Exploring the Best of the Adirondacks in New York

Exploring the Best of the Adirondacks in New York

The Adirondacks in New York are home to lakes, historical landmarks, and more. Take a road trip to explore the sights in this amazing area. 

The Adirondacks, a 6.1-million-acre mountain range in northern New York, is home to numerous lakes, historical attractions, and resorts. The region boasts 46 high peaks with elevations exceeding 4,000 feet and more than 700 lakes and ponds, including Lake George and Lake Placid. Established in 1892, Adirondack Park is the largest publicly protected landmass in the contiguous U.S. 

Vintage shops and art galleries dot the rustic streets of more than 100 towns and villages in the region. Whether you want to shop all day, kick back in the hotel spa, or take the hike of a lifetime, your customized brand of adventure is always available in the Adirondacks. The next time you travel to upstate New York, take a road trip to explore the sights in this amazing area. 

="A view of Lake George, surrounded by green trees and a bright blue sky in the Adirondack region of northern New York.

Historical Points of Interest 

Learn more about U.S. history by visiting t Ticonderoga, a French fort that played a significant role in the Revolutionary War. Watch a reenactment of the Battle of Carillon or take a guided tour of the Colonial Revival Garden. The Fife and Drum Corps plays reveille and duty tunes daily throughout the summer. 

The Fort William Henry Museum and Restoration in Lake George commemorates the British outpost used to protect the area from French invaders. The museum offers military demos and educational tours with cannon firing and musket loading demonstrations. 

An American flag waves in the wind behind a log fence and matching log building at Fort William Henry Museum and Restoration in Lake George in the Adirondack region of northern New York

Visit the John Brown Farm State Historic Site in the town of North Elba for a first-hand look at the home and grave of U.S. abolitionist John Brown. Take a guided tour of the house, or hike on the trails surrounding the property. 

Back to Nature

Take time to view the indoor and outdoor nature exhibits at The Wild Centerin Tupper Lake after you drive through the center of Adirondack Park. Paddle along the Raquette River to glimpse marsh habitats or join an after-dark wildlife photography tour. The Hall of the Adirondacks features exhibits with turtles, fish, plants, and birds, or you could spend a few hours watching otters dive at the daily Otter Encounters.

If you prefer your animal encounters in a natural habitat, take a drive to the Indian Creek Nature Center in Canton. It features 7.9 miles of trails and provides a haven for many species of birds, amphibians, and mammals as well as 400 varieties of trees and plants. 

Shopping 

Shopping in the Adirondacks ranges from modern to unique and interesting. Named one of the top olive oil stores in the world by Olive Oil Times, the family-owned Saratoga Olive Oil sells the freshest imported olive oil, plus a selection of sea salts, balsamic vinegar, and gift baskets. 

Make a pit stop in the Lake Champlain to buy thrift and vintage treasures from one of the region’s cozy gift shops. Elizabethtown Thrift Shop offers glassware and furniture in addition to clothing or visit Adirondack Attic in Keene for a selection of hard-to-find clip-on earrings, stone necklaces, and vintage clothing, all displayed in a rustic country house. 

Arts and Culture 

Lake Saranac and other small towns in the Adirondacks boast thriving artist communities. Lake Saranac ArtWorks provides a list of local galleries, studio tours, and other cultural events throughout the year, including “Hobofest” and poetry readings. An Art Walk takes place on the third Thursday of every month. 

More than 30 local artists have exhibited their work at the Adirondacks Artists Guild Gallery on Main Street in Saranac Lake. The Guild rotates exhibits every month and features a variety of formats, from landscape paintings to black-and-white photography and handmade jewelry.  

Spas 

Unwind from driving with a visit to one of the Adirondacks’ luxury spas. The Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa offers luxury accommodations and a full-service spa. Rejuvenate your entire body with a Thai massage, or pamper yourself with a maple body scrub.

The Skana Spa at Oneida’s Turning Stone Resort Casino offers many treatments derived from the local Indian culture, including the Harmony Massage with sunflower and jasmine. Relax in a mineral bath or soaking tub after a morning of exploring or relieve dry skin with a hydrating aloe wrap. The spa offers a popular Strawberries and Cream Mani/Pedi during Oneida’s annual Strawberry Festival. 

If you’re looking for fewer frills, then work up a sweat at Hot Yoga Lake Placid with a Visitors’ Unlimited Weekly Pass. Classes include Bikram Fusion, Warm Vinyasa, and Bikram Express. 

Hiking 

For beginners, Big Slide Mountain near Keene Valley loops from the trailhead to three smaller summits known as The Brothers and leads to greater views as the elevation rises. Mount Marcy offers backpackers one of the area’s more challenging mountain treks. The 14.2-mile loop includes Lake Tear of the Clouds, the highest lake in New York state at an elevation of 4,292 feet.

Hike or bike in the wilderness at Great Camp Sagamore. Originally built as a luxury retreat for the Vanderbilt family, the camp is now used for lodging, meetings, and special programs, such as the Roots and Branch Music Workshop, which gives aspiring musicians the chance to study with seasoned local performers. 

A view from the top of a mountain overlooking green tree-covered mountains and hills at Mount Marcy in the Adirondack region of northern New York

If you’re into challenging sports, Rock and River offers guided tours with rock climbing, ice climbing, slides, snowshoeing, and hiking in the High Peaks, where the company also offers two cozy lodges. 

Camping

Park your car or RV and settle down in Fish Creek Pond Campgrounds in Saranac Lake for a few days. Most campsites offer pristine sand and water views. Camping areas situated around Square Pond and Fish Creek Pond provide easy access to boating and fishing. White Pine Camp offers restored rustic cabins on a site once used as President Calvin Coolidge’s summer home. If you prefer basic accommodations, Nick’s Lake Campground in Old Forge offers non-electric campsites with showers and bathrooms along several of the loops.

Family-style Fun 

Spend a day with family or friends in Queensbury at the Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom offers 135 rides, shows, and attractions. Satisfy your inner thrill seeker with a ride on Sasquatch, a 192-foot drop tower. When you’re ready to chill, cool off in the water park’s Bonzai Pipeline. 

For a different approach to relaxation, take a ride on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and marvel at the beauty of the foliage throughout the region. Party on the Wine and Beer Tasting Train, or just relax and admire the countryside between stops. The train departs from four stations: Utica, Thendara, Saranac Lake, and Lake Placid.

 

Do you have your own favorite places to visit during a road trip in the Adirondacks? Share your travel tips with us on Facebook.

Travel