ULTIMATE GUIDE TO LAKE PLACID NY
Visiting Lake Placid has been at the top of my to-do list for a few years now. I’ve marveled at photos of the Adirondack Mountains for years and just knew this would be the perfect place to visit with the kids. With all the outdoor activities and attractions, I could easily tie some of their homeschool lessons into the trip, which is always a bonus for me. Since we visited in November, we really didn’t have a chance to do any fishing in the area but I’m already working on planning another trip back in the Spring or Summer to really take advantage of the hiking trails and fishing in the area. Fall is such a beautiful time to visit Lake Placid. With the trees changing colors and the cooler temperatures, we really couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. If you’re looking for a getaway where you’re surround by nature, this is Ultimate Guide to Plan the Perfect Weekend in Lake Placid.
WHERE TO STAY
While there is not shortage of places to stay in Lake Placid, NY, for our first stay in the region we stayed at The Whiteface Lodge. This gorgeous hotel has enough amenities and activities to keep a family busy the entire weekend without even leaving the hotel. I’ll be the first to say a short weekend is not enough time here. With so many things to do on-site as well as a spa and deluxe accommodations, a weekend is great but The Whiteface Lodge deserves more of your time.
During our stay, we stayed in one of the deluxe suites. The handcrafted Adirondack accessories and furnishings throughout the Lodge’s Deluxe Suites, measuring 725 to 925 square feet, truly at to the feel of the area. The bedroom and living rooms are separate, with the sleeping area offering a King bed and the living area with a Queen sleeper sofa. The deluxe suite bathrooms are larger and feature a separate two-person jetted tub perfect for relaxing in after a long time of hiking and exploration and a seperate shower. Our room also had an additional half-bath which is great when traveling with kids.
WHAT WE LOVED:
- On-site spa
- Nightly campfire with s’mores outside at the fire pit
- Lake for fishing (it was closed during our stay but we’d love to come back for some fishing)
- 24 hour room service
- Year-Round, Heated Indoor/Outdoor Swimming Pool
- Outdoor Hot Tubs
- 56-Seat, surround-sound Movie Theater
- Family Game Room with pool, shuffleboard, air hockey, and foosball
- Old-Fashion Ice Cream Parlor (Summer season, weekends and holiday periods)
- Nature Trail
- Catch-and-Release Fishing Pond (Seasonal)
- Ice Skating Rink (Seasonal)
And this is just some of the on-site activities at The Whiteface Lodge. With so much to do, it’s the perfect destination for families with kids of all ages. There were plenty of activities to keep both my toddler and my teen busy and our suite had plenty of room for them to really have their own personal space.
WHERE TO PLAY
If you decide to venture out from the hotel, there are plenty of things to do in the area and there’s something for the whole family to enjoy.
Open year-round, the Olympic Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and guided tours are available. You can tour where ‘The Miracle’ happened in 1980, the US Hockey Team’s victory over the Soviet Union. Visit the Lake Placid Olympic Center, Olympic Jumping Complex, or Museum to view a little piece of history.
High Falls Gorge
Another destination open year-round, High Falls Gorge is located in the shadow of Whiteface Mountain where you can take a nature walk to view Ausable River spilling over ancient granite cliffs. The sturdy bridges, walkways and trails provide safe access to breathtaking views and photographic vantage points.
The hike wasn’t too much making it perfect for kids of all ages. My three year old easily walked the trails and bridges and had a blast doing it.
Olympic Sports Complex Bobsled Ride
During the Summer and Winter months, the Olympic Sports Complex Bobsled Ride is a must do. In fact, this is at the top of my list for our next trip. Take a ride with a professional driver and brakeman down the state-of-the-art competition track at the Olympic Sports Complex. Each sled has been custom-built for a safe, comfortable, exhilarating ride of a lifetime. Riders receive a complimentary bobsled pin and commemorative photo.
Santa’s Workshop at North Pole
Santa’s Workshop at North Pole is only open during the Summer and Winter months and is a place for kids of all ages to enjoy. The magic of Christmas comes alive again when you visit with Santa Claus at his home and workshop. The village, founded in 1949 and designed by Arto Monaco, nestled on the side of Whiteface Mountain.
Whiteface Memorial Highway
During the Summer months, ascend to the summit of the fifth highest mountain in the Adirondacks, Whiteface Memorial Highway mountain. At the summit parking area, take a short hike to the very top or hop on the in-mountain elevator for a truly amazing 360° view of the surrounding wilderness. This will be another must-do when we go back in the Summer.
The Wild Center
The Wild Center, the Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks, is a science-based museum dedicated to understanding this rare place. It has live exhibits, live feeds and live animals. The Wild Center is located in the town of Tupper Lake, NY, and was an approximately 35 minute drive from The Whiteface Lodge.
I had seen plenty of pictures of The Wild Center online but they truthfully didn’t even do this magnificent place any justice. We easily spend a day here and could have spend probably two full days if the time allowed.
There was just so much to do. My husband and I felt like a kid again at the Wild Walk—an elevated trail across the Adirondack treetops. The views up there were breathtaking.
Most of our time here was spent hiking the trails and at the Wild Walk but there’s so much more like iForest,guided canoe trips, and a 54,000-square-foot museum to explore with live animals and hands-on everything.
I would definitely recommend planning for a least a full day here. Neither one of my kids wanted to leave it’s that much fun!
WHERE TO EAT
Since we were staying at The Whiteface Lodge, we had some amazing dining right in our hotel with KANU Dining Room and Peak 47.
The KANU Dining Room is open for breakfast from 7:30 AM until 11:00 AM and for dinner from 5:30 PM until 9 PM nightly.
American Cuisine is served in the Adirondack Great Room with an open kitchen that showcases the culinary team, as they prepare and present a specialized menu.
We ate breakfast here on both of our days and it was the perfect way to start the day. The hearty buffet style breakfast has something for everyone from delicious omelets to cereal and yogurt for the pickiest eaters.
Peak 47 is the causal dining restaurant on property. The laid back dining room was just what we needed after a day at The Wild Center. We all worked up quite an appetite and I can’t say enough about the delicious Grilled Salmon with Red Quinoa, Summer Squash, Blood Orange Crème Fraiche. It was divine.
My husband went with the Jerk Half-Chicken and in the name of research, I had to try it. It came with fried plantains, caribbean bean risotto and herb butter. It was mouthwatering. I’ll definitely be ordering this again next time.
HOW TO GET HERE
You easily access Lake Placid by bus, train, or car. Small private or corporate aircraft are able to fly directly into Lake Placid Airport. Lake Placid is approximately a two hour drive from the international airports in Albany, NY, Burlington, VT, and Montreal if you prefer to fly.
Since I’m not one to turn down a good road trip, we drove the approximately 5 hour drive from New Jersey. It was a beautiful and scenic drive up and the ride was definitely made better in the 2018 Toyota Sienna we were loaned for the trip.
The Toyota Sienna is truly an epic road trip car. Both of the kids were kept busy with the entertainment system in the back. The added headphones let them watch their movies quietly without my husband and I having to hear them play on repeat.
There was plenty of storage for all our luggage and travel necessities that we brought along with us and the ride was superb.
Have you been to Lake Placid before?