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About Tompkins County

Tompkins County Facts

Tompkins County (population 105,740 according to 2020 census) is located in the Central Finger Lakes Region of New York State at the southern tip of 40-mile-long Cayuga Lake. The county was named in honor of Daniel D. Tompkins, who served as Governor of New York and Vice President of the United States.

The county is home to Cornell University, Ithaca College, four New York State Parks, and many art galleries, museums, theaters, cultural attractions, and outdoor activities to suit any enthusiast.

The climate of Tompkins County provides for a variety of attractions and outdoor activities, including boating, swimming and hiking in summer, and cross-country skiing, sledding and ice skating in winter. “Ithaca is Gorges” has become the indelible motto that aptly describes the area, filled with deep-cut gorges and the most spectacular waterfalls in New York.

We Have Amazing Waterfalls

The local slogan, "Ithaca is Gorges" refers to the 100-plus gorges and waterfalls located within 10 miles of downtown. The largest, 215-foot Taughannock Falls (pronounced Tuh-GAN-ick), is three stories taller than Niagara Falls. Along with the waterfalls, gorges and beautiful lakefront, the surrounding county offers access to 28,000 acres of public forest land for hiking, mountain biking, and outdoor recreation.

There are Lots of Things to Do

Popular activities include dining at local restaurants, visiting museums and galleries, attending the theater, and enjoying the live (many free) musical attractions at the numerous music venues and events in the region.

Get away to Tompkins County. Whether you're visiting for a wedding, or a short trip with your family, there is something for everyone. The Ithaca community is centered around its downtown pedestrian mall, The Commons, but Tompkins County encompasses nine adjacent towns. Each community has its own unique character and identity, offering visitors a warm welcome.

Discover Communities of Tompkins County


On the west coast of Cayuga Lake, Trumansburg in the town of Ulysses charms visitors with its artsy downtown, cozy restaurants, quaint B&Bs, and eclectic shops. Home to Taughannock Falls State Park, the GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance, the Trumansburg Farmers Market, and more, T-Burg is also the gateway to the Cayuga Wine Trail. No trip to Ithaca is complete without a visit to Trumansburg.


These two historic villages just east of Ithaca maintain their independent charm with community events. Dryden is home to the well-known Dryden Dairy Day and Tompkins Cortland Community College. Recreation abounds in Hammond Hill State Forest and around Dryden Lake.


South and east of downtown, these two communities are known for their beautiful rolling hills and valleys. Some of the area's best hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing are here in Hammond Hill and Shindagin Hollow state forests.


Six miles south of Ithaca, Danby is a rural gem known for its sweeping farmland views and outdoor recreation. Danby State Forest and Jennings Pond are local favorites.


West and southwest of Ithaca, the towns are home to spectacular Enfield Glen and Lucifer Falls in Robert Treman State Park. The Newfield Covered Bridge, built in 1853, is the oldest in the state. Connecticut Hill (elev. 2,099) and Arnot State Forest are great for outdoor recreation.


Northeast of Ithaca, Groton has a picturesque, historic downtown with restaurants, shops and plenty of small-town charm. Groton Olde Home Days, every August, is just one of the local festivals that makes this village a great place to call home.


Stretching 14 miles along the east side of Cayuga Lake, Lansing is a pastoral town that also offers some of the best shopping in the area (the Shops at Ithaca Mall). Myers Park is one of Cayuga's premier waterfront locations, with camping, swimming, a boat launch, and a fantastic playground.

Tompkins County Geography & Weather Facts

  • Connecticut Hill is the highest point at 2,099 ft above sea level.
  • Cayuga Lake is the lowest point at 382 ft. above sea level.
  • The average high temperature in January is 33° F and the low is 18° F.
  • The average high temperature in July is 81° F and the low is 61° F
  • According to the 2020 census, the land area is about 475 square miles.
  • According to the 2020 census, the population per square mile is 222.
  • Tompkins County averages about 39 inches of rain yearly.
  • Tompkins County averages about 69 inches of snow yearly.

More Information About Tompkins County

Learn more about Tompkins County at the Tompkins Chamber and Live in Ithaca.

Request a travel guide today to learn more about this beautiful county of New York State and start planning your visit