Located in the expansive, protected Adirondack region of New York state and characterised by imposing mountains, dense forestry and scenic lake views, the waterside town of Lake George is a popular summer destination for east coast city dwellers keen to escape the daily hubbub of urban life. The town has an abundance of attractions, both natural and man-made, that draw vast numbers of visitors each year.
Whether it’s scaling a majestic mountain range, exploring a place of historic interest, wading through forests, or reclining on a sandy shoreline, Lake George has somethings to satisfy every taste and whim. To help inspire you to come and visit the town yourself, we’ve picked out 12 of the best things to see and do here.
1. Hit the water with Lake George Island Boat Tours
A visit to Lake George simply isn’t complete without a trip on the water. Lake George Island Boat Tours offer a wide variety of boating adventures aboard a choice of three powerboats that can be curated to your preferences, making the experience as action-packed, adrenaline-fuelled or relaxed as you wish. So whether it’s discovering sunken ships and ghost stories, admiring the mansions lining the shore, trying out an adventure sport like tubing, cliff jumping or snorkelling, or simply reclining on a boat for an hour or three soaking up the rays, you can hand-pick the experience to suit you and your companions’ every whim. Guests can also bring their own food and drinks onboard.
2. Discover the local craft scene on a Hoppy Trails Brew Bus tour
Much like so many places across the US, the Adirondack region has a burgeoning craft brewery scene, and visitors keen to discover more about this side of the area can do so by joining a guided bus tour by Hoppy Trails. Tour groups are accompanied by talented, knowledgeable and entertaining guides as you embark on a whistlestop journey around several local craft establishments including breweries, distilleries and wineries. During the trip you’ll get to observe the crafting process, and – most importantly – try plenty of samples too.
3. Sample world class wine at Adirondack Winery
Situated next to Shepard Park, a few minutes’ walk from the shores of Lake George, is one of the region’s premier wineries and one of the first Micro-Wineries anywhere in America. Here at this family-run site, which celebrated its 11th anniversary in April, visitors can come and sample nearly 30 hand crafted, award winning, fruit infused and varietal wines in the on-site Tasting Room, as well as learn about how the wine making process works, all set against the scenic backdrop of the nearby lake. The husband and wife owners also host the annual Adirondack Wine & Food Festival in late June that draws wine lovers from far and wide.
4. Soak up the Lake George Nightlife
Lake George has a vibrant nightlife scene and much of the action revolves around the liberal sprinkling of pubs and bars that are dotted around the area, many of which have scenic lakeside settings. One of the best ways to experience this nightlife is on The Lake George Bar Crawl. Every weekend a fun-loving local guide takes groups on a crawl that takes in 3 bars and finishes at Lake George’s most pumping nightclub. Revellers can look forward to dancing, live music, exclusive drink specials, group games, scavenger hunts, prizes, and perhaps even a new friend or five.
5. Pick your cruise of choice with the Lake George Steamboat Company
As the saying goes among Lake George locals, to experience the lake, you have to get on it. And another great way to do just that is on a Lake George Steamboat Company cruise. The company offers a variety of cruises on three large ships, each offering a unique experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. There are Meal Cruises with lunch brunch and dinner included, Sightseeing Cruises that navigate the entire 32 mile stretch of the lake, and Entertainment Cruises featuring live music, concert and as much champagne as you can quaff.
6. Drink and dance at King Neptune’s Pub
Perched on the shore of the scenic Lake George, King Neptune’s Pub is one of the region’s most popular entertainment spots, thanks to its combination of a beautiful setting, top class live music and vast food and drinks menu. Spread across three levels, with a bar on every one, there’s also a roof-top deck and lakeside patio where guests can kick back and escape from the pumping sounds emanating from below.
7. Hurtle down a mountain on the Eagle Flyer Zipline (CURRENTLY CLOSED)
Adrenaline junkies visiting Lake George are in for a treat courtesy of the Eagle Flyer Zipline. Nestled at the top of the historic French mountain, and looming dramatically over a deep valley below, four side-by-side ziplines propel you on a 50mph ride of your life to the bottom of the peak. The cost of the experience includes a ride up to the top of the mountain in an Austrian Pinzgauer military off-road vehicle.
8. Send shivers down your spine at the House of Frankenstein Wax Museum
For those who find Madame Tussauds a little too sedate, this is a wax work museum with a creepy, gruesome difference. Packed full of iconic characters from the world of blood, horror and gore, the museum is a huge hit with kids and adults alike and the perfect activity for whiling away a rainy day in Lake George. Look out for the likes of Predator, Freddy Kruger, and Frankenstein and be sure to bring your camera for the ultimate selfie opportunity.
9. Soak up Polynesian culture at The Tiki Resort
This unique lakeside resort has been inspired by a traditional Polynesian village, and specifically the Tiki, one of the most prominent parts of Polynesian culture. Retro-kitsch is the prevailing theme, with nightly luau-style Polynesian dinner shows featuring an assortment of grass-skirted performers doing the hula and other classic dances. Meanwhile Polynesian-style cocktails such as mai tai add to the authentic flavour of the occasion.
10. Admire the lake from up high with Parasail Joe’s
Lake George is spectacular from every vantage point, be it land, water or sky, but there’s nothing that quite matches admiring it from above. Parasail Joe’s offers the chance to experience the lake’s beauty during an awe-inspiring parasailing adventure that propels guests up to 400ft in the air using wind harnessed by bright orange smiley face parasails. Boasting the longest tow lines anywhere on the lake, flyers can pick from single, double, or triple flights, and can even get dipped in the water if they request it. Trips are offered daily during summer season, and on weekends in the fall, with early bird pricing from 9am-10am.
11. Immerse yourself in local heritage at the Lake George Historical Association
One of the best cultural institutions in and around Lake George is the Lake George Historical Association and Museum, which offers an in-depth journey through the area’s rich history. Located within the Old Warren County Courthouse, visitors can look forward to learning about the likes of George Foster Peabody, a notable local figure during the 19th century, as well as the Native Americans who once called the area home, and Lake George’s evolution to become a favourite vacation spot with New Yorkers. Admission is free.
12. Experience a bizarre natural phenomenon at the Lake George Mystery Spot
Situated on a small pavilion in the middle of Lake George Village sits a circular platform with a painted blue map of the nearby lake. Here, a simple “X” marks the mysterious spot that seem to defy the laws of acoustics through a curious natural phenomenon that makes your echo only audible from the direct centre of the platform. Stand anywhere else, near or far away, and there’s no echo. The site’s strangeness has attracted something of a cult following down the years and is certainly one quirky tourist attraction you won’t forget in a hurry.
By Paul Joseph