Fun Things to Do in Lake Placid: 12 Must-See Attractions

by Jen
Fun Things to Do in Lake Placid
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Are you looking to visit Lake Placid soon? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in Lake Placid. These serene sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for a memorable vacation experience.

Lake Placid—a name that evokes images of serene waters, towering mountain ranges, and the kind of tranquility that only nature can provide. But don’t let the name fool you; this idyllic haven in New York’s Adirondack Mountains is anything but placid when it comes to adventures and experiences. When you visit Lake Placid, you’ll find a wide array of things to do, from the thrill of bobsledding down Olympic tracks to the peacefulness of kayaking on Mirror Lake. There’s a slice of paradise here for every type of traveler.

Picture yourself hiking through lush forests, the air filled with the scent of pine and the sound of your boots crunching on the trail. Imagine the adrenaline rush as you navigate the rapids of the Ausable River, or the awe-inspiring moment when you reach the summit of Whiteface Mountain, only to be greeted by a panoramic view that words can’t do justice.

So, pack your bags and your sense of adventure, because we’re about to explore the fun things to do in Lake Placid that will make your trip unforgettable.

The fun places to visit in Lake Placid right now
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Best Places to Visit in Lake Placid

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Lake Placid? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this relaxing vacation spot in Upstate New York. So keep reading to discover all these unique Lake Placid places to visit.

Are you looking to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and skiing, surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty? Or would you prefer exploring a range of dining and shopping options? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Lake Placid can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Lake Placid that you should know about.

1. Whiteface Mountain

If you’re in search of the ultimate vantage point, look no further than Whiteface Mountain. As the fifth-highest mountain in New York, it offers an unparalleled view of the Adirondacks and beyond. But what makes this one of the coolest things to do in Lake Placid is the variety of ways you can reach the summit.

For the hiking enthusiasts, there’s a challenging yet rewarding trail that winds through dense forests and rocky terrains. If you’re not up for the hike, no worries! The Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway allows you to drive most of the way up, with a stone castle and an elevator ride for the final ascent.

Once you’re at the top, the world—or at least, Lake Placid—feels like it’s at your feet. The panoramic vistas are a photographer’s dream, capturing the essence of the Adirondacks in every frame. It’s a must-see in Lake Placid, especially during the fall when the foliage turns into a riot of colors.

Whether you’re an avid hiker or someone who prefers a more leisurely pace, Whiteface Mountain offers an experience that caters to all. So, grab your camera and your sense of adventure; the summit is calling!

Whiteface Mountain is one of the fun things to do in Lake Placid.
Experience the Adirondacks from Whiteface Mountain, one of Lake Placid’s coolest attractions with diverse summit routes.

2. Mirror Lake

Imagine this: the sun is setting, casting a golden glow over Mirror Lake, and you’re gliding across the water in a canoe. The lake, true to its name, offers a near-perfect reflection of the sky and surrounding mountains, creating an almost surreal experience.

For those who prefer a bit of action, kayaking and paddleboarding are also fantastic options. But what sets canoeing apart is the serenity it offers. The gentle ripples in the water as you paddle along, the distant calls of loons, and the occasional fish jumping make it a multisensory experience.

Curious about where to go in Lake Placid for a romantic evening or some quality family time? Mirror Lake is your answer. Renting a canoe is easy and affordable, and it’s an activity that suits all ages. Whether you’re a seasoned paddler or a complete novice, this is a Lake Placid must-see that offers a different perspective of the area’s natural beauty.

Picture canoeing on Mirror Lake at sunset, where the water reflects the sky and mountains, creating a surreal experience.
Picture canoeing on Mirror Lake at sunset, where the water reflects the sky and mountains, creating a surreal experience.

3. Lake Placid Olympic Museum

Ah, the thrill of the Olympics! If you’re a sports enthusiast or a history aficionado, a visit to the Lake Placid Olympic Museum is among the best things to do in Lake Placid. Situated in the Olympic Center, this museum is a treasure trove of memorabilia from the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, both of which were hosted in Lake Placid.

Now, you might be wondering what to do in Lake Placid if you’re not into sports. Well, this museum isn’t just for the athletically inclined. It’s a fascinating dive into the history and culture of the area, offering a glimpse into the lives and struggles of the athletes who competed here. From iconic outfits to captivating photographs, the exhibits are both educational and inspiring.

The museum also features interactive exhibits that allow you to experience the excitement of the Games. Try your hand at some of the sports simulations or take a guided tour to get the inside scoop on the most memorable moments of the Olympics.

Traveling with family or exploring solo? The Lake Placid Olympic Museum offers an exceptional blend of education and entertainment.

Lake Placid Olympic Museum showcases memorabilia from the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics hosted in Lake Placid.
Lake Placid Olympic Museum showcases memorabilia from the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics hosted in Lake Placid.

4. High Falls Gorge

If you’re yearning for a nature escape, High Falls Gorge is where to visit in Lake Placid. This natural wonder is a sanctuary of waterfalls, rivers, and scenic trails that beckon the adventurer in you. Nestled just a short drive from the heart of Lake Placid, this gorge is a haven for those looking to disconnect from the hustle and bustle.

What sets High Falls Gorge apart are its accessible walkways, allowing even the less adventurous to experience the beauty of the Adirondacks. The wooden pathways and bridges guide you through the lush forest, leading you to awe-inspiring views of the waterfalls. It’s a photographer’s dream and a nature lover’s paradise.

Lake Placid attractions often focus on adrenaline-pumping activities, but High Falls Gorge offers a tranquil counterpoint. Take your time to explore the interpretive signs detailing the area’s geology and wildlife. You might even spot some local fauna if you’re lucky!

As you wrap up your visit, don’t forget to stop by the gift shop for some local crafts or enjoy a meal at the on-site café. It’s one of those unique places in Lake Placid that effortlessly combines natural beauty with a touch of comfort.

High Falls Gorge offers a tranquil nature escape with waterfalls, rivers, and scenic trails.
High Falls Gorge in Lake Placid offers a tranquil nature escape with waterfalls, rivers, and scenic trails.

5. John Brown Farm State Historic Site

For those who appreciate a blend of history and natural beauty, the John Brown Farm State Historic Site is one of the unique things to do in Lake Placid. Situated amidst the breathtaking Adirondack Mountains, this historic farm offers a distinctive glimpse into the life of abolitionist John Brown and the Underground Railroad.

The site is more than just a history lesson; it’s a sanctuary of peace and quiet. Wander through the well-preserved buildings and imagine the lives that once filled them. The farm’s trails are a haven for hikers and bird watchers alike, offering a tranquil escape from the more bustling Lake Placid destinations.

Thinking of what to do in Lake Placid if you’re a history enthusiast? Well, you can’t miss the educational exhibits that delve deep into the abolitionist movement and John Brown’s role in it. The guided tours are incredibly informative. This makes it a perfect getaway for a dose of culture and education.

As you stroll through the farm, you’ll find various spots perfect for a picnic. So, pack some local cheese and wine, and make a day of it! It’s one of those Lake Placid places to visit where you can truly unwind and soak in the natural beauty around you.

Lake Placid's John Brown Farm State Historic Site showcases abolitionist John Brown and the Underground Railroad.
Lake Placid’s John Brown Farm State Historic Site showcases abolitionist John Brown and the Underground Railroad.

6. Adirondack Scenic Railroad

Thinking about where to go in Lake Placid for a one-of-a-kind experience? Explore the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. This isn’t just a train ride; it’s a journey through the heart of the Adirondacks, offering unparalleled views of the region’s lush forests, sparkling lakes, and majestic mountains.

The train departs from Lake Placid and takes you on a scenic route that’s as captivating as it is relaxing. As you sit back in the vintage carriages, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The railroad offers various themed rides throughout the year, from wine and beer tastings to family-friendly adventures.

For photography enthusiasts, this is a dream come true. The train slows down at particularly scenic spots, giving you ample time to capture the perfect shot. And let’s not overlook the onboard amenities. From comfortable seating to a well-stocked snack bar, they’ve thought of everything to make your journey enjoyable.

The Adirondack Scenic Railroad stands out for its blend of relaxation, sightseeing, and a touch of nostalgia. It’s a must-do experience that offers a different perspective of the natural beauty surrounding Lake Placid. Is this among the top things to do in Lake Placid? 100%

Experience the Adirondack Scenic Railroad for a unique journey through Lake Placid's heart, with stunning views of forests, lakes, and mountains.
Experience the Adirondack Scenic Railroad for a unique journey through Lake Placid’s heart, with stunning views of forests, lakes, and mountains.

7. Lake Placid Center for the Arts

Art aficionados and culture vultures, this one’s for you. The Lake Placid Center for the Arts is not just another gallery; it’s a vibrant hub for all things creative. Situated in the heart of the Adirondacks, this center is one of the best places in Lake Placid to immerse yourself in a world of artistic expression.

From contemporary art exhibitions to live performances, the center offers a diverse range of cultural experiences. You’ll find everything from local artists showcasing their latest works to international acts gracing the stage.

But wait, there’s more. The center also hosts workshops, film screenings, and community events. Whether you’re an aspiring artist looking to hone your skills or simply someone who appreciates the finer things in life, this center has something for everyone.

So, planning about Lake Placid things to do when you’ve had your fill of outdoor adventures? Dive into the arts, of course! The Lake Placid Center for the Arts is a must-see, offering a perfect blend of culture, creativity, and community spirit.

Art enthusiasts, don't miss the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, a vibrant creative hub in the heart of the Adirondacks.
Art enthusiasts, don’t miss the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, a vibrant creative hub in the heart of the Adirondacks.

8. Adirondack Wildlife Refuge

For those who have a soft spot for animals and the natural world, the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge is a sanctuary you won’t want to miss. This refuge is more than just a place to see animals; it’s a haven where injured or orphaned wildlife are rehabilitated and cared for.

The refuge is home to a variety of species, from wolves and bears to birds of prey. As you wander through the trails, you’ll likely encounter volunteers who are more than happy to share their knowledge about the animals and the refuge’s conservation efforts.

But the experience doesn’t stop there. The refuge also offers guided tours and educational programs. This makes it a fantastic destination for families and school groups. If you’re lucky, you might even get to witness a live feeding or an animal release back into the wild.

If you’ve been searching for cool destinations in Lake Placid that offer a blend of education and excitement, the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge is your answer. It’s not just a visit; it’s an experience that will leave you with a newfound respect for the natural world.

Animal lovers, visit the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, a sanctuary where injured and orphaned wildlife find care and rehabilitation.
Animal lovers, visit the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, a sanctuary where injured and orphaned wildlife find care and rehabilitation.

9. Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa

Ah, the spa—a sanctuary for the soul and a feast for the senses. If you’re looking to unwind in style, the Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa is where you should set your sights. Perched on the shores of its namesake, Mirror Lake, this resort offers a luxurious escape from the everyday hustle and bustle.

What sets this place apart from the others? Well, it’s not just a spa; it’s an experience. From the moment you step inside, you’re enveloped in an atmosphere of tranquility. The scent of essential oils fills the air, and the sound of soft music lulls you into a state of relaxation. A visit at the spa is one of those Lake Placid things to do that you’ll want to revisit time and again.

The spa offers a wide range of treatments, from massages and facials to specialized therapies like hydrotherapy and aromatherapy. And let’s not forget the stunning views of Mirror Lake that you can enjoy while you’re pampered.

Indulge in luxury at the Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa, a lakeside sanctuary for relaxation and sensory bliss.
Indulge in luxury at the Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa, a lakeside sanctuary for relaxation and sensory bliss in Lake Placid.

10. Adirondack Flying Service

Imagine soaring through the sky, the wind in your hair, as you gaze down at the breathtaking Adirondack Mountains. If this sounds like your kind of adventure, then taking a scenic flight with Adirondack Flying Service is one of the coolest activities in Lake Placid you shouldn’t miss.

The experience begins at the Lake Placid Airport, where you’ll meet your pilot and get a quick safety briefing. Then, it’s time to climb aboard the small aircraft and take to the skies. The flight offers unparalleled views of Lake Placid, the surrounding mountains, and the lush forests below. It’s a perspective you can’t get any other way.

The thrill of flying in a small plane adds an extra layer of excitement to the whole experience. You’ll feel a sense of freedom and exhilaration that’s hard to match.

As you touch back down, you’ll realize this is one of those Lake Placid attractions that offers both adventure and awe. This makes it a must-add to your Lake Placid things to do list. Whether you’re a photography enthusiast looking to capture some exceptional shots or simply someone who loves a good thrill, this scenic flight is a high-flying adventure you won’t soon forget.

Experience the thrill of a scenic flight over the Adirondack Mountains with Adirondack Flying Service.
Experience the thrill of a scenic flight over the Adirondack Mountains with Adirondack Flying Service.

11. Olympic Sports Complex

Ever dreamed of feeling like an Olympian for a day? Well, you can make that dream a reality at the Olympic Sports Complex, one of the best places to go in Lake Placid for sports enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike.

Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by the sight of the iconic bobsled track, a relic from the 1980 Winter Olympics. After a brief orientation and safety rundown, you’ll don a helmet and hop into a bobsled with a professional pilot. Hold on tight, because you’re in for the ride of a lifetime!

While you zoom down the track at speeds that can reach up to 60 mph, you’ll feel your heart pounding in your chest. The adrenaline rush is real, and it’s exhilarating. The curves and turns of the track add to the excitement. This makes it one of the most unique things to do in Lake Placid.

When the ride comes to an end, you’ll be buzzing with energy and excitement. This is more than just a ride; it’s an experience that encapsulates the spirit of Lake Placid—adventurous, thrilling, and utterly unforgettable. Whether you’re a sports aficionado or just someone looking for a memorable adventure, bobsledding at the Olympic Sports Complex is a must-see in Lake Placid.

Live your Olympic dreams at the Olympic Sports Complex, a top spot for sports enthusiasts and thrill-seekers.
Live your Olympic dreams at the Olympic Sports Complex, a top spot in Lake Placid for sports enthusiasts and thrill-seekers.

12. Cascade Lakes

Located between towering mountains and lush forests, Cascade Lakes is a hidden gem that offers some of the coolest activities in Lake Placid. This tranquil spot is a haven for those who love the great outdoors, and it’s easy to see why.

Start your day with a peaceful paddleboard session on the glassy waters, where the only sounds you’ll hear are the gentle lapping of the lake and the distant calls of loons. The serenity here is palpable, and it’s the perfect place to disconnect and recharge.

Cascade Lakes also offers plenty of opportunities for adventure. From kayaking to fishing, the options are endless. If you’re an angler at heart, you’ll be thrilled to know that the lakes are teeming with trout. This makes it a perfect spot for fishing.

As the sun begins to set, find a cozy spot along the shoreline and prepare for a spectacle. The sky transforms into a canvas of pinks and oranges, reflecting beautifully on the water. It’s a sight that you won’t soon forget and a perfect way to end your day at one of the most unique places in Lake Placid.

Cascade Lakes: Lake Placid's serene outdoor haven amid towering mountains and lush forests.
Cascade Lakes: Lake Placid’s serene outdoor haven amid towering mountains and lush forests. | Source: https://www.lakeplacid.com/

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Fun Things to Do in Lake Placid

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Lake Placid? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Lake Placid:

What’s the best time to visit Lake Placid?

The best time to visit Lake Placid depends on your preferences. Summer (June to August) is ideal for outdoor activities like hiking and water sports, while autumn (September to October) offers stunning foliage. Winter (December to February) is perfect for winter sports enthusiasts, and spring (March to May) offers milder weather with fewer crowds.

Is Lake Placid worth visiting in summer?

Absolutely! Lake Placid, located in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, is a popular destination year-round, and summer is no exception. While many associate Lake Placid with its winter sports, especially given its history as a two-time Winter Olympics host, the summer months offer a plethora of activities and attractions. Here’s why Lake Placid is worth visiting in the summer:

  1. Outdoor Activities: The Adirondack Mountains provide a stunning backdrop for hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. There are trails for all skill levels, from easy walks to challenging mountain hikes.
  2. Water Sports: Lake Placid and the surrounding lakes and rivers offer opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, and fishing. The clear waters and scenic surroundings make it a delightful experience.
  3. Golf: The region boasts several golf courses set against the backdrop of the Adirondacks, offering both a challenge and a view.
  4. Events: Summer is a season of events in Lake Placid, from Ironman Lake Placid to horse shows, music festivals, and more.
  5. Scenic Drives: The Whiteface Mountain Veterans’ Memorial Highway offers breathtaking views without the hike. Drive to the top of the mountain and enjoy panoramic vistas.
  6. Olympic Sites: While the Olympic sites, like the ski jumps and bobsled runs, are more active in winter, they’re still open for tours in the summer. The Olympic Museum is also worth a visit.

Is Lake Placid family-friendly?

Yes, Lake Placid is a family-friendly destination. It offers a range of activities suitable for all ages, from outdoor adventures like hiking and skiing to family-oriented attractions such as the Olympic Museum. The town’s welcoming atmosphere and scenic surroundings make it a great choice for family vacations.

How do I get around Lake Placid?

Getting around Lake Placid is easy. Most attractions and amenities are within walking distance in the town center. To explore the surrounding areas and attractions, you can use a car or take advantage of the local shuttle services. Biking and walking are also popular for navigating the town and its scenic surroundings.

Woman enjoying the snow in Lake Placid, New York.
Woman enjoying the snow in Lake Placid, New York.

Are there any must-see Lake Placid attractions?

Lake Placid offers several must-see attractions, including the Olympic Center, where you can learn about the town’s Olympic history, and Mirror Lake, ideal for kayaking and strolling. Don’t miss the Whiteface Mountain for outdoor adventures, and the Wild Center in nearby Tupper Lake for a unique natural science experience in the Adirondacks.

What kind of activities are available in Lake Placid?

Lake Placid offers a wide range of activities, including hiking, skiing, and snowboarding in the Adirondack Mountains. Water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding are popular on Mirror Lake. You can also explore Olympic venues, visit museums, enjoy scenic drives, and dine in charming restaurants, offering something for every traveler.

Is Lake Placid worth visiting?

Absolutely, Lake Placid is a year-round gem nestled in the Adirondacks. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or a peace lover, this place has something for everyone. From winter sports and hiking trails to serene lakes and cultural landmarks, it’s a destination that offers a rich, unforgettable experience.

What is Lake Placid best known for?

Lake Placid is best known for its stunning natural beauty and as a two-time host of the Winter Olympics. Nestled in the Adirondack Mountains, it’s a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering everything from skiing and snowboarding in winter to hiking, kayaking, and fishing in the warmer months.

Final Thoughts on Visiting Lake Placid

So there you have it, wanderlusters! Lake Placid is not just a destination; it’s an experience that stays with you long after you’ve left. From the adrenaline-pumping activities to the soul-soothing natural landscapes, this place is a smorgasbord of experiences waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, Lake Placid offers a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation. So pack those bags and set your GPS for this Adirondack wonderland. Trust me, it’s a trip you won’t regret!

The fun things to do in Lake Placid for all types of travelers
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