The 12 Best Towns for a Winter Escape

Written by Paul Tackett

If heading to the great outdoors is the escape plan, you can’t do any better than these 12 towns for a winter getaway:

1. North Creek

This vibrant, yet hidden, Adirondack town is at the base of soaring Gore Mountain. Unpack at Garnet Hill Lodge or any number of cozy accommodations in the area and spend your days on the rugged alpine slopes of Gore or the meandering Nordic trails at the North Creek Ski Bowl (pictured below). Hike and snowshoe the hours away, then warm up with a nice meal before calling it a day in front of your crackling fireplace.

Don’t Miss This: A stop at Barkeater Chocolates is a must if you choose this winter escape. Sure, you can order their products online, but there’s nothing like roaming the aisles and taking in the amazing aromas… you might even catch a glimpse of the resident ghost!

2. Lake George

The bustling summer vacation destination that is the Village of Lake George takes on a whole new allure when snow blankets the streets and shorelines. Many hotels, including the renowned Fort William Henry Hotel, stand ready to welcome you and your family for a winter getaway. Considering tackling one or all of the Lake George 12ster hikes to get that blood pumping during the day, and then settle into a booth at the Adirondack Pub Brewery for a refreshing beverage and a hot meal! Get a good night’s rest so you can get up and do it all again the next day! Plenty of restaurants throughout the Village are open year-round for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so give them all a try.

Don’t Miss This: If you find yourself here in February, you’ll want to attend the activities of the Lake George Winter Carnival. Weekends are packed with cook-offs, outhouse races, other competitions, fireworks, and tons of children’s activities!

Photo Credit: Kacey O’Brien

3. Chester

Hoping to escape deeper in the woods? Cruise a bit further along the Adirondack Northway to this charming town nestled in the mountains. Chester Challenge hikers who are up to the task will receive a special Winter Challenge pin patch after they hike, cross-country ski, or snowshoe the six trails between December and March. Do you prefer a one-stop-shop for lodging, dining, and activities? Friends Lake Inn (pictured below), with private snowshoe trails on their many acres of property, is perfect for you! Park the car and forget about it until it’s time to go home! Comfortable lodging, crackling fireplaces, great dining, and a myriad of activities await.

4. Bolton Landing

Journey along Lake Shore Drive to Bolton Landing, the home of the stunning Sagamore Resort. But we know this visit isn’t formal, necessarily. It’s about getting outside, and there are few places that can afford an array of options as diverse as those in Bolton Landing. Hiking choices are limited only by the time you have to explore the lake’s shore or the mountains that begin to rise alongside its icy surface. Lake George Land Conservancy can offer some great hiking suggestions, like making a quick trip from The Pinnacle’s trailhead to its summit. Venture out on snowshoe hike at Up Yonda Farm for striking views on from high. The rugged Tongue Mountain Range constantly beckons to the hard-core hiker. And, when the day draws to close, enjoy some wonderful craft brews and bite in your own private igloo at Bolton Landing Brewing Company or The Barrel (pictured below) before heading back to your room and snuggling in for some well-deserved rest!

The Barrel

Photo Credit: Kacey O’Brien

5. Stony Creek

Tucked away in the western reaches of the Lake George Area is one of our best-kept secrets. Beyond dude ranches, the famous Stony Creek Inn, and the Mountain Days Festival, Stony Creek is home to some incredible snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and winter hiking. Choose from any number of hotels or motels in the area and then set off for nearby Dean Farm Heritage Trail for great outdoor recreation opportunities. Or, while away your day strolling along the picturesque rivers and streams that make this Adirondack town the gem that it is!

Photo Credit: Kacey O’Brien

6. Queensbury

For the family whose members have diverse interests, this sprawling, dynamic town is the place to be! Hotels and motels are conveniently located near the Adirondack Northway and along State Route 9, including Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor Waterpark offering special activities and entertainment while you are “Snowed Inn”. In winter, West Mountain is the crown jewel for skiing enthusiasts, but bring along the whole family for some excellent tubing as well. Ice skate on Crandall Pond or choose from any number of nature preserves to hike, including Gurney Lane Recreation Area – cross-country ski or snowshoe each one for a truly unique outdoor experience. And those in the family who prefer to shop ‘til they drop are in for a treat! Aviation Mall and the nearby Factory Outlets of Lake George will keep you occupied for hours!

Don’t Miss This: The Silo Restaurant and Gift Shop is a really charming breakfast spot and country store. Two words – cider donuts!

7. Warrensburg

Scenic beauty, history, and vast swaths of open space are what make this Adirondack treasure the ideal winter escape. The mighty Hudson River that once powered tanneries and factories in Warrensburg continues to carve its way through this peaceful community. Once stately homes stand testament to the town’s rich history, including the historic Merrill Magee Inn (now known as The Bond) that continues to welcome guests. Any accommodation or restaurant in Warrensburg that you choose will make your visit a memorable one. Hike Hackensack Mountain for views of the Hudson and Schroon Rivers, then hit up George Henry’s for a great meal and libations!

Don’t Miss This: Stop and shop at Oscar’s Adirondack Smokehouse – a must for anyone traveling through the area.

Photo Credit: Kacey O’Brien

8. Glens Falls

Hometown USA pretty much sums it up! Just off the Adirondack Northway sits the former, yet still bustling, industrial City of Glens Falls. Now more of a fine arts, fine dining, and boutique shopping community, it is perfectly situated for guests to take advantage of great recreational opportunities as well. Take up residence at the grand Queensbury Hotel, where you’ll find yourself in walking distance to shopping and dining options galore. Or, pack up the car for a short drive to West Mountain Ski Center and shred the slopes. Once the whole family is sufficiently exhausted, head back to “The Q” for some delightful outdoor winter dining at Park 26! The heated igloos on the patio (pictured below) will keep you toasty as you obverse the goings-on along the city streets while sampling all the delights from the menu. Afterward, step out and enjoy the nightlife!

9. Brant Lake

Among the smaller waterfront communities in the Lake George Area, this hamlet offers all of the recreational opportunities of the more crowded destinations, but in more intimate surroundings. Brant Lake is a favorite ice fishing destination for anglers, so you’ll want to plan some time out on the ice. Hike the trails of Bartonville Mountain to beautiful vistas, and snowshoe or cross-country ski all day long before returning to your accommodations to perhaps sit in front of a warm fire until it’s time for dinner. Choose from any number of local restaurants to suit your taste buds and then get some sleep so you can again tackle the great outdoors the very next day!

Photo Credit: Kacey O’Brien

10. Lake Luzerne

Rolling hills, heavily-wooded forests, lakes, rivers, streams, and plenty of open spaces make Lake Luzerne one of the most picturesque winter vacation destinations in the Lake George Area. Once settled into our accommodations, you’ll find this place a dream-come-true for snowmobile enthusiasts, as it is situated directly on a vast snowmobile trail network. Visitors are invited to bring their own sleds or let local tour guides lead the way. Trail systems run conveniently near restaurants and bars so that you can stop for a quick bite, or warm up with a relaxing meal. Hike or snowshoe Potash Mountain, cross-country ski along babbling brooks, and skate along the surfaces of Lake Luzerne until sunset.

Don’t Miss This: If you don’t hit this top on your snowmobile tour, make a point of stopping at Nettle Meadow’s Hitching Post Tavern and Cheese Shop for some award-winning hand-crafted cheeses and other locally produced goods.

Photo Credit: Kacey O’Brien

11. Thurman

If you’ve been here for the annual Fall Farm Tour or Maple Days, you have witnessed the wonderful rolling landscape and woodlands that make also make Thurman a haven for snowmobilers. Once the terrain is covered in snow, the Thurman Connection Snowmobile Club puts that prime acreage to use as one of the premier trail networks in the region. Connecting the Lake George Area to Speculator, the club links crucial sections of Adirondack snowmobile trails. Set your bags down at the nearby Glen Lodge, or any other welcoming hotel/motel, and pull those sleds off the trailer. Don’t fret about getting back, just focus on having fun! Stop for a bite to eat at a Lake George Area restaurant before waking up early to do it all again!

12. Hague

Looming along your drive to Hague from Bolton is the towering Tongue Mountain Range that subtly invites hiking enthusiasts to tackle its wintery remotes. Take a quick run up to the Fifth Peak lean-to for awesome views or circumnavigate the entire range for an unforgettable winter hiking odyssey! First, get unpacked at your log cabin provided by the Trout House Village Resort (pictured below).  The mountain isn’t going anywhere and neither is the vast network of snowmobile trails waiting for you! The Hague Sno-Goers Club trails are open to sleds and cross-country skiers, so everyone’s accommodated. And while in the area, try one of our restaurants ready and waiting to serve up your favorite meal.