The Adirondack Mountains are the most diverse natural destination in Northern New York and the largest playground in the state for nature fans and the active. The range is dotted by big and small lakes, meandering rivers, and a variety of towns, each with a unique personality. You may have heard of Lake Placid and Lake George, the area natives, but choose from one of these underrated towns for a perfectly tranquil base to explore the serene natural heaven outward.
The mind-boggling nature with its unparalleled vistas will conquer your mind, body, and soul. The forests and lakes will refresh and reenergise you with all the activities in the fresh mountain air on vacation or over a weekend escape from the city. These underrated towns offer the best base for uncrowded pursuits and endless outdoor recreation throughout the Adirondack Park.
This tiny town in the heart of the Adirondack Park is nestled against the eponymous Indian Lake, with stunning natural landscapes all around. Discover the fascinating history behind this crown jewel, picturesque destination, and its 12-mile-long lake with unparalleled fishing, boating, and swimming experiences.
Seek adventures for all tastes, like exploring the nearby Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area or Cedar River Flow to relish in the breathtaking views of surrounding peaks over a picnic. Indian Lake locals host regular events, like the biggest annual Great Adirondack Moose Festival or Indian Lake Winterfest. Visit this underrated town to immerse yourself in nature’s beauty, sparkling waters, and unique regional charm from the rest of the state.
Just on the other side of the eponymous lake from Speculator, a mountain destination, Lake Pleasant is a charming town hidden in the Adirondack region of New York State. The idyllic town offers breathtaking nature from its doorstep to explore through tranquil forest landscapes, crystal-clear lakes, and rushing rivers. The 9-mile lake is a truly pleasant place to find your spot along the banks and lose yourself over water pursuits and picnics.
Enjoy plentiful swimming, boating, and fishing, as well as camping and hiking around the lake, with its most unique camp, Tapawingo Chilfren's Camp, right in the midst! The underrated town offers different, unforgettable views than most other similar parts of the state, with plenty of activities to capture unique sights while swimming or exploring the trails through the nearby Lake Pleasant Park.
Much like its concise name, Jay is a tiny town near the Ausable River, perfect for those who want to make a fun road trip into the Adirondacks for a big dose of nostalgia. The small town with the Jay Covered Bridge will deliver with its beautiful, pedestrian-only, and northernmost in the state covered bridge across the river. Find this 160-foot-long landmark, one of the longest covered bridges in New York, just a quick hike upstream from the natural wonder of the scenic Jay Falls.
Choose either spot for an inspiring picnic, while anglers head to the Ausable River for a catch to prepare at dinnertime. The town with many streams and rivers around is a refreshing little slice of New York, together with the beautiful hardwood forests and breathing mountains that fill your lungs with clean air and provide eye candy sights throughout all your venturous hikes.
This quiet town along the southern slopes of the Adirondack Mountains boasts awe-inspiring vistas and energetic locals. North Creek is a destination for the Gore Mountain Ski Resort for supreme skiing and snowboarding in the wintertime, but is also attractive in other seasons. Visit this charming town for great summertime nature hikes like the Hudson River Gorge Trail and the North Creek Ski Bowl, popular among mountain bikers. The namesake river running through the historic town is ideal for whitewater rafting and kayaking amid nature and architecture along this scenic waterway.
Stop by the North Creek Depot Museum for unique cultural tales, and in time for several annual festivities like the Tannery Pond Concert Series and the Adirondack National Car Show, for a taste of vibrant culture through local fun, food, and majestic views. The idyllic Adirondack town with its unique charm and adventures will hold you captive while you pedal your way along an old railroad track. Take in the lower Adirondack Region vistas on the gondola ride in the summer, and come back in the winter for skiing and snowy Gore Mountain views.
This charming small town in the southwestern region of the Adirondacks is spoiled with exquisite nature and culture, with some of the cutest houses you will ever see and crafts along the streets. Seek natural beauty at the focal Old Forge Lake with swimming, boating, and fishing, and on a discovery hike along the surrounding trails like the Bald Mountain Trail and Moss Lake Trail in the shadow of the breathtaking mountains.
Visit the Enchanted Forest Water Safari water park and lose yourself in its fun rides and enchanting attractions, as well as events like the Annual Arts Festival and Adirondack Woodsmen's Field Days. Visit Old Forge to appreciate how intricately nature and culture weave together into a local, nostalgic ambiance that will keep you coming back for another dose.
Everyone living in the state of New York must visit Schroon Lake on a getaway once, and the enchanting Adirondacks' town will become your favorite destination for years to come. The underrated town is nestled right along the northwestern shores of the eponymous Schroon Lake. It is home to under 1,000 locals, who live under mesmerizing views of the mountains. Head to the town's own public beach, a dream come true for summer day relaxation, recreation, and activities without crowds.
Check out the marina with its shopping scene or venture inland for a round of your favorite game at the scenic golf course. The town boasts easy access, just off the Northway, but feels a world away to truly escape from work and worries back home into nature. Stay at the highly-rated Trail Break at Schroon Lake Dining & Lodging and enjoy an authentic wooden cabin feel over delicious food at the most-popular Sticks & Stones Wood Fired Bistro & Bar.
Full of amazing outdoor experiences in the Adirondacks, this upstate New York town is an unglorified destination for its Wild Center. Check out this quintessential natural history center with live animals, art, a cafe, and a gift shop inside, as well as hiking trails around. It is a favorite family destination for outdoor pursuits like the unique singing forest, which is absolutely magical. When it reopens, the must-take Wild Walk will comprise a tree-top walkway for awe-inspiring woodland appeal and a one-of-a-kind experience.
The serene and expansive Tupper Lake, nestled within verdant forests and mountain ranges, is delightful for kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing within its picturesque scenery. Enjoy endless hiking trails through the heart of the Adirondacks right from town, and don't leave before a stop at the local laundromat for delicious doughnuts! Stock up on jelly holes for the road and visit its gift shop for memorabilia to reminisce about this charming town back home.
The unglorified town of Wells spreads picturesquely in the Adirondacks where the mountains meet the lakes. Visit Wells for breathtaking views and to discover about its gem ghost, Lake Algonquin, a glacial lake that is no longer there. Still, the town has plenty of natural wonders and recreation opportunities, like trails for strolls and hikes to its own Auger Falls. Choose from Griffin East Jimmy Creek, Tenant Creek, Cold Brook, and Griffin Falls, all with scenic overlooks and refreshing water vistas to set up a picnic after.
Aside from the surrounding state parks, the Sacandaga River Sculpture Park is a heartwarming place you must experience on a new day, but first stop for a delightful breakfast at Mountain Memories. You can also enjoy sunny day games of golf at the nearby courses and come back for the skiing slopes in winter.
Wilmington, as Essex County's slice of Adirondack heaven, is home to the looming, 5th tallest mountain in New York. Moreover, the location boasts the state's highest road to drive up the Whiteface Memorial Veterans Highway for the never-ending, beautiful mountain spread right in the palm of your hand. The nearby Whiteface Mountain is surrounded by rolling hills that don't require much hiking to get a scrumptious slice of natural scenery. Target the peak among many other avid hikers if you want to break a sweat and attain the unique perspective of New York State.
This picturesque mountain town in New York amid lush hiking trails, beautiful lakes, and rivers is mostly a forest preserve, where the vibrant community gets to enjoy the wilderness as part of their daily pursuits. Trek to the nearby High Falls Gorge within a private park with four major waterfalls open to visitors, along with jaw-dropping walkways and bridges for hikes. Join the locals at the Wilmington Town Beach or head to Lake Placid for a day trip, just south of here. Wilmington is also proximate to the High Peaks Wilderness Area and state parks like Stag Brook Falls and the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge.
Chestertown, an easy 80-mile drive north from Albany, is one of the most underrated towns in the whole state, just for the incredible outdoors it offers and activities to enjoy the glory of the Adirondacks. This town is your prime camping destination amid the beautiful Riverside Pines, with its own camp store, boat rentals, tennis courts, and a snack bar. Enjoy the most beautiful lakesides in the region during the days and alternate between evening campfires and atmospheric in-town strolls at sundown.
Many stop in Chestertown on the way to Mt. Macy, New York's highest peak at 5,344 feet, just over an hour from the town. Dig deeper into this seemingly sleepy upstate hamlet to discover many secrets, like the eleven beautiful hiking trails and mountain hikes that comprise the Chester Challenge, including miles from Stewart Mountain to Chester Creek. The popular Adirondack Winery from 2008 is one of the first micro-wineries nationwide, right in the Chestertown area. Visit the Lazy Moose Garden Market store, greenhouse, and deli for provisions, then head to "waste the day" at Lake George, about half an hour away.
This tiny town in the Adirondacks, backdropped by the soaring mountains, is a stunning location for a remote getaway in upstate New York, with only 1,000 residents and easy access into town. Enjoy the varied nature through your favorite outdoor pursuits, like hikes to nearby Hurricane Mountain or the Bouquet River with kayaking and fishing. Head to the marvelous Split Rock Falls, where you can swim and wade in the waters of a stunning cascade with a pool area, just off Route 9 along the river.
The charming Essex County town is your authentic Adirondacks destination as it used to be, with a historic district featuring a red-brick law office and stately homes. Check out the Adirondack History Museum and enjoy the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere in this epic part of the Empire State. Come back during the wintertime for skiing and skating in Elizabethtown.
The Adirondack Region, one of the most diverse destinations on the East Coast, comes with many different towns, each with its share of cool nature and epic adventures that are innate to this famed range. Enjoy year-round adventures, from skiing down the slopes to swimming in the dazzling waters and picnics amid lush forestscapes and along the rolling hills.
Established in 1892 by the State of New York, the Adirondack Park is the largest park in the lower 48 states, encompassing millions of acres of public land. These towns offer great hotel amenities, rental shops, and local tours to dive into some of the best nature in the US through a serene Adirondack experience.