Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- The Village of Lake Placid
- Discover the Lake Placid Olympic Story
- Be A Pretend Olympian
- Explore Whiteface Mountain
- Find a Hiking, Snowshoeing or Nature Trail that Suits Your Style
- Venture to the Wild Center in Tupper Lake
- Enjoy Your Favorite Water Sports
- Discover History at the John Brown Farm
- Take a Scenic Drive
- More in the Village of Lake Placid
- Where to Stay in Lake Placid
Wondering what to do on your getaway to Lake Placid, New York? Try cross-country skiing and ice skating in winter in the shadow of Olympic athletes. Hiking, fly-fishing and water sports rank among local favorites for warmer months. And downtown Lake Placid boasts charming boutiques, a delicious array of retaurants and accommodations ranging from elegant to cozy. Here are the best things to do in Lake Placid.
The writer was hosted.
The Village of Lake Placid
A year-round vacation choice, the Village of Lake Placid, idyllically situated in the midst of New York’s Adirondack Mountains, offers a typical “summer vacation at the lake” type experience with its multiple lakes, mountain biking and hiking in the Adirondack mountains along with golfing.
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In the winter, you will be rewarded with skiing Whiteface Mountain, sitting by a roaring fire, and the unforgettable aroma of pine trees. An ideal home base for explorations throughout the Adirondacks, there’s so much to do you’ll want to visit again and again. That’s exactly what we did!
Our first visit was with two of the grandkids in the summer. Then recently, we returned to catch the end of winter. In my opinion, these are some of the best things to do in Lake Placid with or without kids.
Discover the Lake Placid Olympic Story
Towering over the Village of Lake Placid, the Olympic Jumping Complex grabbed our attention immediately as we drove into town. Before heading up to check out Olympic venues, we took some time to get to know more about the Winter Olympics and the historic moments made in this charming village. The Lake Placid Olympic Museum displays memorabilia from decades of Olympic triumphs including a focus on Team USA’s astonishing victory in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Note: The Olympic Center is currently undergoing extensive renovations to expand the museum and modernize the 1932 & 1980 ice skating rinks.
Be A Pretend Olympian
Home to the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, Lake Placid offers genuine Olympic venues like no other place in the United States. Mt. Van Hoevenberg combines outdoor recreation at its incredible Olympic center.
Home to the combined bobsled, luge and skeleton track, 31 miles of groomed cross country ski trails and a biathlon shooting range, the Olympic Sports Complex delivers an action packed experience. Check out the Lake Placid Bobsled and Skeleton Experience and rocket down the mountain like the Olympian racers before you. Or, stand beside the track to watch the Luge and Bobsled/Skeleton World Cups hosted here each winter. More mountain thrills and squeals await on the Cliffside Coaster, North America’s longest mountain coaster.
The Nordic center at Mt. Van Hoevenberg offers World Championship rate trails for cross country skiing along with very patient ski instructors. I know this because my husband and I tried cross-country skiing for the first time here. Our instructor, Ken Kalil works with kids who go on to be Olympic-caliber skiers. And then there’s us–grandparents with no balance. While I wouldn’t say we were successful, we enjoyed the experience. We also developed a new appreciation for skiers. Next time, the grandkids will take the class and I’ll video!
Speaking of a new appreciation, we’ve all watched the Olympic games and marveled at the athleticism and bravery of ski jumpers. Take the elevator to the top of the Olympic Ski Jump complex to experience the view these brave athletes see just before they take the leap. Then know you’ll never do this, EVER, not even for a gold medal.
Explore Whiteface Mountain
A favorite for downhill skiing and snowboarding, Whiteface Mountain lures locals and visitors to its slopes in winter. Skiers at all proficiency levels enjoy the mountain. In fact it offers the longest single intermediate run in the Northeast. And there’s a Just for Kids ski program along with lessons for teens and adults.
In warmer months, start your day at Whiteface Mountain with a ride up the mountain via the Cloudsplitter Gondola Ride. This 15-minute experience from the base of Whiteface Mountain to the peak of Little Whiteface yields some of the best views of the high peaks in New York State’s Adirondack Park.
Find a Hiking, Snowshoeing or Nature Trail that Suits Your Style
On our most recent visit, the Whiteface Veteran’s Memorial Highway was still closed for the season. We drove up as far as allowed then ventured down a side road to explore the area. Along the way, we discovered the Cobble Lookout Trail. Still covered in snow, we added our crampons to our hiking boots (snowshoes work too) and set off on this 3.2-mile round trip hike.
Winding through the snow-covered forest up and down moderate hills, the trail works for most fitness levels as well as children. At the turnaround point, it opens up to a view of the surrounding high peaks. One of my favorite hikes so far, I’m adding this to my list of must-do hikes for autumn when that vista will be alive with color!
For another view of the High Peaks region, hike up Mount Joand. It’s steep, but not too difficult to climb and about 2.6 miles roundtrip. You can also just take a walk around Mirror Lake in the Village of Lake Placid. At just under 3 miles, this paved walkway attracts runners and strollers as you take in the beauty of the lake.
Venture to the Wild Center in Tupper Lake
A highlight of our summer visit with the grandkids, The Wild Center in Tupper Lake features indoor interactive exhibits introducing visitors to the forests and wildlife living in the region. But beyond the walls, even more interactive fun beckons on the “Wild Walk.” Follow a trail of bridges to the treetops of the Adirondack forest designed to provide a new perspective on nature. An excellent outside-the-box museum to visit with kids, you can even spend the afternoon on a guided canoe trip.
Enjoy Your Favorite Water Sports
With so many lakes in the area, water sports opportunities abound. Check out Mirror Lake Boat Rentals to rent a kayak, sailboat, paddleboard, and more to enjoy a day on Mirror Lake in the heart of Lake Placid. Or relax and take in the scenery on a boat ride with Lake Placid Marina and Boat Tours.
Fly-fishing offers another way to take advantage of the plentiful water-themed outdoor activities. My cross-country ski instructor (the world’s most patient man!) offers guided fly fishing lessons through Kalil’s Upstate Outfitters. Fishing these waters since the age of 11, Ken will happily introduce you to his favorite fishing spots.
In winter, the frozen Mirror Lake in town becomes a place for ice skating and hockey. A lakeside toboggan run drops you right onto the lake!
Discover History at the John Brown Farm
Before visiting Lake Placid, I had no idea the abolitionist, John Brown was buried here. My husband read about it after ordering a John Brown IPA at the Great Adirondack Brewing Company on Main Street. The next morning we drove to the historic site. The last home and burial site of the famed abolitionist, the John Brown Farm provides a glimpse of 19th-century life. Signage on the site includes barcodes that, when scanned, share the story of Brown’s mission to abolish the practice of slavery.
Take a Scenic Drive
Gorgeous scenery abounds in and around Lake Placid making it easy to find a scenic road for an afternoon drive. One that we loved was the ride “between the Jays” along Route 86. The winding country road connecting Upper Jay and Jay yields a mix of rugged mountains, tranquil meadows, views of the Ausable River and the historic Jay Covered Bridge.
Another drive with jaw-dropping vistas takes you up the Whiteface Veteran’s Memorial Highway to the summit of Whiteface Mountain. At 4,867′, Whiteface is New York’s fifth-highest peak. At the top, views span hundreds of miles across the Adirondack Park, reaching into Vermont and Canada.
More in the Village of Lake Placid
After exploring the region and tackling your favorite outdoor activities, you’ll likely be ready for a comforting meal at one of Lake Placid’s many restaurants. If shopping’s on your list of must-dos, meander through boutiques along Main Street showcasing the work of local artisans alongside outdoor outfitters.
For the ultimate relaxation, head to the spa. TravelingMom, Sherry Wernicke gives us the insider intel: “Most of the big hotels, including Mirror Lake Inn, Whiteface Lodge and High Peaks Resort have on-site spas, while Lake Placid Lodge provides in-room massage treatments. There’s also Element Day Spa and Salon and Balanced Bodywork and Massage for just that, massages. Both are right on Main Street.”
An easy 5-hour drive north from New York City, we checked out the rugged yet luxurious Chevy Tahoe Z71 for this trip. The best-selling full-size SUV for the past 19 years, Chevrolet recently enhanced the Tahoe with a focus on capability, storage and tech integration. Taking what Chevy customers love most, the company upped it to the next level. Today’s Tahoe Z71 offers more room for people and cargo. It also boasts advanced technology.
Inspired by an after-market sporty look, the new Tahoe Z71 fits right into the sports-themed Adirondack Mountains. On the highway, it rides as smooth as a luxury car. And, when you head off-highway onto gravel mountain back roads, the vehicle suspension system automatically adjusts in real-time. No bouncing around in this baby!
What You Need to Know about the Chevy Tahoe Z71
Creature Comforts: Leather seats, dual climate control, space, space and more space!
Cool Interior Features: A power-sliding center console slides back up to 10 inches exposing a hidden storage compartment.
Passenger Seating: The 2021 redesign added 40% more legroom for 3rd-row passengers in an already spacious interior. The second-row seats move and fold forward providing easy access to the third row.
Cargo Space: Best in class at 129 cubic feet, you could literally bring everything including the kitchen sink if necessary. My husband put down the 2nd and 3rd-row seats and stretched out for a nap.
Technology: A 4G LT WiFi HotSpot pairs up to 7 devices. Wireless charging for phones, standard Apple Car Play and Android Auto and plentiful USB ports and outlets keep everyone happily entertained. But, the most fun feature: the rear-seat media system. With two 12.6 diagonal LED touch screens, rear-seat passengers have the capability to share information with the driver. For example, with access to the navigation app on their screens, the grandkids in the rear seat can Google nearby places to eat lunch and send that to the screen in front complete with directions. Depending on what your kids/grandkids like to eat, this could be good or bad! I hopped back there myself to find nearby points of interest and discovered a covered bridge. I sent my directions to the driver’s seat and we detoured to check it out.
Gas Mileage: She’s a big girl and needs a lot of fuel! Mileage averages 15/highway and 21/city.
Price: The Chevy Tahoe Z71 starts at $60,495.
Where to Stay in Lake Placid
Assuming you decide not to sleep in the Chevy Tahoe Z71, Lake Placid offers numerous lodging options. For this trip, we stayed at the Crowne Plaza Lake Placid. Situated on a hill on Olympic Drive, the hotel boasts views of the village below along with Whiteface Mountain and the surrounding Adirondack Park. An easy walk down the hill takes you to the heart of the village for dining, shopping and sightseeing. Accommodations include the main hotel and the Adirondack Lodge with hotel rooms, suites with full kitchens and chalets.
However you choose to spend your time in Lake Placid, you’ll likely start planning your next visit before you even finish your first. I know we did!