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Chimney Bluffs State Park has a salacious history. The park borders Lake Ontario, and at several points in United States’ history, smugglers landed at Chimney Bluff to transport goods. During the mid-1800s, the smugglers transported runaway slaves to Canada. During the height of the Prohibition Era in the 1920s, smugglers brought in alcohol from Canada. The state of New York purchased nearly 600 acres in 1963 with the intent of creating a park for the public. However, funds ran out, and it sat undeveloped until 1999. A parking lot, outbuildings, and hiking trails were finally added.
The closest town to Chimney Bluffs State Park with a fast-food restaurant, retail shops, and a grocery store is Wolcott, which is about 11 miles south. For more variety in shopping and fun activities, Rochester, is about 35 miles to the west. Create the perfect RV camping vacation with family and friends when you book an RV in Wayne County, NY
Though Chimney Bluffs State Park is small, just under 600 acres, its unique geological features, as well as the views, make up for its diminutive size. The rocks that make up the bluffs were deposited by a mile-high glacier as it retreated north about 10,000 years ago. The endless onslaught of wind, rain, snow, ice, and waves shaped these rocks into pinnacles and spearhead peaks. From the higher peaks, hikers enjoy views of Lake Ontario, and on an especially clear day, they can even see smoke from the coal plants and manufacturers in Oswego, Canada.
Swimming is prohibited because accessing the lake from this stretch of shore is difficult. However, further along, the coast, there are marinas with boats for rent. Sail into Lake Ontario for a unique vantage point from which to photograph the bluffs or go fishing. Anglers can expect to catch game fish like bass, walleye, trout, and perch close to the shore. Deeper offshore, fishermen have reported catching trophy-sized steelhead, brown trout, and Chinook salmon.
Chimney Bluffs State Park has only four miles of hiking trails, which runs alongside the bluffs, and hikers may find additional opportunities to hit the trails at one of the dozen nearby parks. To the south is the Fingers Lakes region, where there are hundreds of miles of hiking trails through scenic woods, breathtaking vista views, and stunning waterfalls. Taughannock Falls State Park arguably has one of the most scenic waterfalls in northwestern New York. The 215-foot waterfall descends in a perfect freefall into a half-moon gorge.
East of Rochester, the region is a mix of woodlands and farms. Remote and quiet, it’s tempting to pull over on a quiet spot somewhere. However, state police are known for taking exception to that habit. It’s often better to utilize an established campground. RV camp at Lake Bluff Campground, which is just a couple of miles south of Chimney Bluffs State Park. Lake Bluff Campground is a family-friendly campground, and it has several fun activities for children and adults alike. Choose to camp in deep woods or open space. There are over 140 sites, and most have full hookups.
Nor Win Campgrounds and Fruit Farm’s RV campground is a few miles north of Lyons. The campground has been a local mainstay for over 50 years. The well-tuned campground offers partial or full hookups, a secure gate, a 9-hole golf course, and a swimming pool. Weekends bring fun hayrides and delicious homemade funnel cakes.
Rochester is a bustling, growing city with a few colleges in the area that help keep it “young.” It’s possibly best-known for Kodak, a once world-renowned film company. Though the city is a popular draw, don’t overlook the small towns scattered around the perimeter of the city. Traveling from town to town in search of historic landmarks, interesting shops, and restaurants is a snap in a rental Airstream. In Seneca Falls is Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s house-turned-museum, which is open to tours. Stanton is credited for organizing the First Women’s Rights Convention in 1848, which would later spawn the movement to allow women the right to vote, work, and own their own homes.
Step into Renaissance Age at Sterling’s, NY, Renaissance Festival. The fair is one of the oldest on the eastern seaboard. Held annually since 1975, the festival is open between July and August. Watch thrilling jousting tournaments, eat mouthwatering turkey legs, and visitors can try their hand at archery or throwing axes, too.
New York is famous for its apples. In a nod to that heritage, Hilton, NY, holds an apple festival every year in October. The event regularly draws 30,000 or 40,000 spectators, all dying to find the best homemade apple pie, cider, and donuts. It’s also an excellent venue to find local artists and crafters.