Many people think that Lake Placid is only a winter destination, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are nearly endless things to do in Lake Placid in the summer, too!
We want to make sure everyone knows about all the great things you can do in and around Lake Placid during the summer months!
Our post will highlight all of these activities so that no one misses out on what this beautiful area has to offer. We’ll also include information for those who are visiting for just a few days so they know how to make the most of their trip!
Where is Lake Placid?
First, if you’re not familiar with Lake Placid, NY, here’s a little background.
Lake Placid is located in the Adirondack Mountain region of upstate New York. You can find it in Essex County. It’s located about 300 miles from New York City and 140 miles from Albany. Lake Placid is also not far from the Canadian border; Montreal is just over 100 miles away!
Lake Placid is also very close to Vermont. The two states share a border, and Lake Placid is about an hour by car on windy mountain roads from the Vermont State Line.
Just a note: The lake in the center of town is NOT Lake Placid. That’s Mirror Lake! Lake Placid is just a hop, skip, and a jump away, though!
What is Lake Placid known for?
Lake Placid is a gateway to the Adirondack Park, a protected wilderness area with 46 “high peaks” near or over 4,000 feet and countless waterfalls all within 90 minutes drive from Lake Placid. The Adirondacks are home to some of the oldest mountain ranges in North America.
Lake Placid is also home to the Olympic Regional Development Authority.
If you’re traveling to Lake Placid between June and September, there are things for you to do all along the Adirondacks’ 3,000-mile network of hiking trails.
You can choose from a wide variety of activities including backpacking, hiking, paddling (like kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding on Mirror Lake), mountain biking, and fishing.
In summer you can also enjoy swimming or catch fantastic views from one of the many waterfalls. There are so many for you to choose from!
Best Things to do Near Lake Placid, NY in Summer
Summer is a great time to visit Lake Placid. The winter sports may draw many travelers, but when the snow melts, it’s time for fun in the sun! There are many things to do and see here during summer-from relaxing by a café with some live music outside under stringed lights to exploring a new trail. Whatever you want to do, we have suggestions for every kind of traveler!
Lake Placid is a wonderful place for hiking, biking, fishing, paddle boarding, and more! Here’s a list of some of the best things to do around Lake Placid in the summer:
Check out the Lake Placid Olympic Sites
There are a few spots near the town where you can feel the history and the excitement of the Olympic Games, as Lake Placid has hosted on two separate occasions. There are five separate locations with even more attractions spread around the town, Whiteface Mountain, and Mount Van Hoevenburg. Here is the rundown:
Olympic Jumping Complex
Both the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics were hosted in Lake Placid, and the most memorable event of that time was downhill skiing at Whiteface Mountain.
The Olympic Jumping Complex is home to both 90 and 120 meter jumps for distance jumping, the aerial and mogul hill, and summer training facilities. If you’re lucky, you could catch sight of a summer training session happening on the hill or on one of the small sidehills, with athletes jumping into the pool first to perfect their tricks.
Some days, you can take the gondolas to the top of the hill. Other days, you may need to catch a ride on a shuttle. Both ways, you will end up at an elevator to take you up to the top of the 120-meter ski jump tower. From the top of the jump, you get to experience the view that Olympic ski jumpers see just before launching themselves off the ramp in an effort to take home the gold!
Bobsled Experience at Mount Van Hoevenberg
The bobsled run at Mount Van Hoevenberg was where the world’s best competed in both the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. Luge and skeleton events were also held here!
The best part is that it is still open to the public! You can ride a 2-person bobsled down this track that winds down a mountain on an 800-meter descent or try out one of the summer sleds at the bobsled track! During the summer, the mountain coaster runs on wheels right beside the bobsled track.
This is a great activity for families. You can buy your tickets at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid or at the Mount Van Hoevenberg Visitors’ Center, which is located on Route 73 just before you reach Lake Placid on the right-hand side.
Lake Placid Olympic Center Museum
The Lake Placid Olympic Center is where more than 100 athletes from all over the world came to train for the 1980 Winter Olympics. Today you can enjoy the history and hear stories of the men and women who trained here! The Lake Placid Olympic Museum has artifacts, displays, video presentations, and interactive exhibits.
You’ll get an overall history of the Olympic Games in general and a look at Lake Placid’s unique role in those games. It is located on Main Street in town, and you can’t miss it!
Olympic Speed Skating Oval
The Olympic Speed Skating Oval was built in 1980 in preparation for the Lake Placid Winter Olympics.
Finnish sprinter “Timo” Hämäläinen set the world record on this icy surface in 2007. (It’s now owned by the International Skating Union.)
You can buy tickets to just watch an event on the oval or rent skates and try it for yourself.
The “Miracle on Ice” Arena
The Miracle on Ice was one of the most memorable events of the 1980 Olympics, especially for hockey lovers.
The United States hockey team beat the USSR 4-3 after a game that went into quadruple overtime. It is still considered to be one of the greatest sports moments in US history! This event would not have been possible without Coach Herb Brooks and his “no excuses” attitude, as well as all the hard work put in by each player on this team.
Now you can relive this moment for yourself at The Olympic Center Museum! They have artifacts from this event and other memorabilia from past Olympics so you can get an idea of what it was like back then. There are also videos that you can watch on loop.
This area is located near the Lake Placid Olympic Center Museum and the “Miracle on Ice” Pool. It’s a great place to stop and take photos, reminisce, or just walk around and admire all that this area has to offer.
Hiking, One of the Most Popular Lake Placid Summer Activities
There is no shortage of hiking trails around the town of Lake Placid. Many are located near Mirror Lake or just outside of town.
Some popular hikes include:
- Mount Marcy Summit (difficult 14.8-mile hike to the tallest summit in New York)
- Algonquin & Wright Peak via Algonquin Trail (strenuous 10-mile, 2nd highest peak)
- Great Falls Loop on AMR land (9-11 miles of hiking, multiple waterfalls)
- Cobble Lookout (2.4-mile out and back, minimal elevation change, quick stop)
- Mount Jo (2 options, 2-3 miles long, great for families)
World-Class Trout and Bass Fishing
Lake Placid is just a short drive from bodies of water that offer great fishing opportunities.
You can fish in a pristine lake in the depths of the majestic Adirondack Mountains, which are famous for their popularity among fishermen and women. Some popular spots include:
- Mirror Lake (trout, brown and brook, no motorized boats)
- Ausable River (popular for fly fishing)
- Lake Placid (lake trout, rainbow trout, and smallmouth bass, motorized boats)
- Upper Saranac Lake (great upstate bass fishing, also various trout species)
- Lower Saranac Lake (northern pike, walleye, yellow perch, rainbow trout, & bass)
If you plan to fish in the area, be sure to have your fishing license current. The town of Lake Placid even offers a one-day license for $10, weeklong permits for $28, or a season passes for $50.
Mountain Biking – Bring your Own or Rent Locally
Mountain biking is a popular summer activity around Lake Placid. There are many trails to choose from. If you’re experienced, you can take on some of the steepest and most challenging hills in the area or begin to test your skills on easier terrain.
Beginners should try Henry’s Woods or Heaven Hill. They’re located next to each other and both include lots of easy trails.
Mt. Van Hoevenberg offers a variety of trails and also provides bike rentals for those who don’t have, or are not able to bring their own bikes.
Stay on trails designated for mountain biking when out riding. Also, be sure to avoid any really muddy trails — riding them will just cause more trail damage.
If you are not familiar with or would feel more comfortable, local outfitters do offer mountain biking guide services.
Paddleboarding – Endless Opportunities
If you’re looking to do something a little different, try your hand at paddleboarding while you’re here. Mirror Lake is great for beginners or seasoned paddleboarders.
Rentals are available if you don’t have your own board. Some of the hotels and guest accommodations along Mirror Lake also have paddleboards, kayaks, and other watercraft available for use free of charge to guests.
In addition to Mirror Lake, there is seemingly an unlimited number of smaller inland lakes to paddle around, as well. Explore more than one, if you have a way to transport your board!
Take a Walk around Mirror Lake
A visit to the village of Lake Placid without a walk around Mirror Lake would be incomplete. It’s basically located in the center of town and is full of beautiful, pristine water that makes for perfect kayaking, paddleboarding, and swimming on hot summer days!
This beautiful 10-acre lake is surrounded by a variety of shops, restaurants, and tourist attractions on one side. On the other side, beautiful and well-manicured private homes line the shores.
Spend an hour or two wandering along the brick and sidewalk path for 2.7 miles. Be sure to look down at the sidewalk to catch plaques with the names and elevations of each of the 46 high peaks of the Adirondacks in the surrounding areas.
Get out on the Golf Course
In the summer, try your hand at golfing at one of Lake Placid’s award-winning courses.
- Whiteface Club & Resort Golf Course
- Lake Placid Club Links Course
- Lake Placid Club Mountain Course
- Craig Wood Golf course
Each of these courses offers its own perks and challenges. Several well-known golfers have honed in their game on these courses, too. Perfect your skills with some of the best here!
Horseback riding for Newbies and Veterans
You’ll find plenty of opportunities for horseback riding in the summer on trails around Van Hoevenburg.
The Blueberry Hill Trails are popular for those with their own horse.
Emerald Springs Ranch is the perfect place to explore if you are new to horseback riding. They offer lessons prior to heading out on their private trail network on their horses. They also offer boarding services if you need a spot for your horse to stay overnight.
Hike or Drive up Whiteface Mountain
Whiteface Mountain is a popular winter ski and snowboard mountain near Lake Placid, but in the summer it turns into a whole different kind of playground. It’s a fun place to hike or take a scenic drive.
There are multiple ways to hike the mountain, with a great 10-mile route located just off of route 431.
You can drive almost all the way up to the castle, where you’ll find an overlook that holds breathtaking views of Lake Placid and the surrounding mountains. From the overlook, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can hike 1/5 of a mile up a rocky, railing-lined path to the summit. We recommend you wear good hiking shoes!
If you take this short hike, be sure to bring sunscreen and water. The trail is exposed, so it’s easy to lose track of time taking in the views.
If you’re not feeling super adventurous, drive up the mountain on the Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway anyway. Stop at the pull-offs along the way.
You’ll see beautiful passes and vistas that make this a popular destination near Lake Placid in summer. There are signs along the highway to help clue you in as to what you’re seeing below.
Note that there is a fee to be paid at the toll house prior to entry on the Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway.
Check out the John Brown Farm Historic Site
Are you familiar with John Brown as a historical figure? He was an abolitionist, famous for mounting an attack to steal supplies from Harper’s Ferry, planning to take them south to free slaves.
The John Brown Farm is now owned and operated by the National Park Service. Several buildings are situated on the property, including barns, root cellars, a blacksmith shop, a gristmill, a carriage house, and other small structures.
If you’re lucky (or very quiet) you may get to see historic reenactors working around the farm.
You can also hike through the woods and visit a small cemetery where John Brown’s family members are buried.
If anything, you may be familiar with this line from the battle hymn: “John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave.”
Explore Main Street in Lake Placid for shopping and dining
The main street through Lake Placid is lined with restaurants, gift shops, art studios, and other businesses.
Those looking for a delicious bite to eat surely will not be disappointed! As far as shops go, you’ll find everything from expensive decor to outdoor adventure apparel and gear to popcorn and jerky shops lining the village.
The area is also a great place to find last-minute souvenirs for those on your Lake Placid summer road trip list!
Visit High Falls Gorge Preserve
High Falls Gorge Preserve is a beautiful, natural area just outside Lake Placid. It’s a great place to go for a hike along the waterfalls, cliffs, and lush forests.
The preserve is located near Whiteface Mountain and offers about 2 miles of trails for hiking. The waterfall portion includes a 0.5-mile walk to the first spot for waterfall viewing, and then a boardwalk around to other viewing areas.
There is also a 1 mile Nature Trail that weaves through the woods behind the river. Here, you’ll probably find a little quiet and start to get a taste of what it’s like to hike in the Adirondacks.
This is private land, so to gain entry, there is an admission fee. Pass through the gift shop, pay the fee, and begin exploring. There are also restricted hours. Be sure to check for the most updated information.
Hike the Brewster Peninsula Nature Trails
If you want to actually experience Lake Placid (the lake), then exploring these trails will bring you there!
The Brewster Trails are short, easy-to-navigate trails. The hike is typically about 2 miles long. You can walk these trails alone maybe even find a guided hike of the area.
Keep your eyes open for wildlife as well: beavers, frogs, birds, and more! The Nature Center is a great place to check out exhibits and enjoy a snack or cup of coffee while you’re there.
Swimming near Lake Placid
Long Lake is a great spot for swimming, despite the “downstream” side of the lake being private property, but there are public access points available.
The end nearest the Olympic Village holds some other swimming spots as well.
A public beach sits along Mirror Lake, and it’s a popular spot for swimming during the summer months.
Copperas Pond is also a popular swimming hole. Be sure to pack water shoes to navigate the slippery rocks along the shore.
Go Creek Swimming or Cliff Jumping
There are plenty of spots for swimming and cliff jumping around Lake Placid.
Split Rock Falls is a popular spot, located just off of Route 9. Another beautiful waterfall, Flume Falls is a popular destination in Lake Placid for swimming, cliff jumping, or just hanging out. Parents bring their kids to play on the rocks and walk along the water.
There are two spots for swimming-one gentle and one more exciting! You can also jump off cliffs into the pools below. Just be careful to choose your spot and land accordingly!
The best thing about these two waterfalls is that it’s a very short walk from the road for easy access. You’ll just have to arrive early or get lucky enough to secure a parking spot. The parking area is tiny, and other visitors have been known to get tickets when parking along the roadway in both areas.
Disclaimer: You should not attempt this activity if you’re alone or unfamiliar with the area and/or conditions. Water levels can change quickly. Serious injuries or worse are possible
Get the adrenaline pumping with some rock climbing
There are many climbing places in Lake Placid, and you don’t have to be an experienced climber to try out the sport.
- Henderson Cliff
- Avalanche Pass
- Rooster Comb
If you’re looking to hone your skills or become more familiar with the area, be sure to go with a guide. They’ll do everything they can to ensure your safety and help explain the best techniques for scaling these cliffs.
Just driving around the area, it’s easy to see why rock climbing is popular in the area. Rock climbing is also a great way to gain perspective and a little different view of the high peaks of the Adirondacks!
Take a Day Trip to another Lake
Popular day trips from Lake Placid include visiting some other lakes in the area. These include Saranac Lake, Lake George, and Tupper Lake.
Saranac Lake is an amazing place to visit, especially in the summer! There is no shortage of beautiful views: from the water to the mountains, from gardens and green spaces to historic buildings. You’ll find something for everyone here!
Lake George is a beautiful and scenic spot in upstate New York. It’s been used for a few films, too. Lake George was also the site of one of America’s most famous naval battles-the Battle of Lake George, an important battle in the French and Indian War. A little more accessible and also a little more on the touristy side, it’s still a beautiful destination lake.
Tupper Lake is also a popular lake in the Adirondacks for outdoor activities, and there are plenty of things to do nearby. You’ll find trails for hiking, biking, and snowshoeing-perfect for all abilities. The lake also offers some great fishing opportunities; just be sure to get a license first because it’s strictly enforced by the state. If water sports are more your style-swimming or kayaking -Tupper Lake might be the place for you.
…or Day Trip to Explore the Ausable Chasm
Ausable Chasm is located in Newcomb, NY, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Adirondacks, only about an hour from Lake Placid! It’s also a national historic landmark. The Ausable Chasm is a gorge or cleft between high cliffs with waterfalls located on both sides. The gorge gets its name from a stream called Nauagatare Creek that flows through it.
The Ausable River has many rapids and waterfalls throughout its course of about 15 miles and drops about 400 feet in elevation at some points. The depth of the chasm reaches depths of over 200 feet!
You can hike around the gorge on nature trails and boardwalks or see the views from below on a tube or raft. There is an entrance fee even for just exploring, but this is a great day trip from Lake Placid. On hot days, it’s a great spot to cool off in the water!
Best Places to Eat in Lake Placid
While you’re exploring some of the best things to do in Lake Placid in the summer, you’re going to need to eat! Here are some of our favorite spots for food in Lake Placid:
- Smoke Signals: BBQ on Main Street, delicious food and views! Reservations recommended.
- Big Slide Brewery: Just south of town, great food and different brews to sample with both indoor and outdoor seating options.
- Lisa G’s: Casual menu with a little flair. Reservations recommended.
- Salt of the Earth Bistro: Cozy joint with great service. Reservations required.
- Generations Restaurant: Golden Arrow Resort restaurant, locally sourced menu.
- Big Mountain Deli & Creperie: cool sandwiches named after the 46 high peaks.
- Emma’s Creamery: old fashioned ice cream shop on Main Street, be prepared for a wait during the summer months. Try the maple creme soft serve!
**This is not an all-inclusive list, but merely a few spots we have really enjoyed!**
Where to Stay near Lake Placid
We had a great experience booking a private apartment. We recommend checking out VRBO! There are a ton of great little apartments for 2 or whole houses for large groups! We find this is the best way to get immersed in the local scene.
If you’re looking for hotel options, there are both local and chain hotels in the area. Our recommendations include:
- Budget: The Town House Lodge
- Midrange: Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort
- Upscale: Mirror Lake Inn or Crown Plaza Lake Placid
Campgrounds and backcountry campsites are also plentiful in the area.
Is Lake Placid worth it?
The presence of the lakes is a big draw for people who like to spend time outdoors. Who wouldn’t want a getaway near all of these beautiful bodies of water? Whether you’re looking to hike, paddle, fish, or just take a leisurely stroll around the lake in your free time-Lake Placid has something for everyone! It’s not limited to winter sports either; there are plenty of things that can be enjoyed on and near this beautiful body of water all year round.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy Lake Placid? Have you visited during the summer months?