The best life has to offer is found in novel experiences. From scaling mountains with outrageous views and tasting delicious and photo-worthy foods, to making memories you and your best friends will never forget. The Lake George Area has a nearly endless list of the experiences that make life truly worth living.

You’ve earned yourself a vacation. Text your friends and family, click “purchase” on those bathing suits and sandals sitting in your shopping cart, and fire off an email with vacation dates to your boss. Summer inspires a getaway to the Lake George Area.

About the Lake George Area & “the Queen of American Lakes”

The Lake George Area is a collection of small towns and wooded communities with hidden ponds, massive mountains, and crystal-clear lakes for locals and visitors to enjoy. Lake George, a 32-mile long beauty, is the anchor for any trip to the region. Spend all summer on the lake, boating the shorelines, meeting friends at vibrant waterfront hangouts, and soaking in those precious rays that disappear all too quickly. We’ll cover all the experiences that will earn you a “lake life" bumper sticker.

Lake George is often called “the Queen of American Lakes”. Once you see the lake in person, you’ll understand why this royal nickname has stood the test of time. The water is deep blue and sparkling, nestled between lofty mountains. It’s clean, clear, and a comfy 70° all summer long. Don’t leave the Lake George Area without doing a cannonball or two into the lake. Finding a place to jump in is easy.

Imported Image

Photo Credit: Kacey O'Brien 

Beaches in the Lake George Area

Beach days are the best days. With three public beaches in the Lake George Village, you, your cooler, and your beach chair are almost guaranteed a plot of sand. Flip those sunglasses over your eyes, rub in your sunscreen, and catch some rays on the shores of one of the most gorgeous lakes in the country. The view from Million Dollar Beach is a miles-long panorama of rippling waves and forested mountains that you can admire from the comfort of your towel. Shepard Park Beach is just off Canada Street in the heart of the Lake George Village, so a sizzling slice of pizza or an air-conditioned bar is always only a few steps away. Usher Park Beach is a quiet little sandbox on the east shore of Lake George, farther from the Village, but often less busy.

The smaller community of Bolton Landing, a quick 10-miles north of the Lake George Village, has two public beaches. While both spots have that white, clean sand that is required at a beach, the views from the sand are the highlights. From Rogers Memorial Park, take in a side view of the glamorous Sagamore Resort. From Veterans Memorial Park, the summit of Tongue Mountain is in the forefront and The Narrows section of Lake George cascades beyond. Both of these beaches are a short stroll from Bolton’s thriving restaurant and shopping district.

Quiet, hidden beaches can be found all over the Lake George Area for those who prefer sand less sat on. Drive north from Bolton to Hague Town Beach Park (pictured below) and the wide, sparsely populated mid-section of the lake. Bring a deli sandwich from The Hague Market to your beach picnic. Or, travel to Brant Lake Beach in Horicon or Loon Lake Public Beach for different, but still jaw-dropping, views of the Adirondacks. Stop for lunch and a craft beer at The Hub, an eclectic mix of a bike shop, deli, and bar.

Check out our in-depth blog on Lake George Beaches and Beyond!

Hague Town Beach Park

Adventures on the Water

The Adirondack Mountains are the definition of panoramic. You’ve got plenty of options if you want to see the lake and mountains from every possible angle.

Start with a parasail ride in the Lake George Village. The 32-miles of lake spreading out below you from the height of the mountain peaks is one that is hard to replicate. If you’re afraid of heights, bring a friend along with you!

Imported Image

Photo Credit: Kacey O'Brien

If you want to get that adrenaline pounding, take a guided Waverunner tour out of Chic’s Marina. Rent a machine out on your own or double up with a friend. You’ll follow a guide out behind Dome Island on Lake George and rip around for 30 heart-pounding minutes on machines that can reach 60 mph.

When you’ve safely made it back to the dock after your Waverunner tour or parasail ride, relax with a Tiki Tour in the southern basin of Lake George. Invite five of your friends for a float along the shoreline on a palm tree-covered, engine-powered barge with a bar in the middle. Your captain does all the navigating, allowing you to have a drink or two and snap some pics of those refreshing lake views. Remember to pack your favorite beverages – Tiki Tours are BYOB.

Imported Image

If you’d like the freedom to search every large bay and small nook on Lake George, you can always rent a boat. Several marinas offer rentals ranging from small and manageable 13-footers perfect for couples, to large pontoon boats that can fit your entire crew. The possibilities are endless once you get out on the water – enjoy the summer sun, swim off the boat, attempt to wakeboard, catch a few keepers, whip your buddies around on a tube, and more. There’s no such thing as a bad day at the lake when you’re on a boat.

Climb Those Mountains

While we can’t guarantee you the nomadic blogger lifestyle as-seen-on Instagram, we can guarantee you the outdoor experiences that will have your friends at home wishing they joined you on vacation.

The Lake George Area sits on the southern border of the Adirondack Mountains, a vast state park of some six million acres. There are dozens of hiking trails throughout the region, ranging from easy strolls through the woods to grueling, day-long climbs. Prospect Mountain is a hike squarely in the middle of “easy” and “grueling” with the trailhead found on a backstreet in the Lake George Village. The ascent is a short 2.8-mile round trip, but it’s tough and steep with few opportunities to rest. However, the climb is worth it. The views of southern Lake George and the distant Adirondack High Peaks from the summit are absolutely gorgeous. For those who want the view but prefer not to hike, you can drive to the top of the mountain of the Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway. But we recommend you try to earn those photos with the hike.

Prospect Mountain

You don’t have to exert much energy on the trail if you want to climb mountains. Travel to the Town of Chester and hike their Chester Challenge trails. These climbs are short and simple, with most of them leading to awesome views of Loon Lake. Stewart Mountain is about as quick and rewarding as it gets – less than a mile out-and-back trail that will have you “oh, wow”-ing before you finish your cup of coffee. Kipp Mountain (view from the summit pictured below) is a tougher hike and a 2-mile round trip, but once you reach the ridgeline with constant views of Loon Lake and more distant peaks, that extra mile will be worth it. Complete six of the Chester Challenge hikes to earn a patch. This can be completed in one day if you’re committed!

Trail Ends sign overlooking the Lake George Area

Explore the Wilderness

While the Adirondacks are ancient (about 5 million years old, but who’s counting), there are some brand new ways to explore the wilderness. One of those new ways to explore is through Revolution Rail Co.’s railbikes on the historic D&H Railroad along the shores of the Hudson River (pictured below). You and your pedaling partners will bike through swathes of thick, rarely seen Adirondack forest, and depending on the route you choose, over an old trestle bridge above the Hudson River. Rides are approximately 8 miles round trip, and as easy as, well, riding a bike.

After you’ve pedaled along the Hudson, link up with a rafting company and float down it. The Lake George Area is home to several professional whitewater rafting companies that will safely lead you through the thrills out on the river. Depending on what season you raft the Upper Hudson River Gorge, the rapids can be angry and raging Class IV rapids (spring, when the river is high), or casual and relaxing Class II rapids (summer, when the water is lower and warmer). If pure adventure is what you’re after, it doesn’t get much more harrowing than rafting the whitewater of the Upper Hudson River Gorge.

Imported Image

Photo Credit: Kacey O'Brien 

Grab a Bite to Eat

One of the best parts about visiting a new place is taste testing food at new restaurants. Dozens of dining options are open and waiting for you to stroll in, grab a seat at the bar or a booth, and place your order.

On summer vacation you are allowed to eat ice cream for dinner. One of the best places to get ice cream in the Lake George Area is Martha’s Dandee Creme (pictured below). Martha’s is an iconic ice cream destination across the street from Six Flags Great Escape & Hurricane Harbor. Their flavors change daily and range from regular chocolate or vanilla to outrageous combinations that taste heavenly. They’re also recognized for their humongous portions. Expecting a medium cone’s worth of ice cream? Order a small. Want a small dish of soft serve? Better get a kiddie-size. And for the full Martha’s experience? Order a large and get licking. After you’ve finished your ice cream, order from Martha’s Grill and have an actual meal. Their burgers, chicken sandwiches, and other options are fantastic.

Check out our Ice Cream Trail blog for more sweet treats!

Imported Image

Photo Credit: Kacey O'Brien 

Now picture this: you’re drying off in your bathing suit with a cold, crisp beer in hand, leaning against the railing of an outdoor deck and jamming to some live local tunes with the glimmering lake behind you. Waterfront restaurants dot the shoreline of Lake George. In the Village, try the Lake George Beach Club (pictured below)  for multiple floors of food, drinks, and live entertainment overlooking the lake. These watering holes are only minutes from the beaches. Did you rent a boat or trailer your own to the region? Boat to The Algonquin Restaurant or Tavern on the Lake at Blue Water Manor for lunch or dinner and take advantage of their free docking and picturesque views of the bays.

Imported Image

Ahhhh, refreshing beer. The Lake George Area has several craft breweries within its borders, all pouring something a little bit different. In Glens Falls, Davidson Brother’s Brewery has crafted tasty brews since 1996 in an old downtown building (pictured below, far right). Mean Max Brew Works sits directly across the street from Davidson Brothers, so you could spend all day hopping between bars to sample beers. Cooper’s Cave Ale Company, located just off the Warren County Bikeway in Glens Falls, serves great food, tasty ales, and an ice cream window, making the restaurant a trinity of summertime perfection. In Lake George Village, stop at the Adirondack Pub & Brewery, who pour Lake George-themed beers and hold awesome events throughout the year in their Adirondack-style brewpub. The newest brewery in the region is the Bolton Landing Brewing Company. Their types of beers run the gamut, from dark stouts to light IPAs. Their taproom is made to look like you’re sipping beers in a boathouse.

Imported Image

Photo Credit: Kacey O'Brien 

Late Night Fun

A day during summer vacation is usually split into two halves. The daytime has its own set of activities, you return to your room, and then you get ready for the evening’s events. The Lake George Area has a handful of daytime activities and nightlife options that will make both your mild and wild side content.

Not everyone loves the late-night bar scene. Lake George Village Thursday Night Fireworks can be enjoyed completely booze-free! Board one of the cruise ships at either the Lake George Steamboat Company or Lake George Waterfront Cruises to get close to the phenomenal displays that blast off throughout the summer and on holidays. We know you’ve seen fireworks before, but trust us, these colors are worth it.

Imported Image

There’s nothing like lounging on the deck of a lively outdoor restaurant with a front row seat for a local musicians set. The Lake George Area always has a live band here, or a singer/songwriter there. Those waterfront restaurants we mentioned earlier often host entertainment for the summer crowds. The Fridays at the Lake Concert Series in Shepard Park is a free show held every Friday evening in the Lake George Village. The best part about these concerts – you don’t even have to roll off your beach towel. These local acts jam out in the Shepard Park Amphitheater (pictured below), which means turning your back to the water gives you the best seats to the show.

A lineup of other free summer concerts can be found in our blog Live Music in the Lake George Area.

Outdoor band shell hosting a concert for a large audience

Need a Nap?

When you’re not lounging on the beach, sailing the shoreline on a cruise ship, or taking in the sights after a tough hike to Prospect Mountain, you’ll need a place to snooze. The Lake George Area has dozens of rooms and campsites, ranging from Adirondack cabins and brand-name hotels to island campsites and trendy “glamping”.

The Adirondack Mountains inspire a specific architectural look and feel. Rustic buildings with thick, log walls covered in bear and moose décor is common. If you and your crew want to surround yourself in that Adirondack feeling, there are motels and cottages that specialize in rustic. Many of these lakeside accommodations offer beach access, game rooms, and are a convenient distance to small town’s main streets.

More traditional hotels can house your entire group. Places like the Fort William Henry Hotel & Conference Center or the Courtyard by Marriott Lake George are in the heart of the Lake George Village, making the beach, a fancy meal, or a night of bar hopping completely walkable. The Sagamore Resort (pictured below), a four-star palace on its own private island in Bolton Landing, is the place where you’ll find all the amenities that you’d expect at a luxurious resort.

Imported Image

Meanwhile a lot of people opt for the tent and campfire at a campsite over the king-sized bed and air conditioning of a hotel room. In the Lake George Area, there are hundreds of campsites to choose from. If you want to fall asleep to the sound of lapping waves (who doesn’t?), we’d recommend booking an island campsite on Lake George. Each site is like a diamond, beautiful and unlike any other. Some are sprawling with huge, open areas to relax under tall pines near vast stretches of waterfront. Others are small and quiet, perfect for a couple searching for a primitive and private getaway. Remember you’ll need to rent a boat or trailer your own to get to one of these sites.

Of course, you could always just combine the outdoor adventure of camping and the lavish amenities of a fancy resort. Let us introduce you to glamping through our blog – Happy Glamping in the Lake George Area. And even if your nature-loving friend says this isn’t true camping, and even if he or she is probably correct, glamping is still a great way to sleep outdoors.

Imported Image

Huttopia Adirondacks, Photo Credit: Jaynie Ellis 

By now you’re probably convinced that the Lake George Area is worth burning those vacation days on. What are you waiting for? Request a Travel Guide to help you plan!