There are tons of things to do in Lake George NY, and located a few hours from New York City, it is a real escape.
Like delicious farm-to-table meals? Want to pick some lavender? Care to see some historical sights? Visit Lake George? Then get your car keys ready and come up to see for yourself.
As a city girl, I grew up referring to anything above Yonkers as “Upstate” and thought of the rest of New York state as any city dweller would: an “it’s up there somewhere” type of attitude. Having so much to occupy me in the city, I hardly ever went past the Bronx.
That is, until my dad started a lavender farm and then I was “up there” in the greater New York state area quite a lot.
Boy is there a lot to see in Upstate New York.
The beauty of the Lake George region is that it’s not only incredibly pretty, but there is enough distance between New York City and this area that you really can believe you’re in a whole new part of the country, despite being only a 4-hour drive from downstate.
I also find this area distinctly different from the New York state counties to the West. Having spent a few days in Corning, New York and exploring the Seneca Lake wine trail, I was blown away by how varied and different each corner of Upstate New York can be.
Here are a bunch of great places to eat, visit and things to do in Lake George NY region.
Why Fort Ann?
This is a small town named for the historic Fort Ann built by the British in 1757, which served as part of the French-Indian war and sits along the Champlain Canal. This small town may not be widely known, but it has some real hidden gems like Lavenlair Farm and Battle Hill Brewing Company.
What to See/Do in Fort Ann, NY:
Visit Lavenlair farm!
The farm features a U-pick which is open during the summer and gives visitors a chance to pick as much lavender as they can carry home. This is a great example of things to do in Lake George NY.
There’s plenty of gifts and treats also for sale at their shop which is located on the farm. The farm is highlighted by a beautiful stone house built in 1820 and sits on a hill overlooking the countryside. It’s gorgeous. For more information visit their website here.
Eat at Battle Hill Brewing Company. This lovely bistro and brewery features some delicious meals (I’d recommend their Beer Brats and Kraut!). They feature a yummy, ever-changing selection of homemade beers as well. It’s a delightful, local joint that incorporates food from the surrounding farms and if you’re in the neighborhood you should go eat there!
Also! Don’t forget to check out Lake George Distilling Company. It’s a great place to pick up some really yummy “32 Mile Whiskey” which is fantastic (tasted like pop corn: damn good!). You can go to their store and try some of what they have to offer in person, a great local Upstate New York company.
Granville was founded in 1780 and subsequently became a huge producer of colored slate which can be found on the rooftops of the buildings. It’s about a 30min drive from Lavenlair farm (the drive is gorgeous) and takes you right up to the Vermont border.
What to See/Do in Granville, NY:
Go apple picking! Hicks U-Pick apple orchard features a ton of trees and varieties for you and whole family to enjoy in the late summer/ fall. Hungry? They also offer apple cider doughnuts and sandwiches.
Get some unbelievably delicious cider at Slyboro Cider House which is located in the same building. You can get a tasting tour for $3 a person (highly recommend that).
For quintessential things to do in Lake George NY area, this is the Outlet Mall of your dreams. You can buy almost anything here and you’ll likely get a damn good price for it, too. This is one of my favorite malls in all of Upstate New York.
What to See/Do in Queensbury, NY:
Shop. Also, drive up the road and go to Martha’s Dandee Creme, because this place is off the hook good. Don’t believe me? Read some of the hundreds of google reviews or hundreds of positive Trip Advisor reviews. This place is really, really good. Just do yourself a favor and DON’T get a large. It’s just too big. Holy cow.
The West Mountain Ski area is a great place to bring the family to go skiing and snow tubing.
Prices vary throughout the week and on weekends and holidays. The ski fields are only open in the winter (obviously) but they are SO MUCH FUN and a great thing to do in Upstate New York!
For more information about hours and cost, you can visit their website.
Why Hudson Falls?
Incorporated in 1810, this lovely town in upstate New York has some beautiful historic buildings and a picturesque town center. Some of the real draw is the local eats.
What to See/Do Hudson Falls, NY:
Get thee to [Forged] and prepare to have yourself an unbelievable meal.
Situated in the old Hudson Falls courthouse, this restaurant brings farm-to-table to a whole new level. It’s utterly delightful. They feature seasonal dishes, drinks and ingredients as well as offering a chance to go to a “Pop-Up” dinner at local farms (including Lavenlair!).
Why the Fort?
This fort is an incredible piece of American history.
Built between 1755-1757 by the French, it was intended as a means of controlling the very important river portage to transport supplies from Canada further South. What makes its history so cool is that during the Revolutionary war a small band of continental Americans called “The Green Mountain Boys” took the fort from the British in a surprise attack.
The continentals were able to take the cannons the British had there and send them to Washington who was fighting the British in Boston. Arguably, this important attack in 1775 might have been one of the turning points in the war.
What to See/Do at Fort Ticonderoga:
It’s an old fort and has some stunning views of the surrounding area. Walking along the walls and literally touching history is a great way to spend an afternoon. There are actors in costumes that walk around and will explain what they are doing (like firing muskets or building an 18th century kiln!).
Not far from the fort you can walk the beautiful “King’s Gardens“, which offer a rich array of beautiful plants and flowers.
This garden is a great place to bring the family or for any American History enthusiast. You can read more about events and the fort itself, here.
Why the Lake?
I feel a little remiss to write this as a single destination seeing how large this lake actually is. It’s big and beautiful and a great way to get away from the city, surrounding humanity and see more of New York state.
What to See/Do
There’s a ton of stuff to do in and around this lake. Hiking, kayaking, taking a cruise, eating in gorgeous restaurants, or just driving along the perimeter are a few things that come to mind.
There are festivals held throughout the year and gorgeous fall foliage viewing. Just be careful: the roads can get clogged with people and prices will surge. Otherwise, you could spend a week here easily soaking in some of the best of what Upstate NY has to offer.
When is the Best Time of Year to Take Advantage of all the Things to do in Lake George?
Honestly: you can’t go wrong. There are so many things to do around Lake George that any season could work.
Summer means picking lavender, swimming in the lake, enjoying an ice cream, and warm days outside.
Summer in Lake George also means a LOT of people. Prices surge, accommodation books out, and traffic can be a nightmare getting in and out of New York City. By the way, if you are planning on visiting NYC, be sure to check out the tips to know before you go!
I think summer is a lot of fun in Upstate New York, but dealing with mosquitoes, ticks and tourists isn’t always ideal.
Summer temperatures can get quite warm this time of year, with highs of around 85F/28C during the day. Bring lots of water if you go hiking and plenty of bug spray and sunscreen!
This time of year means cooler temperatures, fall foliage, and warm lakes. It’s a great time of year to go hiking, spend time outside around a campfire, and take in the changing season.
Fall is also a very busy time in Upstate New York. New York state is known around the US as a place to catch the fall foliage so you’ll have a lot of tourists! Prices get higher (especially in October, during the fall foliage peak!) and accommodation can be hard to come by.
Temperatures around Lake George drop drastically this time of year from the summer highs around 80F/26C in September to freezing temperatures by the end of October. It’s always a good idea to bring clothes that are versatile: warm at night and cool in the day, just in case!
The off-season. This means fewer crowds, but excellent opportunities to ski, make snow men, and sit in front of a roaring fire with a mug of warm cider.
Winter around Lake George can also mean frigid temperatures and a high probability of snow. Although you are not going to be competing with tourists and visitors, you will need a reliable car so you don’t get stuck in ice or snow while in the great white north!
Temperatures in the winter can fall to -30F/30C, so bring warm clothes!
Spring is a beautiful time of year to visit Lake George. The weather is warming up again, there are lots of flowers and the landscape comes alive again.
The visitors are not coming in droves at this time of year, so you can really enjoy the emptiness and cheaper prices as most people are not making their way upstate yet!
Temperatures can fluctuate wildly and can be unpredictable this time of year. Sometimes you’ll get a wet season, other times it’ll be warm and dry and you could even get a late season snow! Always a good idea to check the local weather reports and pack for anything!
I love spring because among the many things to do around Lake George, you can go fruit picking! Strawberries are available for picking in May! Cherries, too!
Any other suggestions for things to do in Lake George NY? Leave your ideas in the comments below!