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Best Things To Do in Adirondacks

The Adirondacks are mainly for outdoorsy vacationers; there are lots of opportunities for skiing and snowboarding at Whiteface Mountain in winter, as well as hiking and boating at Saranac Lake during the warmer months. But the region holds a range of attractions for other niche travelers. History buffs will appreciate John Brown Farm State Historic Site and Fort Ticonderoga, while families will enjoy learning about Adirondack wildlife at The Wild Center. Meanwhile, sports fans can add Lake Placid's Olympic Jumping Complex, Olympic Sports Complex and Olympic Museum to their must-see lists. 

How we rank Things to Do.

#1

#1 in Adirondacks

Free
Located just 9 miles northwest of the bustling tourist town of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake is the perfect escape from the high prices that accompany Lake Placid's Olympics attractions. Filled with shops, hotels and local diners, Saranac Lake is considered one of the most idyllic villages in upstate New York.
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Hiking Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Saranac Lake
Located just 9 miles northwest of the bustling tourist town of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake is the perfect escape from the high prices that accompany Lake Placid's Olympics attractions. Filled with shops, hotels and local diners, Saranac Lake is considered one of the most idyllic villages in upstate New York.
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#2

#2 in Adirondacks

With the largest vertical drop on the eastern seaboard (measuring 3,430 feet), 87 trails and 11 ski lifts, Whiteface Mountain is a skier's paradise. But should you decide to visit during the warmer months, don't fret. Whiteface offers plenty of hiking and biking trails, plus several adrenaline-pumping adventures like 4x4 excursions and an airbag free-fall jump activity. The mountain also serves as a fantastic vantage point: Ride on the Cloudsplitter Gondola to the summit and you'll be treated to an incredible view of the neighboring peaks.
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Hiking Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Whiteface Mountain (Lake Placid)
With the largest vertical drop on the eastern seaboard (measuring 3,430 feet), 87 trails and 11 ski lifts, Whiteface Mountain is a skier's paradise. But should you decide to visit during the warmer months, don't fret. Whiteface offers plenty of hiking and biking trails, plus several adrenaline-pumping adventures like 4x4 excursions and an airbag free-fall jump activity. The mountain also serves as a fantastic vantage point: Ride on the Cloudsplitter Gondola to the summit and you'll be treated to an incredible view of the neighboring peaks.
... more

#3

#3 in Adirondacks

Nicknamed the "Key to the Continent" in the 18th century, Fort Ticonderoga sits on Lake Champlain and once served as a strategic focal point during the Revolutionary War and the French and Indian War. After a careful restoration project in the 20th century, Fort Ticonderoga was reopened as a living museum, featuring everything from barracks and kitchens to cannons and an immaculately maintained garden.
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Monuments and Memorials Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Fort Ticonderoga
Nicknamed the "Key to the Continent" in the 18th century, Fort Ticonderoga sits on Lake Champlain and once served as a strategic focal point during the Revolutionary War and the French and Indian War. After a careful restoration project in the 20th century, Fort Ticonderoga was reopened as a living museum, featuring everything from barracks and kitchens to cannons and an immaculately maintained garden.
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#4

#4 in Adirondacks

Nestled within the Adirondacks about 21 miles southwest of Saranac Lake, The Wild Center features 81 acres of forest and plenty of wildlife. In fact, all of the site's exhibits  including movies, hands-on activities and a butterfly garden  focus on the surrounding landscape. But the standout at this family-friendly attraction is the animal encounters, which give kids and adults an up-close look at owls, otters, porcupines, skunks and various reptiles and amphibians.
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Zoos and Aquariums Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
The Wild Center (Tupper Lake)
Nestled within the Adirondacks about 21 miles southwest of Saranac Lake, The Wild Center features 81 acres of forest and plenty of wildlife. In fact, all of the site's exhibits  including movies, hands-on activities and a butterfly garden  focus on the surrounding landscape. But the standout at this family-friendly attraction is the animal encounters, which give kids and adults an up-close look at owls, otters, porcupines, skunks and various reptiles and amphibians.
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#5

#5 in Adirondacks

For those who are interested in history but don't want to drive too far to find it, John Brown Farm State Historic Site is worth a visit. Located less than a mile southwest of the Olympic Jumping Complex and Lake Placid Airport, this landmark provides travelers with a bit of history about the iconic abolitionist John Brown. Prior to his famous assault of Harpers Ferry's arsenal in the late 1850s, Brown resided at this property. After being captured and hanged on Dec. 2, 1859, the revolutionary leader's body was returned to his home where he is now buried alongside several of his followers.
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Hiking Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
John Brown Farm State Historic Site (Lake Placid)
For those who are interested in history but don't want to drive too far to find it, John Brown Farm State Historic Site is worth a visit. Located less than a mile southwest of the Olympic Jumping Complex and Lake Placid Airport, this landmark provides travelers with a bit of history about the iconic abolitionist John Brown. Prior to his famous assault of Harpers Ferry's arsenal in the late 1850s, Brown resided at this property. After being captured and hanged on Dec. 2, 1859, the revolutionary leader's body was returned to his home where he is now buried alongside several of his followers.
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#6

#6 in Adirondacks

Situated on Mount Van Hoevenberg about 7 miles southeast of Lake Placid, the Olympic Sports Complex is an ideal attraction for those interested in the Olympics and winter sports. The training facility features more than 30 miles of cross-country ski trails, plus multiple snowshoe paths and a biathlon shooting range. But perhaps the most heart-pounding part of this winter sports paradise is the combined bobsled-skeleton-luge track, which is the only track of its kind found east of the Rockies and can be experienced firsthand through a bobsled, skeleton or luge ride (additional fee applies).
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Recreation Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Lake Placid Olympic Sports Complex
Situated on Mount Van Hoevenberg about 7 miles southeast of Lake Placid, the Olympic Sports Complex is an ideal attraction for those interested in the Olympics and winter sports. The training facility features more than 30 miles of cross-country ski trails, plus multiple snowshoe paths and a biathlon shooting range. But perhaps the most heart-pounding part of this winter sports paradise is the combined bobsled-skeleton-luge track, which is the only track of its kind found east of the Rockies and can be experienced firsthand through a bobsled, skeleton or luge ride (additional fee applies).
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#7

#7 in Adirondacks

Less than 2 miles southeast of downtown Lake Placid, the Olympic Jumping Complex is another popular (and convenient) outing for winter sports enthusiasts. Once used as an event site during the 1980 Winter Olympics, the complex now acts as a training ground for many Olympic hopefuls. And for those who aren't as athletically inclined, the site also serves as an educational facility that offers visitors a glimpse into the life of a ski jumper.
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Recreation Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Lake Placid Olympic Jumping Complex
Less than 2 miles southeast of downtown Lake Placid, the Olympic Jumping Complex is another popular (and convenient) outing for winter sports enthusiasts. Once used as an event site during the 1980 Winter Olympics, the complex now acts as a training ground for many Olympic hopefuls. And for those who aren't as athletically inclined, the site also serves as an educational facility that offers visitors a glimpse into the life of a ski jumper.
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#8

#8 in Adirondacks

For a glimpse into the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games, make a stop at the Lake Placid Olympic Museum. Although some past travelers found the property to be a bit on the smaller size, many appreciated the artifacts found inside, including equipment that belonged to the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" U.S. hockey team, uniforms worn by Lake Placid Olympians during several opening ceremonies and a collection of sleds and sliding sports gear. Four ice complexes also sit within feet of the museum, including Herb Brooks Arena, where the miraculous 1980 hockey game between the U.S. and the Soviet Union took place.
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Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Lake Placid Olympic Museum
For a glimpse into the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games, make a stop at the Lake Placid Olympic Museum. Although some past travelers found the property to be a bit on the smaller size, many appreciated the artifacts found inside, including equipment that belonged to the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" U.S. hockey team, uniforms worn by Lake Placid Olympians during several opening ceremonies and a collection of sleds and sliding sports gear. Four ice complexes also sit within feet of the museum, including Herb Brooks Arena, where the miraculous 1980 hockey game between the U.S. and the Soviet Union took place.
... more
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