Hello, dear readers – it’s officially summer! One of our favorite places to travel during the warmer months is Lake George, NY. Nestled in the southern Adirondacks, Lake George is such a beautiful area, and there are tons of great activities to keep you busy during your vacation at the lake. If you’re visiting the area for the first time or if you haven’t done much exploring on previous visits, check out some of our favorite things to do the next time you’re in Lake George!
1. Visit the Summit of Prospect Mountain
It wasn’t until our third visit to Lake George that we finally drove up Prospect Mountain, and we couldn’t believe we had waited so long to do so! Located near Lake George Village, Prospect Mountain’s summit can be accessed by hiking or by driving up the Veterans Memorial Highway. From the parking lot, you will either need to walk the rest of the way to the 2,030-foot summit or take the provided shuttle. You will be treated to spectacular views of the lake and surrounding area, and you can also see the remains of the Prospect Mountain Cable Incline Railway, which used to bring guests up to the old Prospect Mountain House hotel. There is a fee for parking, but the trip to the top is worth it in our opinion. Bring a picnic and a blanket, and relax and enjoy the view!
2. Take a Cruise on Lake George
The lake itself in Lake George, NY is spectacularly gorgeous, and other than swimming, one of the best ways to enjoy the lake is by boat. You can always rent a smaller boat for your family for the day, but if you just want a quick taste of how the Lake George area looks from the water, we recommend taking a cruise with the Lake George Steamboat Company. They offer a variety of daily cruises, as well as lunch, dinner, and specialty cruises. We loved the Paradise Bay cruise, which travels through various narrow channels between some of the lake’s smaller islands. It was a bit longer than their standard cruises, and we got to see parts of the lake we would not have otherwise seen.
3. Enjoy a Lazy Afternoon Tubing the Hudson River
The temps can be cool in Lake George, even in the summer, but our first trip to the area was hot. hot. HOT! While a dip in the lake is an excellent way to cool off, we headed the 7 miles over to the Adirondack Adventure Center one day to take a leisurely tubing trip down the river instead. There was actually a solar eclipse during our trip, so our guide allowed us to pause partway through to stand on shore and watch! Otherwise, for about three hours, we enjoyed slowly floating down a shallow and calm section of the Hudson River. They even have tubes you can rent to bring along a cooler with your favorite snacks and drinks! If you want to amp up your adventure, they offer whitewater rafting and treetop adventures as well.
4. Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
About 30 miles from Lake George, there is a river that runs underground at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves. This is a great place to spend an hour or so exploring the nearly 1-mile long trail that will carry you over and under the stone bridge and into several caves. The trail is in a lovely wooded setting along the river and does require a little bit of physical ability and fitness to complete (there are 500 stairs!) To make your visit even more exciting, sign up for the 3-4 hour Adventure Tour instead where you’ll be able to army crawl your way through several caves not on the regular trail, pass through an underground waterfall, and float in a pool inside a cave!
5. Drive the Lakes to Locks Passage
The natural beauty of the Adirondacks is one of the reasons we enjoy visiting Lake George, and you don’t necessarily need a particular destination or attraction in order to just take in the spectacular scenery. Instead, you can simply head out for a drive on the Lakes to Locks Passage and enjoy the breathtaking views right through your car window. This 230-mile-long scenic byway travels through six NY-State counties with interconnected waterways in the Lake George, Lake Champlain, and Richelieu Valley regions. The byway is dotted with plenty of quaint towns and villages where you can stop throughout the day, but the Lakes to Locks Passage also offers the perfect excuse to just enjoy a lovely country drive.
6. Travel Back in Time at Fort Ticonderoga
If you do decide to head out on the Lakes to Locks Passage from Lake George, you will find the town of Ticonderoga about 40 miles to the north. Here you can take a journey back through history at the Revolutionary War-era fort called Fort Ticonderoga. You can wander inside and outside the fort, taking in the various exhibits and admiring their collection of war memorabilia. They also offer demonstrations and reenactments throughout the day (cannon firings!) to highlight the history of the fort and time period in which it was used. Your ticket for Fort Ticonderoga includes access to their lovely nearby gardens, as well as passage to the summit of Mount Defiance, which offers sweeping views of Lake Champlain.
7. Geek Out at the Star Trek Experience
If rainy weather keeps you indoors or if you have a Trekkie in your group, you absolutely cannot miss the Star Trek Original Series Set Tour in Ticonderoga. Most of the Star Trek sets were destroyed, but with the help of the original blueprints and plenty of old photographs, a complete recreation of the original set was rebuilt. During this one-hour Set Tour, you will be transported back in time by about 50 years, and your tour guide will delight you with fabulous stories about the series and how it was filmed. Depending on when you’re in town, you may also bump into a former Star Trek actor, too. William Shatner is scheduled to be there in July 2021 for his 90th birthday!
8. Take a Day Trip to Lake Placid
Finally, a great day trip from Lake George is to another wonderful lake town – Lake Placid! About 75 miles from Lake George, Lake Placid has excellent restaurants and shops, but there are tons of outdoor adventures to enjoy, too. While you’re in the area, you really can’t skip the drive up the Veterans Memorial Highway to Whiteface Mountain. Not only are the views incredible, but this may just be one of the only places where you can take an elevator to the summit – inside the mountain! Once you drive back down the mountain, you’ll also want to check out High Falls Gorge before you make your way back to Lake George. You can enjoy strolling through this 22-acre nature park and admire the rushing water of the falls created by the rocky gorge.
Lake George is a fantastic place to spend a week or even just a long weekend. No matter how long you’re there, check out our other tips and advice to make the most out of your experience this summer. As always, do check each location’s website in advance for any COVID-related updates to hours and activities offered.
We hope you have a blast!