New York : Safety by City
- Fair Haven
- Greenport Village
- Lake George
- Lake Placid
- Long Island
- Mt Vernon
- New Paltz
- New Rochelle
- New York City
- Niagara Falls
- Saranac Lake
- Saratoga Springs
- Seneca Falls
- Shelter Island
- Sleepy Hollow
- Watkins Glen
- White Plains
Fair Haven, New York, straddles the southern shore of Lake Ontario in the Finger Lakes region, offering residents and visitors a quiet, quaint atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of nearby cities like Rochester and Syracuse.
The history of Fair Haven dates back to the late 1700s when the land was purchased by early settlers.
Incorporated as a village in 1867, Fair Haven became a popular summer retreat for city dwellers who were drawn to its beautiful natural setting along the lakeshore.
Fair Haven is a village in the town of Sterling with small-town charm.
The lively downtown area along Main Street contains restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries housed in buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The shores of Lake Ontario provide Fair Haven’s biggest attraction.
Sandy beaches, a marina, a fishing pier, and lakeside trails allow residents and visitors alike to enjoy scenic views and recreational activities along the waterfront.
The recently renovated Wetlands Park showcases the area’s diverse ecosystems and natural beauty.
Fair Haven is also a four-season destination, with snowshoeing and snowmobiling being two popular winter activities.
Ice fishing and Lake Ontario winter views provide a new side of this special slice of shoreline.
If you’re reading this before April 8, 2024, you might want to consider Fair Haven as a viewing location for the Total Solar Eclipse that will sweep the country from Texas to Maine.
Warnings & Dangers in Fair Haven
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk here as far as crime rates, and as long as you know outdoor safety tactics, you'll keep that risk low.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
No public transportation is offered here, which means you'll need a rental car or rely on taxis and rideshares. Much of the downtown area is walkable, but you'll be walking 2.5 miles to make it to the beach.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
This is a low risk but can be higher if you don't plan ahead for situations like leaving beach bags when you go in the water. One of my favorite things to do is bring a waterproof bag that can fit just my phone, keys, and ID/credit card. That way, I won't be stranded if someone grabs my bag.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Flooding is a big concern along Lake Ontario, and I strongly recommend you read the disaster emergency management plan for Cayuga County. Winter storms can bring deep snow and bitterly cold temperatures. Severe thunderstorms can happen from spring through fall. Treat it with a medium risk since this kind of weather can impact your itinerary and safety.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
The entire county had one robbery in 2022, so that's a low risk. You might have some birds trying to steal your food, but please remember it's dangerous for people and birds if you feed them.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
This is a very low risk as this is just a rural, remote area. While the Canadian border is a watery border about 30 miles offshore, there's a Border Patrol presence in Fair Haven.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There aren't any specific tourist scams here, giving it a low risk. However, I've seen so many trends nationwide about growing vacation rental scams that it's worth mentioning. If you are renting a home, never wire money to secure a place. That's a sure sign of a scam. Ask for proof of a rental permit and check with the Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce to make sure the listing is legit.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
There's nothing in the crime data or safety information suggesting women are at a greater risk. If you're traveling alone, just be sure to let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back if you're hiking, boating, or paddling.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
I ran into a lot of dead links trying to find the 2023 Water Quality Report on the county's website. The latest I could find is from 2021. In that year, there were no violations. Check the county's website for the latest information about potential safety risks, as those wouldn't be in the annual report anyway.
Safest Places to Visit in Fair Haven
“Tour Cayuga” and “Discover Upstate New York” are two tourism websites that cover Fair Haven and Sterling, along with other cities you might want to explore.
If you’re up for a road trip, Fair Haven is on the Great Lakes Seaway Trail.
It sits about halfway through the National Scenic Byway, spanning from the Ohio state line to Massena, New York.
Hikers can explore the 12 miles of the Ontario Pathways Trail, which passes through wetlands, forests, and along the beaches in Fair Haven.
Most of the village is within the 1,200 acres of Fair Haven Beach State Park.
The borders include Lake Ontario, Little Sodus Bay, and The Pond.
Camping, swimming, kayaking, and fishing are popular in the summer, with winter opening up snowshoe trails and ice fishing.
On the west side of the bay, sip wine with sublime views at Colloca Estate Winery.
Wine tastings are paired with wood-fired meals and Charcuterie boards.
Nearby, Lake Shore Marshes Wildlife Management Area includes marshes and some of the best birding trails in the state.
Hunting is also allowed here seasonally.
Check the calendar even if you aren’t hunting, so you can wear Hunter Orange to avoid being mistaken for a deer.
The Sterling Nature Center is another outdoor haven for hiking and beach strolls.
Most of the trails are less than two miles, offering easy and safe passages but plenty of options to make the hike longer.
Another great short road trip is to Sodus Point Beach Park, where you can see the Sodus Outer Lighthouse or walk the breakwater to reach the structure.
The lighthouse museum and Sodus Bay Historical Society are back on the mainland.
On the way to or from the lighthouse, don’t miss the unique shoreline spires at Chimney Bluffs State Park.
Places to Avoid in Fair Haven
Fair Haven is too small to have bad parts of town, so you can freely explore the rural area comfortably.
The best place to avoid would be any place where you aren’t 100% prepared for the conditions.
That means not going on a snowshoe hike if you don’t know the depth of the snow or incoming weather conditions.
It also means not kayaking out into the lake while a storm is brewing.
While adventure seekers won’t be able to avoid ticks, you can take steps to avoid them.
Ticks wait at the edge of leaves to attach.
The ticks in this region can survive as long as the temperatures are above freezing.
If you do get a tick attached to your skin, remove it with tweezers, and be sure to pull the entire head out.
Then disinfect the area.
If you save the tick, you can send it to SUNY Upstate and have it tested for Lyme Disease.
Even if you remove the tick quickly, you could still get sick.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Fair Haven
- Finding local safety and community information will go through the Cayuga County website, where there’s a section for the town of Sterling and the village of Fair Haven.
- Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office provides law enforcement for the region. You can find them on Facebook @cayugacountysheriff or call (315) 253-1222 with specific questions.
- Sign up for Hyper-Reach alerts through the county’s website. This sends emergency weather information, public safety issues, and major problems like road closures to your mobile device.
- Anyone who wishes to operate a boat in Fair Haven will need a boating safety certificate through the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. That’s also where you can get the required fishing license if you plan on casting a line.
- Every week, the sheriff’s office issues a “Weekly Arrest Report” under the “Arrest Blotter” section of the website. This is a great way to see the most recent crime trends.
- You can report any crime tips that aren’t urgent to the anonymous tip line. Just email email@example.com or call (315)253-1222.
- For anyone venturing into outdoor activities, you can rest assured that the sheriff has patrols that are staffed by boat, snowmobile, and ATV.
- Download the Avenza app to get a Fair Haven Beach State Park Trail Map. This allows you to access the trail map even if you don’t have mobile phone service.
- Only use the designated swimming beach at the park when lifeguards are present. Any other swimming would be at your own risk. Sometimes the beach will close if not enough lifeguards are available.
- Kayaks and SUP users should always stick close to the shore. Wear a life vest at all times, no matter how well you can swim. The cold water can cause limbs to stop working, and that life jacket could be the only thing keeping your head above water.
So... How Safe Is Fair Haven Really?
Fair Haven, New York, doesn’t have exact crime data since it’s part of the town of Sterling, which in turn gets its law enforcement from Cayuga County.
While the county has a population of 76,000 people, Fair Haven is home to barely 1,100.
That said, I can’t find any recent crime reports in Fair Haven, New York.
Even when you do additional research, be sure the search results aren’t taking you to the same-named cities in Connecticut and New Jersey.
The biggest safety risks here are in the outdoors, which can be avoided by knowing wilderness, wildlife, and water safety.
Dangerous weather usually comes with plenty of notice, but sudden storms can catch you off guard and put you in life-threatening situations if you aren’t prepared.
Understanding the Lake Ontario risks is just as important.
It’s not called a “Great Lake” for nothing.
The waves, currents, and risks are more similar to an ocean, not a traditional lake.
Provided you are educated on all those aspects, you’ll truly love this outdoor recreation dream in all seasons.
How Does Fair Haven Compare?
- Visas - International visitors need a valid passport and either a visa or visa waiver. Check your eligibility for either one using the Visa Wizard on the U.S. State Department website.
- Currency - Only the U.S. Dollar is accepted here. You should exchange currency before you arrive but rely on credit cards for the best fraud prevention. Most ATMs will be able to give you USD currency, but you'll pay ATM fees based on the bank location.
- Weather - Fair Haven has hot summers and cold winters, with nearly 200 days of the year falling below 50°(F). Plan for spring and fall to have fluctuating temperatures. Brings layers throughout the year. You'll need bug spray in the warmer months, and summers will be humid.
- Airports - Syracuse Hancock International Airport is the closest commercial option. That's less than an hour southeast. You can also use Frederick Douglass - Greater Rochester International Airport, which is about 75 minutes west.
- Travel Insurance - We always recommend comprehensive travel insurance to cover any delays, cancelations, or accidents along the way.
Fair Haven Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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