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Adirondack Small Towns to Visit

Pristine nature is the heart of the Adirondacks, but there is more to the region than mountains and rivers, waterfalls and trees. Scattered throughout this natural preserve are the small towns and villages that make up the soul of this incredible place. Usually based around natural attractions – at the base of a mountain range, along the banks of a river, or nestled beside a lake – these are the places where the natural world meets civilization. The result? Some of the most charming, unique small towns you will find anywhere.

birds eye view of an Adirondack small town

Lake Placid

In the heart of the High Peaks, Lake Placid was the site of the 1932 & 1980 Winter Olympics. Visitors can enjoy visiting the sites of those events, including the ski jumps, the speed skating oval, and hockey arenas. Bring your cross-country skiing gear and head to Mt. VanHoevenberg, where you can glide through the trails and get an up-close look at the Olympic Bobsled track. Each summer, Lake Placid hosts an Ironman race, and have even expanded to include the half Ironman in September. With its close proximity to so many mountains, there are lots of hiking trails for all ability levels.

Main Street Lake Placid in winter

Lake George

Located in the Southeastern part of the Adirondacks, the "Original Vacation" spot Lake George holds many annual events year-round for visitors to enjoy. Get a history lesson at Fort William Henry or go on a shopping spree at the Factory Outlets on the outskirts of the village.

Million Dollar Beach in Lake George

Saranac Lake

Saranac Lake is known as the heart of the Adirondacks. This picturesque American town is host to one of the most iconic Winter Carnivals around, complete with an enormous Ice Palace on the shore of Lake Flower. Winter fun continues in Saranac Lake at Mt. Pisgah, the local skiing, tubing, and snowboarding center. For those seeking adventure and a challenge, the six mountains that surround the town have been dubbed the Saranac 6, and hikers are challenged to climb all of them to become a Saranac 6er.

town of Saranac Lake


As their welcome sign says, Speculator is an all-season vacationland with many lakes for paddling and boating, Oak Mountain for skiing and snowboarding, and an abundance of hiking trails including the loop to Auger Falls.

Speculator public beach

Long Lake

Do you love rustic, country stores that offer everything you need for an Adirondack vacation? Hoss's in Long Lake is waiting for you. Take a scenic flight over the vast, beautiful lake or hike out to a beautiful Adirondack waterfall, Buttermilk Falls, and enjoy a picnic lunch.

Adirondack Hotel in Long Lake

North Creek

North Creek may be a small town, but it is full of unique Adirondack adventures. Hop on a railbike and take a scenic tour by peddling your way along an old railroad track with Revolution Rail Co or take to the water for an epic whitewater rafting excursion. Gore Mountain is the perfect place for winter skiing, or take a ride on the gondola in the summer for outstanding views of the lower Adirondack Region.

Revolution Rail Co in North Creek


Perhaps its most known attraction, Fort Ticonderoga offers visitors a look back into American military history, as well as fun educational activities such as the massive corn maze that requires guests to participate in a trivia game to find their way out. Space enthusiasts will love taking a set tour of the Original Star Trek Series. And waterfall chasers with enjoy viewing Falls of the La Chute up close from a kayak or paddleboard.

Historical reenactment at Fort Ticonderoga

Tupper Lake

Head to Tupper Lake for an out-of-this-world stargazing experience at the Adirondack Public Observatory or walk above the trees at The Wild Center. Little Wolf Beach is one of the best public beaches in the Adirondacks, complete with swim areas, a floating dock, and lots of sand for building massive sand creations.

Wild Walk at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake


The Fulton Chain of Lakes runs right through Inlet, a quaint little village with many family-friendly attractions to discover. Awesome groomed trails make this part of the Adirondacks perfect for snowmobiling. And for those into road-cycling, the Black Fly Challenge Bike Race held in early summer is a one-of-a-kind man vs. nature event that locals and visitors look forward to each year.

snowmobiling near Inlet NY

Cranberry Lake

If you're seeking a low-key escape to the Adirondacks in a more secluded area, Cranberry Lake is a perfect spot. Camp under the stars, kayak or fish along the shores of the third largest lake in the Adirondacks, and hike to the tops of less-traversed mountains. If you want to get back in touch with nature, Cranberry Lake is a good place to start.

Canoeing in the Adirondacks

Adirondack Small Town Experiences

While hiking to a summit or paddling a serene lake provides a stunning view, visiting the communities of the Adirondacks will help you see what the Adirondacks are truly about - the people. Trade dirt trails for sidewalks and explore the Adirondacks like a true local.

Eat Local

Eating local has a different meaning in the Adirondacks. Here, farmers lovingly grow and raise much of the food that is used by master chefs to create mouth-watering dishes for your enjoyment in local restaurants. Enjoy traditional French dishes made with fresh ingredients beside a lazy river at Left Bank Cafe in Saranac Lake. Even if you don't have time for a meal, a glass of red wine and a homemade chocolate mousse is simply divine. Or, pair your meal with one of 30 wines or 60 beers, ales, and stouts at BarVino in North Creek. In warm summer months, outdoor seating and live music take the experience to the next level. Explore an ever-changing menu of locally-inspired small plates, accompanied by the most creative cocktails you've ever tried, at Liquids and Solids in Lake Placid. If you're mindful of where your meat comes from, rest assured knowing the local butcher is right next door!

If you really want to get down to the source, visit the farms that produce the vegetables, meat, and dairy that feed the Adirondacks and experience why local is always better. Or, pick up the ingredients from a local farmers' market and make your own Adirondack culinary creation.

Explore Downtown

Lining the main streets of small Adirondack towns are a wide variety of local shops and boutiques featuring luxury products, artisan goods, and region-specific souvenirs. While you will find few big-name brands among the storefronts, that doesn't mean you can't engage in some retail therapy! Support the small towns of the Adirondacks by getting everything you need, including souvenirs, at places like the Market Barn in Malone, an old livestock auction barn transformed into an artisan warehouse where over 80 vendors sell their crafts and Adirondack-inspired products. Or, take your shopping back in time at Hoss's Country Corner in Long Lake. Since the 1900s Hoss's has provided locals and travelers alike with the tools, books, clothing, crafts, food, and gifts they need – and they sell ice cream right across the road!

If it's gear for your next big Adirondack adventure you seek, check out local outfitters like Great Outdoors Sporting Goods in Croghan or The Mountaineer in Keene Valley. Not only do they have the shoes, apparel, and safety accessories you need for any kind of adventure, they also have the guide books to help you find your way. If you are craving a brand name shopping spree, visit the Factory Outlets in Lake George or explore the bustling commercial district of Plattsburgh.

Your (Vacation) Home

From cozy backwoods cabins and historic bed and breakfasts to luxury resort hotels, the small towns of the Adirondacks go big when it comes to hospitality. For centuries, the region has welcomed city-weary travelers for a refreshing, nature-filled respite. Once known for its grand, sprawling Great Camps, the region is now known for once-in-a-lifetime stays in unimaginably beautiful places. Imagine waking up at Lake Clear Lodge, dappled sunlight shining through the window, pouring yourself a steaming cup of freshly brewed coffee, then walking out onto a beautiful deck overlooking mountains and lakes. Or, settle into a comfortable king suite at the Sagamore Resort, with the convenience of several pools, gourmet restaurants, and full-service spa located right below your feet. You'll feel so at home, you may never want to leave.

For a truly authentic Adirondack experience, find a cabin to call your home away from home. Lakeside stays will bring back memories of your free-spirited youth, and quiet backwoods abodes off the main drag provide a much-needed retreat from your busy day-to-day life. If you want the atmosphere of a cabin with all the convenience and amenities of a modern home, book a stay close to town in an Adirondack-style vacation house. It's all the modern comfort you need while still giving you the opportunity to unplug.

Go big with your next adventure, and choose a small Adirondack town as your destination.