The Adirondack Mountains offer over 2,000 miles of trails through forests, waterfalls, and mountain peaks across the state of New York (and into Canada)! Adventurers of all skill levels travel to Adirondack Park from across the globe to take in the beautiful scenic views. In the summer, the Adirondacks are bustling with tourist activity, but some people are lucky enough to live in the Adirondacks year round. Let’s take a look at the small towns in the Adirondack Mountains that come alive in summer!
In the heart of the mountains, Saranac Lake, NY is our first stop in the Adirondacks. With a whopping 4,887 permanent residents, this village is the largest community in the Adirondack Park. This beautiful village community offers adventures for all ages and experience levels!
In the summer, Saranac Lake’s hiking trails, cascading streams, and breathtaking mountain views can turn a quick stroll to the farmer’s market into a life-affirming nature walk. For the aquatic-minded adventurers, Saranac Lake is home to a few of its own lakes along the Saranac River. You can canoe from downtown Saranac Lake all the way up to Maine!
Move over, heaven! Keeseville, NY is a paradise along the Ausable River for its 2,557 permanent residents. Keeseville dissolved its village status in 2013 to become a hamlet in the towns of Ausable and Chesterfield, NY. Originally an industrial community, Keeseville boasts quite a bit of history in its architecture. Be sure to check out the North Star Underground Railroad Museum for a poignant history lesson.
You’ll have loads of fun visiting the shops and restaurants in Keeseville, but the true Keeseville adventure is located just outside the hamlet at the Ausable Chasm. Explore the chasm through adventure courses, follow nature trails through cascading waterfalls, or enjoy their ‘float through nature’ on a two mile raft journey along the Ausable River.
In the Southeastern Adirondacks, Chestertown is a charming hamlet with 707 permanent residents. Make sure to stay along the shoreline of Chestertown’s Friends Lake or Loon Lake. Take the family for a swim or rent a boat for the day!
Explore the hikes in the area by completing the Chester Challenge! Some of the 11 trails in this hiking challenge are more difficult than others, but all 8 locations are absolutely breathtaking! Chestertown also hosts one of the best farmers markets in the region, and its restaurants are some of the best in the Northeast United States!
The hamlet of Old Forge, NY calls itself “Adirondack Base Camp” for good reason! From Old Forge, visitors can find peace and serenity or adrenaline and adventure practically by just snapping their fingers. Take a picnic up to the peak of McCauley Mountain (don’t worry, they have a 10-minute chair lift with beautiful views if you aren’t a mountain climber!), or take a ride on the Adirondack Railroad through Old Forge’s gorgeous forests.
From mid-June until Labor Day, Old Forge is also home to New York’s largest water theme park: Enchanted Forest Water Safari. The water park boasts over 50 attractions, including 32 water rides! Film lovers will be obsessed with the Strand Theatre, a fully restored Art Deco movie theater with a free film history museum inside.
In the Eastern Adirondacks, along the shores of Lake George’s Northern basin you will find the town of Hague and its 679 residents. Despite its small size, Hague truly lights up in the summer! Catch a concert in the park, find incredible gifts at the arts and crafts fairs and antique shows, and be sure to stick around for their fireworks!
Hague is a rural community nestled in a beautiful part of the Adirondacks, with scenic drives going in and out of the town. Along the shores of Lake George are some stunning beaches and a bounty of fishing opportunities. Get out on the lake for boating and water sports before the leaves start falling!
Just west of Hague, let’s take a look at Schroon Lake, NY. 1,578 people live in Schroon Lake year round, and we can see why! At the northern end of the Adirondacks 9-mile long Schroon Lake is a pristine beach with swimming and a shoreline perfect for picnics. Nearby nature trails include Mount Severance and Spectacle Pond.
Live out your Sound of Music fantasies with a visit to the Seagle Festival, the premiere opera and musical theater organization in the Adirondack Region. The Seagle Festival has been active since 1915, making it the oldest summer vocal training program in the United States.
Bolton Landing, NY is another hiker’s paradise of a hamlet along Lake George. With a population of 418, this town is close to the State Park lands and islands of the Lake George Narrows. Go boating, water skiing, and parasailing on the Lake. Try your hand at the Adirondack Extreme Adventure Course, or visit one of Bolton Landing’s many nature walk trails ranging from easy to extremely challenging. For an extra special experience, take a balloon ride up and over the jaw-dropping mountain scenery.
The Lake George Islands are a true beauty in Bolton Landing. Take your pick of the 387 shoreline campsites located across 44 islands with gorgeous 360 degree lake and mountain views. We can’t think of a better place to unwind after a long day in the mountains!
Adirondack Park is one of the most beautiful regions of the United States, and these small towns in the Adirondack Mountains come alive in summer for good reason. Reach one of the 46 Adirondacks High Peaks (or complete all 46 to earn the status of “46’er”) and catch some rest amid the mountains in these incredible villages.