Get outside and explore Rochester, NY: What to see and do in our area this summer.

Typically, when we think of vacation, our mind races right to the big trips! And, while we do love our family vacations to places like Disney, some of our favorite experiences actually happen right here in beautiful Western New York.

We have driven through these areas hundreds of times without ever realizing the special places concealed from our eyes. They are unique hidden gems and most people are completely unaware of their existence. 

All of these local sites are an easy day trip. Pack a lunch. Lace up your sneakers. Grab the car keys. And get ready to be awestruck by the stunning views that are hiding in our own backyard.

  1.  Corbett’s Glen Nature Park: Penfield/Brighton. 
    1. Located off of Glen Road, near Route 441. Park at the top of Glen Road and walk through the tunnel to access the park trail. An eight-car parking lot is located off of Penfield Road, across from Forest Hill Road.This 53 acre park includes: 2 miles of trails, a boardwalk area, a deck viewing area, and a seating area that overlooks Postcard Falls.
  2. Rochester’s Hidden Sidewalk: Charlotte. 
    1. Head west on Beach Ave. from Ontario Beach Park.Across from Clematis St. and Cloverdale St. are the two main entrances. Several smaller sidewalks are in-between. Take a stroll down the 0.4 mile sidewalk but be sure to stay on the concrete. The lawns, gardens, and docks are private property.
  3. Turning Point Park: 260 Boxart Street, Charlotte. 
    1. The trail has three main parts: 
      1. A land based trail that was once part of an old railroad bed.
      2. A bridge over the Genesee River. 
      3. A land based trail that is adjacent to the Genesee Marina.
  4. Channing H. Philbrick Park: 1 Linear Park Drive, Penfield. 
    1. Located off Rt. 441, just west of the Five Mile Line Road intersection.Explore to find a fast-flowing creek, waterfalls, cascades, rapids, and opportunities for fishing.
  5. Warner Castle Sunken Garden: Highland Park. 
    1. Start near the Lamberton Conservatory.Head down Reservoir Avenue toward Mt. Hope Avenue. Walk to the back of the castle and continue down the lawn. There you will find the garden.
  6. Washington Grove: Cobbs Hill Reservoir. 
    1. Behind the reservoir on top of Cobbs Hill is a grove of giant old oaks.This small forest is named after the first president of the United States. Walk the trail to discover graffiti-tagged structures.
      1. East entrance is at the end of Nunda Blvd. 
      2. West entrance is at the top of Reservoir Road.
  7. Holy Sepulchre Cemetery: 2461 Lake Avenue, Rochester. 
    1. This cemetery is often overlooked because of Mt. Hope Cemetery’s popularity… but it is too gorgeous to ignore. Walk through the sun filled mausoleum and enjoy the beautiful gardens that are bursting with flowering trees and ornamental plantings.
  8. The Jump Off Trail: Ontario County Park, Naples. 
    1. Overlooking CR-33/West Hollow Road and the backside of Bristol Mountain. Part of the Finger Lakes Trail and Western Finger Lakes Region Bristol Hills Branch Trail.
  9. Old Canal Lock 62: Pittsford Railroad Loop Trail. The trail is tucked behind Pittsford Plaza on both sides of Monroe Ave. It connects across Clover and continues along the northeastern side of Monroe to Highland.
    1. The Lock itself can be found behind Applebees. 
  10. Grimes Glen Falls: 4703 Vine Street, Naples. 
    1. Park in the lot and walk over the bridge. Take the dirt path along the south bank of Grimes Creek. About 0.2 miles in (where the sidewalk ends) begin walking through the water to discover the first of three falls. Continue walking to find the remaining falls but, use caution, the third one is dangerous to reach.
  11. Helmer Nature Center: 154 Pinegrove Avenue, Irondequoit. A 45 acre nature camp that’s owned and operated by the West Irondequoit Central School District. It includes 1.5 miles of trails that consist of wood chips, hard-pack gravel, and boardwalk materials. 
  12. Pedestrian Bridge over the Genesee River: City of Rochester. 
    1. The bridge is part of the Genesee Riverway Trail system. Seneca Park’s Olmsted South trail ends at the pedestrian bridge over the Genesee River. You can access the bridge using stairs or ramps on both sides of the Genesee.
  13. Thomas Creek Wetlands Walk: Fairport. 
    1. The Wetland Walk consists of two separate paths. One is paved and the other is a boardwalk. The boardwalk trail has a seasonal viewing platform. Both trails connect to each other and to the Erie Canal Trail.
  14. The White Lady’s Castle: Durand-Eastman Park.
    1. Take 590 North and continue onto Seabreeze Drive. At the fourth roundabout, make a left onto Durand Boulevard. Go through the stoplight. You are now on Sweet Fern Road. The White Lady’s Castle is one mile on the left at the top of a low hill overlooking Lake Ontario.
  15. Central Library’s Secret Room: 115 South Avenue, Rochester.
    1. There is a fully functioning bookshelf, on the second floor of the library in the children’s section, that swings open to reveal a secret room. This room is filled with more than 200 dolls from around the world.

We hope that, as you head into summer, these will be some of the places on your exploration bucket list. Be sure to tell us what you think as you are out and about enjoying all that God has created. Happy Adventuring! 

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