If you’ve spent much time on the site before, you’ve probably started to notice that I really really like Watkins Glen and spend quite a bit of time there. While I do live half an hour away, I go up there anytime I get a chance. It’s a perfect little town to me; it’s small but still very busy for its size. There’s also a lot more to do there than most little towns you’ll find. I came up with 6 fun things to do in Watkins Glen, and I hope you like them as much as I do.
1. Shop on the Main Street
The main street in Watkins Glen is full of little shops and places to eat. There’s a knitting store, antiques, a discount name-brand store, a Watkins Glen NASCAR official store, and more. There’s also a brewery, a barbecue place, and multiple little cafes. There are a few different places to get ice cream, too, including Ben and Jerry’s and even a little inn that makes it on location in their creamery downstairs, called the Colonial Inn & Motel.
2. Hike the Glen
One of the most well-known things to do in Watkins Glen is hike the glen. A gorge carved out over thousands of years has created a beautiful hiking/photography park complete with 19 waterfalls. There are a couple trails to choose from, but I’d recommend the Gorge Trail because it’s the closest to the waterfalls and has the best view.
3. Sail on the True Love or Captain Bill’s
If you want to spend an afternoon on the water, one of the few boat rides would be a good choice. There’s a schooner called the True Love, which you may recognize from the movie High Society. You can take a cruise on this sailboat any time of day, from morning, to afternoon, to a beautiful sunset cruise.
Captain Bill’s Cruises takes you out on the Seneca Legacy to enjoy a delicious lunch or dinnertime cruise, where you will sail around Seneca Lake enjoying it’s magnificent views. They also have various themed cruises throughout the summer, including a Teen Cruise weekly, so check out their website for details.
4. Visit the International Motor Racing Research Center
Since Watkins Glen has become increasingly popular with the racing community; even hosting a NASCAR Sprint Cup race in the summer, this historical center will be perfect for race fans. Learn about the history of professional and amateur motor racing not only in Watkins Glen, but throughout the world and it’s course through history to now.
5. Swim in the Lake at Clute Park
If you go across the bridge from downtown to the other side of the tip of Seneca Lake, you’ll come to Clute Park; an area in front of the lake that’s full of picnic tables, pavilions, and a swimming beach. During certain times of day there are lifeguards on duty there, so if you just want to cool off in the lake, Clute Park is the perfect place. There is also a campground there with tent sites and RV hookup sites, so it’s perfect to consider for camping close to downtown Watkins Glen too.
6. Enjoy Lakeside Music in the Evening
When the sun goes down, the marina comes alive with music during the summer. There are a couple places that have live music from time to time, one being the Village Marina Bar & Grill. This is literally just across the marina from the red boathouse on the pier. They will sometimes have a live band playing on their covered dock. There is outdoor seating here as well as indoor.