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Things To Do Around Chautauqua Lake New York

Updated on October 21, 2015

Chautauqua Lake area in western New York is filled with things to do and places to see year round. Whether you enjoy the warmth of a summer day or the brisk cold of a snowy one there is something for everyone to do in this beautiful region.

Chautauqua Lake is a 23 mile long lake but only a mile wide at its widest point. At the very northern tip of the lake is the city of Mayville and at the very southern tip of the lake is the city of Jamestown. In between those two cities lie one of the prettiest lakes I have ever seen. On a summer day the water is sparkling and you hear the sound of boats skimming over the surface of the water. In the winter over the frozen tundra of the lake you hear the engines of the snowmobile as they fly over the surface of the ice.

Fishing, camping, hiking, boating, skiing and even gambling can be found in and around the area of Lake Chautauqua. This article is going to give you a brief tour of things to do in the Chautauqua Lake region.

Chautauqua Lake Sunset
Chautauqua Lake Sunset
Chautauqua Lake Walleye
Chautauqua Lake Walleye
Chautauqua Lake Bass
Chautauqua Lake Bass

Chautauqua Lake Fishing

Chautauqua Lake is renowned for its fishing. One thing I always said about fishing at Chautauqua Lake is that when you reel in your line you never know what might be on the end of the hook. The fishing has always been good at the Lake and we've been fishing at Chautauqua Lake for over 30 years.

Chautauqua lake is probably most well known for its great musky fishing. Many a fisherman visit the lake to go after one of the big musky that are caught there. We have actually caught musky by just reeling in a bluegill and have a musky hit on it.

The lake is a bass fisherman's dream. Much of the shore land is rocky and small mouth bass are bountiful especially in the Spring. Big largemouth bass are found all around the lake as well as walleye. Its awesome for the bigtime fishing but you can also catch plenty of perch, sunfish, crappie, catfish and more. Fishing at Lake Chautauqua is an activity for both young and old alike.

You can bring your own boat. There are several public boat docking places around the lake where you can launch a boat. If you prefer to rent a boat, We Wan Chu rents fishing and pontoon boats and the Chautauqua Marina rents fishing, pontoon and power boats. You will also find that there are fishing guides on the lake that will lead you right to where the fish are but not having ever used one I can't recommend someone. There are several bait and tackle stores around the lake that will be helpful in providing fishing tips and advice for visitors.

I do know that if you get a chance to fish on Chautauqua Lake you will have a wonderful day of fishing.

The Bell Tower at Chautauqua Institution on Chautauqua Lake
The Bell Tower at Chautauqua Institution on Chautauqua Lake

The Chautauqua Institution

The Chautauqua Institution is a center for the arts, education, religion and recreation. Over the years Chautauqua has become sacred grounds for all types of people.

The Chautauqua Institution is an organization that serves as a community, a center, and a resource where the human spirit is renewed, minds are stimulated, faith is restored and the arts are valued. It has performance areas, a hotel, a golf course, tennis courts, and facilities for both education and recreation.

The grounds of the Chautauqua Institution are situated on the Northwestern shore of Chautauqua Lake. For nine weeks each year, from late June through late August, the Institution offers a rich blend of arts, programming and recreational activities. The grounds are beautifully kept and it makes for a great day of exploring to see what it has to offer. The Bell Tower is a beautiful site at the Institute. For more information on what the Chautauqua Institution has to offer call 716-357-6200.

The Chautauqua Belle
The Chautauqua Belle

Chautauqua Lake By Boat

More Things To Do in the Chautauqua Lake Area

Fishing and the Chautauqua institution are the main things that the Chautauqua Lake area is known for but there are so many other things to do if you are looking for fun:

  • Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Center - Located in Jamestown, the museum is a collection of memorabilia from Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz including priceless costumes, awards, photographs, and other vintage items on display from the estates of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Call 716-484-0800 or toll free 1-877-LUCY-FAN (582-9326) for more information on visiting the center.
  • Chautauqua Belle - Take a leisurely ride on a paddle wheel boat, the Chautauqua Belle, and tour the scenic area of the lake from the water. There are many themed cruises available such as fireworks, picnic and dinner cruises so call 716-269-BELL (2355) for more information.
  • Long Point State Park - Spend the day picnicking and having fun in the outdoors at beautiful Long Point State Park which juts peninsula-like into Lake Chautauqua. There is boat dockage available along with grills and picnic tables.
  • Seneca Allegany Casino - Located about a 30 minute ride south west of Lake Chautauqua, the Seneca Allegany Casino offers table games, thousands of slots and has a bingo and poker hall just down the street.
  • Bemus Point - Quaint shops and lakeside restaurants make this tiny lake front village a gem. You will love strolling around and spending the day visiting Bemus Point. Take a ride on the ferry that crosses Chautauqua Lake from Bemus Point to Stow on the other side. See they way the lake used to be crossed before the bridge was built.
  • Midway Amusement Park - This is an old time amusement park on the shore of Chautauqua Lake at Maple Springs. You can ride the bumper cars, the merry go round and the small roller coaster. Arcade games also are available. Call for hours at 716-386-3165.
  • Camp Chautauqua - This is the best place for camping on Chautauqua Lake because it is located directly on the lake and it has a swimming pool. Tent camping and trailers are allowed. Boat dockage is available. Call for reservations at 800-578-4849.

Long Point State Park at Chautauqua Lake
Long Point State Park at Chautauqua Lake

Chautauqua Area Attractions On A Map

Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Center:
10 W 3rd St, Jamestown, NY 14701, USA

get directions

The Chautauqua Belle:
78 Water St, Mayville, NY 14757, USA

get directions

The Chautauqua Institution:
1 Ames Ave, Mayville, NY 14757, USA

get directions

Long Point State Park:
Long Point State Park, Bemus Point, NY 14712, USA

get directions

Camp Chautauqua:
3900 W Lake Rd, Stow, NY 14710, USA

get directions

Midway Amusement Park:
Route 430 Maple Springs NY

get directions

Seneca Allegany Casino:
777 Seneca Allegany Blvd, Salamanca, NY 14779, USA

get directions

Visiting Chautauqua Lake

If you get a chance to visit Chautauqua Lake New York you will enjoy every minute of it. Even if you don't visit the specific places in this article just take a day to enjoy the beauty of the area and if you can get out on the lake on a summer evening. One of my favorite things to do at the lake is to enjoy a spectacular sunset on Lake Chautauqua. You won't regret a day spent on Lake Chautauqua and it could quite possibly be a great memory.


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    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Chautauqua Lake looks charming!! I wish *I* had a tradition of visiting it every summer! Ah, how lovely it would be! Love the photos- this is a great guide!

    • pakpub profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks Izzy. We've gone to Chautauqua Lake every year for a long time. Thanks for vistiting.

    • IzzyM profile image


      8 years ago from UK

      Beautiful hub! Look like a great place :)


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