Plan Your Best Summer Saranac Lake Vacation

saranac lake  vacation

When planning a vacation in the Tri-Lakes region of the Adirondacks, some travelers aim to get off the beaten path and away from the more crowded tourist areas. If you are looking for a more classic Adirondack trip with a small town feel, start planning your perfect summer Saranac Lake vacation today!

Close to Lake Placid which is often very busy with tourists, Saranac Lake is a great vacation spot on the quieter side. Perfect for families, outdoor adventurers, water lovers, and the arts minded, this community has a lot to offer summer vacationers.

With a vibrant downtown full of unique shops and restaurants, Saranac Lake is very arts forward with open studios, frequent live music and an overall love for the arts throughout the community. In addition to arts adventures, there are also plenty of nearby outdoor activities to enjoy Adirondack natural wonders. Read on for ADKPP’s insider information and tips for how to plan your summer Saranac Lake vacation.

4 Tips for Planning Your Best Summer Saranac Lake Vacation

1. Try As Many Outdoor Activities As You Can

lake fishing kayaking
Paddle, Float and Boat

Saranac Lake offers some of the best opportunities in the Tri-Lakes region for boating or paddling. With 5 interconnected lakes, over 25 miles of water based adventure awaits. Interconnected lakes include Lake Flower, Oseetah Lake, Kiwassa Lake, Lower Saranac Lake and Middle Saranac Lake. This network of waterways allows both motorized and non-motorized watercraft to allow a multiple use visitor experience.

Upper Saranac Lake also offers wonderful days of boating and paddling. Unfortunately, getting there requires a little drive out of town to get on the water, but it is well worth the trip!

Other nearby fun waterways include Lake Colby for some great days of fishing or just floating around in your kayak or canoe or small motorboat. The Saranac River is another great option for paddlers looking to float through Saranac Lake.

There are various watercraft rental options throughout the community:

Saranac Lake Marina On Lower Saranac Lake – Variety of motorboats as well as canoes & kayaks

St Regis Canoe Outfitters – variety of kayaks and canoes plus guided tours

Adirondack Lakes & Trails Outfitters -canoe, kayak and SUP plus guided tours

Sandcastle built on sunny beach near waving sea
Find A Beach

While the Adirondacks aren’t usually known for super hot days, high temps are more frequent in recent years. The Saranac Lake area offers a few options to cool off and enjoy summer beach days.

Lake Colby beach is just on the edge of town near the hospital in Saranac Lake. This beach has a sandy shoreline providing the perfect opportunity to build sandcastles and cool off in the water. A volleyball net is also set up to stay active on land and enjoy a few games. In the water, a swimming dock as well as depth markers make for a nice swimming area. This beach also has life guards on duty, picnic area and restrooms during open hours.

Lake Clear beach is a short drive outside of town, but offers a larger sandy beach than Lake Colby. This beach is swim at your own risk, but is one of the more popular local destinations. Swimming and relaxing in the larger beach area is a popular summer activity with locals and visitors. After you finish swimming, don’t forget to stop by Donnelly’s Ice Cream before heading back into Saranac Lake.

Backpack Hiking
Go For A Hike

While most visitors are aware of the 46’er hiking challenge with peaks over 4,000 ft. mostly located between Lake Placid and Keene, many are unaware that Saranac Lake offers its own hiking challenge. The Saranac Lake 6’ers offers smaller mountains that may be more accessible to less experienced hikers or those with less time. This hiking challenge consists of 6 mountains around the Saranac Lake region. The mountains are Baker, St Regis, Scarface, Ampersand, Haystack and McKenzie Mountain.

If you are looking for some easier hikes, there are multiple trails around the region that offer a less strenuous hike without missing out on interesting views and the ability to experience the Adirondack Nature.

Take A Bike Ride

Whether you are looking to be a road warrior or hit some wooded trails, Saranac Lake offers the perfect starting point to bike.

If your goal is to bike the roads, pick a direction and head out. One of the best parts of traveling around the Tri-Lakes region is the spectacular views you will see from any roadway.

  • Heading towards Tupper Lake, pass by Lower Saranac Lake enjoy views of hills and mountains
  • Towards Lake Placid, take in magnificent mountain views.
  • Towards Bloomingdale, ride along the Saranac River.
  • Towards Paul Smiths, enjoy views Lake Colby and mountain scenery.

If you are more of a mountain biker, there are several options to ride throughout the area for every skill level.

  • Mt Pisgah offers the only machine built flow trail as well as a 5 mile network of moderate to difficult trails.
  • Dewey Mountain Recreation Center offers single track stacked mountain biking that spans 5.5 miles with trails become more difficult the farther you go.
  • If you are more inexperienced, the Bloomingdale Bog Trail and Adirondack Rail Trail offer an easier ride to practice and build your skills.

2. Make Time for Indoor Activities and Local Culture

Shop Main Street

If the weather is not cooperating, shopping Main Street Saranac Lake is a great way to spend the day. Explore town and discover locally crafted treasures in a variety of shops. From shops featuring toys, clothing and other goods to art studios and sporting goods stores, Saranac Lake has something for every shopper.

Strolling downtown also offers a great opportunity to interact with the locals and see for yourself what makes this community so special. Be sure to leave enough time to sit down for a coffee or meal at one of several popular local eateries.

Go Bowling

Another fun indoor option on your summer Saranac Lake vacation is bowling. Romano’s Saranac Lanes is a bowling alley located right on the main street of Saranac Lake. This bowling alley has plenty of lanes, so you can make the most of your bowling time and relax.

It also offers food and a sports bar. Take a break between games to catch the latest game and enjoy a tasty bite.

Visit a Local Museum or Nature Center

Saranac Lake has several educational facilities to learn about local history and nature. The Saranac Laboratory Museum highlights Saranac Lake’s history as a tuberculosis treatment area.

Another option is visiting one of the nearby nature centers that are in close proximity to the Saranac Lake Area. The Paul Smiths Visitors Interpretive Center is a great way to experience some Adirondack wildlife up close. The butterfly house is popular with both locals and visitors throughout the summer. If you get a break in the weather or don’t mind a wet hike, you can also hit the network of trails around the property.

Traveling a little farther to Tupper Lake, The Wild Center offers an immersive experience for all ages that is not to be missed. Spectacular wildlife and educational exhibits and interactive activities as well as up close views of a variety of wildlife make this a must see.

Visit The Carousel

Visiting the Carousel isn’t an all day event, but it is a great way to see some local craftsmanship.

The Adirondack Carousel features 24 hand carved animals that are native to the Adirondacks. It is also handicapped accessible with a Chris-Craft boat to ride in.

The rounding board in the Carousel was also painted by a local artist to depict regional scenes.

3. Check Out Local and Regional Events

Can Am Rugby Tournament

If you have never experienced rugby, the Can Am Rugby Tournament that takes place in Saranac Lake is a great opportunity for you to catch the action.

The Can Am Rugby Tournament is a three day tournament that brings in over 100 teams. This tournament features both men’s and women’s teams ranging in age from college to older masters groups.

Celebrate Paddling ADK

Every June as the paddling season unofficially starts, local outfitters host paddling related activities and events. These events include lectures, historical presentations, waterway clean ups, and meet and greets to paddle with new people.

Attending these events is a great way to learn or improve your paddling skills and find some new spots. You. may also meet some locals who can give you tips on paddling the region.

Farmers Market / Studio Tour

Every Saturday throughout the summer, the Saranac Lake Farmers Market fills Riverside Park with fantastic sights, smells and sounds. Featuring a variety of goods from fruits & veggies and local craft beer to local artists’ works, there is something to peak everyone’s interest.

If you find an artist that you like at the farmers market, ask them about their studio tour schedule. Many studios open their doors to visitors at the end of July and September. This is a great opportunity for a behind the scenes look at the artist’s thought and design processes.

Listen To New Music

Saranac Lake is an artsy town that showcases plenty of visual arts, and it also has a very lively music scene during the summer. Generally, you can find music playing somewhere in the Saranac Lake region at least three days a week. Some regular shows to watch out for:

Finish off your summer at the Northern Current Music Festival at Riverside Park on Sunday of Labor Day weekend. This festival has a myriad of musicians to celebrate diversity.

4. Relax and Take A Break

Even though you are on vacation and busy doing all that’s on your wishlist, don’t forget to take a deep breath, relax and really take in all the natural beauty the Adirondacks has to offer. While there will always be a new activity or cool adventure calling, taking time to relax with friends, family or even by yourself is one of the best parts of visiting the Adirondacks.

Sitting around the fire at the end of the day to talk about the day’s adventures can make some of the best lasting memories. Most Adirondack homes also include porches that welcome you to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of surrounding nature. Covered porches are perfect for enjoying the Adirondack breeze on warm summer days, while screen porches provide protection from the bugs that can get intense during some warm weather months. Finding the perfect spot to relax at your vacation rental will only elevate your visit to the Adirondacks.

If Saranac Lake sounds like an ideal summer vacation destination, our experienced team is here to help you find the perfect vacation rental. Contact our office at 518-523-3333 to start planning your adventure and relaxation in the Adirondacks.

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