It’s easy to see why people choose New York’s Finger Lakes for a summer getaway — stunning scenery enhanced with waterfalls and gorges, world-renowned Rieslings, and picture-perfect small towns make for a gorgeous spot to unwind.
But I’ll level with you; small towns and stunning scenery don’t always mean that vegans are in for an optimal eating adventure! Sometimes, that’s ok; we can survive on Beyond burgers for a little while, right?
Although the vegan food scene in the Finger Lakes can’t compare to neighboring Toronto or New York City, it’s growing (thanks in part to the efforts of the fantastic organization Farm Sanctuary). And, I think you might even be a little surprised at how easily you can have an entire vegan adventure here!
From your accommodations to sips of sweet Riesling, there are many options for an entire vegan vacation! From where you’re going to eat to vegan bed and breakfasts, this vegan travel guide to the Finger Lakes will save you loads of time planning your trip. You’re in for a lovely treat.
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Are the Finger Lakes Vegan-Friendly?
Some towns in the Finger Lakes are more vegan-friendly than others — it will take some effort to find options. One thing you have to keep in mind when planning your trip is that the Finger Lakes Region is large — approximately 9,000 square miles, roughly the size of New Jersey (be prepared to do some driving)! With that in mind, it’s best to base yourself close to larger towns like Ithaca, Corning, or Watkins Glen to find the most vegan-friendly restaurants in the Finger Lakes.
TIP: If you’re driving through Buffalo, make sure you stop for lunch or dinner Strong Hearts. It’s conveniently right off of the highway and super delicious (photos below)!
Where to Find Vegan Food in The Finger Lakes
If you remember, I mentioned that the Finger Lakes is roughly the size of New Jersey, so it is beneficial to pin these restaurants on your Google Map to see where they are in relation to where you are. Most vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants are in or near Ithaca, Watkins Glen, and Corning.
Vegan and Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Ithaca
401 E State St Suite G-2, Ithaca, NY 14850
This is the only 100% vegan spot in Ithaca! The sweet little retro diner is cooking up loads of house-made vegan comfort food that includes all-day breakfast, burgers, mozzarella sticks, and more!
215 N Cayuga St, Ithaca, NY 14850
Moosewood has been pushing the power of plants long before it was mainstream! You might even have one of their cookbooks on your shelf. The vegetarian restaurant is well known for its sustainable and locally sourced dishes that regularly rotate to reflect the seasons. The menu is well marked for vegan dishes and dishes that can easily be made vegan.
128 S Cayuga St, Ithaca, NY 14850
Whether you’re looking for a slice of cheesy vegan pizza or savory Latin American delights, you can find it here! The menu at Pizza Aroma is eclectic — traditional ‘za loaded with veggies or just vegan cheese, or Latin American dishes like Chile Rellenos stuffed with veggies!
Multiple locations throughout Ithaca
Whether you’re looking for a bagel sandwich loaded with Just Egg, Beyond Sausage, cheese, and roasted garlic aioli, or a specialty grain bowl, you can find it here! They also offer a few vegan desserts, prepared foods, and smoothies — don’t miss the PB & Joe — just skip the chocolate (it’s not vegan).
381 Pine Tree Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850
This vegan-friendly Mexican-inspired spot is all about farm-to-table and sources many of its ingredients locally. The menu is well marked for vegan options and includes tacos, enchiladas, and a house-made quinoa burger.
Multiple locations throughout Ithaca
These little markets are peppered throughout Ithaca and are the perfect place to pick up snacks for the road and even lunch or breakfast! Their vegan-friendly hot and cold bars feature favorites like mac-n-cheese, salads, curries, and more.
Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Watkins Glen
133 E 4th St, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
If you’re looking online, it might not be entirely clear what’s vegan and what’s not, so make sure you stop into this Thai spot because their dining menu is well marked! The menu features loads of vegan options — curries, Pad Thai, rainbow salad rolls, and more.
418 N Franklin St, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
There are a couple of ice cream places in the area, but hands down, Ben and Jerry’s is the best for something creamy and decadent!
4880 NY-414, Burdett, NY 14818
If you like beer, lake views, and vegan pizza, this is a spot you shouldn’t miss! It doesn’t have many vegan options, but its pizza is probably one of the best in the area. You can grab their Veg Head with vegan cheese or create your own.
108 N Franklin St, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
This Asian spot features Chinese and Japanese specialties, with a full vegetarian menu (the menu is almost entirely vegan) that features traditional favorites like fried rice (hold the egg) or avocado rolls. Check out their house-made chicken and beef made of Chinese mushrooms, soy, and seaweed.
200 N Franklin St, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
This is an excellent spot for all of your sandwich and caffeine needs! Their breakfast menu features a Gleamin’ Vegan sandwich (seitan, vegan cream cheese, tomato, cucumber, and sprouts). For lunch, grab a VLTS (bacon seitan, lettuce, tomato, sprouts, and mayo) along with many other vegan sandwich options!
204 N Franklin St, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
This is an excellent place for a glass of wine and dinner — there are vegan options for both! Their wine and cider lineup is vegan-friendly, and their menu is well marked for vegan options.
Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Corning
21 W Market St, Corning, NY 14830
If you’re looking for something special, come here! Their fusion menu focuses on highlighting local ingredients, and because of that, it changes every few months. Some vegan-friendly specialties include house-made vegan cheese, sweet potato tempura, veggie kabobs, and more.
30 W Market St, Corning, NY 14830
This fast-casual Mexican-inspired spot dishes out tacos, bowls, burritos, and more!
20 W Market St, Corning, NY 14830
This Thai spot has many veggie options that can be made vegan. Just be sure to tell them to hold the fish sauce.
28 E Market St, Corning, NY 14830
All of the vegetable specialties at this Indian spot can be made vegan!
Vegan-Friendly Restaurant near Hammondsport
There are a couple of places with one vegan option on the menu — The Park Inn and Village Tavern but be sure to check before you go.
197 N Main St, Naples, NY 14512
This bohemian spot offers a great sweet potato burger along with a couple of other sandwich options that can easily be made vegan.
Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Geneva
512 Hamilton St, Geneva, NY 14456
If you’re in the area, you can’t miss stopping here for their entire vegan menu that features locally sourced greens, pasta, flatbread, and even house-made desserts.
1 Franklin St STE #100, Geneva, NY 14456
This is an excellent vegan-friendly Thai spot with curries, stir-fries, and more. Just be sure to confirm what can be made vegan.
444 Exchange St, Geneva, NY 14456
Even on vacation, we can all use a nutrient-dense boost! This juice spot has a tasty lineup of smoothies and juices, toasts, sandwiches, and salads — all with vegan options!
Vegan-Friendly Wineries in The Finger Lakes
The Finger Lakes region is well known for its spectacular, award-winning wines, but sadly they aren’t all vegan! If you’re interested in doing a wine (and cider, too) tour, check out these vegan-friendly spots.
3962 NY-14, Dundee, NY 14837
They are well known for their lineup of Rieslings — many of their wines have won multiple awards! The winery is also focused on farming sustainably.
5055 NY-414, Burdett, NY 14818
On top of having vegan-friendly wines, they also have a great vegan cheese board!
4017 Hickok Rd, Interlaken, NY 14847
All of their wines and ciders are vegan except Cyser and Honeoye (made with hone
5435 NY-14, Dundee, NY 14837
Visitors have shared that this is one of the best wineries on Seneca Lake. Almost all of their wines are vegan — just look for the helpful “V” on the wine menu. They also have vegan food options.
4024 NY-14, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
3440 NY-96A, Geneva, NY 14456
9322 St Rt 414 Winery, Lodi, NY 14860
4021 Italy Hill Rd, Branchport, NY 14418
9301 Co Rd 76, Hammondsport, NY 14840
13920 NY-54, Hammondsport, NY 14840
8260 Pleasant Valley Road Hammondsport, NY 14840
Vegan and Vegan-Friendly Hotels in The Finger Lakes
I told you that you could make this a full vegan adventure — and there is more than one vegan hotel option to boot!
Vegan B&B in Hammondsport
8329 Pleasant Valley Rd, Hammondsport, NY 14840
This is a little slice of vegan heaven! An outstanding British couple runs this vegan B & B and will ensure you’re well fed and have a smashing time. Your stay includes their house-made breakfast feast that features granola, pancakes, French toast, or a Full English! On top of all of that, they also offer in-house massage and spa packages and options for boxed lunches, and you can even have them take you on a vegan wine adventure.
Vegan-Friendly B&B in Ithaca
303 N Aurora St, Ithaca, NY 14850
This vegan-friendly B&B set inside a gorgeous historic mansion is in the heart of downtown Ithaca. The staff are happy to accommodate vegan and gluten-free guests for breakfast and will even leave special vegan treats in your room — how nice is that?! Like many businesses in Ithaca, the B&B takes sustainability seriously, composts all of its food waste, and sources many of its ingredients locally.
Vegan B&B near Watkins Glen
3150 Aikens Rd, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
Can you imagine rolling out of bed and saying hi to your new pig and cow friends?! You can do just that by staying in one of the Farm Sanctuary’s lovely on-site accommodations. They have two options — luxurious cottages or more rustic cabins (still very nice, they just don’t have a bathroom inside the cabin, you use a shared bath facility). Your stay includes a special VIP morning tour of the sanctuary and a basket of vegan breakfast treats (the baked treats are made by the excellent owners of Black Sheep Inn and Spa). One note is that you need to be a member to stay (it’s only $25), and the cottages and cabins are available for booking from May to December.
How Long Should I Spend in The Finger Lakes?
I would recommend at least three days in the Finger Lakes. As I mentioned earlier, the area is large, so getting from place to place will take you a little time, make sure you factor that in when you’re planning everything you want to see and do.
I also recommend spending a night or two in one town and then moving to another. This will make it easier to explore certain areas and cut down on some of the driving. We spent one night in Ithaca and then three nights in Hammondsport, which was perfect.
Both locations allowed us to explore different places, but if we had just stayed in Ithaca, I probably wouldn’t have driven one hour, one-way, multiple times to check out other sights and activities. To make the most of your time in the Finger Lakes, prioritize a handful of things you want to check out, and then everything else is just a bonus. Otherwise, you’ll have serious Finger Lakes FOMO (fear of missing out). Unless you’re staying in the area for a month, you’ll miss some things, and that’s ok! Prioritize quality over quantity!
5 Things To Do in The Finger Lakes
#1 Visit a sanctuary
Want to hug a cow or get a goat selfie? Here’s your chance! The well-known Farm Sanctuary has a location in Watkins Glen and has been fighting against the disastrous effects of animal agriculture for almost 40 years. Their Watkins Glen location is home to more than 800 farm animals. The sanctuary offers tours of the grounds Wednesday – Sunday from June – August and Friday – Sunday in May, September, and October.
Aside from Farm Sanctuary, the Finger Lakes is also home to a first its kind climate sanctuary called Sweet Farm. The sanctuary seeks to address the global climate impacts of factory farming and also educate on regenerative agriculture, farm animal rescue, and technology. Public tours are offered on Saturday and Sunday; you do need to make reservations ahead of time.
#2 Chase waterfalls
Who knew that NY state is home to over 2,000 waterfalls, and there are a ton of them in the Finger Lakes! Some require stair climbing or hiking to capture the beauty, while others are only a short stroll from the parking lot. A few you should check out (with varying degrees of difficulty) include:
This spot is absolutely stunning, and because of that, it is really popular! Plan to come right when the park opens. The Gorge Trail is the most scenic — it is approximately 1.5 miles long and includes 832 steps — get ready to climb.
If you like camping, this is a great spot to check out in the summer; they even rope off a section of one of the waterfalls (Enfield or Lower Falls) for swimming! Aside from that, this is the perfect spot if you like challenging hikes. The rim and gorge trails wind through the forest and past multiple beautiful waterfalls, ultimately leading to the 115-ft. Lucifer Falls. The trail is about 5 miles round trip.
If you’re not all that interested in breaking a sweat but want to see a fantastic 215-ft. waterfall, come here! The trail is only ¾ of a mile from the parking lot and mostly flat, the perfect place for a short stroll.
When in Ithaca, you can’t skip hiking the Gorge Trail at Buttermilk Falls. The trail is 1.5 miles round-trip and features multiple stunning waterfalls. There are a few other trails in the park, but this one can’t be missed!
If those capture your attention, there are many other gorgeous waterfalls and Finger Lakes hiking trails to explore too!
#3 Sample vegan wines
You can’t leave the Finger Lakes without sampling some delicious wines! Thankfully quite a few wineries produce vegan wine (see my list from earlier in the guide). You can plan out your own tour, or if you’d prefer not to drive, there are options to hire someone to take you around to different spots. You can’t miss two spots: Atwater for their gorgeous views of Seneca Lake and vegan cheese board and Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard for their award-winning Rieslings and sustainability efforts!
#4 Check out sustainable Ithaca
After passing countless Priuses, it’s clear that Ithaca and its inhabitants are prioritizing making sustainable choices. While in town, check out Home Green Home for a fantastic selection of zero-waste and sustainable home products, NV Envious for vegan handbags, the gorgeous Cornell Botanic Gardens, and on the weekend, don’t miss the Ithaca Farmer’s Market. The market features over 160 local vendors and everything from fresh-cut flowers to Japanese vegan coconut custard.
Also, if you’re looking for a unique sustainable stay near Ithaca, check out Karenville. This tiny village is made up of whimsical mini homes in a storybook/Victorian style that are 100% off the grid (no electric). Camping is also available.
#5 Learn all about mushrooms
If you love shrooms, you need to check out Hawk Meadow Farm! This woodland farm specializes in log-grown mushrooms, medicinal mushroom tinctures, and educating the public about their benefit and protecting the Earth. The farm offers monthly workshops like guided native plant walks and wild mushroom ID, or you can come and tour the farm from May through September. Tours are an excellent opportunity to learn about the mushroom kingdom and its benefits!
You can also check out their lineup of mushroom products online if you can’t make it.
More Vegan Travel Help!
If you’re in need of more vegan tips and travel trick, you’ve come to the right place! Check out these other guides and articles to plan other adventures.
Finger Lakes Hiking Trails You Can’t Miss
Must Know Vegan Travel Tips
The Complete Vegan Travel Guide to Toronto
Vegan-Friendly Hotels in NYC
Philadelphia Vegan Travel Guide
The Best Washington DC Vegan Travel Guide