Keeseville, New York.

7 Serene Towns In The Adirondack Mountains For A Weekend Retreat

The Adirondack region is in upstate New York and spans across the northeastern corner of the United States, boasting a beautiful geographical mix of forests, mountains, lakes, and rivers, making it the perfect getaway destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. With more than 100 peaks and over 3,000 lakes and ponds, the Adirondack Mountains are a popular hiking, fishing, and boating destination. Alongside this, the region is also a living museum of history and culture, which can be witnessed in its villages and towns, which are steeped in heritage with their quaint architecture, local arts and crafts, and diverse museums.

Whether seeking solitude or adventure, the serene towns in the Adirondack region offer endless possibilities for exploration and relaxation on a weekend retreat.


The famous Ausable Chasm near Keeseville, New York
The famous Ausable Chasm near Keeseville, New York.

Keeseville is a hamlet village located in both Clinton and Essex counties along the Ausable River and is named after the Keese family, who were the early settlers from Vermont. The town is most famous for its proximity to the ‘Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks,’ the Ausable Chasm. Visitors can take a trip to this destination to enjoy breathtaking views, miles of nature trails to hike or bike, rafting, kayaking, tubing facilities, rock climbing, and numerous unique tours of the area. Fishing enthusiasts should grab their gear and rods and head to the Ausable River to find an abundance of trout to catch. To really connect with nature, tourists can also put up a tent or spend the night in an RV at the Ausable River Campsite. Uncover the hidden history of the Champlain Line and fugitive slaves at the North Star Underground Railroad Museum.

Lake Placid

Ski lift over Lake Placid, New York
Ski lift over Lake Placid, New York.

Lake Placid is a village town in the Adirondacks that became internationally famous for hosting the Winter Olympics in 1932 and 1980. As such, the town is a winter wonderland, inviting tourists to revel in the snow-covered playground that it transforms into. Cross-country skiers and snowshoeing enthusiasts can enjoy miles of trails on Whiteface Mountain or even at the Olympic site at Mount Van Hoevenberg. Less athletic activities include riding a bobsled or a luge sled down the Olympic track and taking a trip on the high-speed Gondola ride known as the Clousplitter.

Even in the summer, the town has a bounty of outdoor fun to offer, such as paddle boating on Mirror Lake, hiking up to High Falls Gorge, mountain biking through trails among gorgeous fall foliage, and more. Learn more about this town and the Olympics before leaving at the Olympic Center and Museum, which boasts North America’s second-largest Winter Olympic artifact collection.

Old Forge

A Water Safari Park at Old Forge, New York
A Water Safari Park at Old Forge, New York. Editorial credit: Mahmoud Suhail /

Old Forge is a year-round tourist destination for anyone wanting to relax and unwind in nature’s arms. Begin with a ride down the 10-minute-long McCauley Mountain Scenic Chairlift that takes visitors through mesmerizing views of the surrounding mountains and lakes and ends at a free picnic area with a view of deer in their natural habitat. Then, head to Moose River to paddleboat, kayak, canoe, or simply float down the calm waters.

For more water fun consider spending a day at the Enchanted Forest Water Safari, New York’s Largest Water Theme Park, which has over 50 rides and attractions to let lose in. The Adirondack Railroad offers unique train tours that take tourists through pristine woods, wildlife, fall foliage, and river views to explore the true beauty of the region. In the winter, visitors can enjoy skiing and snowboarding at McCauley Mountain or have some fun at the Old Forge Winter Carnival.

Tupper Lake

Houses by the lake in Tupper Lake, New York
Houses by the lake in Tupper Lake, New York.

Tupper Lake is a village town located in Franklin County, New York, west of Lake Placid, and is part of the Tri-Lakes region. The numerous rivers, lakes, and ponds in this town allow tourists to explore a host of water activities, such as fishing, canoeing, kayaking, water skiing, swimming, and more. Those looking for a challenge should take a stab at the Tupper Lake Paddling Triad to explore the waters more thoroughly and win a patch and sticker at the end to signify the feat. Hiking enthusiasts can do the same by climbing to the peaks of Mount Arab, Coney Mountain, and Goodman Mountain to complete the town’s Hiking Triad.

To spend time relaxing and sunbathing, head to Little Wolf Beach which has numerous basketball and volleyball courts to play in but also a mesmerizing sunset view to enjoy at the end of the day. In the winter, tourists can snowmobile on hundreds of miles of trails in the region, cross-country ski in the transformed golf course, or ice fish in Simon and Raquette Pond. To learn more about the town’s history, visitors should take a tour of the Tupper Lake Heritage Museum or hop on the self-guided Crossroads Heritage Trail, which takes you through beautiful natural scenes as you discover the town’s past.

Schroon Lake

The gorgeous Schroon Lake beach.
The gorgeous Schroon Lake beach.

Schroon Lake is a rural town located at the northern end of the eponymous lake and has a history that spans over 200 years. The town is best known for the Schroon Lake beach, which is one of the most popular beaches on the Adirondacks, with a roped-in swimming area, a floating dock, picnic areas, quaint restaurants, and a playground to enjoy. Spend some time in nature by heading to one of the numerous hiking and nature trails, such as the Mount Severance, Spectacle Pond, and Hoffman Notch Trails.

In the summer, tourists can revel in the music of the opera trainees at the Seagle Festival or catch a show at the Strand Theater, a local movie theater. Golfers can also go for a round at the 9-hole Schroon Lake Golf Course or visitors can partake in skiing and snow tubing activities that are set up in the course during winter months. End with a beer at the Flannigan's Bar and Grill to listen to the jukebox and take in the rustic atmosphere that surrounds the town.

Blue Mountain Lake

Entrance to the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, New York.
Entrance to the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, New York. Image credit: MWanner via

Blue Mountain Lake is a hamlet town of Indian Lake, located in Hamilton County, New York, and is named after the Blue Mountain peak. The town is home to The Museum On Blue Mountain Lake, a world-famous Adirondack experience, which exhibits the unique story of the region and its people and the history that it carries. Nearby is also the Adirondack Lakes Center, a multi-disciplinary arts center celebrating art, music, theater, and community events against the beautiful natural background of Blue Mountain Lake.

To discover the area in all its beauty, visitors can embark on a scenic two-hour cruise through Blue Mountain, Eagle, and Utowana Lakes hosted by Boat Livery Tours or simply rent a boat and paddle through the water on their own. A unique activity to partake in is rail biking on the Revolution Rail to enjoy the amazing mountains and water views along the banks of the Hudson River. Make sure to take the plunge off Rock Island, the town’s famous swimming hole, to participate in Blue Mountain Lake’s time-honored tradition.


Aerial view of Speculator, New York
Aerial view of Speculator, New York.

Speculator is a village destination located in the southern Adirondacks, on the shore of Lake Pleasant, and is an all-year-round vacation spot. Tourists are often found kayaking, canoeing, fishing, or paddle boating on the waters of Lake Pleasant or Sacandaga Lake. The town also offers a host of other outdoor adventures, such as the mountain biking and hiking trail up to the mysterious Kunjamuk Cave. Although the cave’s existence remains a mystery, it is worth a trip, and the beauty of the trails leading up to it just adds to the outdoor experience.

In the winter, the town turns into a top snowmobiling destination, with miles of groomed trails and numerous rental shops popping up. Don’t miss out on the quirky stores all around town, such as the one-of-a-kind Charlie John's Grocery Store or the Speculator Department Store, where visitors can find unique and traditional Adirondack souvenirs.

The Adirondack region encapsulates the mesmerizing beauty and rich heritage of upstate New York, inviting visitors to explore its diverse landscapes and numerous opportunities for outdoor adventure. From the Olympic glory of Lake Placid and the breathtaking Ausable Chasm in Keeseville to the serene waters of Schroon Lake and scenic tours of Blue Mountain Lake, there is a unique experience waiting at each destination. Whether it's a quiet hike through the woods, an exhilarating ride down a ski slope, or a leisurely stroll through a charming village, the Adirondack has adventure, relaxation, and inspiration that invite all kinds of tourists to explore its beautiful landscape.

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