the south, a waterfront rental home here gives you access to some fabulous fishing from your own dock. Hikers enjoy the loop trail through the nearby Urbana State Forest.
8. Keuka Park
Tennis fans appreciate vacationing at this small lakeside community on the lake’s western shores. Keuka Park is home to Keuka College, which opens its tennis courts to visitors. Waterfront rentals often have their own dock so guests can enjoy swimming, fishing, and boating without traveling far. In the evenings, relax around the fire pit with a glass of local wine, and give juice and smores to the kids while watching the moon rise over the water.
Set in rolling farmland amidst fruitful vineyards, the rural community of Barrington covers several miles of Keuka Lake’s desirable eastern shoreline. Hitch up your boat and strap the kayaks to the roof, as waterfront properties here often have access to docks. If you need a kayak to rent, contact Reagan’s Canoe and Kayak Livery, which delivers and collects rental canoes, kayaks, and stand up paddle boards throughout the Keuka Lake region. Make sure the anglers in your party pack their tackle, as this area sports some of the best bass fishing on the lake. Children 16 years old and under can fish without a license, making this the perfect spot for young fishermen.
The town of Wayne is located east of Keuka Lake on the banks of the smaller Waneta Lake. This smaller, quieter lake is warmer and ideal for swimming in summer, while all the fun and water sports of larger Keuka Lake are just a short drive away.