Chautauqua Lake Vacations

Visiting the beautiful Chautauqua Lake

map_of_Chautauqua_LakeChautauqua Lake, located in Chautauqua County, the westernmost county in New York, sits high at an elevation of over 1306 feet mean sea level (msl). It has been a popular resort area for Northerners since the end of the Civil War. The word “Chautauqua” probably came from the naming of the lake. It is said that Chautauqua is an American Indian word meaning “a bag tied in the middle” (to describe the shape of the lake) or “two moccasins tied together.” Chautauqua Lake is 1,308 feet above sea level, making it one of the highest navigable bodies of water in North America. It is approx. 20 miles long and has a surface area of 13,156 acres. Chautauqua Lake is recognized as a premier muskellunge fishery and offers exceptional walleye and bass fishing as well.

fishing_on_Chautauqua_Lake_pic1Chautauqua Lake is divided into two basins of nearly equal size by Bemus Point. The north basin of Chautauqua Lake averages 25 feet deep, with a maximum depth of 75 feet. The south basin is shallower, with an average depth of 11 feet and a maximum depth of 19 feet. The Chadakoin River drains the lake, flowing into the Conewango, Allegheny, and Ohio Rivers to the Mississippi.

The City of Jamestown
The city of Jamestown is located at the southern tip of the lake. With a population of 31,730 it is a community that is large enough to attract all of the major grocery chains and retailers such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot and a major mall, yet small enough to maintain the character of yesteryear. As one of America’s top 100 small cities for the arts, Jamestown boasts activities and things to do all year round. Home to Lucille Ball, Jamestown offers the Lucy-Desi Museum, the Lucille Ball Theater and an annual festival honoring her life.

Chautauqua_County_Highlighted_on_NYS_MapChautauqua County Airport
The Chautauqua area is serviced by the Chautauqua County Airport at Jamestown, NY via USAirways Express commuter from Pittsburgh, PA. Other nearby airports include the Buffalo (NY) Niagara International Airport (70 miles northeast of Chautauqua) and the Erie (PA) International Airport (40 miles northwest of Chautauqua).

Chautauqua Lake is centrally located within 500 miles of 55% of the United States population.
Erie, PA – 45 miles, 50 minutes
Buffalo, NY – 75 miles, 1 hour 15 minutes
Cleveland, OH – 140 miles, 2 hours 20 minutes
Pittsburgh, PA – 165 miles, 2 hours 30 minutes

Chautauqua_Institution_logoPerforming Arts
Along the lakeshore can be found the world-famous Chautauqua Institution. National Geographic Traveler magazine featured “Chautauqua” as one of the 50 “Places of a Lifetime” to visit in America. The institution is home to a 65-day summer festival for the mind and body, promoting arts, education, religion and recreation. It is a place where music, dance, opera, theater and the visual arts find their own forms of expression in a beautiful lakeside setting.


In November 2002, Golf Digest magazine awarded Jamestown, NY and the surrounding area “The Best Little Golf Town in America,” out of 314 areas surveyed.

Chautauqua is America’s second largest grape growing region. The favorable weather and fertile lands along the Lake Erie shoreline of Chautauqua produces a variety of award-winning and pleasurable wines. Twenty-four wineries offer tours, tasting, and gift shops ( ). The Grape Discovery Center in Westfield offers a “must do” experience. They give a wonderful recount of the history of grape growing in our area. In addition they offer wine tasting and gift items. The Chautauqua/Lake Erie Wine Trail is clearly marked by signs along and near Route 20. Each year, the Chautauqua-Lake Erie Wine Trail produces a series of popular events that draw visitors from hundreds of miles.

Skiing & Snowmobiling
This is snow country and wintertime visitors appreciate how to have fun with more than 200 inches of snow each winter. Ski season usually starts in late November/early December and can last well into March.

Find us on the New York Snowmobile Trail Map…

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