The Lake George Area, located in the southern Adirondacks. Often dubbed “The Original Vacation,” this upstate New York hotspot combines the classic beauty of nature with a modern social pace. From majestic waterways and towering treetops, to the welcoming sights and sounds of small-town environments, we’re confident you’ll find what you’re looking for when you visit. With more than a dozen towns and villages, countless outdoor activities, and a multitude of exciting attractions, there’s always something to see and do.

 

However, if you’re a first-time visitor to the area, this begs the important question, “What should I do when I get there?” (and perhaps an additional “Where should I go?”) While there is no one definitive answer, there are suggestions that can help make your planning a whole lot easier (though with constant excitement and activities, you may just need to make multiple trips).

 

Start planning your Lake George Area getaway with this first-timer’s guide to everything from when and where to go, to tips on traveling and spending.


When Should I Go?

To put it simply… Anytime! Such distinct seasons equal distinct activities and opportunities. Whether you’re a ‘Beach Buddy’ or a ‘Mighty Mountaineer’, there’s a time and a place for you here.

 

Spring

The brisk, refreshing air and the growing presence of both flora and fauna. Spring provides a captivating season for outdoor adventurers, primarily in camping and fishing.

 

Camping

The term ‘camping’ often means different things to different people, so there’s no wrong way to get into the Adirondack camping experience. Whether you reserve a spot at a public campground like Hearthstone Point or Rogers Rock, enjoy the amenities at a private area like the Lake George RV Park, or even decide to ‘rough it’ via wilderness camping, camping has been an honored tradition here in the Lake George Area, and one that always welcomes newcomers. There’s even newer avenues like island camping and glamping.

 

(*For more information on camping, please check out our Camping and RV Parks Page.)

 

Island Camping

 

Fishing

With the area’s bottomless lakes, wide-open rivers, and backwoods streams, it’s often considered the “Angler’s Paradise.” There are well-known casting areas everywhere, but there is also plenty of space and opportunity to discover more secluded spots. The Lake George Area is known for its species of lake trout, landlocked salmon, bass and perch. (If you’re looking to try something new, Ice Fishing is also a popular sport on frozen waterways during the Winter.)

 

(*For more information on fishing, please check out our Fishing Page.)

 

Free Fishing Days


Summer

Sun’s out, fun’s out! With warmer temperatures, many flock to the water to beat the heat. With more than 20 lakes in the area (and even more rivers), there’s no shortage of aquatic adventures to be had. Swimming and Boating are often popular choices alongside other water sports and recreational activities.

 

Swimming

With abundant accessibility to waterways, swimming has been the go-to activity for people of all ages, especially families. Whether it be a public beach such as Lake George Beach, a renowned lake like Glen Lake, or even a recreational pool facility, taking a cool, refreshing dip is super easy (just remember to bring the towels and sunscreen).

 

(*For more information on potential swimming spots, please check out our Waterways Page.)

 

Two Kids Swimming in the Lake

 

Boating

Get ready for smooth sailing on the open water. With a plethora of local marinas, launching your boat is a quick and easy process that gets you spending more time on one of the area’s finest lakes. Examples of popular spots include Castaway Marina and Chic’s Marina. No matter what kind of party or water sport you do, fun is just a ‘splash’ away.

 

(*For more information on boating, please check out our Boat Launch Page.)

 

Family of Four Tubing and Boating on Lake George


Fall

The foliage isn’t the only sight to behold in the area. Nature, in itself, possesses a majestic beauty that many come to witness firsthand. From the forests and trails to the mountains themselves, there are a variety of activities that will allow you to grow your appreciation for the Adirondack Region.

 

Hiking

The local peaks are often regarded as a “Hiker’s Heaven,” each boasting varying sizes and scenery. From the simple layout of The Pinnacle to the steep terrain(s) of the Chester Challenge, there are peaks for all experience levels. Of course, the views seen from the top are well worth the effort, especially during the fall foliage season.

 

(*For more information on hiking, please check out our Hiking Trails Page.)

 

Hiking Near Lake George

 

Biking

From off-road trails to paved bikeways, biking is a fantastic way to get around and see some of the spectacular sights of the Lake George Area. There are miles of paths and trails all around, each with differing lengths. One of the most well-known examples, the Warren County Bikeway, is a 9.4-mile route from Glens Falls to Lake George. Whether you’re looking for family fun or a serious challenge, cycling is a great way to appreciate the surrounding nature (and get some great exercise).

 

(*For more information on biking, please check out our Biking Page.)

 

Two Mountain Bikers on Trails

 

Scenic Driving

Sometimes, a simple Sunday drive is all you need. Whether you’re searching for your next adventure, or merely taking the time to stop and admire what the region has to offer, scenic routes and backroads are fairly common. (Going during the Fall is also a great way to get that perfect social post.)

 

(*For more information on scenic driving, please check out our Scenic Driving Page.

 

Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway

Photo Credit: Kacey O'Brien


Winter

A Winter destination like no other. That’s what the Lake George Area offers you during the colder and snowier months of the year. Expansive mountain ranges and trails provide ideal locations for winter sports and activities, with favorites including skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling.

 

Skiing and Snowboarding

Miles of snow-covered trails await you at the region’s premier ski and snowboarding resorts, featuring some of the steepest and most exhilarating runs in the East. From the family fun to be had at West Mountain to the expert-level trails at the Hickory Ski Center, skiers and snowboarders of all ages are welcome. A special mention goes to Gore Mountain – the largest ski resort in New York.

 

Adult Man Snowboarding Down a Ski Trail

 

Snowmobiling

If you love the feel of traversing through the snow, then you’re in luck, because the Lake George Area offers miles upon miles of trails for snowmobiles. You can safely travel a course independently or find some new friends in one of the area’s snowmobile clubs, like the Northern Warren Trailblazers or the Thurman Connection.

 

Vintage snowmobiles at the Brant Lake Winter Carnival

 

(*For more information, please check out our Winter Activities Page.)

 

Of course, there’s much more beyond the examples provided, but this should be a great starting point for your seasonal trips. Each season is a unique experience at the Lake George Area, and we hope you take the time to see them for yourselves.


Where Should I Go?

It seems like the possibilities are endless! There are hundreds of locations and activities to partake in around the area. Whatever interests you, there will be something to discover here. Below are just a few examples of what you can find.

 

Family Fun

When you think ‘family-friendly’, think of us! There are plenty of iconic stops that kids and adults alike will enjoy. Go on an aerial adventure through the Great Adirondack Forest at Adirondack Extreme Adventure Course, explore ginormous marble caves at Natural Stone Bridge and Caves, or go coast-to-coaster at Six Flags Great Escape and Hurricane Harbor.

 

Family Riding a Roller Coaster

 

Museums and Historic Sites

The Lake George Area is rich with American Heritage and History, making it a premier destination for history buffs. Experience the sights and sounds of the French and Indian War at the Fort William Henry Museum, learn about the American Railroad System at the North Creek Depot Museum, or discover how the past and present connect at the Bolton Historical Museum.

 

Cannon Shooting Reenactment at the Fort William Henry Museum

 

Arts & Culture

The Lake George Area has inspired countless artists and creatives for centuries. It’s no surprise then that the arts and entertainment are a vital part of the ‘Original Vacation’ experience. Enjoy cutting-edge performances at the Charles R. Wood Theater, embrace the legacy of music at The Sembrich, or savor the blend of history and natural beauty at the Hyde Collection Art Museum and Historic House.

 

Adirondack Theatre Festival

 

And of course, this was just a small taste of the experiences awaiting you. For a full list of things to do, please make sure to check out our Attractions Page.


How Long Should I Spend?

Local events and activities are happening constantly around the area, especially in the warmer months of the year. Because of this, it can be hard to gauge the ideal length for a trip without considering personal wants.

 

If there’s a specific reason or event that you want to attend, then perhaps try to plan your stay around that. Dedicate some time for the desired event while also leaving plenty of time to explore. Some free time is also important to have, especially with family trips.

 

However, if your vacation is more open-ended, then a week should give you lots of time to check out a good portion of the region and find the places you want to visit. Whatever you choose to do, it sure won’t be boring.

 

(*For a full list of events, please check out our Events Page.)

 

Downtown Glens Falls

Photo Credit: Kacey O'Brien


Is it Easy to Get to and Around?

The Lake George Area is a perfect travel hub due to its easy accessibility via car, plane, train, or bus. There are several ways to get to the Upstate NY Region, each one straightforward and a sigh of relief to all those frantic vacation planners out there. How will you travel?

 

By Car

The drive to the Lake George Area is not only peaceful but scenic, with spectacular mountain and lake views for miles. The use of both the Adirondack Northway and NYS Thruway also makes the trip a steady breeze, no matter where you’re coming from.

 

  • If you’re coming from the North or South, use Adirondack Northway Route 87 to get to Exits 18-26.
  • If you’re from further South, East, or West, use NYS Thruway Exit 24 to get to Albany. From there, continue north on Adirondack Northway Route 87 to get to Exits 18-26.

 

ScenicDrive-scaled


By Plane

The well-known Albany International Airport is just 50 miles south of the Lake George Area and serves most major airlines. Car rentals and bus services are also available directly from the airport for your stay.


By Train

For all the train enthusiasts out there, AMTRAK runs routes from as far as New York City to Montreal, with daily stops in nearby Fort Edward (about 20 minutes from the Lake George Area). Taxi and shuttle services are available once you stop at the station for your convenience.

 

There’s also an all-inclusive Amtrak travel package that provides transportation as well as nearby lodging and attractions. Learn more about this package option by clicking HERE.


By Bus

A classic form of public transportation. Adirondack Trailways and Greyhound maintain a regular schedule to towns throughout the Lake George Area from destinations all across the U.S.

 

(*For more travel information, please check out our Traveling Page.)


How Much Money do I Need?

Vacations, or simply traveling in general, can be expensive; however, that doesn’t mean it necessarily has to be. While it is always a great idea to bring plenty of money for your travels (and don’t forget the souvenir shopping), there are certainly ways to save around the Lake George Area.

 

To help make the most of your trip, here are a few tips to keep you and your wallet happy:

 

Location, Location, Location

A hotel or resort next to a hotspot may be tempting; however, that kind of perk can become rather pricy. When choosing a place to stay, location is always an important consideration. If you don’t mind taking a bit of a walk or drive, even an alternative place a few miles away could make a huge difference. The same advice can be applied to public parking spots as well.

 

This is not meant to deter you from that really nice place on the beach. If that’s what you’re looking for, then go for it. This is just meant to be a possible suggestion to consider.

 

(*To research possible locations, please check out our Places to Stay Page.)

 

Fort William Henry Hotel & Conference Center


Visit Between Seasons

While there’s always something to do in the Lake George Area, summer is certainly the most popular tourist season by far. If you have flexibility when you visit, perhaps try traveling between seasons. Not only can this help you save some cash in regards to lodging, but it can also prevent an overflow of traffic, ensuring you make the most out of your vacation.

 

(*Keep in mind that some attractions may be seasonal or have limited availability. Make sure to research the open times and schedules of nearby locations before traveling.)

 

Gondola Scenic Skyride Fall View


Take Advantage of Free Events

Many of the events in the region are free to the general public. If you’re ever looking for something to do, try taking advantage of one or more of these opportunities. Having fun doesn’t have to be expensive.

 

(*For a complete list of free events, please check out our Free Events Page.)

 

Jazz at the Lake


Want to Discover More?

Stay up to date on all the latest events and locations in the area by checking out our Lake George Area Travel Guide, or consider signing up for our Digital Newsletter!