Nestled in the foothills of New York's Adirondack Mountains, Lake George is an oasis of beauty and fun. With breathtaking views and a range of activities and attractions, it's no wonder families, and adventure seekers flock here every year. Though perhaps best known for its outdoor activities, Lake George also offers plenty of upscale treats for foodies and culture vultures, too. Whether you're looking for a lengthy getaway or a relaxing day by the lake, there are plenty of fun things to do in Lake George.
The best way to experience Lake George is directly on its crystal-clear waters. Why not take a boat tour of the lake to enjoy 360-degree scenic views of the Adirondack Mountains? There are several tour operators that offer boat tours of Lake George, including narrated cruises, sunset cruises, and private charters. Reserve your spot early during high season, as Lake George is a hectic place in the summer months.
Lake George wasn't always so peaceful. Visit the Fort William Henry Museum to learn about the area's role in the French and Indian War, a conflict brought vividly to life in both the novel and film versions of The Last of the Mohicans. The museum is located in the heart of the village of Lake George and features interactive exhibits, artifacts, and reenactments that illustrate the history of the area. There's also a haunted history tour available after dark.
Ever wanted to fly like a bird? Parasailing may be the next best thing. Don your harness and hang on tight: when the boat picks up speed, your parachute will open and lift you high into the air above the lake. Parasailing is a popular activity in Lake George, and there are several operators that offer excursions for the whole family.
While Lake George is busiest in the summer, hiking in the Adirondack Mountains can be enjoyed any time of the year — as long as you have the right gear for the weather. The area offers a wide variety of hiking trails, from easy nature walks to challenging mountain treks. Visit in the fall for breathtaking leaf peeping, where you'll be surrounded by an array of rich reds and glorious golds.
Situated on the southern end of Lake George, Million Dollar Beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and playing in the water. There's a picnic area with grills for families as well as a bathhouse with showers, making it the ideal spot for day trippers. This state-run park also has lifeguards on duty throughout the summer.
If lounging around on a boat or the beach is too tame, get your thrills on at Six Flags Great Escape. This amusement park features classics like a wooden roller coaster, bumper cars, and a carousel alongside some of the highest, fastest adrenaline-pumping rides ever invented. Bring your bathing suit and head to Hurricane Harbor for water slides and the wave pool on hot days.
The romance of a horse-drawn carriage ride is a tradition in the village of Lake George. Take in the scenery at a slower pace and let yourself be lulled by the gentle clop-clop of hooves on the pavement. When you travel this way, it's easy to imagine what Lake George was like 100 years ago. If you visit in winter, opt for a sleigh ride from nearby Circle B Ranch instead.
Take your pick! Go fishing and try to catch local bass, trout, and walleye. Grab a jet-ski and zoom around the lake for a high-speed tour. Rent a kayak or canoe and explore the quieter parts of the lake at your own pace. Lake George has several boat rental companies, whether you're looking for a chartered experience or want to strike out on your own.
Visit the House of Frankenstein Wax Museum for a spooky, interactive experience. This unique attraction features life-like wax figures of classic characters from horror movies. A combination of a wax museum and haunted house, it's a great place to cool off on a hot day and take in some kitschy fun — and get your pants scared off too.
Though not as famous as the Finger Lakes, the Lake George region is also home to many excellent vineyards. The wineries in the Lake George area produce a wide variety of wines, including Riesling, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Franc. Visit the Adirondack Winery's Lake George Tasting Room for a sampling of local flavors or tour wineries throughout the region.
The village of Lake George is home to a variety of unique shops, including boutiques and art galleries, so you'll have no trouble whiling away the hours admiring local craftsmanship. There's also a seasonal farmer's market for local produce and tasty treats. Further afield, you'll find deals on major brands at the outlet malls between Lake George and Queensbury.
Lake George can get crowded in the summer, but it's also a wonderful place to spend a winter weekend. West Mountain Ski Resort is the ideal spot to enjoy the powder, whether you're planning to ski, snowboard, or just enjoy some lighthearted tubing. Lessons and rentals are available, so it's a popular spot for newbies and experts alike.
For a bird's eye view of Lake George and the Adirondack Mountains, nothing beats a hot air balloon ride. SunKiss Ballooning offers hour-long aerial tours, complete with a Champagne toast when you're back on land. Trips vary based on weather and wind direction, so no two flights are alike — but all are unforgettable.
Top of the World Golf Resort might be one of the best-designed courses in the state. Consider yourself warned; the views might distract you, with every hole offering a vista of Lake George, the mountains, or the gracious, whitewashed clubhouse. For the young and young at heart, there are also several themed mini-golf courses in the area.
The mighty Mississippi isn't the only place famous for steamboats. In their heyday, these ships were the fastest things on the water. The Lake George Steamboat Company offers a variety of boat tours and cruises, including luxurious dinner and brunch trips. But the biggest draw is a ride on the historic Minne-Ha-Ha steamboat — one of the last surviving paddle wheel steamboats in operation, complete with a working musical calliope.