New York’s Adirondacks are home to amazing nature, mountains and lakes. Lake George is a vacation destination that allows families to enjoy time together, both on water and on land, with multiple attractions in between. The lake extends more than 30 miles, varies from one to three miles in width, and is quite deep in spots—more than 200 feet deep! The lake water is incredibly pure, and there are plenty of “quaint” towns to explore, making it worth visiting virtually anytime of year.
Lake George is “home to 395 islands with almost 400 campsites,” according to the official website, and for a mere $25, you and your family could be camping overnight on your own private island. But, if you want to have the chance, reservations open up in November—so
be prepared to book early as they fill up fast.
Depending on which island you choose, you’ll need to either own or rent a boat or kayak, or hire someone to take you out to both the ranger station (also on its own island) to check in, and then go on to your chosen spot. There are plenty of groups in the marina able to help you get to and from the various islands. From Paradise Bay, to East Dollar Island (great rocks to jump off of), to Bass Island—each of the hundreds of islands offer different experiences for campers.
Be sure to follow some of the “Lake Friendly camping tips” provided by rangers and the Lake George Association to help make sure the island experience is also good for those camping there afterwards.
Old World Luxury
The Sagamore Resort Lake George is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, as this grand old Victorian era hotel has been open for visitors who’ve come to visit the private “Green Island” for more than 100-years. It was twice badly damaged by fires, but still so popular they rebuilt again and again—fully reconstructing it in the 1930’s.
While just driving up to the main hotel can be a bit intimidating for those who may not be used to traveling in a luxurious manner (that would be us), families are quickly put at ease, as the resort offers friendly staff and ample opportunities for the entire family at different levels of luxury. From the main hotel, to lodges within a walk of the hotel, and a nature walk behind the lodges, there was plenty of housing. As we drove through the resort, flashbacks of scenes from “Dirty Dancing” popped into my head, and I wondered if we’d be taking part in any dance contests by the end of the weekend—that was the initial feel—that we’d fallen back in time.
It’s No Illusion
Various restaurants accommodate children with ease, a large “illusion” pool overlooks the lake, and an “indoor/outdoor” pool also allows for swimming in bad weather. (Although it’s worth noting that children are not allowed in the indoor pool during the months of July and August.)
After our first “poolside dining” experience (no cabana, but a waiter brought our lunch to us at our chairs), our daughter decided this would be her preferred way to be served forever and always. Ah, summer.
Other family activities include tennis, swimming in the lake (cool but very refreshing), nighttime bonfires and s’more making (with some decent live music as well)!, volleyball, bocce, basketball, and a full miniature golf course inside the “Rec” center—a great spot if you happen to be unlucky with rain. The Sagamore Kids Camp is available for kids 4-12 and provides both care and educational programs for kids. (Reservations are required and there is an additional charge.)
For those craving time away from the kids, there’s world-class golfing and a spa as well. If you’re lucky enough to be staying there when a wedding’s taking place, there’s also a chance of a full fireworks show at night if the wedding party paid extra for it! (Who needs July 4th crowds when you can sit at the edge of Lake George watching their show? And if you’re sly enough, you may be able to get away with convincing your kids or husband that YOU made arrangements for the fireworks, just for them!)
A $30 per day resort fee includes all of the above, plus more, and a free ride (well worth it) around Lake George on “The Morgan”—allowing for wonderful views and some interesting history about the lake. Don’t forget the sunscreen!