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What to do near Lake George, New York

The Lake George area of New York State has long been a vacation destination for New Yorkers. This area with its pristine lake, mountain views, and history is a wonderful place to explore and relax.

Even though I grew up on Long Island, my family never vacationed at Lake George. However, this summer our family has been twice and has really enjoyed it. In fact, we already have a trip booked for next year. I’m excited because it has become a new favorite spot for us.

view of Lake George
View of a parasailing trip

Lake George can have a retro vibe with motels like Surfside on the Lake or The Tiki Resort. However, venture beyond the kitsch souvenir shops and get to know the real Lake George. You will be glad you stayed and learned more about this wonderful lake.

Table of Contents

Lake George, Lake & Village

I didn’t know but Lake George is the name of the lake as well as the town. I honestly thought it was only the name of the lake. It’s a great day when you learn new things.

Lake George stats:

  • 32 miles long
  • the average width is 1.33 miles
  • the widest point is 2.375 miles
  • maximum depth 196.8 ft
  • elevation above sea level 320 ft
  • 44 square miles in surface area
  • the number of islands is over 170!!
rainbow of Lake George
Picturesque Lake George

I’m shocked and amazed by the number of islands in the lake. Only 148 of them are owned by the state. I think the only way to see them all is to have a boat and tool around yourself in search of them all.

letter from Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson’s letter to his daughter about Lake George

As you can see by the stats the lake is much more narrow than it is long. The lake runs north to south with Lake George at the southern tip and Ticonderoga at the north tip. The lake actually flows north into the Lake Champlain through the La Chute River. After Lake Champlain, the water continues to flow north into Canada and the St. Lawrence River Valley and then into the Atlantic Ocean north of Nova Scotia. What I find the most amazing by this info is how far north the lake flows to get to the Atlantic Ocean.

Lake George access
Walking to the riverfront

The Naming of Lake George

Prior to the French and Indian War Lake George had a few different names. First, the Native American’s name the lake Andia-ta-roc-te. When the French arrive the name changes to Horican, (10 points if you know where this originated). It changes again to Lac du Saint-Sacrement by a French Canadian and finally in 1755 Lake George by the British Officer William Johnson.

Fort William Henry, Lake George
Fort William Henry

This is when the British join forces with the Native Americans to fight the French in the French and Indian War. Ultimately winning this battle Johnson has a fort built to secure the southern tip of the lake. This fort is named Fort William Henry after King George’s grandson. In response to this fortification the French start to build Fort Callion at the northern tip of the lake. This fort will later be called Fort Ticonderoga.

Fort Ticonderoga
Fort Ticonderoga

These two forts are incredibly important in controlling the northeast trade routes between Canada and New York. They are particularly important when the Revolutionary War breaks out as well. The army that controls these forts has a huge advantage in the war.

To learn more about the Revolutionary War read my post on Boston’s Freedom Trail.

The Village

The village of Lake George has a very nice walkable downtown area with many shops and restaurants. We enjoyed strolling the downtown area, going into the various shops, and finding souvenirs.

streets of Lake George
Downtown Lake George
shops of Lake George
Downtown Lake George

Shepard Park Beach with its lovely park is in the center of town and has a sandy beach you can enjoy. The harbor with its many boats stretches along from Shepard Park around to Lake George Dog Beach. Beyond the dog beach is Million Dollar Beach. You will need to pay for parking at Million Dollar Beach but they offer facilities, a changing area, and lifeguards on duty. My family really enjoyed this beach. There were even some waves the kids were body surfing on.

Million Dollar Beach, Lake George
Million Dollar Beach

The funniest shop we found is the House of Frankenstein Wax Museum right on the main street. Although I think my kids would like to go to a wax museum, a scary museum is not in their wheelhouse. However, from the entrance, it did look like it would amaze and scare you all at the same time.

If you’d like to see some amazing views of Lake George you can either hike or drive up to the top of Prospect Mountain and get a view of the lake and the Adirondacks that is spectacular.

Cruising on Lake George

The best way to really enjoy a lake is to be on the water. Of course, if you have the option to have your own boat and go at your leisure around the lake all the better. However, if you don’t there are many options to cruising around Lake George.

boats, Lake George
Chose your cruise

You can rent your own boat or you can charter a cruise with Sunset Boat Charters. If adventure is on your agenda you can go parasailing with Pinky’s Parasailing Adventures or tubing with Adventure Boat Tours & Watersports. Of course, we can’t forget about the fishing enthusiasts. There are so many companies for fishing trips it’s almost too difficult to choose. However, two that came highly recommended are Highliner Charter Fishing and Bolton Boat Tours. Now we can’t leave out the partiers. For the over 21 group we have Tiki Tours where their motto is “Life’s too short for a normal tour”.

boat, Lake George
sailing along on Lake George
Lake George
The shores of Lake George

And last but certainly not least is the steamship cruise. This is the tour we chose for the fun of being on a steamship. Come on, how cool is that? I can tell you; it is super cool. It brings back childhood memories of the steamboat at Disney World. I loved riding that steamboat at Disney.

steamboat, Lake George
Before we got on the Minnie Ha Ha

The Lake George Steamboat Company does a fabulous job with their cruises. They offer so many different tours. Choose from dinner cruises to luncheons, sunset, red hat cruises, and even pirate cruises. Yes, you heard correct, pirate cruises. I think I might need my kids to keep me safe on that one. We took the one-hour cruise on the Minnie Ha Ha and had a fabulous time.

steamboat on Lake George
A real steamboat

Other Towns around Lake George

The west side of Lake George is where you will find the towns and the east side is more residential, except for the hamlet of Huletts Landing. Besides Lake George, we also explored the towns of Bolton Landing and Ticonderoga. Next year when we go back, we will explore The Hague and Silver Bay.

Bolton Landing

Bolton Landing is a very quaint lakeside town with lots of charm. You will find a picturesque church, several restaurants, souvenir shops, an antique shop, a garden shop, a great sandy beach, and the Bolton Historical Museum. I’m sad to say the museum was closed while we were visiting. However, I will explore their museum hopefully, next year.

Lake George shops
Lake George shops

The town’s memorial to all the wartime soldiers is quite powerful and worth a quiet moment of silence in their honor. However, one of the coolest things I found was a stone mile marker that was set back in 1802.

Soldiers memorial, Lake George
Soldiers Memorial
Lake George

I have to say we really enjoyed the sandy beach, Roger’s Memorial Park, in Bolton Landing. The girls didn’t want to leave. There is also a boat launch here and a lovely gazebo overlooking the lake and Green Island.

Lake George
Roger’s Memorial Park, Bolton Landing

Although on this trip we didn’t get in any hiking there are plenty of trails to satisfy any hiking enthusiast. I am actually a bit disappointed I didn’t do any hiking because not far out of Bolton Landing is a great waterfall. Well, I will certainly find that waterfall on our next trip to the area.

ropes course
Adirondack Extreme ropes course

If you are looking for adventure don’t miss Adirondack Extreme. A high ropes course our girls tried and really enjoyed. There are 5 sections for adults and 2 different courses for kids. With all this to explore it will satisfy even the biggest adrenaline lovers out there.

Crown Point

Crown Point State Historic Site is the site of another fort along Lake Champlain. The remains of the fort aren’t as impressive as Fort Ticonderoga, however, it’s worth a stop to walk the grounds and get a sense of the fort and the military might it had at this point along the lake. There is a museum with some great artifacts you can see and a very interesting movie about the history of the fort.

Historical ruins
What is left of Crown Point

This is also a great opportunity to get some photos of the Lake Champlain bridge. You can also visit the lighthouse which now is a memorial to Samuel Champlain and his explorations of the lake.

bridge
The bridge that connects Vermont to New York

Ticonderoga

The town of Ticonderoga is of course, famous for its fort. And I have to say the fort is amazing. I highly recommend going and taking in a demonstration or two. This isn’t a big fort but it’s in a very strategic position for fighting. Hey, and the views are pretty amazing too.

Mount Defiance
View from Mount Defiance
Fort Ticonderoga
Fort Ticonderoga

Mount Defiance is approximately a mile away from the fort and is quite the location for enemy forces to capture and then overtake the fort. Admission to the fort also includes access up to the top of Mount Defiance. There is a gate at the foot of the mountain, but you receive a token coin to insert which allows you access.

History of Ticonderoga

Board the Carillon and cruise the La Chute River and Lake Champlain right from Fort Ticonderoga. Although it was closed this year they plan to resume next year. This is a 75-minute tour around the lake with amazing views of the green mountains in Vermont and the Adirondack Mountains in New York along with all the history of the area.

La Chute River
The La Chute River, connecting Lake Champlain and Lake George

Unfortunately, during our visit, both the Ticonderoga Museum and the Hancock House were closed. I guess that just means we’ll be back! The Ticonderoga Museum has the area’s industrial history and the origins of the famous Ticonderoga pencil! I always wondered if the pencil was connected to the town and it is. I can’t wait to go back and check out this museum.

The Hancock House hosts Ticonderoga’s Historical Society and all their memorabilia from the area and fashions of the day. The house has furnishing and decorations of the time period along with a gift shop. There is the Liberty Monument outside in the traffic circle.

Downtown Ticonderoga

Right in the downtown area with its shops, you will find the town library which was donated by Andrew Carnegie.

Library, Lake George
Library in Ticonderoga

Also in the downtown area is Bicentennial Park with its river walk, trails, waterfall, and covered bridge. This park is a lovely area with some historical plaques to give you an understanding of the history of the area and a great place to relax and explore.

waterfalls, Lake George
Waterfalls at Bicentenial Park
Covered bridge, Lake George
Covered bridge at Bicentennial Park

The most surprising place we found on our trip is the Star Trek Original Series Set Tour. The locals say it gets pretty crazy when William Shatner shows up in town. However, even without the famous actor, this is a tour not to be missed by any Trekie fans out there.

Pin for Later

Lake George
Relax at Lake George, NY
Activities on Lake George
Lots to do on Lake George, NY

Final Thoughts

As you can see there is lots to do in the Lake George region of New York State. I know my family will be back to explore some more. Have you been? Tell us what your favorite activity or area is.

This Post Has 56 Comments

  1. Donna

    One of my favourite things to do is wander around small shops, after a fun day at the beach or on the water. Lake George area looks perfect for this.

    1. Leeanne

      Absolutely! I love to wander in and out of shops too. We always find ornaments for our Christmas tree and Lake George was no exception. I can’t wait to add it to our tree this year.

  2. Cindy Mailhot

    It’s worth the trip just to visit Mrs. Whizzy Fizz Popps…I am curious enough to want to go see. Lake George in on the bucket list actually. We went here when I was little and I have very vague memories.

    1. Leeanne

      It’s a fun area to explore for sure. We could have spent a week and still without a problem. I’m just glad we are already booked to go back.

  3. Pam

    Downtown looks adorable – I love cute downtown areas. It looks like there is a lot to do around Lake George – we’ll have to add it to our future adventures!

    1. Leeanne

      Yes, Pam, there was more to do than I realized. We didn’t bring our kayaks but next year when we go we want to go out on our own and enjoy exploring for sure.

  4. melissa

    Lake George looks like an amazing place to visit with family. I am sure that my kiddos would love the ropes course, as well, and we would probably spend way too much time and money in Mrs. Whizzy-Fizz-Popps!

    1. Leeanne

      Going into places like Mrs. Whizzy-Fizz Popps on vacation is allowed though.

  5. Lisa Manderino

    I loved reading this because it is one of those places I have never heard about. I love eye opening locations, I always think wow you could really have a great vacation there. I will have to put it on my list.

    1. Leeanne

      Yes, Lisa, it is a great area to relax and enjoy your family. The views are amazing from everywhere around the lake. You have the mountains to hike if you want. There really is something for everyone in your group.

  6. Tricia Snow

    I love this area. The paddleboat looks like so much fun. I can’t wait to visit!

    1. Leeanne

      I’m sure you will really enjoy it when you do.

  7. Stacey Billingsley

    This looks like such a pretty area, and your pictures are beautiful! I hope to make it to this area in a couple of years. I’d love to check out Ticonderoga. I love history!

    1. Leeanne

      Ticonderoga on the north and the William Henry on the south make this lake full of history. We really enjoyed learning about both forts significance in the wars of their day.

  8. Missy

    We have not been to Lake George, New York. I would love to relax on that beach and read a good book.

    1. Leeanne

      I’m with you, Missy. I think I will spend a whole day just relaxing by the water and reading a book.

  9. Barbara

    What a lovely place to explore! What an interesting piece of history, the origins of this area! Thank you for sharing!!

    1. Leeanne

      Yes, we loved all the history in the area.

  10. Chantelle

    I would totally stay here! What a great way to spend family time. Your photos are gorgeous!!

    1. Leeanne

      Thanks, Chantelle. We really did enjoy Lake George. It was more relaxing than I thought it would be.

  11. kmf

    We’ve been to Lake George, but it’s been a few decades. We loved it then, but can see there is so much more to do now. I had no idea the lake had so many islands. I can see why you are your family are returning. So fun!

    1. Leeanne

      I was surprised by all there is to do as well. I think I might even run over to see the autumn leaves when we go to Vermont at the end of September.

  12. Sara

    I think my family could easily spend a couple days in this area. Looks like a fun place to visit.

    1. Leeanne

      Absolutely, Sara, your kids would love all the activities around Lake George.

  13. Cindy

    Beautiful area! And so many fun things to do!

    1. Leeanne

      Yes, there really are, so many more than I thought there would be.

  14. Heather Jandrue

    I have heard nothing but great things about Lake George. I look forward to checking it out someday.

    1. Leeanne

      I’m sure you will love Lake George. There are some really fun things to do and see.

  15. Cindy

    This area is on the bucket list. I can’t wait to see some of these places.

    1. Leeanne

      I’m sure you will love it, Cindy. I’m sure your son would love all the activities in the area.

  16. Laura

    This looks like a great place to visit with lots of charm. We will have to look into this.

    1. Leeanne

      I’m sure you will love it. It was relaxing and really enjoyable.

  17. Caitlin Goodwin

    We just spent 48 hours at Niagara Falls and I had NO idea how amazing New York was. Now we have to add Lake George to our bucket list.

    1. Leeanne

      So funny. I wanted to take our girls to Niagara Falls this summer but with the border closed, we opted to stay closer to home and visit Lake George. I’m so glad we did however, I can’t wait to visit Niagara Falls as well.

  18. Bettye L Rainwater

    I’ve lived in NY (well, Long Island) for 51 years and have never been to Lake George! Since covid and all that nonsense started I’ve been doing little day and overnight trips further north and I hope to someday make it to Lake George! Looks like on a weekend morning (early) it’s about 4 hours, that’s not bad if I’m staying a night or two. I’ll definitely keep all your “things to do” in mind, thanks!

    Bettye
    https://fashionschlub.com

    1. Leeanne

      I hope you do make it to Lake George. It really is a great place to visit and explore.

  19. Rochelle

    Looks like there is a ton to do for families and adventurers alike.

    1. Leeanne

      Lake George really is an all-around great location for everyone. I can’t wait to go back and explore more.

  20. Gail

    We have a Lake George near my house in Nova Scotia too! (That’s why this article caught my eye) But… your Lake George is WAY better than my Lake George 😂
    It’s very picturesque, and I especially like the look of the town.

    1. Leeanne

      That’s so interesting. I do love finding places named the same in different countries and then comparing them. I guess we will need to visit Lake George in Nova Scotia.

  21. Michele

    What an awesome lake. I would not have guessed that Lake George was in New York. Looks like fun and I love the rainbow photo!

    1. Leeanne

      Lake George really is an awesome lake to visit. The rainbow was a total surprise.

  22. Karen

    So many fun things to do in and on Lake George, NY! It’s the perfect family destination to make life-long memories!

    1. Leeanne

      I agree, Karen. My family loved visited Lake George.

  23. Alexis Farmer

    I love the history in your posts! Lake George looks like an awesome place to visit. I would check out the Wax Museum in a heartbeat lol.

    1. Leeanne

      Yes, the wax museum does seem to have its own appeal.

  24. Holly B

    What a beautiful place to visit and spend time with the whole family! Love it!

    1. Leeanne

      Yes, it really is, Holly. My family just fell in love with Lake George.

  25. Marianne

    We visited Lake George a few years back. We spent a couple of hours walking around the village. Next time we will have to give the cruise a try as well as the Adirondack Extreme. My kids love that stuff!

    1. Leeanne

      Yes, so do my kids. I have to say though, my husband and I should have gone on the extreme course as well, next time.

  26. Cathy

    Lake George looks like a really beautiful place! Great photos! Thanks for the detailed info. that will help in planning a trip!

    1. Leeanne

      You would really like Lake George, Cathy. It really has that small-town feel.

  27. Julie Gazdecki

    What a great area. There is so much to do near Lake George. This is the part of New York I would prefer to see.

    1. Leeanne

      Yes, Julie, I agree. This was my first time to Lake George and we all loved it. I can see us going back time and time again.

  28. Kendra

    Wow! Lake George, NY looks like it has plenty to see and do! The village of Lake George and Bolton Landing both look like places I would enjoy spending the day going to the shops.

    1. Leeanne

      Absolutely, Kendra. The little shops are so fun. I love seeing what they have for my garden.

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