The sun is out and it is the perfect weather to get out and enjoy nature. Here are five of the best ways to enjoy nature in Rochester, NY. 

Flower City

If you love the smell of lilacs or the sight of pink, yellow and red tulips — Rochester is for you. The city has an international reputation for its horticultural attractions with flowers of all colors and sizes. The flower-growing started in the 19th century. Today, the city is home to Highland Park, with its lilacs and azaleas and Japanese maples. The Ellwanger Garden with its irises and peonies is also a must-see. If you prefer roses, you'll find two acres of the blooms at the Maplewood Park Rose Garden. The list doesn’t end there: You can spend a few days checking out the gardens of Rochester.

Hiker’s Paradise

Rochester boasts more than 12,000 acres of parks and dozens of trails. The Park Trail in Channing Philbrick Park is an easy walk. The Zoo Cascade and Zoo Falls trail in Seneca Park might prove a little more challenging for someone who likes a more rustic course. Highland Park is not only known for its flower gardens; it also has trails. Bring your hiking boots and get ready to explore some of the best trails in upstate New York!

Run Rochester

Lace up your running shoes and hit any one of 13,000 running routes posted by Rochester runners online. Or line up at the starting line of one of Rochester’s springtime races, including the Lilac Run 5K and 10K, the Bandana Bolt 5K, or the Personal Best Marathon.

Water, Water Everywhere

The Erie Canal, Lake Ontario, The Finger Lakes, and the Genesee River: Water shaped Rochester’s history. Today it plays a big part in enjoying the city and its surroundings.

 If you want to get away from the noise and traffic in the city, Rochester has plenty of water trails. You can rent a kayak, a canoe or a paddleboard, and enjoy a lazy afternoon on the water, paddling through the waterways in the city. Don’t forget your sunglasses and sunscreen — even though the temperatures are mild, you’ll get lots of sun during a day on the water.

Fish Stories

Why just cruise the waterways when you can haul in the big one? Rochester Sport Fishing and several other companies offer charter boats and provide the equipment for a day out on the lake. If you have your own gear, rent a canoe and head out on the Genesee River. Hammerhead Charters and Tackle will take you out on Lake Ontario. Fisherman travel from throughout the country to catch salmon, trout, and walleye in the Fingerlakes region. You do need a New York State fishing license to partake. You can buy one at most sporting goods stores and bait shops or online at the New York Department of Environment Conservation website.

Whether garden tours are your thing, or you’d like to break a sweat on one of Rochester’s trails, there is something here for everyone.

Laura Dexter is an avid hiker and runner who travels around the country, taking part in marathons and 10ks throughout the year. When she’s not writing about her races or travels, you’ll find her hiking in Colorado with her husband and three children.