Vacationing with the family in the Adirondacks of Northern New York is an adventure just waiting to be had. Get off the beaten path and explore rugged coastlines, historic sites that make history come alive, and, of course, the incredible summer recreation opportunities.
New in the Adirondacks this summer
On July 4, The Wild Center in Tupper Lake will open the Wild Walk, an elevated boardwalk trail that puts visitors in the treetops to experience the Adirondacks from a bird’s perspective. This made-for-kids attraction features swinging bridges, a spider’s web with room to hang out and a massive, bald eagle’s nest that welcomes visitors to climb a bit higher.
In the Lake George Area, Posh Primitive just opened, offering “glamping” amid the lush Adirondack summer landscape. Guests stay in custom-made, log-embellished canvas wall tents, each equipped with sumptuous furnishings and a distinctly safari-chic atmosphere.
Off-property day trips include whitewater rafting on the Hudson River, paddling and fishing, guided hiking trips, ziplining, and mountain and road biking. The staff cooks farm-to-table meals and dogs are welcome.
Set sail this summer in the Adirondacks
Boating in the Adirondacks is an essential part of summer for visitors and residents alike, and the region’s vast supply of navigable waterways have created a vibrant community of paddlers, boaters, sailors and swimmers. Set sail on one of the many picturesque lakes of the Adirondacks, including:
Lake Champlain – The USA’s 13th largest lake offers consistent winds for wind surfing and sailing, as well as multiple boat launches. Rent a boat from one of several marinas, and join in the fun during the 37th annual Mayor’s Cup Festival and Regatta. Slated for July 9-12 in Plattsburgh, the regatta is the largest and the most highly regarded sailing regatta on Lake Champlain. The Mayor’s Cup features a full weekend of family events, including the Parade of Lights, live music on the waterfront and a 5k fun run for all ages.
Long Lake – Located in the central Adirondacks, this popular summer destination offers over 22 kilometres of waterways, with lean-tos and campsites located along its shores. Go for a seaplane ride with Helms Aero Service after a day on the water.
Durant Days & Boat Parade Weekend, scheduled for Aug. 1 in Raquette Lake and Long Lake, offers a weekend of festivities celebrating William West Durant, the man credited with creating the Great Camp style of architecture.
Boat tours of Raquette Lake will be offered on the W.W. Durant Cruise Ship, as well as tours of area Great Camps, live musical entertainment and the annual Raquette Lake Boat Parade, followed by fireworks.
For those interested in the history of boating and water transport in the Adirondacks, the Adirondack Museum’s Boats & Boating in the Adirondacks exhibit features classic boats from the early days of travel, including Gold Cup-winning vessels, circa 1905.
Also on display is the El Lagarto, aka the “Leaping Lizard of Lake George,” which won the 1933, 1934 and 1935 Gold Cup races – the last of which was in Lake George.
Lake George – As the warm weather winds down, Lake George will host the Lake George Gold Cup Festival, a re-creation of the 1935 race that saw George Reis win his third Gold Cup with El Lagarto. Slated for Sept. 17 – 20 in Bolton Landing, the festival will feature vintage boat and replica races, island tours, picnics and plenty of family fun from this bygone era of racing.
Family mountain biking: hit the trails or watch exciting races
The Adirondack Region is a growing mecca for mountain bikers in the northeast, offering well-maintained trails and a community of riders who welcome visitors to explore and enjoy their favourite trails.
Integral to maintaining Adirondack mountain bike trails are the volunteer organizations that do everything from securing funding for signage to raking leaves and pine needles off the trails.
Barkeater Trails Alliance, a project of the Adirondack Ski Touring Council, is leading the charge around Lake Placid, Wilmington and Saranac Lake, adding on to existing networks so that all levels of riders have plenty of options.
In Wilmington, one of BETA’s ongoing projects is the Flume Trail Network, located on the West Branch of the Ausable River, offering smooth single tracks, and technical climbs.
A half an hour drive from Wilmington, the Ausable Chasm Mountain Bike Center offers up mountain bike trails, including beginner cruising and intermediate loops with doubletrack and single track trail.
The advanced loop features steeper hills and narrow paths through kilometres of unspoiled forest. For more expert riding, the Wickham Marsh State Trails are connected to Ausable’ s trails, leading riders through the marsh, downhill to Lake Champlain.
In the western Adirondacks, Highflats State Forest / Seven Springs Trails is one of four areas in the Adirondack Seaway Region maintained by the St. Lawrence County Mountain Bike Association. Located in Colton, the trails provide kilometres of great terrain for all abilities.
The Adirondacks also host several mountain biking festivals and races throughout the summer, including:
- 20th annual Black Fly Challenge on June 13 is a 64-kilometre bike race through the Moose River Plains Recreation Area, starting in Indian Lake and ending in Inlet. Riders and guests will enjoy an after-party at Fern Park featuring food, beer and live music. The race attracts about 1,000 riders and is open to beginner, sport and expert competitive cyclists.
- Mountain Bike Rodeo & Races, the final event of the Black Fly Challenge, is scheduled for June 14 at Fern Park. The event features a series of competitions for all ages, including a Slow Race, Barrell Race, Log Pull, Balance Race and the Longest Wheelie.
- The Churney Gurney Mountain Bike Race & Kids Race slated for Aug. 2 at Gurney Lane Recreation Area in Queensbury will feature three course options covering 16, 24 and 40 kilometres for beginner, sport and expert riders. Cash prizes will be awarded for winners in each category. The kids’ race is for riders ages 12 and under. The Queensbury Recreation Department plans to expand the town’s Gurney Lake Park by about three kilometres this year.
Photo: Courtesy of the Wild Center
Photo: depositphotos.com © fashionstock
Photos: depositphotos.com © Goodluz
Photo: Courtesy of the Adirondack Coast/goadirondack.com
Photo: depositphotos.com © bloodua
Photo: Gore Biking – Courtesy of Gore Mountain