What to do in Lake George. Scenic Drives, Nature Trails And More.

Last week I had the awesome pleasure of exploring Lake George, and doing many fun activities which I would recommend to anyone who also visits this area. If you’re a nature lover like myself, this is one place you will absolutely want to visit.

The official location of Lake George:lake george location area

This place is in New York State, specifically in the north, eastern region, the area where there is a division between New York State and Vermont. Although Lake George doesn’t officially divide both those states, if you ever want to visit Vermont, it’s not far from that area.

But anyway the map is on the right and overall, you’re looking at a body of water which stretches over 30 miles long and less than a mile in width, but there’s PLENTY of do. I’ve got a list of 10 things and that should be enough to have you experience this place fully!

10 things to do in Lake George:

1) Scenic drives.

Whether you’re driving through briefly (maybe you don’t have enough time to stop through) or truly want to experience the most beautiful areas of this location, there is one road you need to look for that’s route 9N.

Now if you notice in the location picture above, I did highlight it. If you’re headed into Lake George, look to find this road immediately, then head north or south on it to get the BEST views of this area.

The great news about route 9N is that it starts right when the bottom most part of Lake George does and stretches far beyond it, into Lake Champlain which is an even bigger and longer area you SHOULD explore if you plan on headed north! This place is a bit east and goes into Vermont, but in there, there’s places like this you should look at checking out.

But do note that there is another road west of 9N which is called 9 and it is often mistaken for it. Road 9 is completely different, is far less interesting and not something I would consider a scenic drive. Stick to 9N! Want to see more scenic areas you can drive through? Here’s a list of places I’ve checked out across North America.

2) Visit the villages.

There are truly some amazing villages to check out while you’re on 9N, including the official village, which honestly, I dislike, not because of the location but because there are very large crowds there, so I typically like to stay in areas where there are less people.

But in any case, you will find a lot to do in this village and if you continue up 9N, you will hit places like Warrensberg, Bolton, and Hague, which are all worth visiting. There’s plenty of stores, places to see and they are all right near the water, so at any point (where possible), you can see some great views.

3) Swimming.

You will find a number of locations in the villages themselves and all around the lake area where there are beaches and other potential areas for swimming. If you enjoy cold, clean water, this place is perfect.

4) Boating.lake george cliff jumping

With a lake stretching over 30 miles, you can bet that there are a lot of boating opportunities. My group and I rented a few boats for the day and took trips around the area.

You don’t necessarily have to rent a boat here, you can also get kayaks, jet skis and other water crafts and enjoy going through this place. For us, having the boat was an absolute blast as we were right in middle of so many beautiful locations constantly. We even did some tubing, dove out of the boat and swam up to cliffs where people were jumping from.

5) Renting an island.

With the plethora of islands in this location, many of them actually have camping opportunities and/or houses you can rent for whatever period of time you wish.

To be able to rent any one of these locations, you will have to inquire with the management who owns them and really reserve a spot months in advance because they are very popular. Once you get a location, you will have to drive up to a parking lot near it, grab a boat and go there before leaving it and camping and/or staying at the house on the island.

6) Hiking.

Of course there’s hiking destinations in this area. In fact, this lake is almost like an epicenter of mountain ranges called the Adirondack mountains. There are so many peaks to check out and the highest I believe is Mount Marcy that has a 5,000+ foot elevation.

Now while I didn’t have time to explore the hiking locations, I was told by some people who had tried it to watch out for rattlesnakes. While they are rare to see on trails, should you leave it, go deep into the woods, be very careful.

Do note that in the winter times, many of these mountains also have slopes for skiing.

lake gorge scenic view

7) Taking a vacation there.

Stopping in this entire area for a weekend or vacation is very worth it. With all the things I just listed and will list about the activities you can engage in there, it’s really not possible to cover all the awesome things this place has to offer in a single day. You’d really need a few days at least to really enjoy all of this, so if you’re looking for a vacation in the mountains, this is one area you should keep in mind.

8) Camping.

Setting aside the island camping, there’s plenty of parks around this region which have camping opportunities. In fact, the group I was with was actually staying in a camping area located in Warrensberg. The idea with these camp grounds is that you rent a land, bring your own tent and food and the location itself supplies the rest: bathrooms, showers, entertainment such as volleyball, basketball, kayaking, swimming, ect…

While I personally did not stay at the camping location (because I dislike camping), I still visited them during the day and stayed at a hotel a night. The one they stayed at is called “Escape Campground”. Do note they are quite popular locations just like any other hotel/island camping area in this region, so you will have to reserve these spots early.

But if one location isn’t available, there are plenty, especially along route 9N.

9) Road trip!

If you’re a nature lover, take a road trip though this area. I think anyone living in the areas of New York City needs to see this place especially since it’s a few hours away. With road 9N stretching for as long as it does, you’ll have plenty of things to see, plenty of places to stop by at and just have an amazing adventure.

Also if you keep heading north on 9N, you will eventually hit one of my favorite places: Ausable Chasm. Another gorgeous location worth stopping at! 

You’ll also find this area is in between the Catskills and the Adirondacks.

10) Water/theme parks.

Did you know there is a Six Flags around the Lake George area? It is slightly south of it, but it’s there and there is also a water park you can enjoy if hiking and nature isn’t your thing. Personally, I am fully satisfied with the first 9 things I can do here so these parks aren’t something I’d be interested in (well maybe just the water park), but it’s another fun thing you can do here. 

If you’ve visited the beautiful Lake George area and can add to the existing 10 activities you can do around here, please let us all know! 

14 thoughts on “What to do in Lake George. Scenic Drives, Nature Trails And More.”

  1. Over the years I’ve had several friends who would talk about going on family vacations to this area. From what I recall, several of them did the houseboat thing on the lake and they absolutely loved it. I’ve never rented a houseboat but I’d love to do that one day. From what you described, this place would be perfect for someone like me who loves to get out and enjoy nature as much as possible. Looks like a trip to northern NY is in my future…and renting an island would make it a dream trip! 🙂

    Reply
  2. Beautiful article. I have heard of Lake George, but have never been there. It seems like a good place to camp, and you can rent an island! How cool is that. 

    Can you do a bike trip on the 9N? Or any biking around the lake? You mentioned hiking, but I’m a fan of biking. I’m hoping more than just mountain biking is available. Haven’t done that. Oh, what about rock climbing. Also is the elevation flat or does it change a lot?

    Reply
    • There’s a wide range of mountains all around Lake George and I am certain there’s mountain biking paths available, especially considering how there’s ski areas there too and typically those places also have bike paths. 

      Regarding 9N, I didn’t see any specific bike paths, but I have seen people walking on it (there are no sidewalks unless it’s in a town along the path) so I am pretty certain you can ride a bicycle there. 

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  3. Mr. Vitaliy, I must admit I love scenic drives. We live in Tasmania and quite often we go for a drive, find a road we have never followed (or have and like it enough to drive again) and see what’s along it. We also find many of these by talking to the local people. We have found some marvelous places by doing this.

    Like you I am not attracted to populous areas. They are usually full of tourists (by the way I don’t consider us tourists!) but if you can stay away from the crowds, exploring villages is great fun. We find out of the way eateries and have long chats with the village residents.

    I love swimming but not in cold water. We are not too far north of the Great Southern Ocean so when I say cold I mean pretty cold! As for renting an island, all the river islands are privately owned by people who love their privacy. Or they are owned by the snakes that use the islands as breeding areas.

    We live at the estuary of the Huon River and overlook the bay and marinas. Looking over the river and boats is a very soothing hobby and excitement also varies once the yacht racing season commences. Hey, I sound like a travel ad for Tasmania.

    Maybe you should visit someday.

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    • Well after reading the good things about Tasmania, I looked up images of it and I am floored by it’s nature. The only thing that would stop me is if it has big spiders. I say that because it’s right near Australia, a country known for having the largest spiders in the world.

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      • Spiders, yes we have some but I haven’t seen any what I would call big. And Tasmania is part of Australia but we have banned the large spiders to the mainland!

        Once, when we lived on the mainland, I saw a bird eating spider on the bathroom ceiling. Pete took it outside. We do this using an empty 1 litre ice cream container and piece of stiff paper. This spider took a 4 litre container and its legs still stuck out a bit. (By the way we don’t mind spiders!)

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        • Well I’m glad there aren’t any as big as the ones in Australia, but my goodness, that story of the spider on the ceiling (the biggest one on earth) made me shiver. I don’t care how beautiful an area is, if the spiders are huge, I’m out lol.

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  4. I love Lake George. When I lived in New York I went there many times with my kids. It is a beautiful place and somewhere that you would want to return to.

    I would go on scenic drives with the family and we went swimming in the lake too. The kids loved the water parks.

    Living in Florida now, we really miss it especially in autumn when the color of the leaves and scenery is awesome!

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    • Oh man, this place in autumn when the foliage starts must be one unforgettable sight! I just may do that as a day trip just to see this!

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  5. Great article. Lake George is such a beautiful part of upstate New York, especially right now as all of the leaves are turning wonderful colors! I did not realize you could actually rent an island on the lake though! That is pretty neat. Do you have any idea how much this typically costs per night? I might have to look into that in the future!

    Reply
    • It depends on if it’s an empty island with no house or one with a house. Obviously for ones without a house, you will have to bring your own camping supplies and I guess those cost a few $100 a night, whereas the ones with the houses are FAR higher. Still it makes sense to do if you’re with a group of friends and you can split the trip. 

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  6. I love Lake George and live only 4 hours away. When I was a kid, there was Storytown and Gaslight Village. The last time I was there was a few years ago. Some of the village looked the same, but I think Storytown is now Six Flags and Gaslight Village is no longer there. I never thought of renting an island. I’ll have to check it out next time. Great article!

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    • Thanks Kevin, I’ve been through what is or was formally known as Story town and if it has indeed been replaced with Six Flags, then unfortunately it’s gone, but if you keep traveling up 9N, you will run into at least 3 other awesome towns near the lake that are breathtaking to visit, of which Bolton was my favorite.

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