Lake Placid is the jewel of New York's Adirondack Mountains. This village of just over 2,000 residents is most famous for hosting the Winter Olympics (twice!), but there's fun to be had here all year round. The area around Lake Placid is known for its picturesque scenery and variety of outdoor recreation, from skiing and snowboarding to hiking and boating. Indoorsy types can skip the sports and enjoy local restaurants, shops, and museums.
01 Skiing and Snowboarding
Whiteface Mountain hosted the Olympic skiing events, and the ski area still holds plenty of snowsports competitions today. Located just 13 miles outside of Lake Placid, you can enjoy 90 trails, including double black diamond wilderness skiing areas for real experts. Lessons and rentals are also available, so beginners shouldn't shy away from making their Olympic dreams come true.
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02 Ice Skating
Want to skate on the same ice where figure skater Scott Hamilton began his Olympic career? How about gliding into glory like the "Miracle on Ice" hockey team? The Olympic Center offers three different places to skate during your visit, and all are spacious. Check the website for times, as hours vary depending on the type of skating offered.
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The High Peaks Wilderness Area is a popular destination for hikers, with over 140 miles of trails and many designated backcountry campsites. The courses in the area range from easy to strenuous, so you can choose your own adventure for a short excursion or an extended backpacking trek. In the winter, the same trails are available for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
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04 Boating and Fishing
Boat rentals are available at marinas on both Lake Placid and Mirror Lake, so you have your pick of dinghies, canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and more. Anglers should head to Mirror Lake, which is stocked with rainbow trout annually. If you choose to fish on Mirror Lake, be ready to paddle: there are no motors allowed to break the calm—or scare the fish.
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The Lake Placid Club is just a short drive from the village. The club has 45 holes spread across three courses, two of which are over 100 years old and were designed by some of golf's most famous architects. Steeped in history and known for its beautiful views of the Adirondack Mountains, this is a must-do for links lovers of all levels. If you can't bear to leave, you can explore the tennis courts and private beach here as well.
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The Olympic Jumping Complex is home to dizzying ski jump towers, which you can reach by a short gondola ride. Once you're finished taking in the scenery, get back to the ground at speeds up to 30 miles per hour via the thrilling zipline. Ziplining is only available during warmer months, and reservations are a good idea during the summer high season.
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The Olympic Discovery Trail runs through the village of Lake Placid and along the shores of Mirror Lake. This paved trail is suitable for road biking, as well as for families with children and people with disabilities. The Olympic Discovery Trail connects to several other trails in the region for long-distance biking. Mountain bikers will also enjoy steep, rigorous trails throughout the region.
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08 Whitewater Rafting
The Ausable River is one of the premier whitewater rafting destinations in the Adirondacks. The river features class I-IV rapids, so it's a great option for families and first-timers as well as more experienced adrenaline junkies. There are several local whitewater excursion outfits to guide trips on the water, so it's easy to book an outing for groups of various sizes and skill levels.
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For a shot of retail therapy, head to Main Street, where you'll find shops offering everything from local arts and crafts to outfitters supplying all your camping and hiking gear. From upscale boutiques to funky antique shops, there's no shortage of shopping in the center of town. There's also a weekly farmer's market featuring locally grown produce, arts, and crafts.
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Main Street is also a foodie's paradise, with everything from upscale fine dining to pizza parlors and diners with comfort food. Many Main Street restaurants offer water views, and you can choose from seafood, steak, Mexican, Italian, and Asian options. Farm-to-table menus and plenty of vegetarian and vegan choices provide tasty adventures for all eaters. For snacks during the day, there are several coffee shops and ice cream parlors to choose from.
11 Take a Scenic Drive
The Whiteface Memorial Highway is a scenic drive that leads to the summit of Whiteface Mountain, with spectacular views of the surrounding area. The 8-mile drive is winding and narrow, with many sharp turns—but the panoramic views stretching to Lake Champlain make the trek well worth the effort. When you get there, you can have a snack and check out the stone castle that sits atop the mountain.
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12 Meet Animals at the Zoo
During the summer, visit Adirondack Animal Land to get up close and personal with plenty of furry friends. This zoo and petting farm near Lake Placid features an African safari drive with 100 animals, including zebras and giraffes. The petting zoo has more common animals, such as horses, pigs, sheep, and goats. This interactive experience is perfect for kids and animal lovers of all ages.
13 Explore the Olympic Museum
If you're a fan of the Olympics, you can't miss the Lake Placid Olympic Museum. Dedicated to preserving and showcasing the history of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, the museum features a variety of exhibits and artifacts, including Olympic memorabilia, photographs, and interactive displays. Don't skip the interactive bobsled exhibit for a taste of life on the fast track.
14 Discover American History
The John Brown Farm State Historic Site interprets the life and legacy of the fiery abolitionist whose actions hastened the onset of the Civil War. The farm was one of the last stops on the Underground Railroad, and you can see a replica of the cabin where abolitionist Harriet Tubman stayed during her visits to the farm. Eighteenth-century life in upstate New York is also carefully preserved.
15 See a Show
For a taste of culture, don't miss the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. This cultural center features a variety of exhibitions, concerts, and performances throughout the year, including theater productions, dance performances, and art shows. If you're feeling artsy yourself, you can check out some of the classes and workshops offered throughout the year.