Summer Fun – 10 Things You Must Do In The Adirondacks

Are you visiting the Adirondack Tri-Lakes region, or just moved here and getting familiar with the area? Summer is one of the best times to relocate to or visit the Adirondacks. Pleasant weather, snow-free roads, and plenty of opportunities to catch local events and head out on outdoor adventures make it easy to fill summer days. Read on for insider advice from Adirondack Premier Properties staff on top activities to plan for your Adirondack summer.

10 Things You Must Do In the Adirondacks – Summer Checklist

10 things you must do in the adirondacks

1. GO FOR A CAR/ BIKE RIDE

Hop in your car or grab your bike to explore scenic roads and trails throughout area area. No matter where you travel throughout the Tri-lakes region, you will be greeted with scenic views and towns. Take a wandering ride to enjoy the beauty of the region and let go of the stress of trying to reach a specific point. Hitting the road is a great way to get to know local communities and become familiar with routes and distances in between. See below for a recommended loop road trip starting in Lake Placid. This route will allow you to see a wide variety of communities and unique scenic views, here is a full loop where you start in Lake Placid:

Head down Route 73 toward Keene and Keene Valley – Horse Show Grounds & Ski Jumps | Spectacular Mountain Views Near Adirondack Loj Road | Cascades Lake, Cliff and Mountain Views

In Keene, Turn left onto 9N continue until Jay – Mountain and Ausable River Views

In Jay, Turn left onto Route 86 continue into Wilmington – Whiteface Mountain and High Peak Mountain Views | Little Supermarket at Gas Station Offers Great Sandwiches

In Wilmington You Will Have Three Options A Short Trip, Medium Trip Or A Longer Trip

Short Trip

Turn Left At The Stop Sign In Wilmington to continue on Route 86 back to Lake Placid – Ausable River and Whiteface Mountain Views

Medium Trip

Continue straight at the stop sign in Wilmington to go up to the Whiteface Memorial Highway.

When you reach the split stay left toward the tollbooth, and drive to the top of Whiteface Mountain.

With a short walk you will have 360 degree view of the region; on clear days see all the way to Lake Champlain.

After you are done, head back down the highway, take a right at bottom to go back to Lake Placid, or turn left at the split (Route 18A) to continue the longer trip.

Long Trip

Continue straight at the stop sign in Wilmington toward the Whiteface Memorial Highway.

When you reach the split go right onto 18A. This brings you over Whiteface Mountain through Union and Franklin Falls with stunning views of the waterways.

Continue on this route to travel near the Saranac River into Bloomingdale.

When you reach the end, turn left on to Route 3, then left again at the four corners to continue on Route 3 toward Saranac Lake.

When you reach Saranac Lake, continue through the first light then turn left at the next light to view downtown Saranac Lake.

At the next light turn left onto Route 86 (Lake Flower Drive) where you will drive by Lake Flower back to Lake Placid.

Photo of Two People in Kayak

2. HIT THE WATERWAYS

One of the best parts about living in the Tri-Lakes region of the Adirondacks is the availability of waterways that you are able to enjoy throughout the region. Plenty of access to a variety of waterways is a highlight of Adirondack summers. Each community has several different waterways for residents and visitors to enjoy.

LAKE PLACID

Lake Placid Lake allows motorized and non motorized boats for a variety of experiences. Take out the speed boat for some water skiing, hop on a pontoon to enjoy the day with friends and family, or bring out your canoe/kayak to explore.

Mirror Lake in the heart of Lake Placid is more focused on paddling. Mirror Lake only allows low horsepower electric motor boats, so paddlers do not have to worry about wakes or waves.

SARANAC LAKE

The chain of 5 lakes – Lake Flower, Oseetah Lake, Kiwassa Lake, Lower Saranac Lake & Middle Saranac Lake – are popular water destinations. Lower & Middle Saranac Lakes can also be accessed via a lock.

Upper Saranac Lake is a short drive outside of town, well worth the trip. This lake allows motorized and non motorized boats and is one of the largest in the region.

Lake Colby is just on the outskirts of town near the hospital, and offers wonderful paddling as well as trolling in small horsepower boats.

TUPPER LAKE

Tupper Lake offers multiple opportunities to hit the waterways! Tupper Lake and Raquette Pond are right in the heart of Tupper Lake, making this village ideal for anyone who is looking to bring out their motorboats. These large waterways are also interconnected making it easy to spend the day out on the boat.

For paddlers, Simon Pond and the Raquette River are popular destinations. You can paddle on both Tupper Lake and Raquette Pond, but some paddlers may not like the potential for wakes from the motorized boats.

Sandcastle built on sunny beach near waving sea

3. FIND YOUR FAVORITE BEACH

With all the waterways throughout the region, there are a variety of sandy beaches for locals and visitors to enjoy during hot summer days! Each beach has its own feel so you should visit a few to see what one is your favorite.

Mirror Lake – Offers sandy public beach, tennis courts & playground, just off of Main St. Lake Placid

Lake Colby – Sandy beach, volleyball net and swimming dock, near hospital in Saranac Lake

Lake Clear – Large sandy beach offering plenty of space in Lake Clear, NY

Wilmington Beach – Sandy beach and picnic area on Lake Everest just off Route 86

4. EXPLORE NATURE

Brown Falcon on Tree

One of the biggest reasons to live in or visit this region of the Adirondacks is access to nature! Whether you enjoy hiking, biking, paddling or just want to relax and take in nature you will be surrounded with the beauty of the Adirondacks.

Hiking

If you are looking to hike and become a 46er, the Lake Placid and Keene regions feature a majority of the 4,000′ mountains with a short trip to Wilmington to finish them all.

The 46’ers may be a little intense for a first time hiker, but there are plenty of smaller mountains and hills for fun hikes and walks that are more accommodating and lead to spectacular views of the area.

Not a fan of the vertical? Check out some local trails that are generally pretty flat. The new Adirondack Rail Trail provides a nice flat surface, and runs from Lake Placid to Saranac Lake for a great opportunity to travel between towns and enjoy Adirondack nature. Another wonderful set of trails to visit is the Peninsula Trails in Lake Placid.

Biking

The Adirondack Tri-Lakes region also offers a wide variety of biking for anyone who is looking explore the area on two wheels. Whether you hope to mountain or road bike or combine the two, there are plenty of singletrack trails, paved and dirt roads, and hardened trails to explore.

Lake Placid offers plenty of mountain biking including the Lussi and Logger Trails or the Craigwood Trails. Wilmington also has an extensive trail network including the Flume Trail system and Hardy Road trails. Additionally, many of the walking trails throughout the region permit biking, so the Peninsula Trails, Heaven Hill trails and Rails to Trails trail are great opportunities to explore.

More of a road rider? Pick a road and start riding! For those looking for a bigger challenge, try out the Ironman bike course.

Paddling

Going for a paddle around the waterways is a great way to see local wildlife, forests and plant life. From waterfowl and many other animals including birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, being on the water offers a prime viewing place. A peaceful paddle offers a wonderful opportunity to see the diversity of wildlife in the area.

Birds like herons, hawks and eagles will generally build their nests near waterways with nearby fish plentiful to grab. Additionally, you may see deer and other mammals of the Adirondacks on the shoreline, stopping to grab a drink or cross to a new area.

Paddling is generally quieter than motor boating, so you will have a better chance of not scaring off the variety of wildlife along the shores or even in the water.

Relaxation In Nature

Want a more relaxing option that will allow you to immerse in Adirondack nature? Local environmental education centers provide a great opportunity to learn about local flora and fauna. Locations like the Paul Smiths Visitor Interpretive Center and the Wild Center in Tupper Lake also offer some local history.

When you visit the Wild Center, interactive exhibits cover topics concerning Adirondack natural history, native flora and fauna and conservation. See fish species that can be found in local waterways, exhibits on plants and animals, and occasionally some birds like owls and hawks. Finally, definitely make an effort to catch the otters during their play time!

The Paul Smiths VIC features a butterfly house, educational programs, art exhibits, workshops and concerts. VIC programs, trails and facilities provide a relaxing way to take in nature while learning some new things about the Adirondacks.

Cream Ice Cream in Cone

5. FIND YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM

It’s not summer without grabbing an ice cream to cool off and appease the sweet tooth! The Tri-Lakes offers a variety of places to grab a cone, be sure to stop off on your adventures to try them all and pick your favorite.

Saranac Lake Region

Donnellys Soft Ice Cream Won 2023 Best of the Adirondacks Ice Cream .

Mountain Mist On Lake Flower

Teddys Ice Cream In Bloomingdale, NY

Skyline Ice Cream in Tupper Lake, NY

Lake Placid Region

Emma’s Creamery

Mountain Mist

Ben & Jerrys

Pine Cone In Ray Brook, NY

Whitebrook Dairy Bar in Wilmington, NY

Morningside42Townhome Summer A Morningsides Side OlympicCenter

6. SEE THE OLYMPIC SITES

Summer time is a great time to visit historic and still active Olympic sites in the Lake Placid region. Stop by the Olympic Center on Main Street to visit the museum, and maybe even catch some up and coming athletes training or competing. The Ski Jumps and Whiteface Mountain offer a scenic gondola ride with panoramic views of some of the most spectacular scenery in the Adirondacks. Mt VanHoevenberg offers a wide variety of activities throughout the summer including the newly built Cliffside Coaster, Bobsled Experience, Indoor Rock Climbing and trails for hiking and cross country biking.

7. ATTEND SOME EVENTS

The Lake Placid region of the Adirondacks offers a wide variety of events that are popular with locals and visitors alike. Sporting, cultural and arts events offer you a chance to watch or participate in new experiences that are offered few places elsewhere, or at least not with the same Adirondack flair.

Guitar 1

Lake Placid’s major summer events include the Horse Show, Ironman, CanAm Rugby, the Summit Lacrosse Tournament, and new this year, a UCI Mountain Biking event! Additionally, you will find music in Mids Park on Tuesdays throughout the summer as well as some training or competitions at the Olympic Sites. The Lake Placid websites event page offers a comprehensive listing of everything happening during the summer.

Saranac Lake has one major summer event when it hosts the CanAm Rugby tournament. While this is the biggest event in Saranac Lake, there are many smaller events including paddling celebrations, music a few nights a week, art events and even semi-professional baseball. Music can be found for free on Wednesdays throughout the summer at the Riverside Park for the Music On The Green series, or some Friday Nights at the Hotel Saranac (check schedule to see who is playing). The Waterhole in Saranac Lake also offers free music on their patio (Party On The Patio) with the show moving inside on rainy days. The Party On The Patio series occurs at a bar, so you will need an ID if you plan on being inside. Saranac Lake is also host to a semi-professional baseball team, the Surge, who play their games throughout the summer at Ken Wilson field near the Middle School. Saranac Lake also has a great website to access all summer event information and plan accordingly.

8. TRY A NEW RESTAURANT

One of the best ways to get familiar with an experience an area is try some of the region’s restaurants. Whether it is trying a few pizza places to figure out which one is your favorite or going out to try a new type of food, discovering some local cuisine and maybe meeting a few new people can really help you know an area. Check out these local restaurants in the Tri-Lakes region:

People Drinking Liquor and Talking on Dining Table Close-up Photo
Saranac Lake

Red Fox – One of the best steak, seafood & Italian restaurants in the area.

Casa Del Sol – An Adirondack Mexican restaurant offering all of the favorites.

Bitters & Bones – Adirondack brewery and restaurant with craft beer & local cuisine

Blue Moon Cafe – Hearty breakfasts, fresh bread sandwiches & inventive bistro fare.

Fiddlehead Bistro – Small & changing seasonal menu w/ dietary restriction options

Lake Placid

Caffe Rustica – A variety of options for everyone – European Dining Experience

Lisa G’s – Great Wing Night (Mondays) American fare with global twists

Top Of The Park – Small plate tapas with some creative cocktails.

Smoke Signals – Elevated barbecue with patio that overlooks Mirror Lake

Players Sport Bar – American bar food with great burgers and views over Mirror Lake.

Farmers market

9. CHECK OUT THE LOCAL FARMERS MARKETS

If you enjoy farmers markets, the Lake Placid region of the Adirondacks has farmers markets in almost every community and all throughout the week. The biggest farmers market happens in Keene at Marcy Field. Find a wide variety of local fruits and vegetables as well as local artisan works. Our blog on Local Farmers Markets offers an overview of each community’s schedule.

10. EXPLORE THE MAIN STREETS

To really get to know the people and places that make the Adirondacks special, explore the Main Streets throughout the region! Each community has its own feel from busier Lake Placid to a more small town feeling in Saranac Lake. Lake Placid’s Main Street is more tourist focused with a mixture of both major and local shops, entertainment options and multiple restaurants. Saranac Lake’s Main Street is more focused on the arts with multiple local shops that feature a variety of art styles from painting to musical. Additionally, gift shops, sports shops and a variety of dining options are open throughout the day! There’s no better way to truly experience a town than walking it’s Main Street, so be sure to make time for a downtown stroll!

BONUS: PICK UP A NEW SPORT

The Adirondacks provide the perfect opportunity to practice your favorite hobby or sport in a world-class location, or also to learn a new sport. If you’ve ever wanted to try a new outdoor sport or dive in a little deeper, now could be the perfect time to learn! Many of the local outfitters offer rentals as well as guide services, so you can build your skills with educated athlete. Renting the equipment is a great way to try something new without spending a ton of money on gear only to find out you don’t really enjoy the sport.

If there is not a guide or class available in the sport that interests you, check to see if there is a local club or meet up of the sport. An example of this is BETA, or the Barkeater Trails Alliance, an advocacy organization for mountain biking and back country trails. Joining a local group could be a great way to meet some new people and pick up new skills. There are also some local groups that play pick up regionally like lacrosse, rugby and softball. Generally, these groups can be pretty laid back and a great way to get together to have some fun.

At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Adirondack Premier Properties, we live in and really enjoy the communities that we serve. If you are planning a visit and wish to book a vacation rental, or are looking for a home to relocate to the area, contact our office today!

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