The Ausable River in Keeseville, New York.

12 Adorable Small Towns In The Adirondack Mountains

The Adirondack Region in New York, a national treasure and one of the most diverse natural landscapes on the East Coast, is an unparalleled outdoor destination to experience year-round, with alpine lakes, state parks and forests, and mountains for skiing. The Adirondacks dazzle with unique sights and experiences, with small towns welcoming you for a memorable stay in comfort with hotel amenities and local campgrounds. Stay entertained with outdoor concerts, art viewings, and a shopping hotspot on top of a dining must-visit at every turn. Some pretty lucky residents here are real outdoor lovers who welcome the like-minded and anyone seeking to relax in the mountainous views by the shore of an alpine lake on the deserved escape of a lifetime for every group and taste.


Lake Champlain in Champlain, New York.
Lake Champlain in Champlain, New York.

This little lakeside hideout is a big-time destination in the Adirondacks, with some of the state's best nature here on the western shore of Lake Champlain. Find Paquette Public Park right around the corner from your B&B, with its Great Chazy River, beautiful views, and various trails for hikes and picnics along the banks. Big on agritourism, Champlain's staple organic eggs, and poultry lend the best cafe experiences at breakfast time and farm-to-table dining on fresh dishes from locally grown ingredients from the nearby family-run farms. One of the prettiest downtown areas also hosts a great pub scene and shopping to indulge in between outdoor recreation and active pursuits.

No wonder this charming town—a launch pad for exciting sports and recreational activities—is one of the Adirondacks' best to visit in any season for every group, like a water sports enthusiast's dream with pristine lake beaches. Escape in the warmer months for lakeside water fun, fishing on the river, kayaking, swimming, and boating. Play a round at the best North Country Golf Club and enjoy recreational trails that turn into cross-country skiing treks, with more snowshoeing and snowmobiling paths around. Visit this fall to indulge in some serene angling on the lake, with the breathing forest behind your back beckoning for all-level hikes through autumn colors.


The town hall of Hope, Hamilton County, New York
The town hall of Hope, Hamilton County, New York. Image credit: Indefatigable2 at English Wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons.

The pretty town of Hope in the Adirondacks really instills what its name aspires to, from the moment you hit the Alpine Grill along the road with the cozy community right behind. This favorite family-owned and operated restaurant is the perfect start to your getaway, by the end of which you will be brought back to life from all the city feels that has gotten you down. Nestled quaintly along the Sacandaga River on the scenic Route 30, you will find one other restaurant in town as well as the only must-visit farm in Hamilton County. Visit Hope Valley Farms for an afternoon stroll with bucolic sights against the peaks and see what it bestows, like fresh veggies and flowers at the nearby Speculator Farmers Market or when you visit the town of Blue Mountain Lake in the summer.

Hope inspires a quiet, scenic getaway full of picnics, photoshoots, and recreation in the misty air to recharge with the power of nature. Enjoy easy hikes from Hope like Groff Creek, once an old logging road with three waterfalls, and Tenant Creek Falls with a waterfall, as well as year-round hiking, birding, and fly fishing. Not too far away, the large glacial Lake Algonquin welcomes visitors with its 265 prime acres for fishing and watersports. Visit the Sacandaga River Sculpture Park with giant metal sculptures by esteemed artist John Van Alstine, and return for the holidays at the nearby Lapland Nordic Vacation Center with 24 miles of groomed all-level cross-country ski trails.


The Ausable Chasm in Keesevile, New York.
The Ausable Chasm in Keesevile, New York.

This little town in Upstate New York, only a few minutes from Ausable Chasm, is a hidden treasure trove of natural and cultural gems in the Adirondacks. Ausable Brewing Company is a destination in itself for refreshing cold brews in the summer, with a cozy atmosphere, food trucks, and frequently live music. Find the prized Ausable Chasm, a privately run outdoor lover's playground for hiking, rafting, tubing, and rock climbing. Rim this "Grand Canyon of the East" and enjoy easy access to various scenery for more recreation, like Rainbow Falls, Column Rock, and the Mystic Gorge.

Visit the North Country Creamery for fresh-turned yogurt and local cheese to take on a nature picnic at Mossbrook Roots Flower Farm with the best Adirondack views. Hit the Adirondack Baer Antiques or Chasm Pottery with local artists' works to brighten up your cave with beautiful pottery! You can spend the whole day at the spectacular Vineyard, and Lavender's 13-acre farm and vineyard spread with a glass of wine and stunning views. Itching for more? Take a day trip to Vermont aboard the Port Kent Ferry!

Lake Clear

Beautiful Lake Clear in autumn.
Beautiful Lake Clear in autumn.

Lake Clear, a beloved launch pad for paddlers with beautiful motor-free waterways, is also the Saint Regis Canoe Center. This cute, quiet lakeside village is relatively off-the-beaten-path, has cute charm, enjoys low crowds, and is only two miles from the Adirondack Airport! Rent a cool cabin at Lake Clear Lodge and immerse yourself in the small town atmosphere with only two small restaurants and just over 500 locals. Choose Charlie Inn with a restaurant to hype up after a good night's rest with food and gear for pursuing the boundless outdoors.

Needless to say, the little town comes alive in the summer months with all types of water enthusiasts seeking a pretty lake for recreation along the scenic banks with mountain views at the horizon. Come in the winter for some of the region's best snowmobiling along well-groomed trails in between here and Saranac Lake. The latter town's Donnelly's Ice Cream, a sought-after hotspot in any season, is an excellent reason to make the day trip; it has proudly served big cones since 1956.

Lake Pleasant

Beautiful nature surrounding the community of Lake Pleasant, New York.
Beautiful nature surrounding the community of Lake Pleasant, New York.

This, one of the most beautiful towns in the Adirondacks, is an all-season vacation land with four nature reserves around. Lake Pleasant's pleasant environment hosts plentiful fish like smallmouth bass and largemouth bass, while the Adirondack Forest Preserve is spliced by wildlife trails. Come in the summertime for refreshing hikes in the balmy weather and alluring waters for swimming, angling, and lounging along the banks. Choose from the stunning West Canada Lake Wilderness Area, Silver Lake Wilderness Area, Jessup River Wild Forest, and Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area.

This little hub for Hamilton County in the southern Adirondacks boasts even more than its diminutive size inspires, including government offices and tourist attractions. Relish in the sophisticated feel of town with a laid-back atmosphere on a fun, relaxing getaway. Settled in 1795 along the namesake lake amid forest preserve lands, the town quickly gained popularity among outdoors lovers. Enjoy the strollable streets today with easy access to hotspots, hikes, camping, and water-based activities.

Long Lake

Highway passing through Long Lake, New York.
Highway passing through Long Lake, New York. Image credit: Idawriter via Wikimedia Commons.

Sprawling for over 14 miles, Long Lake and its namesake town along the shore offer a dreamy escape into a natural embrace. A mile wide at its widest point, the lake boasts world-class fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and northern pike. Splice the surface with a canoe or boat out to the middle for great diving and deep water swims with mountain views in the summer. No wonder Long Lake is a popular summertime getaway in the Adirondacks with an ocean-like feel to enjoy your favorite water pursuits but come for the beautiful fall season, and the scenery will take your breath away!

The charming town welcomes visitors warmly with landmarks and attractions like the historic Adirondack Hotel from the 1850s across the beach, local shops and cafes, as well as rustic lakeside cabins and beautiful resorts. Enjoy hikes and waterside strolls along the lovely trails adorned in a colorful lushness that reflects on the lake's surface, and those pretty peaks are unreplicable! From fishing for the northern pike in the Big Brook Bay area just to the north to the Helms Aero Service at Long Lake to flying over, experiences here are as boundless as nature. Take a dining cruise with your loved ones or a seaplane tour and learn more about this unique region at the Adirondack Museum.

Paul Smiths

Paul Smiths College campus at Paul Smiths, New York.
Paul Smiths College campus at Paul Smiths, New York.

Paul Smith, a must-visit quaint town in the Adirondacks, offers a lively college atmosphere for a quintessential year-round escape to the shores of Lower Saint Regis Lake. The surrounding lakefronts, tucked away from the touristy spots, attract a year-round trickle of outdoor enthusiasts looking for a serene escape with loved ones. The little town with its prestigious Paul Smith's College boasts a youthful vibe amid an alpine atmosphere with mountain peaks all around.

Immerse yourself in scenery on strolls along the college grounds and perusals around the town, and visit the Paul Smith's College Visitor Interpretive Center for wholesome outdoor recreation. Here, you can enjoy family ski lessons, hiking, snowmobiling, bird watching, and nature explorations. Visit the Six Nations Iroquois Cultural Center, a beautiful museum just eight miles from town, to learn about the rich indigenous culture that shaped the Adirondack region. The bare beauty of the landscape that attracted the first people, together with the more flashy attractions seamlessly weaved in, is great for bonding adventures and cherishable moments in solitude.

Saranac Lake

Large homes along the lakeside at Lake Flower at Saranac Lake
Large homes along the lakeside at Lake Flower at Saranac Lake, New York.

This artsy enclave by the lake is a must-visit when in the Adirondacks. It is a top outdoor destination in the state, on par with Lake George, Lake Placid, and the like, without crowds. Take an art gallery stroll for local works, including the inspiring scenery around, like at Saranac Lake Artworks and the Adirondacks Artists Guild. Saranac Lake maintains a local feel with year-round activities and boundless nature that attract visitors.

Discover the rich logging landmarks along a brick path through town for some history exploration, with eateries on the way. Enjoy the holidays here at the Winter Carnival, a 10-day event with family-friendly games, exhibits, live music, and a parade from the shores to downtown. There's a range of all-level trails at the Dewey Mountain Recreation Center, a short drive from downtown, for snowshoeing through the winter wonderland. Tackle the cool Ampersand Rail Hike anytime of the year for an epic alpine atmosphere with lake views, and visit nearby Lake Colby for ice fishing.

Tupper Lake

The lakeside community of Tupper Lake, New York.
The lakeside community of Tupper Lake, New York.

This scenically charged town is a real hidden gem to get away without crowds against the Adirondacks backdrop, starting with the namesake lake. Find something exciting for everyone at the Wild Center natural history preserve, complete with a Wild Walk on the 31-acre campus and exhibits. Stroll along the treetops over its thousand feet of bridges and platforms before making a quick drive to the northside of Tupper Lake for the Sky Center & Observatory, where astro-lovers rejoice at the best night sky view on the East Coast.

Come in the warmer months for some of the region's best hiking trails, and stay in the summer camping area for more miles of trails at the nearby Adirondack Park, fishing, and hunting. It is also the perfect time to hit Tupper Lake Municipal Park, which has a beach for swimming, picnic spots, and playgrounds. From outdoor activities to shopping and scenic relaxation over picnics, explore the serene natural beauty of the Adirondacks any season in your favorite way and visit the Washboard Donuts, a must-try here for a famous local donut from a working laundromat!


A picnic spot by Lake Algonquin, New York.
A picnic spot by Lake Algonquin, New York.

This recently refreshed town in the Adirondacks, along the shores of Lake Algonquin and pristine forest on the other side, is a great summertime destination with many attractions to discover under the sun. Enjoy easy access right on NY-30, just north of Hope, to find outdoor activities for everyone, like lakeside trails and the beautiful, 40-foot-tall Auger Falls feeding the Sacandaga River. Come for the waterside recreation at the public beach on the shore of Lake Algonquin and choose from numerous campgrounds and charming cottages with boating, kayaking, fishing, and pretty views from the doorstep.

Visit this holiday season to stay at one of the cozy winter cabins and enjoy amenities like cute cafes, a historic country store, and pretty sights of the sparkling alpine Lake Algonquin, right in the heart of it all. Wells is both a perfect vacation destination as well as a pitstop for the beach along the highway, with a public boat launch and a diving board for boating, fishing, and swimming. Check out the brand new Wells Edge Country Store to cool off with a fresh hand-scooped Italian ice or grab a deli sandwich for the road.


The Lake Champlain harbor at Westport, New York.
The Lake Champlain harbor at Westport, New York.

This cozy town nestled in the shadow of the magnificent Adirondacks to the west and Lake Champlain to the east is an all-season adventureland with fun and relaxing attractions for all. Come in the summer to get excited over the beach scene with magnificent sunrises over the lake and romantic mountain sunsets. The town pulls you in on a treasure hunt along the strollable streets with local arts and crafts and a rich history that it takes great pride in. Take a guided walk amid the historic architecture, like the Heritage House, a Baptist church from 1877.

A beehive of activity during the summer, find a number of hiking trails and clear streams for fishing, as well as a marina with a boat launch and cruises for a peaceful escape into the blue. Experience the thrilling lakeside adventures from the east side of the magnificent Lake Champlain, where watersports enthusiasts take dips and enjoy shoreside recreation or simply lounging at the sparkling lake's surface and splendid mountainscapes around. From the waterfront to the stone furnaces and through beautiful gardens, you can end each perfect day with an outdoor concert.


The Ausable River flowing near Wilmington, New York.
The Ausable River flowing near Wilmington, New York.

This Adirondack gem in the Whiteface Mountain region of the Adirondack Park, just 20 minutes from Lake Placid, is a beloved escape for families and nature lovers, with its very own Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and Whiteface Mountain. Face the local majestic animals like wolves, moose, bears, and keystone predators like the bald eagle and great horned owl, and head to the North Pole! You heard it right—home to a magical wintertime community with one of the country's first theme parks, Santa's Workshop is a must-visit this holiday season.

In operation since 1949, you can bond with your loved ones on a stroll along the village of lights and on weekends with Santa, among other various themed events. Return in the summer for a real beach scene at Wilmington Beach, with refreshing waters for swims and nearby hikes like Flume Falls, which has its own swimming hole. Pack a picnic for a stroll to the High Falls Gorge, one of New York's coolest waterfalls, and do some more explorations through the Forest Preserve land with views of the majestic Whiteface Mountain! 

Choose one of these adorable towns to get dazzled by the views of the Adirondacks and enthralled by water sports and scenic recreation along the alpine lakes. From shopping to dining and streets decorated with art and history, these adorable towns bestow memories for all! Relax in your favorite way under the shadow of the mountains and admire the craggy views from a cute cafe or a stroll along a waterside trail. You will recharge with the strength of nature while discovering the spectacular natural history of the region and how magnificent the Adirondacks really are!

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