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About Tompkins County

Tompkins County Facts

Tompkins County (population 104,800) 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 Ivy League Cornell University, Ithaca College, four New York State Parks (including Taughannock Falls State Park which boasts a New York waterfall with a higher vertical drop than Niagara Falls), and many art galleries, museums, theaters, and cultural attractions. Tompkins County abounds with outdoor activities to suit any enthusiast.

The climate of Tompkins County provides for a variety of attractions and outdoor activities ranging from boating, swimming and hiking in summer, to cross-country skiing and ice-skating in winter. “Ithaca is gorges” has become the indelible motto that aptly describes the area, which has been blessed 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+ 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 Ithaca 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 in Ithaca, or a short trip with your family, there is something for everyone. The Ithaca community itself is centered around Downtown Ithaca and its pedestrian mall, the Ithaca Commons, but Tompkins County actually encompasses several adjacent towns and villages. Each community has its own unique character and identity, and each offers visitors its own warm welcome.

Discover Towns of Tompkins County

Trumansburg, Ulysses

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, even if just for a tour of its chocolate factory

Dryden, Freeville

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.

Brooktondale, Caroline

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 XC skiing are here at 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.

Enfield, Newfield

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. 2,097) 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 34° F and the low is 20° F.
  • The average high temperature in July is 83° F and the low is 62° F
  • According to the 2010 census, the land area is about 475 square miles.
  • According to the 2010 census, the population per square mile is 214
  • 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 County Chamber of Commerce.

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

Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention & Visitors Bureau Staff Directory

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2022 Visit Ithaca Travel Guide
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Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention & Visitors Bureau
A division of the Tompkins Chamber
904 East Shore Drive, Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: (607) 272-1313 | Toll Free: (800)-28-ITHACA
The official web site of Ithaca, New York and Tompkins County Convention and Visitors Bureau in the Finger Lakes. Complete guide to Ithaca, NY hotels, attractions, dining, shopping and recreation with maps and driving directions.
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