The Lake George region, in upstate New York is a renowned summer playground with exceptional views of the Adirondack Mountains and a spectacular lake setting. Lake George doesn’t close up in the wintertime! It becomes a winter wonderland with festivities and ice bars all around.
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On my visit to Lake George, this Floridian donned a winter wardrobe to check out the winter attractions. If I am to be honest, I was lured by the chance to go snowmobiling. Despite the bitter cold January temperatures, I was wowed by the stunning scenery and how the locals made the most of the frigid weather.
Here are 11 fun winter things to do in Lake George, New York, a mountain town located one hour outside Albany, the capital of New York.
Admire the Ice Sculptures
Lake George has no shortage of ice sculptures. On my visit, I admired the animals and Sasquatch at Holiday Inn Resort Lake George and a plethora of retro video games and an ice bar at Adirondack Pub & Brewery. Besides having delicious beer and great food, the crowd thoroughly enjoyed the outdoor DJ and dancing and the creative ice Baby Yoda sculpture.
Huddle by the Fireplace
The Holiday Inn Resort Lake George has a stunning lobby with a roaring fire, perfect for warming up with your special someone. 25 miles away, in Bolton Landing, is The Sagamore Resort, a 100+-year-old luxury hotel. Cuddle on the couches that flank the fireplaces as you warm up from the icy temperatures.
Slide Down the Mountain
Tubing is a wonderful winter activity in the Adirondack region that requires no physical skill level, just the thrill of sliding down an icy slope full speed ahead. You can go snow tubing 15 minutes away in Queensbury at West Mountain Ski Resort. It is a perfect option for getting on the slopes via snowboarding, snow tubing, or skiing. Tubing at West Mountain features 4 upper and 6 lower chutes, and runs $15 for two hours (12 and under) or $20 (13 and up). West Mountain Ski Resort also offers night skiing.
Read More: Tips for snow tubing with kids
C+C Adirondack Snowmobile Tours is in Chestertown, about 25 minutes from Lake George and offers incredible outdoor activities. The chance to snowmobile is why I braved the cold. It’s easy to learn the basics, but keeping the machine under control is a lot harder than it looks when the weather is icy, as my conditions were at the time. The machines are powerful. I never had mine going faster than 20 miles per hour, but enjoyed the scenery and thrill of the ride.
Attend the Lake George Winter Carnival
The Lake George Winter Festival is an annual event that draws visitors from miles around. Every weekend in February is filled with activities, events, and even outhouse races (yes, you read that right). The decades-old weekend celebration includes the Polar Plunge, corn hole, helicopter rides, motorcycle races, dog talent shows, BBQ/chili/wings/chowder cook-offs, and horse-drawn sleigh rides. Kid’s activities (scavenger hunt, snow sculptures, games, face painting, and a petting zoo with alpacas and miniature donkeys) are at Sheppard’s Beach, while other Lake George Winter Carnival festivities are on Canada Street.
Go Ice Fishing
Not being from New York, I was in awe of the ice fishermen set up on Lake George. The ice was in no way frozen solid on my visit, but that did not deter the locals from dropping a pole and making the best of the winter weather. Another smaller scale place to ice fish is Glen Lake, fully stocked with trout.
Strap on Your Skis
Another fun thing to do in Lake George is to channel your inner ski-bunny as you take on Gore Mountain, the premier ski slopes in Lake George. No experience is necessary, you can take a lesson while you are there. The resort offers 110 trails for downhill skiing for all skill levels and is a fun spot for the whole family.
Read More: Complete family ski trip packing list
Sip a Warm Drink
The Holiday Inn Resort Lake George has two weekends of winter wonderland with an ice bar, sculptures, outdoor fire pit, and a specialty menu for delicious adult beverages. Try the Peppermint Patty (hot cocoa and peppermint schnapps) or the Peanut Buttercup (hot cocoa with Skrewball peanut butter whiskey), two tasty warm drink options that will delight your taste buds. Not a fan of adult beverages? Head to the fire pit for s’mores.
Visit the Ice Bars
The winter months are ice bar season in the Lake George area. A few of the places you’ll find ice bars are King Neptune’s Pub & Nightclub, The Garrison, Fort William Henry, Adirondack Pub & Brewery, and Gaslight. Crawl through them all! Who knew winter fun could be so exciting?
The Lake George Adirondack region of New York is known for superb hockey (even pond hockey), so find a local team event to watch this invigorating game in person. If you’ve never watched hockey live, you are in for a real treat. I was amazed by speed at which the players skate. The sport is brutal and brings out your inner cheerleader in a hurry. You can find the Adirondack Thunder in Glen Falls, the New Jersey Devil’s ECHL affiliate.
Have a Romantic Dinner
You’ll find the most darling dinner spot at Caldwell House Restaurant, a romantic 1940s log cabin in Lake George. For starters, share the scrumptious Creamy Liver Pate with homemade grilled bread. It is fantastic! Caldwell House steaks (I had the Filet Mignon with Béarnaise) are exquisite, but the Seafood Fra Diavolo Shrimp was every bit as delicious. The intimate restaurant also has a spectacular martini and cocktail menu, but the scratch made desserts also sound tempting.
Lake George Lodging
Need a hotel in Lake George? The Holiday Inn Resort Lake George offers the trifecta for hospitality, affordability, and convenience. This family-owned hotel has a variety of comfortable (and spacious) rooms and specialty suites. Families may want to reserve the kids’ suite, complete with spacious rooms, bunk beds, colorful decor, and a full kitchen. The outdoor hot tub and both indoor/outdoor swimming pools add extra allure to this great hotel.
Besides the above 11 fun winter things to do in Lake George, consider these family-fun offerings on the East Coast. Traveling Mom is there with suggestions for you to have the best time on your vacation.