Things to Do in Canandaigua, NY for a Day Trip

We love all the things to do in Canandaigua for a family day trip. There are great outdoor activities, things to see, and places to eat for families.

We live in Rochester, NY which is under an hour drive to Canandaigua making it a great place to visit on weekend days in the summer.

Canandaigua is great place to plan a day trip for families and as the weather begins to improve, its a perfect place for a day out. Check out our tips for planning a family day trip before you head out our your adventure.

The Finger Lakes in New York state are really an amazing destination year round. The summer and fall months are visually beautiful with perfect weather. A visit in the winter may be cold but there are plenty of outdoor winter activities like skiing and snow shoeing to do.

Be sure to check out the special events calendar for the season you are visiting. There are many events that feature live music, food trucks, and other family friendly activities. You can learn more here.

Plan Your Visit to Canandaigua New York

If you are local and visiting Canandaigua for the day or you are spending a few days in the area it is very easy to plan your visit.

Where is Canandaigua, NY

Canandaigua, NY is located in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. It is situated on Canandaigua Lake south of the city of Rochester.

What is the Weather Like in Canandaigua

The weather is traditional New York state weather and has all four seasons. Expect wintery conditions and cold in the winter months and beautiful summers and fall. The average temperature in January is 31 and the average weather in July is 82.

Plan ahead and pack for the weather. Bring layers to keep you prepared no matter what the weather is during your visit.

There are things to do in Canandaigua in winter from outdoor trails and sledding to wine tours and special events. Be sure to dress for the weather.

view of Canandaigua lake

Planning a Day Trip to Canandaigua, New York

The town of Canandaigua is easy to navigate.

It has simple joys like walking along the lake and having lunch at a picnic table with your family. Strolling the gardens of Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion, visiting the Finger Lakes Winer Center, or stopping at one of the shops along Main Street.

It is a place to unplug, relax, and connect with your family.

Activities in Canandaigua

Canandaigua’s waterfront is unique and the Canandaigua pier is a must during your visit. The historic boat houses are also a must see while checking out the area.

One of the best places to visit in Canandaigua is Sonnenberg Gardens. Sonnenberg Gardens is a 50 acre garden estate that is part of the New York State Parks system. It is one of the few Country Place Era estates in the United States.

It begin as a residence for Mary Clark Thompson and has traded hands until becoming part of a non-profit in the early 1970s. We enjoy visiting the public gardens and the historic park mansion.

You will do a lot of walking. Most are along paved walking path but a few are more trail like. The formal gardens are mostly paved.

There are Japanese gardens to explore, sculpture gardens, an Italian garden, as well as the mansion to explore.

Guests with mobility issues have access to a shuttle to take you around the gardens. Learn more about admission prices and ground rules here.

sonnenberg gardens maze

If you are visiting Canandaigua during the summer months you may want to add a visit to Roseland Water Park to your itinerary. Roseland Waterpark has water slides and splash areas for all ages as well as the Roseland Wake Park.

The Roseland Wake Park is the only cable wake park in the Northeast and offers a step up on the traditional water park experience. Guests can purchase wake boarding and other water experiences. This is great for older kids and young adults. Learn more here.

If you want to relax near the water but are looking for something a little more calm, plan a visit to Kershaw Park. Kershaw Park has a small beach front for families to relax and enjoy the lake. There is an admission fee and you can learn more about it here.

Scoops Ice Cream is a short walk from here if you are looking for a treat. If you want to pick up a picnic lunch consider stopping at the Canandaigua Farmer’s market. There hours can be found here.

If you have more time built into your day trip to Canandaigua take a drive out to Bristol Mountain Ski Resort. It is about a 20 minute drive and has an awesome rope course that families can do.

Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures has courses that range from easy to difficult, making it a great place for kids of all ages. We visited when my daughter was young and the courses for young children were great.

The zipline canopy tour at the aerial adventure park is a great choice for beginners. It features 7 ziplines as well as 4 bridges. Reservations should be made in advance and you can learn more here.

Where to Eat in Canandaigua

Usually we pack a picnic and snacks for our day trips but we also like to include a stop for a special snack or one of our meals. Canandaigua has options that everyone will like.

A few places to check out:

  • Simply Crepes Café
  • Nolan’s on Canandaigua Lake
  • New York Kitchen
  • Rose Tavern
  • Charlie Riedel’s
  • Chipotle
  • Pontillo’s Pizza
  • Burger King
  • Rheinblick German Restaurant
  • Villager Restaurant and Diner
  • Casa de Pasta

I really appreciate the wide variety of places to eat in Canandaigua. There is something for every budget and whatever you may like.

More Things to Do in Canandaigua, New York

When planning a day trip we always expect that we won’t fit in everything we want to do. When we discover new things that we want to include on our next visit we start a list. This list helps us plan our next family day trip and we are always adding to it.

  • Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum. They host the festival of trees in December.
  • Visit a Winery or Brewery. Most are family friendly. A few ones to try: Young Lion Brewing Company, New York Kitchen for the culinary center and tasting room.
  • Take a ferry ride on the Canandaigua Lady
  • Visit Sweet Expressions for Homemade Chocolate
  • Check out the latest historical exhibit at Ontario County Historical Society.
  • Visit The Lake House for a meal or stay overnight at this luxury resort.

There are many things to do in Canandaigua to fill a day or even a weekend in the Finger Lakes. We like planning a few days a year to experience all the seasons.

Are you planning summer day trips around Rochester? Check out more Rochester day trip ideas and let me know if I am missing any of your favorites!

Read Next: Rochester to Ithaca Day Trip with Kids

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