Top 21 Things to Do in Old Forge – Best New York Attractions

Old Forge Sunrise Mountain Views

Have you every traveled somewhere and spent more time figuring out what to do than actually doing anything? What a waste of time.

Old Forge makes for a wonderful Adirondack Base Camp for visitors looking to explore the central Adirondack region. I’m sharing the top 21 things to do in Old Forge so you can spend less time planning and more time doing on your next vacation.

Puppies and Pals in Old Forge, NY
Hiking in Inlet, a quick .5 mile jaunt to this view!

What is There to do in Old Forge?

Quite a bit! We’ve gone ahead and provided you with the season(s) each activity is available to you and the price range per person participating. There is something for everyone of any age here in Old Forge, New York!

1. Adirondack Scenic Railroad

  • Summer Fun
  • $$

Explore the beautiful scenery of the Adirondacks with a relaxing train ride. From the Thendara station, you can schedule a number of different riding experiences. Enjoy a scenic train ride through the Adirondack Mountains or schedule a themed experience. Many rides correspond with the seasons: there is a Haunted History train ride, Pumpkin train ride, Santa themed ride, and a Princess & Superhero ride.

The Adirondack Scenic Railroad is ran largely by volunteers. The Adirondack Railway Preservation Society has been operated and maintained by volunteers since 1992. Together these volunteers contribute over 15,000 hours annually. These hours consist of ticketing and car-hosting to operating the fleet. These volunteers allow this nonprofit to operate at an affordable price for those seeking a ride! 

2. Alpine Skiing & Snowboarding

  • Winter Fun
  • $$

McCauley Mountain is one of my favorite ski spot in New York! Small town vibes with big mountain energy. McCauley Mountain ski area is a wonderful place to learn to ski or snowboard. It’s also a great location to hone your skills and test your limits. 

McCauley has a vertical drop of 633 feet with 23 runs, 1 terrain park, a double chair lift, and 2 T-bars. The cozy lodge provides shelter from the cold, bar food, beverages, and a tuning shop! It’s a beautiful mountain that is rarely busy and can provide a full day of family fun.

Best Adirondack Ski Resorts, Old Forge New York
Last run of the day…

3. Boating

  • Summer Fun
  • $$$$

Boating on the Fulton Chain of Lakes is a summertime favorite for local and visiting families. For waterway access, boating safety, rules and expectations you can look here.  Rivett’s Marina and Palmer Point will rent out pontoon boats and fishing boats for hourly, half-day, and full-day excursions. If it’s jet skis you’re looking for, Old Forge Sport Tours is your best bet!

Spend the day floating or partake in water sports such as water skiing and tubing. Boating in Old Forge is a great way to spend a summer weekend.

4. Calypso’s Cove

  • Summer Fun
  • $$

Calypso’s Cove, just off of Enchanted Forest Water Safari, is an awesome family fun park in Old Forge. Spend the day, or the afternoon, playing arcade games, rock climbing, racing go-karts, and more. 

This park operates on a ticket system. Each attraction is worth a certain number of tickets, kind of like a carnival. This makes it easy and affordable for families to come to Calypso’s Cove with just one or two activities in mind. At Calypso’s Cove you can zip line, ride Go-Karts, Bumper Boats, Climb a rock wall, and more. Additionally, all Enchanted Forest Water Safari properties, including Calypso’s Cove offer a Military Discount with an active or retired ID.

5. Cross Country Skiing

  • Winter Fun
  • $

You can head on over to McCauley Mountain for miles of cross country ski trails. For $5 you can enjoy miles of intermediate and beginner trails. Stop by Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company for your XC Ski rentals! This is a great alternative to downhill skiing that doubles as a phenomenal workout. Enjoy the crisp, peaceful winter woods on a pair of cross country skis. 

6. Enchanted Forest Water Safari

  • Summer Fun
  • $$

Enchanted Forest Water Safari, where the fun never stops. New York’s largest water park can provide a full weekends worth of fun. With a combination of water and amusement rides, the kids (and adults) will never be bored. 

Water Safari recently ungraded a number of awesome water slides, providing endless summer thrills. The newest (in 2020) is a 4-lane, 293-foot mat slide racer names the Serengeti Stampede. Whether you’re looking for an exciting ride or the calming, restful lazy river, New York’s largest water theme park has it all! 

7. Fulton Chain Craft Brewery

  • 4-Season Fun
  • $

Fulton Chain Brewery is a great stop during your Old Forge stay! Whether you’re stopping in for a post-hike, bike, ride, or paddle brew, you won’t be disappointed. At any given time there are up to 10 brews on tap sourced from local ingredients for a true Adirondack experience.

Fulton Chain Brewing, Old Forge NY
Nothin’ like a Good Beer After A Long Day on the Mountain

8. Hiking

  • 4-Season Fun
  • FREE

Hiking can be 4-season, free activity for the whole family. Once you have the proper gear, you’re set for life. Old Forge is home to a number of trails that offer spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Here’s a list of 10 beautiful hikes in the Old Forge area; you can plan to hike the Fulton Chain Trifecta and earn a patch as well!

If you’re new to hiking, It’s important that you’re properly prepared. This includes carrying the 10-essentials, no matter how short or simple the trail may seem. Additionally, it is very important that you practice the seven leave no trace principles. This is not only for your safety but also for the longevity of the outdoors.

Bald Mountain Fire tower, Old Forge
The pure joy of a good hike!

9. Paddling

  • 3-Season Fun
  • $$

There are plenty of places to slip that Kayak in the water for a good paddle! If you own your own Kayak, this activity is free and you have plenty of lakes, rivers, and ponds to choose from. If you are new to Kayaking or don’t own one, there are plenty of places where you can rent. 

For Kayak rentals in Old Forge, I would turn to Mountainman Outdoor Supply Co. or Tickner’s Canoes. Mountainman Outdoor Supply Co. offers both rentals and trips! For $40-$50, you will receive a boat, paddles, PDFs, and a shuttle upstream. At the start of each trip, you will learn the basics of paddling before being sent on your way. If you have your own boat, but still need a life, you can even shuttle your own boat upstream for a small fee.

10. Mountain Biking

  • 3-Season Fun
  • $$

McCauley Mountain acts as a mountain biking haven in the summer months. With 20 different trails, servicing riders of all skill levels, and more trails being developed, McCauley is a great place to explore on two wheels. 

McCauley has both single and double track trails. There are single tracks that are narrow, rocky, and technical and machine-built flow trails with large berms, rollers, and jumps. Because this is an alpine ski area in the winter, there are also wider multi-use trails that accommodate cross country and alpine skiers during the winter months. Mountainman Outdoor Supply Co. has mountain biking rentals for you to utilize if needed!

Mountain biking at McCauley Mountain in Old Forge

11. Mini Golf

  • Summer Fun
  • $

Head on down to Nutty Putt Miniature Golf for 18 holes! Nutty Putty opens on weekends starting in April and opens for the season mid-June. Operating hours are from 9:30 AM to 10/11 PM (ish). It will cost you $7.50 (in the 2021 season) for 18 holes of mini-golf. Putt into the clown’s nose on your last hole to win a free round of golf!

Additionally, Nutty Putty’s is also an ice cream bar! Enjoy some of the best ice cream in Old Forge after your round of golf.

12. Moose River Farm

  • 4-Season Fun
  • $

Head over to Moose River Farm to experience animals in the Adirondacks. Four-season llama treks through the Moose River Plains are an Old Forge Hit. Llama treks and farm tours last 45 minutes each; they also offer a llama mini-trek for young children along with a farm tour for a discounted price. These tours generally fill up on summer weekends up to two weeks in advance so plan accordingly!

13. Old Forge Lake Cruises

  • Summer Fun
  • $

Take a historic steamboat tour of the Fulton Chain of Lakes. Enjoy the fresh air and clean water as you cruise around the first four lakes of the Fulton Chain. Each boat features a snack bar, a restroom, and an upper and lower deck. Take two hours to explore the ever-changing scenery of the Adirondacks! 

14. Rail Bike Adventures

  • Summer Fun
  • $$

Pedal your rail bike with three other friends/family members from Thendara station to Carter station. During this 2 hour excursion, you’ll experience a combination of slight grades and level sections of track. Railbike tickets can be reserved starting in March for the summer season. A 4-person rail bike costs $147 and is suitable for explorers of all ages.

15. Shop Downtown

  • 4-Season Fun
  • $-$$$$

There a number of inviting shops in village of Old Forge but there is one that should be at the top of every visitor’s list. You could get lost in the Historic Old Forge Hardware Store! This Hardware store is unlike any other and has been servicing locals and visitors alike for over 100 years. 

Other downtown shops include souvenir village, Life in the ADK, and rainbow zen. These shops cover all the bases. Clothes, gifts, jewelry, and artwork are available for purchase on Main Street in Old Forge.

16. Snowmobiling

  • Winter Fun
  • $$$$

Old Forge is known for snowmobiling in the winter months! Although this is an expensive hobby to get into, it’s a ton of fun! You can haul your own snowmobile up to the Old Forge area or you can rent them for the day once you’re here! RPM Snowmobile Rentals, ADK Snowmobile Outfitters, and Old Forge Sport Rentals all offer daily single and double seater rentals. 

Old Forge loves to celebrate snowmobilers! The Snodeo weekend is the place to be each December for snowmobile lovers of all ages.

17. Strand Theatre

  • 4-Season Fun
  • $

This 1920’s theater will bring you back in time for the evening. This truly unique experience is sure to be a highlight of your trip. It might also be one of the cheapest movie nights you ever have! A matinee will cost you $6.00 and evening shows will cost you $7.00. No matter what time of day, seniors and children cost $6.00. The Strand MovieTheater also provides private shows for small groups. This hidden Adirondack Gem is certainly one you need to check out while you’re in town!

18. McCauley Mountain Scenic Chairlift

  • Summer and Fall Fun
  • $

Head to McCauley Mountain in summer and fall to experience gorgeous view with little effort. Take the scenic chairlift to the summit of McCauley Mountain to enjoy the beautiful scenic view of the Fulton Chain of Lakes. .

19. Thendara Golf Club

  • Summer and Fall Fun
  • $$

Thendara Gold Course provides a beautiful 18-hole, par 72 championship golf course. The course carves smooth fairways and challenging greens out of the Adirondack Mountains and great prices.

20. The View

  • 4-Season Fun
  • $

If you’re looking for the premier art experience in the Adirondacks, the View will deliver. Check the site for gallery hours. The View offers exhibitions, performances, and various art classes. It’s definitely worth checking out if you appreciate the arts. With over 40,000 annual visitors, the View is a popular destination for tourists and residents alike.

21. White Water Rafting

  • 3-Season Fun
  • $$$$

If you’ve never been white water rafting, you absolutely have to go! If you’re looking for hard core white water rafting, check out ARO Adventures on the Moose River in Old Forge. These trips are only offered during the month of April and will end with a BBQ!

Unfortunately, the only truly local white water experience is pretty intense. If you’re willing to travel a bit away from Old Forge, there are more mellow rapids for you to enjoy with your family. Take a day trip and experience a different area of the Adirondack Park while having a ton of fun on the river!

Towns to Visit in the Adirondack State Park

Old Forge is just one small town in 6 million acres of protected land. There are so many amazing places to visit within the Adirondack Park, why limit it to just one place?

  • Inlet
    The neighboring town of Inlet is home to some beautiful hiking, amazing accommodations, and Fern Park. Fern Park is a one-stop local spot for cross country ski trails, mountain biking an snowshoeing trails, a sledding hill, indoor ice rink, and more!
  • Tupper Lake
    Tupper Lake is home to two really amazing natural history museums. The Wild Center and the Adirondack Sky Center & Observatory are both incredible, hands on opportunities for guests to interact with and learn about the Adirondacks.

If you’re interested in visiting new and exciting towns in the Adirondack Park, check out my Adirondacks Travel Guide where I share the best things to do, delicious places to eat, and awesome accommodations for each Adirondack town.

Published by Kaitlyn Fortier

Hello everybody! My name is Kaitlyn Fortier. I'm a Middle School Teacher and 3-season Athletics coach in Central New York. I utilize this platform to share actionable tips, 'best-of' lists, and budget-friendly travel guides for explorers of all travel interests.

13 thoughts on “Top 21 Things to Do in Old Forge – Best New York Attractions

  1. You have a great list of activities here! I need to get here for sure. My family would have a blast.

  2. I would love to visit this place too! I miss traveling and yeah, skiing is one of the activities that I look forward too. Hopefully everything goes back to normal so we can travel back again. I love and envy your photos!

  3. I went to college at SUNY Potsdam and worked in Oswego. I miss upstate New York so much! Old Forge is such a good family spot because there is so much to do. Although it would take me a few days to get accustomed to the cold and snow again.

  4. There are so many cool things to do in Old Forge! I have a hard time deciding what to do next. I think I would start with the water park and then do some hiking.

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