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Adirondacks Travel Guide

When you're looking for some peace, we'll give you some perspectives.
Last Updated
:
January 12, 2024
by
Editorial Staff
Beautiful morning overlooking Heart Lake in the Adirondacks
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Heading to the Adirondacks? Unless your idea of a good time is driving in circles while squinting at crumpled maps trying to figure out where that secluded trailhead could possibly be, do yourself a favor and get a travel guide! Trust us, we learned that lesson the hard way between stopping for directions that somehow made things more confusing and our failed attempt to hike up what turned out to be someone’s very long driveway.

Spanning over 6 million acres of wilderness dotted with majestic peaks, crystal clear waters, and forests so pristine they almost sparkle, the Adirondack Park is like nature’s Disney World on steroids. And just like heading to the Most Magical Place on Earth, you need to come prepared with a plan of attack before setting foot in the park unless you want to waste that precious vacation time you fought your boss so hard for.

An Adirondack travel guide lays everything clearly out like trail maps for life, highlighting can’t-miss attractions so epic they should be one of the wonders of the natural world. We’re talking soul-soaring mountain summits that leave you feeling on top of the world, raging rivers straight out of an action movie only you get to kayak down them, and charming towns with local flavor that makes you feel like the star of your own Hallmark movie.

And just when you think you’ve seen it all, this guide will get you off the beaten path to secluded spots so magical it’s like discovering a new world hidden in plain sight that only the initiated get to experience. We’re talking secret waterfalls that seem to defy gravity, backcountry meadows bursting with wildflowers that render you speechless, peaks with epic panoramas so stunning you’ll think you died and woke up in heaven. Sound like your kind adventure? Then by all means, get yourself an Adirondack travel guide my friend! This is one whirlwind getaway you’ll want to be prepared for.

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About Adirondacks

Aerial View over Long Lake Adirondack Park Mountains
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The Adirondack Mountains are a massif in northeastern Upstate New York, covering approximately 5,000 square miles. The dome-like shape is caused by glaciation. The resulting landscape is roughly circular, 160 miles in diameter, and 1 mile high. The region is home to numerous glaciers and many species of flora and fauna.

The Adirondacks are a perfect place for a relaxing vacation, but there is also plenty to do while visiting. For example, the 133-mile Northville Placid Trail crisscrosses the Adirondack wilderness and passes by several peaks. This route also cuts through valleys and streams.

Originally, the Adirondacks were home to a group of indigenous people, including the Iroquois and the Abenakis. Both groups were hunters, and their hunts spanned thousands of square miles in upstate New York. However, the Indians were hostile to white people, and Jesuit missionaries were frequently tortured by the local tribes. The region’s rich natural resources attracted trappers from Montreal and Fort George. Later, the area was settled by pioneers, who faced many challenges, including Indian raids, British and French conflict, and the birth of America.

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Why Go to Adirondacks

Adirondacks overlooking Boston
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A visit to the Adirondacks is a great way to get outside and experience the great outdoors. Its 2.4 million acres of wilderness offer endless opportunities for outdoor adventures. The region also has many celebrated cultural centers and restaurants that capture the essence of the region. No matter what your style is, you’re sure to find a great place to stay and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Lake George is a popular lake for watersports. Scuba diving is popular in the freshwater, and you can even tour the wreckage of an ill-fated ship. The water is generally calm during the summer, making it a great place to enjoy waterskiing or wakeboarding.

The Adirondacks are an easy drive from Central New York City. You can experience adventure year-round, and you’ll never get bored. The drive around the mountain ranges and lakes will bring you to many of the region’s most popular recreational attractions. You can also visit the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, which is the site of the two Winter Olympics. The museum houses items that were used during both games.

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Best Time to Go

Colorful fall trees around the Saranac river in the Adirondacks in New York State in the autumn
Adobe Stock

The best time to visit the Adirondacks is anytime from May through August, but be prepared for crowds. Fall foliage in the Adirondacks is mesmerizing. If you want to enjoy driving through the fall foliage, visit early in the week or late in the evening. Keep in mind that fall temperatures can range from the mid-60s to the 30s, so make sure you dress in layers.

The Adirondacks are great for outdoor enthusiasts, and you can enjoy hiking, skiing, ice skating, and scuba diving in the summer. If you want to go swimming or take a boat ride, the waters of Lake George are relatively calm in the summer. If you are interested in participating in watersports, you can also try wakeboarding or waterskiing.

The Adirondacks are located about four hours north of New York City. They are a popular destination for hiking, with dazzling lakes, waterfalls, and snow-capped peaks. In the summer, you can explore the forests with canoes and kayaks. In the fall, the Adirondacks are spectacular with the fall foliage peaking the last two weeks of September.

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How to Get Around

Adirondack Mountains map
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One of the best ways to get around the Adirondacks is by car. You can easily drive from New York City to Lake Placid in a day. Alternatively, you can take the train, which runs from Penn Station in New York City to Lake Placid. There are also airports in Saranac Lake and Plattsburgh.

The Adirondacks are about four hours away from NY City and 90 minutes from Central New York. They are well worth the trip, as you can enjoy the outdoors year-round. Driving around the beautiful mountains and lakes, you can find many of your favorite recreation activities. For example, the Enchanted Forest Water Safari is home to the wettest rides in the East. And, the city of Lake Placid, the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics, is full of year-round entertainment.

The Adirondacks region stretches across six million acres and is a popular vacation destination. With so many attractions and activities, there is something for everyone. From hiking trails and rock climbing areas to historic towns and villages, this region of New York is sure to delight.

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Best Restaurants

Best Restaurants in Adirondacks
Five Corners Cafe

There are many fine dining options in the Adirondacks, from ice cream shops and cafes to family-friendly bistros and mom-and-pop diners. The cuisine is local, and often combines the flavors of the forest with local harvests. The Adirondacks are a wonderful place to enjoy a meal outdoors.

The five Corners Cafe is one of the best Adirondacks restaurants for seasonal fare. The restaurant is small, but the menu features dishes like rack of lamb and ricotta gnudi. Another inexpensive option is Lisa G’s, which puts a contemporary spin on classic comfort food. This place is a favorite with locals.

The Adirondacks are home to some of the best restaurants in the United States. Many Adirondacks restaurants reinvent American classics with a rustic flair. In addition to family-friendly dining, many restaurants also offer seasonal menus that incorporate seasonal local produce and livestock.

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Things to Do

Bike Route Sign along a Highway in the Adirondacks, NY, at Sunset
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The Adirondack Mountains are home to a variety of attractions and things to do. The term “vacation” was actually invented in the Adirondacks! The region has a small year-round population, few cities and a diverse natural landscape, making it an ideal place to experience a getaway. Whether you are looking for a quiet retreat, a romantic getaway or an active holiday, you can find a variety of options here.

There are numerous ways to experience the Adirondacks, from hiking and mountain biking to skiing. If you’re a history buff, you can visit the Olympic Centre and learn about the region’s Olympic past. This building was where the US won the first-ever gold medal in hockey at the 1920s, and you can view the training center used by the Olympic team.

If you’re a fan of food, there are plenty of restaurants and wine-tasting rooms in the area. You can even try the famous pastries at the Blue Brothers Bakery. This bakery is owned by a man with a beard who loves blues and rock.

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Neighborhoods to Know

Beautiful houses situated on the shore of a beautiful lake
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If you’re thinking of buying a home in the Adirondacks, you’ll want to consider the historic neighborhoods. These communities are filled with gorgeous old mansions and sprawling lawns. They’re also popular destinations for tourists and joggers. However, if you’re thinking of buying a house here, you’ll want to pay close attention to the real estate market. In addition to historic neighborhoods, you’ll find quaint shops and artisan products. For example, you’ll find a wide variety of handmade crafts at Market Barn in Malone, which is a converted livestock auction barn turned into a creative warehouse of handmade goods. Or, you can visit Hoss’ Country Corner in Long Lake, which has a wide selection of local items.

While the Adirondacks region is vast, it’s broken down into dozens of small towns. Each town has its own character and is close to the park’s natural attractions. You’ll find everything from downhill skiing and cross-country skiing to hiking and mountain biking in each town.

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