Family Vacations to Adirondacks, New York

Sunset over Lake in Adirondacks Park, New York
Sunset by a lake in the Adirondacks, New York (Kenneth Garrett/National Geographic/Getty)

Adirondacks Family Travel Tips

  • Watch river otters play up close at The Wild Center.
  • Take a raft or tube ride down a river through a mountain gorge at the Ausable Chasm.
  • Learn more about the military history of the Adirondack area and see its artifacts up close at a restored military garrison, Fort Ticonderoga.

The Adirondack Park, established in 1882 by the New York State Legislature, is a 6.1-million-acre protected natural wonder in northeastern New York State. The park is the size of the entire state of Vermont, making it the largest park in the contiguous United States as well as the largest National Historic Landmark. The Adirondack Park intermingles public and private land, including residential homes, villages, backcountry, lakes, and manicured natural areas—sometimes in close proximity to one another. And, of course, the park is home to the Adirondack Mountains.

The region has become an iconic vacation destination especially for some of its most popular tourist areas, which include Lake Placid, the famous site of the original winter Olympics. It has 2,000 miles of hiking trails (the nation’s largest hiking trail system), including the Robert Frost Interpretive Trail, and 3,000 ponds and lakes. A diverse ecosystem allows for an abundance of outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, snowmobiling, dog sledding, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, bird-watching, and berry picking. The park has almost a hundred campgrounds and other types of lodging—from cabins and cottages to full-service resorts. Visitors can also enjoy historic and cultural attractions, shopping and dining, and just plain relaxing. Museums and monuments, like Fort Ticonderoga, provide an education in the area’s history, while The Wild Center gives visitors an introduction to the wildlife and natural resources found in the park. The Ausable Chasm lets you experience a mountain gorge up close, and Magic Forest Park provides retro fun for young kids and their families.

Over 40 roads lead into the park and there is no entrance fee. Hiking, canoeing, and boating access on state lands are free, though you may have to pay to use state campgrounds. Enjoy an outdoor adventure, shopping and dining, relaxing, and learning more about one of America’s most impressive and iconic national treasures.

Published: 24 Mar 2009 | Last Updated: 8 May 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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