Explore the Adirondacks
This popular destination is a few hour’s drive from New York City and right along the Canadian border. This northeastern United States mountain range is full of scenic views, dense forests, and miles of rivers. The Adirondacks region is 6 million acres, making it larger than Yosemite, Everglades, Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone National Parks combined. I’ve designed this Adirondacks Travel Guide to help you choose which part of the park you want to explore next!
Adirondacks Travel Guide by Town
Inlet is a quaint little village along the Fulton Chain of lakes. It’s perfect for families as it has plenty of family-friendly attractions to keep you entertained. If I were going to suggest an area of the mountains for families with young children in this Adirondacks Travel Guide, the Inlet and Old Forge area are at the top of the list!
Things to Do in Inlet
- Boating on the Lake
- Cross Country Ski at Fern Park
This free park is home to 20 miles worth of hiking, biking, and cross country skiing trails for everyone’s use. Additionally, the park hosts many festivals and houses a few sporting fields and a sledding hill as well.
- Groomed Snowmobile Trail
Miles and Miles or groomed snowmobile trails and wide open ice-covered lakes await.
- Ice Skating at Fern Park
Fern Park offers an indoor ice skating rink complete with a warming hut and heated restrooms.
- Plenty of Hiking Trails
If you’re looking for a low-land hike to a beautiful body of water, check out Sis and Bub Lake! If you’re looking to gain some elevation, Rocky or Black Bear Mountain are for you.
Where Should I Eat in Inlet?
- Breakfast: Blue Line Coffee House
- Lunch: Screamin Eagle
- Dinner: The Lean To
Where Should I Stay in Inlet?
- Free Camping: Moose River Plains
- Campground: Eight Lake Campground
- Budget Hotel: The Woods Inn
- Resort: Great Pines
Lake George is known as the Queen of American Lakes. Its pristine waters boast 109 miles of shoreline and over 300 islands. Its location in the South Eastern part of the park makes it a frequent tourist destination.
What is there to do in Lake George?
- Adirondack Extreme Adventure Course
Experience over 1.5 miles of thrilling tree-top adventures! Adirondack Extreme is the largest aerial tree-top adventure park in the United States.
- Boating on the Lake
Rent a boat and take the family out on the lake or book a Lake George Shoreline cruise during your stay.
- Bolton Landing Brewing Company
Enjoy delicious wings and beers at the Bolton Landing Brewing Company after a good hike, bike, or ride!
- Fort William Henry Museum
Watch history come alive at Fort William Henry! Experience the sights and sounds of the fort during the French and Indian War.
- Gurney Lane Recreation Center
Gurney Lane Recreation Center is home to the area’s best cross-country ski and mountain biking trails.
- Six Flags Great Escape and Hurricane Harbor
A two-for-one Six Flags amusement and water park. Six Flags Great Escape Lodge is also home to an indoor water park for year-round fun.
- Plenty of Hiking Trails
There are so many hikes for all abilities in the Lake George area. Start simple with The Pinnacle and work your way up to the Lake George 12ster to earn a patch.
- Shopping at the Outlets
The Factory Outlets at Lake George offer the latest apparel and gifts, the Factory Outlets are the ultimate stop for anyone who loves to shop!
- Ski and Snowboard at West Mountain
Take a quick 15-minute drive to West Mountain in Queensbury for hours of alpine skiing and snowboarding fun. All 35 trails are lit, making night riding and fun option for all!
Where are the Best Places to Eat in Lake George?
- Breakfast: Caffe Vero
- Lunch: Adirondack Pub and Brewery
- Dinner: The Log Jam Restaurant
Where Should I Stay in Lake George?
- Free Camping: Dacy Clearing and Shelving Rock Road
- Campground: Lake George Battleground State Campground
- Budget Hotel: Super 8 by Wyndham Lake
- Resort: The Sagamore Resort
Lake Placid is a small mountain village nestled in the high peaks region of the Adirondacks. Tourists and outdoor enthusiasts alike flock to Lake Placid all year long for its gorgeous scenery, many outdoor activities, and variety of accommodation options!
Things to Do in Lake Placid
- Ausable Chasm
Alright… so this might not be in Lake Placid, but a 45-minute drive will bring you to the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks. Choose your adventure as you hike, float, or climb your way through the chasm. While you’re in the area, be sure to check out the shore of Lake Champlain overlooking Vermont.
- Cascade Cross Country Ski Center
A full-service cross-country ski lodge equipped with rentals, 10+ miles of trails, a restaurant, and bar.
- High Falls Gorge
Just outside of Lake Placid, you can pay to explore High Falls Gorge. This 22-acre nature park features waterfalls, hiking trails, glass-floor walkways, and more.
- John Brown Historic Site
Visit the home and grave site of abolitionist, John Brown. Enjoy gentle hiking trails and educational information at this historic site.
- Mirror Lake Activities
Mirror Lake, in the center of town, is home to a number of great winter and summer activities. Toboggan and ice skate on Mirror lake in the winter and paddle and swim in the summer.
- Mt. Van Hoevenberg
Check out this popular area of the Adirondacks for a variety of amazing activities all year long. Ride the Cliff Coaster, take part in the Lake Placid Bobsled experience, Cross Country skiing during winter and mountain bike during summer, discover skeleton and luge, and enjoy the interpretive nature center at Mr. Van Hoevenberg.
- Winter Olympic Sites
Check out the Winter Olympic Sites from the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Games. Check out Herb Brook Arena, the Olympic Jumping Complex, and the Olympic Museum during your stay.
- Plenty of Hiking Trails
Take it easy with local lowland hikes to tackle New York State’s High Point, Mount Marcy. Only the experienced hiker should attempt the Adirondack High Peaks region. If the highest Mountain in New York isn’t your cup of tea, check out the Lake Placid 9er Challenge.
- Shopping on Main Street
Main Street in Lake Placid is home to amazing shops and eateries. Be sure to check out all the local gear and souvenir shops.
- Ski or Snowboard at Whiteface Mountain
Ski/ride the greatest vertical drop in the East at Whiteface Mountain. In the warmer months, you can pay to drive up Whiteface’s toll road and enjoy 360-degree views of the Adirondack Mountains.
Where Should I Eat in Lake Placid?
- Breakfast: The Breakfast Club
- Lunch: Big Slide Brewery
- Dinner: Smoke Signals
- Dessert: Emma’s Creamery
Where Should I Stay in Lake Placid?
- Free Camping: South Meadow
- Campground: Lake Placid/ Whiteface Mountain KOA
- Budget Hotel: Town House Lodge
- Resort: Whiteface Lodge
A low-key, affordable Adirondack vacation destination full of nature and aquatic activities for the whole family. Long Lake is the perfect location in this Adirondacks Travel Guide for anyone looking for a laid-back mountain vacation on the water.
Things to Do in Long Lake
- Adirondack Experience
Check out exhibits dedicated to the region’s natural & cultural history, including hands-on areas for kids at the Adirondack Experience Museum.
Long Lake Marina offers rentals as well as a place for you to launch your own boat.
- Hiking in Long Lake
Buttermilk Falls and Owl Head Fire Tower are two of Long Lake’s most popular hikes. Castle Rock and Blue Mountain Lake Fire Tower are a short drive away!
Between Long Lake, Forked Lake, Raquette Lake, and Blue Mountain Lake, you have the opportunity to experience miles and miles of paddling fun! Camp on islands and float peacefully down the Marion River.
- Scenic Flight
Take a scenic flight through the Adirondacks from the Long Lake Sagamore Seaplane Base.
Where Should I Eat in Long Lake?
- Breakfast: Long Lake Diner
- Lunch: Adirondack Growl and Grub
- Dinner: Long View Lodge Restaurant
- Dessert: Custards Last Stand
Where Should I Stay in Long Lake?
- Free Camping: N/A
- Campground: Lake Eaton Campground
- Cabins: Long Lake Cottages
- Hotel: Long Lake Lodge
North Creek is a small mountain town in the heart of the Adirondacks full of unique Adirondack adventures. Boasting the largest ski resort in New York State, raging white water rafting opportunities, and numerous hiking opportunities, North Creek is on every adventurer’s bucket list.
What can I Do in North Creek?
- Cross-Country Ski at Garnet Hill and Gore Mountain
Gore Mountain is one of the most popular ski resorts on the East Coast. What most people don’t know about Gore is that they also offer a Nordic Ski Center. Between Gore and Garnet Hill, you have over 50 miles of Cross Country ski trails at your disposal.
- Hiking Trails near North Creek
Popular hiking trails in the North Creek area include Moxham Mountain, Thirteenth Lake, Peaked Mountain, and OK Slip Falls. Aside from these frequented trails, there are a number of small pond and lake hikes in the area.
- Mountain Biking
Gear up for extreme downhill mountain biking fun at Gore Mountain! Only experienced riders should take on the challenging lift-serviced terrain. If you’re looking to work for your down hills, check out the North Creek Ski Bowl Mountain Bike Trails.
- North Creek Depot Museum
Explore North Creeks Role in American History at the North Creek Depot Museum.
- Rafting with North Creek Rafting Company
Take a day or overnight rafting trip in early Spring to experience whitewater on one of 3 Adirondack rivers.
- Revolution Rail Co
Take a rail biking tour of the Adirondacks along the Hudson River. Pedal your cart with three others for 6 miles of beautiful Adirondack fun.
- Ski and Snowboard Gore Mountain
Experience the greatest amount of skiable acreage in the North East and Gore Mountain. With 14 lifts ad over 100 trails, Gore will not disappoint the skier or snowboarder in your family.
Where Should I Eat in North Creek?
- Breakfast: Cafe Sarah
- Lunch: Becks Tavern
- Dinner: Marsha’s Family Restaurant
- Dessert: Barkeaters Chocolates
Where Should I Stay in North Creek?
- Free Camping: Thirteenth Lake
- Hostel: Heads in Beds
- Bed and Breakfast: Goose Pond Inn
- Resort: Garnet Hill Lodge
Old Forge is known as the Adirondack Base Camp. It’s a great location for families to experience all of what the Adirondacks have to offer. Whether you stay close to town or use it as a hub to explore further out, Old Forge is an amazing vacation destination for all.
Things to Do in Old Forge
- Adirondack Scenic Railroad
Choose from a number of different riding experiences to explore the beautiful scenery of the Central Adirondacks by rail.
- Boating on 4th Lake
The Fulton Chain of Lakes provides endless boating fun for locals and visiting families alike.
- Calypso’s Cove
Spend the day, or the afternoon, playing arcade games, rock climbing, racing go-karts, and more at Calypso’s Cove.
- Cross Country Ski at McCauley Mountain
Head on over to McCauley Mountain for miles of intermediate and beginner cross-country ski trails.
- Fulton Chain Brewery
Check out a local collection of craft beers at Fulton Chain Brewery. You have to try their most popular, and fan favorite Go Fluff Yourself while you’re visiting!
- Groomed Snowmobile Trails
In the winter months, Old Forge (and Inlet) are heavily trafficked by snowmobiles.
- Hiking Trails for all 4 Seasons
Old Forge is home to a variety of gorgeous hiking trails for all ability levels.
- Mini Golf
Play 18 holes and enjoy some ice cream at Nutty Putt Miniature Golf on the weekends in April and 5-days a week in mid-June.
- Moose River Farm
Check out the local llamas for a fun-filled day at Moose River Farm.
- Mountain Biking at McCauley Mountain
McCauley Mountain is home to over 15 miles of professionally built and maintained single-track and flow trails. No lift access here (at least not yet) so you’ll be responsible for pedaling to the trails of your choice. There’s terrain for every type of rider at McCauley!
- Paddle the many Lakes, Rivers, and Streams
Rent or bring your own watercraft to explore the many lakes, ponds, and rivers in the Old Forge area.
- Rail Bike Adventures
Pedal your rail bike through the gorgeous foliage of the Adirondacks from Thendara station to Carter station.
- Ski or Snowboard McCauley Mountain
Small town price and crowds with big mountain vibes! McCauley is a great place to learn and to hone your skills.
- Thendara Golf Club
Play a round in the mountains! Thendara golf club is a beautiful 18 hole, Par 72 championship golf course.
- Water Safari
With a combination of water and amusements rides, the fun never stops at New York’s largest water park.
Where Should I Eat in Old Forge?
- Breakfast: Waltz Diner
- Lunch: Ozzies
- Dinner: Frankies Taste of Italy
- Dessert: Dough a Deer
Where Should I Stay in Old Forge?
- Free Camping: McKeever Road Sites
- Campground: Nick’s Lake Campground
- Budget Hotel: Clark’s Beach Motel
- Resort: Water’s Edge Inn
Saranac Lake is an All American small town that’s sure to make you feel at home. The village of Saranac Lake is located a stones throw from Lake Placid, however, it’s generally much more low key and slow paced than its winter Olympic hosting neighbor. Saranac Lake is the closest town to Lake Placid featured in this Adirondacks Travel Guide; it’s a great option for families looking to experience Lake Placid and save a little money.
Things to Do in Saranac Lake
- Adirondack Carousel
A unique attraction that provides entertainment, art, and education for all ages through some old fashioned fun.
- Boating on Flower Lake
Flower Lake is perfect for an evening boat cruise, a morning paddle, a quick dip, or some fishing! It’s a beautiful place to enjoy right in town all summer long.
- Mt. Pisgah Ski Center
A small town mountain owned and operated by the Village of Saranac Lake. Mt. Pisgah is an all season mountain that offers downhill skiing and snowboarding, tubing, and snowshoeing in the winter. In the summer, the trails turn to mountain biking!
- Plenty of Hiking Trails
Take the opportunity to complete the Saranac Lake 6er Hiking Challenge during your stay. Ring the bell in town to signal your completion and earn a patch!
- Saranac Laboratory Museum
In 1884, Saranac Lake was the location for the first lab built in the United States to study Tuberculosis. This museum documents the journey.
- Shopping Downtown
There are a number of different unique shops to ponder in Saranac Lake.
Best Places to Eat in Saranac Lake?
Breakfast: Origin Coffee
Lunch: Bitters and Bones
Dinner: La Bella Ristorante
Dessert: Donnelly’s Soft Ice Cream
Where Should I Stay in Saranac Lake?
Free Camping: Jones Pond
Campground: Saranac Lake Islands Campground
Budget Hotel: Best Western Saranac Lake
Resort: Franklin Manor Bed & Breakfast
Speculator is an all-season vacationland for the true outdoorsman (and woman). It’s also the least traveled and the least populated town in this Adirondacks Travel Guide. If you are looking for a relaxed holiday in the woods, Speculator is a great option for you and your family.
Things to Do in Speculator
- Boating and Paddling
Boating and paddling on Lake Pleasant and the surrounding lakes, rivers, and streams is a popular summer activity.
Fish on Lake Pleasant all year long in Speculator! Try your luck at snagging a small mouth bass, large mouth bass, rainbow trout, brown trout, brown bullhead, yellow perch, chain pickerel, rock bass, and walleye.
- Groomed Snowmobile Trails
Speculator and Hamilton County offer over 750 miles of groomed snowmobiling trails all winter long. It’s the most popular winter activity in Speculator.
- Speculator Area Hiking Trails
There are a few notable trails in the Speculator area! Beginners should check out the Auger Loop Trail while advance hikers should take a shot at Snowy Mountain Fire Tower! If you consider yourself somewhere in the middle, try Echo Cliffs in nearby Piseco or Wakely Fire Tower (the tallest fire tower in New York State).
- Ski and Snowboard at Oak Mountain
My favorite Adirondack Alpine Ski and Snowboarding area! Oak is amazing for beginners and those seeking challenging terrain. It’s also the location of my upcoming wedding and I couldn’t be more excited.
Where Should I Eat in Speculator?
Breakfast: Sunrise Diner
Lunch: Acorn Pub and Eatery
Dinner: Inn at Speculator
Dessert: King of the Frosties
Where Should I Stay in Speculator?
Free Camping: Mason Lake
Campground: Moffit Beach Campground
Budget Hotel: Melody Lodge
Resort: Irondequoit Inn
Tupper Lake may not be home to the tallest mountains or largest lakes, but it does boast some of the darkest night skies in the North East. It’s one of the few locations in this Adirondacks Travel Guide that will have you interacting with and learning about the Adirondacks in a whole new way.
Top Things to Do in Tupper Lake
- Boating on the Lake
Tupper Lake is perfect for a relaxed evening boat ride or a morning of fishing. Big Tupper Lake is 9 miles in length and offers 28 miles of shoreline to explore!
- Hiking Trails
Spend your time working towards the Tupper Lake Triad and earn a patch for hiking Mt. Arab, Goodnow, and Coney Mountain.
- Raquette River Brewing
A quaint Adirondack brewery with a food truck (or two in the summer months) that’s dog friendly!
- The Adirondack Sky Center and Observatory
The Adirondack Sky Center is a non-profit that inspires people to discover and explore the “Wilderness Above” through curiosity, observation and scientific investigation.
Take a swim at Tupper Lake’s hidden gem, Little Wolf Beach.
- Wild Center and Wild Walk
An incredibly hands on natural history center focused on the connecting people with the Adirondacks.
Where Should I Eat in Tupper Lake?
- Breakfast: Lumberjack Inn
- Lunch: The Hub
- Dinner: Main Street Restaurant
- Dessert: The Washboard/ Donut Shoppe
Where Should I Stay in Tupper Lake?
- Free Camping: Horseshoe Lake
- Campground: Little Wolf Beach
- Budget Hotel: Northwood Cabins
- Resort: The Point
Adirondack Travel Frequently Asked Questions
The Adirondacks are such a large space, it’s no wonder people have so many questions about the park. Here are some of the most frequently asked Adirondacks Travel Guide questions.
- Where is the Adirondack Park Located?
The Adirondack Park’s southern boundary is located about 4 hours North of New York City. Meanwhile, it’s northern boarder is just over 100 miles from the Canadian border.
- When is the Best Time to Visit the Adirondacks?
This depends entirely on what you’re looking for! Summer provides perfect weather for boating, swimming, and paddling. The Fall month’s are prime leaf peepin’ time whether you’re driving the scenic roads or hiking to a stunning location. The winter provides a snowmobile paradise and awesome conditions for alpine and nordic skiing. Trout opening day in in April, making the Spring prime fishing time in the ADK.
Access the full Adirondack Park FAQ article for detailed answers to these questions and more. Utilize this Adirondacks Travel Guide and the many Adirondack focused blog posts I’ve shared to plan your upcoming trip!