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Are you exploring more of your state or nearby states as things start to open up again? Krista has been going through some major travel withdrawals and the Independence Day weekend was the perfect time to take a family road trip to Lake George, NY. If you’re a New Yorker looking for a weekend getaway close to home with lots to offer, here’s a weekend guide to visiting Lake George, NY.
Where is Lake George?
Located near the New York Adirondack Mountains, Lake George is proudly known as the “birthplace of the American vacation”. The area offers hiking, fishing, camping, and more for travelers looking for a city break. Lake George is about a 4-hour drive from NYC, has over 300 islands, and 109 miles of shoreline. There are 13 towns that make up the Lake George area including the City of Glens Falls, Town of Bolton, Town of Chester, Town of Hague, Town of Horicon, Town of Johnsburg, Town of Lake George, Town of Lake Luzerne, Town of Queensbury, Town of Stony Creek, Town of Thurman, Town of Warrensburg, and the Village of Lake George. We chose to stay in the Village of Lake George since it is the hub of the resort area and offers the most activities for families.
Traveling to Lake George
A benefit of visiting the Lake George Region is its closeness to major cities. It is 4 hours north of New York City, 3 hours south of Montreal, and 3 1/2 hours northwest of Boston. As mentioned, we took a road trip from NYC, but there are also options to take the bus or train via Adirondack Trailways, Greyhound, or Amtrak. If you decide to fly, Lake George is about an hour away from Albany Airport.
Getting Around Lake George
Getting around Lake George Village is best via the Lake George Trolley. The trolley runs about every 30 minutes. At the time of our visit, North and South RV Trolleys ran daily from 8:30 am through 9:30 pm and the Glens Falls to Lake George Trolley route ran weekends from 8 am, (weekdays at 7 am) through 9:45 pm. All routes run about every 30 minutes if there is no heavy traffic. Since we were traveling during COVID, the trolley was free and face masks were required. Seating capacity was also reduced to allow social distancing between riders. You can get more information about the trolley schedule by visiting their website.
Where to Stay in Lake George
Since Lake George Village is a popular tourist attraction, there are many options for lodging like hotels, Bed and Breakfasts, Airbnb, or cabin rentals. Planning your Summer weekend in Lake George on an RV? Stay at Lake George RV Park. The site offers resort-like camping with an RV park or RV rentals with a pool and spa, fitness center, and other amenities and activities for newbies and veteran campers. We stayed in a Cabin rental, but I personally did not like it. If you choose an Airbnb or Cabin rental, I highly recommend one that has a private pool.
Below is a map sharing hotels in the Lake George Village area that fits any type of budget. If you are staying in any of these Lake George hotels or vacation rentals, research the hotel’s plan to protect guests and staff and reviews from previous guests on Trip Advisor. The same advice applies to Airbnb listings.
How to Spend a Weekend in Lake George
Naturally, I am an explorer and one of my favorite things about planning a trip is finding things to do. Since I like to roam, I don’t always follow a set itinerary, but if you like to plan, here are some fun activities and top attractions to keep in mind for a Summer weekend in Lake George, NY.
Enjoy the Beaches
Who says you have to be on the coast to visit the beach? Lake George is known for its beautiful beaches and lakes for you to relax or enjoy watersports. The beaches are free, but you have to pay for parking if you arrive by car. The most popular beach in the area is Million Dollar Beach. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, beaches throughout the Lake George Region are limiting their capacities to 50% of the normal limit. If you do plan to have a beach day, make sure to plan ahead, bring your beach essentials, and have a backup plan just in case.
Take a Steamboat Cruise on the Lake
Not a fan of the beach? Visit the lakes instead to take part in the many water activities like stand-up paddleboarding, jet skiing, river rafting and tubing, kayaking, parasailing, and more. One of the best ways to experience the lake is via boat rentals or on one of the many steamboats. If you take part in water activities with your children, please be careful. We witnessed a drowning in shallow water and it was heartbreaking.
Go for Hike
For nature lovers, there are more than 20 hikes around the Lake George Region. There are a variety of trails for different levels of hikers. Popular trails in the area include Prospect Mountain, Tongue Mountain, Berry Pond Preserve, and Black Mountain.
Have a Drink
The Finger Lakes Region isn’t the only place you can get tasty wine in New York State. Take a trip to the Adirondack Winery tasting room and sample their selection of over 35 handcrafted local wines. Tasting sessions at the winery also include a free souvenir wine glass. If you want to visit other wineries, breweries, and distilleries in the Lake George Region, visit Ledge Rock Hill Winery & Vineyard, Bolton Landing Brewing Company, or Springbrook Hollow Farm Distillery. You can visit their websites and social media pages for operating hours.
Looking for souvenirs for friends or want to take a piece of your trip home with you? Make sure to head over to Canada Street & Beach Road for some shopping. Here you can visit The Outlets at Lake George or shop at mom and pop stores from local business owners.
Travel Back in Time
If you’re a history lover or looking for some educational fun for the family, visit Fort William Henry. Fort William Henry was one of the key sites during the French and Indian War from 1755-1763. Here you can see the restored fort based on the building’s plans, see artifacts, and learn more about the fort. Lake George History Tours also provides a tour sharing social, economic, ecological, and cultural stories of the region and its relevance in American history.
As you can see, the Lake George Region has a lot to offer for travelers of all ages and budgets. Despite some restaurants and stores being closed due to COVID-19, our family summer weekend in Lake George was just what I needed for a city break and we didn’t even have to drive far. I hope this mini travel guide to visiting Lake George was helpful whether you’re planning a weekend in Lake George with family, a girl’s trip, or a romantic weekend with your partner. I definitely want to come back when the pandemic is over to get the full Lake George experience.
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Do you have any recommendations for a weekend in Lake George?
During these questionable times, I always encourage doing what works best for you and your family when it comes to travel. If you decide to travel make sure to wear a mask in public areas, practice social distancing, don't travel if you are sick, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer if hand washing is unavailable, reconsider travel if you are immunocompromised, elderly or take care of either population.