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- The Village of Lake Placid
- Discover the Lake Placid Olympic Story
- Be A Pretend Olympian
- Try A New-to-You Experience at Mt. Van Hoevenberg
- 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
Lake Placid offers plenty of fun things to do throughout the year. When the weather’s warm, choose a trail and set out on a hike in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. Get out on the lake to try fly-fishing, canoeing, kayaking or water skiing!
In winter, Lake Placid truly sparkles. As the host village for both the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, Lake Placid has world class sporting facilities. Check out the famous “Miracle on Ice” skating arena and recently renovated Olympics museum. Once you’re inspired, grab your skis or snowboard and head to the area’s epic ski resorts or book a bucket list bobsled run.
When you need some down time, reserve a spa treatment or hit Main Street’s boutiques for some retail therapy. That’s where you’ll find Lake Placid’s best restaurants. Retreat to your mountain lodge after a yummy meal for a hot tub soak. Sounds great? Start planning your Lake Placid vacation today!
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 for water sports and fishing. Off the water, mountain biking, golfing and hiking keep everyone happily busy. These activities linger into autumn as the trees sport brilliant shades of red, yellow, and orange.
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 I did!
My first visit was with two of the grandkids in the summer. Since then, I’ve returned for two consecutive end-of-winter visits to check out the colder sports and peaceful snowy landscape.
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 completing extensive renovations to expand the museum and modernize the 1932 & 1980 ice skating rinks. The new museum will open in mid-December 2022.
Read More: Check Out the US Olympic and Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs
Be A Pretend Olympian
As the host city for the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, Lake Placid offers genuine Olympic venues. 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.
Try A New-to-You Experience at Mt. Van Hoevenberg
The Nordic center at Mt. Van Hoevenberg offers World Championship level 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. On a later visit, I tried snowshoeing with two of the grandkids and faired much better than I did on skis!
Speaking of a new appreciation, we’ve all watched the Olympic games and marveled at the athleticism and bravery of ski jumpers. Ride the gondola 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 jaunt 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 Jo. 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 taking 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 or other floatation device 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 Whiteface Veteran’s Memorial Highway to the summit of Whiteface Mountain. At 4,867 feet elevation, 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 is 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. SheBuysTravel contributor 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.”
Getting to Lake Placid
Located 282 miles north of New York City, the drive to Lake Placid primarily runs on the New York Thruway with the last 15 miles meandering along the picturesque NY-73.
For our drive, Chevy loaned me a Chevy Blazer. As we exited the thruway, light snow began to fall. For my Florida-based grandkids, snow is always exciting. Driving a vehicle that wasn’t mine, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this portion of the drive.
But the Blazer handled the road like a boss taking away any apprehension I previously felt. That’s a win in my book!
What You Need to Know about the Chevy Blazer
Creature Comforts: With plentiful leg space, stylish exterior and interior details, and just the right amount of attitude, we all enjoyed our time with the Chevy Blazer.
Cool Interior Features: Where to put things in a vehicle is always an issue, so I thought it was brilliant that Chevrolet added umbrella storage to the Chevy Blazer. The front door upper map pocket transforms to store your umbrella. The grandkids were, of course, only focused on the technology features. More on that in a minute.
Passenger Seating: The Chevy Blazer seats five. With only three of us, there was plenty of space to spare. An added bonus, heated driver and front passenger seats are always welcome in the cooler temperatures of the Adirondack Mountains.
Cargo Space: Equipped with 64.2 cubic feet of cargo volume, we had more than enough space for our luggage and the inevitable gifts I bestowed on the grandkids along the way.
Technology: Starting at my apartment in New York City, I needed to parallel park before loading the car. If you’ve ever had to park in NYC, you know it can be tricky. But, with the 360-degree camera feature, I could easily slide into that tight parking spot. The grandkids were more impressed with Apple CarPlay, six USB ports and the Wi-Fi Hotspot, of course.
Gas Mileage: The AWD premier model we drove averages 19 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway.
Price: The manufacturer suggested retail price starts at $44,500.
Where to Stay in Lake Placid
For the absolute best combination of lodging and activities, it’s hard to beat Whiteface Lodge.
The vision of a former Olympian and developer, the Whiteface Lodge stands out as one of the Adirondack Park’s grandest properties. The wood-beamed exterior, cast-iron fireplaces and cozy common spaces enveloped us the moment we stepped inside.
But this isn’t just a pretty place to stay; the resort offers numerous activities for kids and adults. Katherine took advantage of the late-season ice skating while Marshall focused on pelting me with snowballs.
In warmer months, on-site outdoor activities include tennis, pickleball and basketball. A year-round indoor and outdoor pool and hot tubs are available daily. Heated to 85 degrees, the pool affords the opportunity to swim indoors and outdoors. Two hot tubs are located outdoors, and one is located indoors. Towels are provided.
A catch and release fishing program runs from mid-May through early October in the on-site pond stocked with rainbow trout. This self-guided activity includes fishing rods, bait and tackle.
A movie theater, family game room and bowling alley provide year-round indoor fun. And campfires for making s’mores happen every night. A fitness center, steam rooms, wellness classes and a full-service spa and salon menu round out the amenities.
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!
Additional Places to Stay Near Lake Placid, New York