The Lake George Area is known as America’s Original Vacation and it’s easy to see why. City-dwellers have been vacationing in the Lake George Area since the mid-1800s. It’s the southernmost point in the Adirondack Park, so its mountain setting has been easily accessible to travelers since the idea of “taking a holiday” came about. Aside from the traditions though, what really stands out is how modern and versatile the vacation experience here can be.
You know all those new tourism types? Agritourism, adventure tourism, ecotourism, retail tourism to name a few. Lake George delivers them all; blending the majesty of the Adirondacks with the fascination of a modern vacation. You could go to the Lake George Area to get your fresh air fix, indulge yourself in a bit of luxury, or mix them both. The point is – it’s up to you. You tailor your experience to your interests and resources. Bonus: It’s super easy to get here from Albany, most of New England and Montreal.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
You’re in the Adirondacks. Nature is at its purest with an abundance mountains, lakes, wildlife and trees. Take a deep breath of that mountain air.
Prospect Mountain offers one of the finest views in the area. You can drive to the top or hike the trail. Either way, you’ll reach the 2,030-foot summit with a 100-mile view of Lake George and beyond. Stop by the Prospect Mountain Diner about a mile north of the entrance gates and grab a few BLTs for a mountaintop picnic – ask for Pat, the owner, she’s a sweetheart and full of great stories about the area.
Bikers will be delighted with the Warren County Bikeway. Ten miles of well-marked, paved, scenic trails carry riders from the shores of Lake George to the heart of the City of Glens Falls. Just keep an eye out for squirrels dashing across the street!
Looking for that perfect Adirondack vista? There are hundreds of miles of trails in the Lake George Area and most end with a view. The tough part is choosing the right hike. Looking for a little insight – the Visit Lake George Hiking site has you covered.
You can’t come to the Lake George Area without getting on the water. Lake George is 32 miles long and teeming with activity. Launch a boat, bring a kayak or hop on one of the steamboats on the lake. A favorite is the Minnie Ha Ha with its calliope and paddlewheel. The Lake George Steamboat Company, which operates the Minnie, turns 200 this year. They’re holding a boatload (get it?) of special events, including free sailing days, to celebrate.
Lake George isn’t the only waterway in the Lake George Area. There are half a dozen other lakes, including Lake Luzerne, Glen Lake, Friends Lake, Brant Lake, Loon Lake and Garnet Lake. Each offers a different vibe for different travelers. And who could forget the Hudson River which runs right through the middle of it all? There is some pretty stellar whitewater rafting and tubing in the Upper River Gorge near North Creek and plenty of guides to get you through the rapids. Try Square Eddy Expeditions, the only woman-owned company and the only company to offer a hike in, raft out tour.
LAKE GEORGE HOTELS
★★★★ The Sagamore | Bolton Landing
No matter your style, you’ll find the right accommodation. Hotels line the western shore of Lake George. There’s even a hotel on its own island! The Sagamore Resort is marvelous with white columns, lawns overlooking the lake, restaurants, recreation centers, a spa and even a tour ship.
The postcard-worthy image of an upstate lakeside resort, The Sagamore has been perched on Lake George in Bolton Landing since 1883. Today, luxury touches like pedestal sinks and pillow-top mattresses are comfortable extras that frame the inescapable views of the Adirondacks.
★★★ Scotty’s Lakeside Resort | Lake George Village
At the south end of Lake Shore Drive you’ll find Scotty’s Lakeside Resort which, true to its name, offers 350 feet of beachfront for a refreshing lake plunge or some early morning SUP.
For families, two- and three-bedroom suites will suit all rambunctious spacial needs and other necessities, like air conditioning, multiple TVs and a kitchenette.
ADVENTURE FOR THE AGES
Families can spend a day (or two) at The Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom, a Six Flags theme park full of thrills and chills to satisfy young and old alike.
If a more natural journey sounds good, there are treetop adventures to be had at Adirondack Extreme Adventure Course, the original and largest aerial obstacle course in the U.S. Fair warning: Adirondack Extreme is a workout, so go easy on the buffet before you go.
You don’t have to spend a day in the sun or push your body to the max to get your adrenaline pumping. The newly opened Adirondack Eagle Flyer Zipline lets you soar through the trees with ease as you gradually drop 1,000 feet from the summit of French Mountain.
Or how about exploring a geological wonder? Natural Stone Bridge and Caves Park is a family-friendly throwback. The park has been open nearly 200 years and the same family is still running things. Take a tour and explore the natural wonders. Just make sure to wear comfortable clothes and good shoes.
THE WORLD ON A STRING
We’ve all heard Frank Sinatra croon, “I’ve got the world on a string, sittin’ on a rainbow. What a world, what a life, I’m in love!” That sums up how it feels when you’re in the Lake George Area. You start in the wilderness and 20 minutes later, you’re in the center of a city, catching a show or touring a world class museum.
The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls can boast of well-known names like Rembrandt, Degas or Renoir. These and many more masters are represented in the collection of art at the old mansion turned museum. Admission is affordable, but every second Sunday, it’s free. Active military and their families are always welcome free of charge.
For the kids, head to the World Awareness Children’s Museum. Their interactive exhibits teach families about world cultures through music, play and dress up. Save some time for the art studio and books of folktales from around the world.
From motorcycle rallies to classic car shows, Elvis festivals, food and wine, a balloon festival and even a Film Festival, there is hardly a weekend in the Lake George Area when there isn’t a major event on the calendar.
Come winter, the lakes freeze and all those lovely trails and trees are covered in a mantle of snow. Wondrous views await those brave few who hike, ski or snowshoe the year-round trails in the Lake George Area.
A weeklong winter visit wouldn’t be enough time to take advantage of all the trails cut and groomed by the Gore and West Mountain ski areas.
If you do find yourself in the Lake George Area in winter, don’t be afraid to get on the water! Ice fishing on Brant Lake, ice skating in Crandall Park, snowmobiling with the local clubs are all easy around here. Just make sure you pack an extra set of hand warmers and a thermos of hot chocolate.
There is some mighty fine eating to be done in the Lake George Area – much of it with a view! Whether you have a romantic night in mind or something quick with the kids, restaurants are plentiful and offer treats for even the pickiest eaters.
Maybe it’s not the food that you’re looking for? Well – then it’s probably the beer! There are four breweries, one winery and two distilleries within a 20-mile radius of Lake George. Want to try them all? Hop on the Hoppy Trails Brew Bus for a tour and leave the driving to your guide!
A LITTLE PEACE AND QUIET
A big part of the Original Vacation charm is finding those hidden gems in the Lake George Area. Some of the loveliest spots to see are off the beaten path. Plus, since you’re traveling in the Adirondacks, the drive to get there is guaranteed to be full of scenery. Create your own Adirondack escape and spend an afternoon in Lake Luzerne, Hague or one of the other quaint towns nearby.
Let’s make it happen!
★★★★View deal on trivago!
Original text by Erin Coon of Visit Lake George