The Adirondacks mixes the wilderness appeal and the history of the great camps of the beginning of the last century. It looks up far north but it's only 5 hours from Boston or New York, and a mere 2 hour drive from Montreal. You will need a car if you want to go around, unless you are staying in downtown Lake Placid (which has no train station but is serviced by Amtrak).
The Adirondack Park
The Adirondack Park is 6 Million of forever wild land protected by the NYS constitution in conjunction with the Catskills. Today the Park is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States, greater in size than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon National Park combined!
Despite to its large size, there is no major highways through the park due to its multiple high peaks and lakes, and its protective status. For this reason, most tourist towns are close to the eastern edge, not far from route 87 running from New York and Albany to Montreal.
Lake Placid and the Olympic games
The early 20th century hotels and great camp opened the park to the tourists but it's Lake Placid that makes it what it is with the 1932 and 1980 Olympics. It remains a major tourist hub, with its proximity to Whiteface, a favorite skiing destination.
What do you like? With its vast hiking trails, camping is a favorite lodging options, either on campsite or in the wilderness, off the trail or right off the canoe (beware of the bears).
In remote sections of the park, many hotels and cabin options dot each lake. From the over the top The Point, to the Great camp Sagamore turned museum & hotel, or a glamping option at Posh Primitive, there is an option for everyone.
In towns, Saranac Lake offers many bed & breakfast options, while Lake Placid offer a wide range of hotels. From very efficient motels, to Relais & Chateaux Lake Placid Lodge and Leader Hotel of the World Whiteface lodge, you will find what you want. If art & craft is not your style, we recommend the Lake House, renovated with a 60's vibe, or an apartment at The Haus.
With a great history of camps, and family estates, summer is the time to go. Avoid the black fly season in May and June, and you will find the temperature perfect for a hike (not all as demanding as Mt Marcy), a canoe trip, or a dip in the lake from your dock. In Lake Placid, check out the summer usage of the winter facilities (think bobsleigh!).
Not everyone will go for the 90 mile Adirondack canoe classic, but from a day trip to overnights, many options to chose from to enjoy the 30,000 miles of waterway, especially in the St Regis canoe area. But maybe whitewater rafting will be more of a thrill for you.
We are going to shamelessly admit as outdoor people that Fall is the season to be in the car and tour the park at peak foliage season. Stop for a hike, continue, stop again to absorb the scenery, drive a little more. With always changing colors, fair weather, miles to drive, it's a paradise to enjoy. You can even drive up the Whiteface Veterans Memorial highway to enjoy a view from the top. We tell you, there is no shame in enjoying some TLC in the high peaks; Fall is the season to be lazy in the ADK.
It's the winter Olympics that happen up there, so definitely a full range of options. Right in downtown Lake placid, the outdoor skating ring will make you feel like an Olympian. The Olympic Regional Development Authority, is in charge of multiple facilities, from luge, to ski jump, from cross country skiing to bobsleigh. It's crown jewel is Whiteface offering the greatest vertical drop East of the rockies. It also manages Gore mountain a little more south in the park and Belleayre in the Catskills. Right in town, Jack Rabbit is an amazing xcountry ski trail and Camp Santanoni offers unique discovery opportunities through AARCH. There is always something to do in the winter.
Spring skiing is the best, and you already take an early start on your tan. Not in the mood for "activities"? a scroll downtown Lake Placid will make shoppers happy (did we tell you they have a Gap outlet?). End of spring is the very low season, the "mud season", great way to discover without the crowds if you don't mind a little mud, and the snow patches.
Be the après ski or the après hike, you will find a spot to relax. Our coup de coeur? SubAlpine, a great cafe / bakery / just want to be here in Keene.