I’d never really considered a lake vacation, but our recent trip to Lake Placid, NY changed my mind. My family and I stayed at Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort. It’s right in the heart of Lake Placid and backs up to Mirror Lake, so there are plenty of water activities, like pedalboats, paddleboards and kayaks.
There’s also a small man-made beach along Mirror Lake that’s perfect for little ones that want to splash in the lake or build sand castles (Golden Arrow is actually the only lakeside resort in Lake Placid). Plus, there’s hiking, picnicking and visiting Olympic sites, as well as experiencing nature and some of the most scenic views around. Seriously, there’s so much to do in Lake Placid. Take a look at 15 of my favorite ways to enjoy the area this summer.
1. Paddleboard on Mirror Lake. At Golden Arrow, my 10-year-old daughter simply walked out of our first-floor hotel room and hopped on a paddleboard since we were right on the lake and all water activities were included with our stay. Or, head to Mirror Lake Boat Rental and get a paddleboard for $25/hour.
2. Learn About Local Wildlife at the Wild Center. Take the kids to the Wild Center in nearby Tupper Lake for loads of hands-on exhibits and activities. Interact with naturalists as they bring animals into the Big Wolf Great Hall each day (porcupines, falcons, etc.) or complete activities to earn a Junior Naturalist Patch.
3. Ride on the Adirondack Carousel. Head to nearby Saranac Lake for a spin on the Adirondack Carousel. We paid $2 per child and got bags of popcorn for $1 each. Kids will love that every carousel animal has a name, like Shelly the Turtle and Oliver the Otter. Plus, there’s an on-site playground.
4. Enjoy the Summer Concert Series. Walk into the Lake Placid village and enjoy the free Songs at Mirror Lake concert series at the band shell every Tuesday evening through mid-August. Concerts take place right on the water, making both the sights and sounds fantastic for families.
5. Take a Gondola to the Top of Little Whiteface Mountain. Pick up an Olympic Sites Passport to participate in a variety of Olympic-related activities, including a 15-minute gondola ride to the top of Little Whiteface. The views, including a glimpse of the actual Lake Placid, are quite breathtaking.
6. Visit Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole. Less than 25 minutes from Lake Placid, you’ll find Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole (NY) with loads of Christmas-themed rides, games and shows. Through the end of the month, look for special two-day Christmas in July family packages.
7. Experience High Falls Gorge. On your way in to Lake Placid, it’s a must to stop at High Falls Gorge. Take selfies at the waterfalls, then enjoy a short hike (.5 mile) into the woods before you drive into town. Kids will also love panning for gemstones inside the gift shop and information center.
8. Ride on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. Young children will enjoy a ride aboard an old-time train along the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. Lake Placid trains depart twice-daily bound for Saranac Lake. The train station in Saranac Lake is adjacent to the Adirondack Carousel, making for a perfect morning or afternoon outing.
9. Visit the Lake Placid Olympic Museum. In the basement of the Olympic Center, you’ll find the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, which features memorabilia from the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games. Before you go, head upstairs to check out the Olympic ice hockey and figure skating rinks.
10. Go for a Picnic. The Lake Placid area is so beautiful that you’ll want to take time out for a picnic. There’s a grocery store less than 10 minutes down the road from Lake Placid (on the way to Saranac Lake), so pick up a few sandwiches and drinks, then have a picnic on the water.
11. Paddle in a Kayak. My girls (ages 9 and 10) both went out on Mirror Lake on their own to paddle kayaks. They just threw on life vests from the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort and they were gone. You can also rent single and double kayaks from Mirror Lake Boat Rental for $25/hour.
12. Become a Saranac Lake 6er. If you and your kids like to hike (as in mountains), then you may want to become an official Saranac Lake 6er. You can do so when you climb the six peaks that surround neighboring Saranac Lake. Not up for all six? Start with Mount Baker, which is well-suited for families.
13. Enjoy a Pedalboat Ride. We were out on Mirror Lake several times a day on the pedalboats at Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort. These were great since my smallest children could come along for the ride (they were also a great leg workout for me!). Mirror Lake Boat Rental also has pedalboats for rent.
14. Go for a Walk Around Mirror Lake. Walk through the small village of Lake Placid and you’ll find yourself on a 2.5 mile sidewalk loop around Mirror Lake. It’s very relaxing and shaded, which is a bonus when you have children. You’ll also find a playground and tennis courts on one end of the lake.
15. Go for a Bobsled Ride. For those who want to experience Olympic bobsledding, even in the summer, it’s a must to try out a real bobsled ride (with a professional driver and brakeman, of course). As a bonus, you can save 20% on the ride when you purchase the Olympic Sites Passport.
If you do plan a trip to Lake Placid, a stay at Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort is a must. As I noted above, it’s the only lakeside resort in Lake Placid. It’s also adjacent to the Lake Placid village and across the street from the Olympic Center, making it one of the most convenient locations for a stay in the area.
It’s easy to walk to restaurants and some Olympic venues from Golden Arrow, though you may not even want to leave the resort. My daughters honestly could have stayed out on the water all day long. Fortunately, there’s an on-site restaurant, Generations, as well as a beautiful indoor pool, so we didn’t need to go too far to eat or engage in other activities while in-town.
Have you ever been to Lake Placid? What are some of your favorite things to do in the Adirondacks region? Let me know in the comment section below.
Disclaimer: I received a media rate for a two-night stay at Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort, as well as two complimentary breakfasts and one complimentary dinner at the resort. I also received Olympic Sites Passports, as well as three passes to High Falls Gorge. However, all opinions expressed here are my own.