Located in upstate New York on the eastern side of the Lake Ontario shoreline backpackers will find Fair Haven Beach State Park. There are over 1,100 acres of beautiful nature here to be explored. This includes long stretches of white sandy beaches, epic wilderness, diverse wildlife, and majestic woodlands. It’s the perfect place to escape the big city and visitors here will find a plethora of interesting activities to take part in.
Camping is also available throughout the park with fantastic campgrounds located throughout for hikers to pitch a tent, make a fire, make smores and enjoy the wilderness with friends or family.
With so much to do in this wonderful state park, we put together a list of the top 10 things to do in and around Fair Haven Beach State Park.
Hike the Lakeshore Trail
What better way to start your adventure in Fair Haven Beach State Park than hike? Get a feel for the beautiful area on this easy hike through the woodland areas and along the sandy beaches. The Lakeshore Trail will take you up the high lakeside bluffs for stunning scenery above the white sand. It makes for a perfect opportunity for a picnic and some great photos.
The majority of the walk will take you along the shoreline below the towering bluffs and backpackers will be treated to a myriad of wildflowers during the summer months. The Lakeshore trail is a great way to get a taste of what Fair Haven Beach State Park has to offer.
Further inland you will go past the Sterling Pond which is surrounded by campgrounds where backpackers can pitch their tent for the night. You can make reservations at the campground in advance. To find this trail, head to Lake Ontario, southwest of Oswego on NY 104A, 2 miles north of Fair Haven.
Colloca Estate Winery
At the start of 2019, Colloca Estate Winery was named the 2019 New York Riesling Winery of the Year. Located on the southern shores of Lake Ontario, Colloca Estate Winery is the perfect place for backpackers to discover unique and award-winning wine.
Set upon 100 acres of beautiful natural surroundings along with its pristine waterfront you may just mistake the winery for a state park. Visitors here have the chance to take a tour around the winery, take part in their wine tasting sessions or cooking classes and of course enjoy a glass of wine or two.
The winery also hosts a number of interesting events and activities throughout the year such as Harvest Fest. Here, visitors can take part in the harvesting of the wine grapes. They can enjoy a huge spread of delicious food along with some of the best wine. Making this experience better, there’s also some great live music. Colloca Estate Winery also hosts a Paella Fest each year. Here, a number of enormous Paellas are made in incredibly big pans out in the garden. Also while eating, you can enjoy a few glasses of Colloca’s fine wines.
Little Sodus Bay
This little hidden gem located in the village of Fair Haven is the perfect day out. Here you will find a plethora of cafes and restaurants lining the beautiful bay as you watch fishermen come in and out of the harbor. There is plenty of green space to enjoy a walk around the bay or enjoy a picnic with friends.
There is plenty of accommodation too with houses, state park cabins, cottages, RVs and campgrounds to choose from. In the area, you will find Sodus Point Beach Park; a picturesque area offering access to beach spots to have BBQs overlooking the water. There are even amazing views of the old pier and lighthouse and a small museum where you can learn more about this quaint bay.
After a long day of exploring the bay, you may want to head to Little Sodus Inn for some great pub-style food, craft beers, and live music. Little Sodus Bay a certain charm about it and should not be missed on your trip to Fair Haven State Park.
Sterling Nature Center
The Sterling Nature Center is 1400 acres of diverse natural habitat including forests, wetlands, meadows and 2 miles of Lake Ontario Shoreline. Backpackers heading here will be treated to some of the best-preserved nature in the area. Its amazing trails can be discovered via 10 miles of well-marked hiking trails. All easy enough for anyone to tackle.
Keep an eye out for the huge amounts of different bird species that live here including the Great Blue Heron. The views of Lake Ontario here are absolutely stunning, however, you are not able to swim in this area. The Sterling Nature Center can be found just a 15-minute drive north of Little Sodus Bay in the town of Sterling, north Cayuga County. The nature center is open daily and is completely free!
Brandon’s Pub And Grille
After a day of exploring Fair Haven Beach State Park head back to the town of Fair Haven for some quality pub grub at Brandon’s Pub. This Irish style pub sells all sorts of beers, ales and great gastro pub food. This includes the best traditional American brisket, wings, burgers, and hot dogs. They also serve some of the local seafood here including a delightful lobster risotto.
The outside seating area is a perfect place to relax under the sun with friends. There is also live music here at the weekends to enjoy with locals and backpackers alike. The atmosphere is also fun and friendly giving it that quintessential pub feeling. The interior consists of old wooden boards with memorabilia on the walls. You will find Brandon’s Pub at 559 Main Steet, Fair Haven.
Fair Haven Beach
Get out onto the white sands of Lake Ontario for the day. Soak up some rays and enjoy the views. Here you will find a large number of people enjoying the beach, having a picnic, BBQing and swimming in the lake. The beach is extremely well maintained throughout the year and sand kept clear of any trash.
There is also an opportunity to camp here with a few local campgrounds you can make reservations at. The scenery here is beautiful overlooking Lake Ontario making it the perfect place to unwind. Amenities are good with toilets, shops, cafes, and restaurants all within walking distance. There are some great spots to set up a BBQ so you can grill well into the evening with friends.
Fatal Attraction Charters
If you like to fish there is no better company to do it with than Fatal Attraction Charters. Here, Captain Brian Edwards will take you out onto Lake Ontario on his boat. With him, you’re sure to find you the best spots to catch fish.
Captain Brian has over 30 years of experience with all the necessary know-how and gear. He has also recently acquired a brand new boat to create an awesome fishing experience. Getting out onto the open waters of Lake Ontario is also a superb experience. It allows you to see the calmness of the waters away from the shoreline.
The fish you can expect to catch include Salmon, Brown Trout, Lake Trout, Steelhead, Bass or Pike. A 6-hour fishing trip will cost around $200 per person. You can keep most of the fish you catch and maybe even cook them back at the campsite later.
Lake Shore Marshes Wildlife Management Area
This very wild marsh landscape is home to some fairly easy walking trails that give you access to some unique viewing points over Lake Ontario. This zone is a wildlife management area so you can expect to see many animals here including ring-necked pheasants, rabbits, woodcock, squirrels, white-tailed deer, and waterfowl.
The entire 4,000 acres are open to the public for free. It has well-marked walking paths though some may be flooded temporarily depending on the time of year. Visitors can also fish here but bringing your own fishing gear would be required. This a unique combination of lake and bay marshes that offers backpackers a taste of wild nature; perfect for those wanting a relaxing stroll to the sound of birds and flowing water. A real therapeutic experience.
Sterling Creek Campground
If you haven’t yet decided on where to stay in Fair Haven then look no further than Sterling Creek Campground. This campsite is the perfect place to pitch a tent or rent a cabin. The campground also offers some fantastic campsite areas on the grass under the beautiful trees that are perfect for backpackers and only costs $10 per person.
Those in need of more space can rent one of their state park cabins at $40 a night. This includes all the amenities such as bed, electrical outlets, mini-fridge, microwave and even a fire ring with a picnic table. The campground is known for its very accommodating staff and friendly vibe.
Additionally, there are special nights held each week. This includes a chicken grill night with live music. You will find the Sterling Creek Campground at 14983 Juniper Hill Road and all reservations can be made on their website.
Sterling Renaissance Festival
Each year from the start of July to the middle of August the Sterling Renaissance Festival takes place. Here you can step back in time to old England in the beautiful luscious forests of Warwick, England. Expect to find a huge amount of people dressed in old English style clothing walking, dancing and singing in joy whilst enjoying some of the finest craft ales available. The whole event is great fun with many attractions on offer. Some events include the Queen’s parade, a joust, Wyldewood Players and comedy galore.
The festival also includes an impressive marketplace where you can buy anything from swords to sausages. Feast like a king with big hearty old English meals such as the enormous succulent turkey leg and her majesty’s steak on a stake; marinated in secret renaissance rub. Also, if you want an escape from reality and enjoy something totally different then the Sterling Renaissance Festival is for you. Tickets cost just $25 per person and can be purchased on the festival website.