I’ve been taking family vacations in the Adirondack Mountains since I was a kid. When I go there, the rest of the world seems to disappear. It’s quiet, the air is clean, and the humidity is low – a huge plus if you’re coming from the South like me! The beauty of the mountains and lakes in upstate New York is unmatched. If you’re looking for a vacation filled with moments of peace, awe, and fun, the Adirondacks will not disappoint you.
“We treasure the Adirondacks as a wild place. Yet people have lived here for millennia. We come to live, work, and play, seeking clean air and water, and a place to renew our bodies, minds, and souls. The Adirondacks have long shaped human lives. And we have long shaped the Adirondacks.”
– from “Life in the Adirondacks” at The Adirondack Experience
The Adirondack Park is nearly 6 million acres of forest preserve, with charming little towns sprinkled among the lakes and hills. There are several options for lodging including hotels, cabins, resorts, and camping sites. Our family has enjoyed staying at Camp-of-the-Woods, a Christian resort in Speculator, NY. From there, we’ve been able to explore Hamilton County, including the towns of Piseco, Indian Lake, and Blue Mountain Lake.
The Adirondacks (ADK) offer an abundance of outdoor activities, but you don’t have to be an expert adventurer to participate. For example, there are endless hiking trails, many of which are suitable for novice hikers. We started hiking when my youngest son turned four. Each year, as he gets bigger, we choose more challenging hikes. Many of the ADK hiking trails have waterfalls, swimming holes, and breathtaking lookout points. We also enjoy swimming, canoeing, and kayaking with the kids. Whitewater rafting is on our list for next summer! If golf is a must on your vacation (as it is for my husband), there are several golf courses to choose from in the ADK.
To learn more about the region, be sure to visit the Adirondack Experience, a museum at Blue Mountain Lake. You’ll see authentic examples of ADK history and craftsmanship, along with information on the local industries. Don’t miss the new “Life in the Adirondacks” exhibits, which opened July 1st. Along with plenty of fascinating information for adults, the exhibits are packed with hands-on activities for the kids. You can even try rowing a real guide boat across a virtual lake! My boys and I particularly enjoyed learning about logging, mining, maple sugaring, and ice harvesting. I had to drag them away from the mining activity because boys + blowing stuff up = FUN.
The Wild Center at Tupper Lake is another family-friendly museum in the ADK. Their Wild Walk takes visitors on a trail of bridges that leads to the treetops. While you’re up there, you can pretend to be a spider in a giant “web.” Inside the museum, you’ll see fish, birds, snakes, otters, and more. My family hasn’t been there yet, but we will definitely check it out next summer!
The ADK is one of those special places where you can truly “unplug” and delight in a simpler life. Time slows down a bit in those mountains, which seems to be the cure for the hectic pace of everyday life. Whether you want to climb the high peaks or relax on a lakeside beach, the Adirondacks can deliver. I can’t think of a better place to reconnect with family and nature. And when it’s time to leave the ADK, go with precious memories, beautiful photographs, and a bottle of real maple syrup!