Best Things To Do in Lake George
Lake George is made for travelers who love to explore the outdoors. Visitors here can hit the hiking trails on Prospect Mountain or trek to Shelving Rock Falls. Families will appreciate the wide sandy shores of Million Dollar Beach – ideal for sandcastle-building, sunbathing and swimming. Adventurers can zip line and rope walk through the trees at the Adirondack Extreme Adventure Course. And finally, no visit to Lake George is complete without a boat cruise on the water.
Updated September 24, 2020
- #1View all PhotosfreeLake George#1 in Lake GeorgeNatural Wonders, Free, Parks and Gardens, Neighborhood/Area, RecreationTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPENDNatural Wonders, Free, Parks and Gardens, Neighborhood/Area, RecreationTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPEND
The crown jewel of the town of Lake George is the lake itself. Lake George is a narrow, oval lake that stretches 32 miles in length, features 176 miles of shoreline and encompasses more than 170 islands. In addition to the village of Lake George on the southern banks, the lake has several other towns and communities that line its perimeter, including Bolton Landing to the west, Ticonderoga to the north and Huletts Landing to the east. One of the best ways to see Lake George in all its splendor is during sunrise or sunset. Top spots to check out the sunrise include the summit of Prospect Mountain in Lake George and Rogers Park in Bolton Landing. You can catch the best sunset views at Sleeping Beauty Mountain, Top of the World Golf Resort and some of the eateries in Lake George, such as Boardwalk Restaurant & Marina and Christie's on the Lake.
Another excellent way to take in the lake and its scenery is on the water: Consider booking a steamboat cruise, hitting the beach to sunbathe and swim or renting a kayak. In addition to enjoying the lake, previous visitors loved walking around the town, saying there are several quaint shops and restaurants to explore. Travelers are consistently impressed with how clean and well-maintained the area and its surroundings are.
- #2View all Photos#2 in Lake GeorgeNatural Wonders, Hiking, RecreationTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDNatural Wonders, Hiking, RecreationTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Frequently hailed as the best (and most popular) hiking spot in Lake George, Prospect Mountain is about a 3-mile round-trip trek. The trailhead is easily accessible from town and the summit provides sweeping views of the lake, the mountains and the forest. You can pick up the trail on Smith Street (you'll notice a sign); there's a set of stairs up and across a highway that will take you to the wooded beginning of the pathway. Terrain along the way can be rocky and parts of the trail to the summit can be steep, so this hike is not recommended for small children. If you still would like to enjoy the views but aren't up for a hike, you can also reach the summit via car: Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway snakes up the mountain to the top. There are a few scenic overlooks you can stop at along the nearly 6-mile drive as well.
Past travelers said the hike up Prospect Mountain is completely worth it, noting it's challenging but enjoyable. Previous hikers recommend packing snacks, water and bug spray, and say it's best to tackle the hike on a clear day so you can take advantage of the views from the top. Visitors who drove up the mountain appreciated the lookout spots along the way and echoed the hikers' sentiment: if you go on a cloudy or foggy day, you won't get to see the spectacular view that you would when it's clear and sunny.
- #3View all Photos#3 in Lake GeorgeBeaches, Free, Recreation, Swimming/PoolsTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, Free, Recreation, Swimming/PoolsTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
A scenic, sandy beach located on the southern shores of Lake George, Million Dollar Beach (sometimes called Lake George Beach) is a local and visitor favorite for soaking up the sun. The 51-acre beach area is wide, meaning there's plenty of room to spread out, and there are lifeguards on duty to supervise swimming. (Keep in mind, you can only get in the water to swim when the lifeguards are on duty.) Kids can build sandcastles, swim in the cool Lake George and watch the various boats sail by. You can expect plenty of on-site amenities here as well, including picnic tables and grills, a small concessions stand, volleyball courts, showers and changing rooms. This spot also has a public boat launch with a boat inspection and washing station (free of charge).
Recent beachgoers were impressed by the cleanliness of the shoreline and say it's a great spot to spend the whole day swimming and relaxing with family and friends. Visitors say the view of the lake is also incredible and many recommended arriving early to ensure you get a prime spot for the day.
- #4View all Photos#4 in Lake GeorgeNatural Wonders, Free, Hiking, RecreationTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDNatural Wonders, Free, Hiking, RecreationTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Situated on the eastern side of Lake George, Shelving Rock Falls is a 50-foot cascade that runs over rock formations of varying sizes. The hike to get to the falls is moderate and should be manageable for novice hikers: It's a wide dirt trail (unmarked) that weaves through the forest, along the lake and to the falls. There are bits of the trail that are rocky, so you'll want to make sure you have sturdy shoes for the trek. What's more, there's plenty of scenic beauty to soak up along the way: you'll see streams, rocky landscapes, trees, flora, lake views and more. Younger adventurers can also enjoy the various geocaches throughout the hike. If you bring or wear your bathing suit, you can splash in the stream or swim in Log Bay. If you're looking for a longer hike, consider traversing the Shelving Rock Summit hike, which is about a 3 1/2-mile round-trip hike to the summit of the mountain and back.
Many recent hikers enjoyed the short trek to see the falls and the lovely mountain and lake scenery. Several recommended doing the hike to the falls and to the summit to make the most of your time here since it's a bit of a drive from central Lake George. Some warn though that parts of the trail are steep and the rocks can be slippery if you're climbing over them, so you may want to bring closed-toe water shoes as well.
- #5View all Photos#5 in Lake GeorgeSports, RecreationTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDSports, RecreationTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Calling all adventurers: This activity is for you. The Adirondack Extreme Adventure Course is an aerial adventure and ropes course – the first of its kind to open in the U.S. The adventure course is set up among the mountains and trees of the Adirondacks, and includes everything from obstacles and rope swings to zip lines and rock climbing walls. There are six adult courses and two children's courses for people to choose from. Visitors are clipped in to harnesses and a safety cable throughout the courses, and everyone must go through a safety training before getting started on the courses.
"Fantastic," "incredible" and "a fun challenge" are a few descriptions travelers used when reviewing the adventure courses here. Many praised the knowledgeable, helpful, friendly and energetic guides, and say this is an excellent family-friendly activity. Several also said that the adventure course is an incredible value for several hours of obstacles and fun.
- #6View all Photos#6 in Lake GeorgeTours, SightseeingTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDTours, SightseeingTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
There's possibly no better way to experience Lake George than to actually get out and see the lake – by boat. The Lake George Steamboat Company offers several different sailing experiences on the water where you can soak in the lake views and surrounding scenery. Those looking for a brief introduction to Lake George will likely be interested in the Minne Ha Ha Paddlewheel cruise, an hourlong trip that takes visitors along the shores of Lake George's southern basin. Travelers who want a bite to eat and a relaxing, longer trip should check out the Lac du Saint Sacrement Midday Luncheon Cruise, Sunday Champagne Brunch Cruise or Sunset Dinner Cruise: these typically last about two hours and include food and drinks. Meanwhile, families with kids will enjoy the hourlong Friday Night Pirate Cruise, complete with a goodie bag. The longest option, the Mohican Full Lake Cruise, lasts six hours and takes guests on a complete tour of the lake, where you might see sights like historical mansions, mountainous areas, lush islands and more. The company operates a few other trips as well, including a fall foliage excursion and family dinner cruises.
Recent travelers say a boat trip around the lake is a must-do when visiting Lake George. Many say the cruises that include meals are a great value, and most cruisers gush over the incredible scenery. Several patrons who visit the area frequently say they make sure to carve out time for a cruise during each trip, citing the peaceful boat ride and the friendly, informative guides as reasons to return.
- #7View all Photos#7 in Lake GeorgeFree, Recreation, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDFree, Recreation, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
The Warren County Bikeway is a nearly 10-mile paved trail that's perfect for walking, jogging and biking. The pathway begins in Glens Falls, New York, about 12 miles south of Lake George, then continues north through Queensbury and onward to conclude in Lake George at Battlefield Park. For visitors staying in Lake George, you can hop on the trail near Battlefield Park and travel south. The path includes a few hills, and it's shaded with a canopy of trees – which makes for a scenic ride or stroll, many say. You'll also find a few signs along the way that detail the trail's history. And from December to March, it's a dedicated snowmobile route.
Recent bikers say a ride on the trail is excellent exercise and the surroundings are quite beautiful. Several commented on how well maintained the pathway is as well.
- #8View all PhotosfreeShepard Park#8 in Lake GeorgeBeaches, Free, Parks and Gardens, Sports, RecreationTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDBeaches, Free, Parks and Gardens, Sports, RecreationTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Smack dab in the center of Lake George Village, Shepard Park is a small green space that's home to the Centennial Fountain and often hosts events throughout the year. The park features an amphitheater where locals and visitors alike can enjoy free summer concerts and music festivals. What's more, there are typically fireworks displays on select evenings. There's also a playground on-site, in addition to public bathrooms. Shepard's Park Beach sits between the park and Lake George, and offers a sandy spot for visitors to relax and children to play.
Travelers say Shepard Park is the perfect place to unwind and watch the boats putter around Lake George. They note that the beach here is much smaller than Million Dollar Beach, but say it's well-maintained. Many previous visitors also loved attending the weekly events here and recommend others stop by to enjoy the music or fireworks.
- #9View all Photos#9 in Lake GeorgeSports, RecreationTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDSports, RecreationTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
If you want to be out on Lake George and get some exercise in as well, consider renting a kayak, canoe or paddleboard to navigate the lake at your leisure. Several companies offer rental equipment and there are a few different launch areas around the lake. The two most convenient options for those staying in Lake George are:
Kayak Lake George: This company is situated in the village of Lake George, just north of Shepard Park. You can rent everything from single and double kayaks to stand-up paddleboards and paddle boats. Prices range from about $30 to $40 per hour depending on the equipment; paddle boats cost $20 per person, per hour. The outfitter is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from May to September. Walk-ins are welcome, but you can also reserve via phone, email or contact form online. For additional info, head to the company's website.
- #10View all Photos#10 in Lake GeorgeWineries/BreweriesTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDWineries/BreweriesTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Sample some local wine and relax at Adirondack Winery's Lake George outpost in the center of town. Adirondack Winery's headquarters is in Queensbury, New York, about 10 miles south of Lake George, but it has two tasting room locations: one in Lake George and one in Bolton Landing. There are a variety of wines available to taste at the Lake George outpost. Options range from dry riesling and chardonnay to pinot noir and cabernet franc to fruit-infused wine like mixed berry-infused rosé, peach-infused white wine and black cherry-infused red wine. The store also offers snacks like crackers, pretzels, chocolate and cheese plates, and specialty drinks like wine slushies. What's more, you get to keep the souvenir wine glass after your tasting. Specials are also available for those who want to purchase four or more bottles of wine.
Visitors raved about their experiences at the Adirondack Winery Lake George tasting room, saying the delightful employees who take you through your tasting are savvy and know their wine. Many said they loved the wide variety of wines – from sweet to dry – and highly recommend this activity to future travelers.
- #11View all Photos#11 in Lake GeorgeMuseums, Monuments and MemorialsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDMuseums, Monuments and MemorialsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Jump back in time to see what the wilderness of Lake George was like during the French and Indian War in the 1700s at the Fort William Henry Museum. The museum offers two tour options: On the general history tour, you'll learn more about the history of the area and the war, interact with the fort's soldiers (costumed reenactors), see the cannons fire and more. On the ghost tour, you'll hear stories that have been passed down for years and tour guides' personal experiences with the supernatural while seeing spooky sights along the way.
Both the history tour and the ghost tour received praise from recent visitors. Tourgoers were impressed with the exhibits and demonstrations, and felt they learned a lot during their visit. Many said the ghost tour guides are engaging and knowledgeable. Others highly recommend you stop in to the gift shop and peruse the souvenirs before leaving.
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