The GORGE-OUS Gorge & Watkins Glen State Park, New York

This is the second article in a series about The Roadster’s travels to New York’s Finger Lakes Region.  

After two days in Niagara Falls, NY, we braved the potholes and traffic on I-90 E and then took 14 South to Watkins Glen, NY (which took about 3.5 hours in Bessie the RV).  Once you get off I-90, it’s a gorgeous drive that took us through the historic town of Geneva, NY, and past wineries and farms along Seneca Lake.

Watkins Glen State Park

20140720_181114We settled into Watkins Glen State Park for two nights.  Due to low availability of electric sites, we could only reserve our spot for one night, then had to move one site over the following night.  20140720_180819

The first spot was one of the best camping sites that I have ever seen.  It was situated on a corner with a generous campsite area.  The “backyard” was a beautiful forest, with a big hill for the kids to run down.



When we finally parked, we opened Bessie’s slides for the first time in about 2 1/2 days and we all breathed a big, happy sigh of relief.  We got situated, made dinner, and ended the night around a campfire (with the added benefit of foot rubs from my daughter).  I love camping!

Our next morning began peacefully with coffee, a book, and a delicious breakfast while soaking up the gorgeous surroundings. Watkins Glen has a famous NASCAR racetrack, and we heard the buzzing and whining of race car engines in the distance. Since we weren’t returning to the same spot, we packed up our campsite, prepared the cabin for take-off, and zoomed down the big hill to visit “The Gorge,” a breathtakingly beautiful hiking trail in the State Park.  It’s hard  to describe the beauty of this natural wonder, but we tried to capture it in the photos (above).

Watkins Glen State Park’s Gorgeous Pool

After our long, beautiful hike, we cooled off and relaxed for the afternoon at the state park’s impressive Olympic-sized pool.  The pool had a nice choice of amenities.

DCIM999GOPROThere was a wonderful snack house, a separate kiddie pool, lounge chairs and nice locker rooms. We were impressed by the two diving boards, a separate section for lap swimmers, and lots of area for play in deep and shallow water.

The main pool was clean and very accessible, with steps to get in and out of the water.   Word of warning, they would not let kids wear swimming masks (scuba masks) in the pool.  Only swimming goggles were allowed.

We returned to the campground at our new site just as the sky opened and rained for most of the night. We were grateful for a spot to plug-in, watch movies and stretch out for a comfortable night.  At this point, we were about halfway through our trip, and starting to feel weary from the constant packing and unpacking of our campsite.  We experienced “Go-Go-Go Fatigue” (a new medical term that I just made up).  Here’s how we balanced adventure with leisure time.

About The Campground

The campground was somewhat rustic, with a mix of paved and gravel roads, some of them hilly with tight turns. There were lots of trees which provided ample shade around the campground.  Some of the roadways and sites had lower branches to contend with.  In fact, my husband had to use a broom to move branches aside as I backed into our spot on the second night.   We were impressed to watch the bigger rigs whipping around tree branches and taking turns with confidence.

About The Finger Lakes Region

The Finger Lakes Region of New York is made up of 11 long, narrow lakes that look like fingers (hence the name).  The same glacial phenomenon that created the Niagara Falls also carved the Finger Lakes, so the region is filled with stunning views, waterfalls and cliffs.  The lakes are surrounded by gently rolling hills, many of which slope down to water level, creating a pretty picture, as well as the perfect micro-climate for growing grapes. The Finger Lakes Region, particularly Seneca Lake, is home to many wineries and grapes producers.

Have you visited Watkins Glen State Park or the Finger Lake Region?  Tell us about your experiences.

More On The Finger Lakes Series

Finger Lakes Journey Part 1:  Falling for Niagara Falls

Finger Lakes Journey Part 3:  Seneca Lake, Watkins Glen, CLR Winery & Harvest Hosts 

Finger Lakes Journey Part 4:  Taughannock Falls and Robert E. Treman State Park



Please share if you enjoyed the article. Thanks so much!
Previous Post Next Post


  • Reply Falling For Niagara Falls, NY – CU On The Road March 1, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    […] Finger Lakes Journey Part 2:  The GORGE-ous Gorge & Watkins Glen State Park, NY […]

  • Reply Seneca Lake, Watkins Glen, NY & Harvest Hosts – CU On The Road March 10, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    […] an incredible visit to The Gorge and enjoying all that Watkins Glen State Park has to offer, the third day our Finger Lakes journey […]

  • Reply Jennifer Nealy March 13, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Hello…just found your blog via a post on the RV Parks page on Facebook. We are planning a stop in the Finger Lakes area in May. I have a question for you, if you don’t mind. We have 3 dogs and I noticed on the park website it says they have a 2 dog limit. Did you happen to see anyone staying there with more than 2 dogs? Or did you get a sense about how strict they are about the dog rules? I’m going to give them a call but just curious to hear from someone who has actually stayed there. Thanks!

    • Reply Chris Hughes March 13, 2015 at 3:04 pm

      I’m sorry, but I don’t know about the dog limitation. We have a dog, but didn’t bring him with us on that trip. It would be a good idea to call. Maybe they will be flexible. You’re going to love it! Just remember, if you hike the Gorge, start from the TOP!

      • Reply Jennifer Nealy March 13, 2015 at 3:26 pm

        Okay, thanks for the info. We are full time so I have no choice but to bring our dogs! We are also members of Harvest Hosts and I see there are several in that area so we can always use that as a backup. Thanks for the info on the Gorge – we are looking forward to it!

        • Reply Chris Hughes March 13, 2015 at 3:33 pm

          We stayed at CLR winery just north of Seneca Lake for one night. CLR is a part of Harvest Hosts. It was an incredible place to stay! I just wrote about it in this article:

          • Jennifer Nealy March 13, 2015 at 3:34 pm

            Yep I read that post too! And made a note to be sure to check that one out!

          • Chris Hughes March 13, 2015 at 3:42 pm

            Great! Either way, it’s a beautiful area with tons to do. Are you planning to go to Niagara Falls, too?

          • Jennifer Nealy March 13, 2015 at 3:47 pm

            I think so, but we haven’t decided yet if we’re just going to do a day trip or move the RV there and stay a few days. We’re eventually working our way towards Maine. If you have any tips on Niagara Falls I’m all ears!

          • Chris Hughes March 13, 2015 at 10:34 pm

            Actually, I wrote an article on our visit to Niagara Falls, too: Ha!!! I know it seems like I’m churning them out upon request. But I am actually writing a series on the Finger Lakes Region. You have now seen three of the four articles written about our Finger Lakes Region extravaganza!!! I have one more to go on our visit to Robert E. Treman State Park and Taughannock State Park. Both incredible! Niagara Falls was an AWESOME experience! Three and a half hours away (one way) from Watkins Glen, though. A pretty long day trip. But I’m sure you know what works best… Let me know if you have any questions.

  • Reply Taughannock-ing on Heaven’s Door – CU On The Road March 26, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    […] that Watkins Glen has to offer, including a stay at Watkins Glen State Park, an incredible visit to The Gorge, and a lovely afternoon at Seneca Lake’s waterfront.  The fourth day of our Finger Lakes Journey […]

  • Reply Finger Lakes Region Extravaganza – CU On The Road March 27, 2015 at 12:18 am

    […] Finger Lakes Journey Part 2:  The GORGE-ous Gorge & Watkins Glen State Park, NY […]

  • Reply Danielle Gamar April 29, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Can you please share what the number of your campsite was for your first night?

    • Reply Chris Hughes May 3, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      I am sorry, but I didn’t write down the number. It’s a corner lot in one of the loops that are on the right side of the campground map.


    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.