The Adirondacks are the perfect place to enjoy the best of what nature has to offer, and spend a wonderful family vacation! Fun for the whole family!
The Adirondacks, short for the Adirondack Mountains, is one of our most favorite places to visit. Nestled in upstate New York, Adirondack Park is roughly one-fifth of the state, and the largest national park outside of the state of Alaska. Each season provides wonderful outdoor opportunities, and it’s stunning all year. It’s also within a 6-7 hour drive if you live most places in the northeast, making it possible to even go for a long weekend. And if you don’t live in the northeast, it’s most certainly worth adding to your must-see list!
Because it so big, there are many options for places to see and stay, but no matter where you go, you’ll find lakes for kayaking, paddle boarding, boating, and swimming, mountains for hiking and adventure, and cute little towns to explore.
Family Vacation in the Adirondacks
There are a couple of ways you can approach your trip to the Adirondacks. You can choose to stay in a more populated town (for the area–still not huge), such as Lake George. It has many restaurants and things to do like water and amusement parks, ziplines, etc. They also have places to rent kayaks or paddleboards, and other water activities. Then you can take a day trips to go hiking, or go out and explore other lakes/areas of the park.
The other option is to stay more rural, and then venture out into the towns for a specific activity or to try a restaurant. We always do it this way–we prefer the quiet and more rural feel, and like to stay on lakes that aren’t as populated with as many people. Hiking, kayaking, swimming, and paddle boarding are our favorite things to do, and we’ve done them with all ages of kids. Staying in the Adirondacks means cottages, cozy fires (indoors or out), lake swimming, outdoor adventures, and just completely enjoying nature.
Morningside is a favorite place to stay–these darling cottages are on 80 acres of private land along Lake Minerva, in the High Peaks part of the Adirondacks. We’ve been there in different seasons, and it’s beautiful no matter when you go. Fall is hard to beat though, and they have the most gorgeous tree-lined lane as you drive in that I love!
Some of our best family memories have happened in cottages on the lakes here…playing board games, staying up late around the fire, kayaking around the lake, rope jumping into the lake, hiking in the mountains, exploring towns and adventuring new experiences and activities.
You can’t beat waking up to view like this!
This summer we stayed in Old Forge, NY, and absolutely loved it. It’s on the western side of the Adirondack park, with a slightly different feel and experience, but just as beautiful. Lake Placid is another favorite, and definitely worth a visit. We love going in the winter–ice skating on the lake, skiing, and so much more. You really can’t go wrong!
Best Things to Do in the Adirondacks
- Whiteface Mountain: skiing, Cloudsplitter Gondola Ride, Whiteface Veterans’ Memorial Highway
- Saranac Lake: super cute town! Adirondack Carousel, Emerald Springs Ranch, Saranac Laboratory Museum, Adirondack Watersports
- Lake Placid: Olympic Jumping Complex, Olympic museum, winter activities (skiing, ice skating), John Brown Farm State Historic Site, Mt. Van Hoevenberg (hiking, Cliffside Coaster)
- Lake George: So many things to do, one of the most popular Adirondack destinations. Restaurants and activities galore.
- Old Forge: Enchanted Forest Water Safari, Moose River Farm, McCauley Mountain Scenic Chairlift, Old Forge lake cruises, Adirondack Scenic Railroad
- Tupper Lake: Little Wolf Beach, Adirondacks Sky Center, The Wild Center
- Ausable Chasm (known as the Grand Canyon of the mountains)
Happy Travels! Check out our other favorite family vacations too!