Adventurous Things to Do In Lake Placid NY For Game Couples

WHY GO: Primarily known as a “Winter Wonderland,” and for its winter sports, there are also plenty of things to do in Lake Placid New York all year round.

Driving into the village of Lake Placid, the body of water that most people believe to be Lake Placid is, in fact, not.  Main Street in this Adirondack getaway town actually fronts Mirror Lake – not much larger than a Cape Cod kettle pond – used for crew practice in summer and speed skating in winter.

Houses on Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, New York #VisitAdks #Adirondacks @GetawayMavens

Outdoor sports is a way of life in Lake Placid. With over six million acres of Adirondack Park beckoning, nature awaits the adventurous. Approaching the settlement with its array of resort-type galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and hotels; an industrial-sized building, the Olympic Center, incongruously rises from the much-photographed Olympic Oval. 

Speed skating practice on Mirror Lake Lake Placid NY

You can tour the Center, rattle your teeth on a bobsled ride, ride an elevator to the top of the 120-meter ski-jump tower, and watch future Olympiads flip and fly in the Freestyle Ariel Training Center. Most of these Olympic sites are just a short drive from Lake Placid. 

Immersing oneself in all things Olympic Games, if only for a couple of days, is but one lure to this well-known Adirondack village.

Looking for more weekend getaway ideas? Check out our round-up of

Adventurous Things To Do In Lake Placid

Olympic Center | Lake Placid | New York

VISIT: The Lake Placid Olympic Center Museum and Skating Rinks

The Lake Placid Olympic Museum is perfectly located, as this was where the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” – the miraculous US Hockey Team’s victory over Russia – occurred. The museum, newly opened at the end of 2022, provides engaging, interactive info about two Lake Placid NY-based Winter Olympic Games (1932 and 1980), with North America’s second-largest collection of Winter Olympic artifacts.

DO: Skate the Olympic Oval

Take a few laps on the newly renovated outdoor Olympic Oval where speedskater Eric Heiden raced in his gold jumpsuit to win an unprecedented five gold medals during the 1980 winter Olympics.  It’s the outdoor ice-skating equivalent to running up the “Rocky” stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and something every aspiring speed skater has to do at least once.  The Oval is open for public skating in season.

View from Olympic Ski Jump in Lake Placid

EXPERIENCE: Olympic Jumping Complex

Two Olympic Ski Jumps loom incongruously over the landscape.  Take a gondola ride to the base of the highest ski jump – an then an elevator takes visitors to the top – 120 meters, 26 stories – from which you get a vertiginous peek at what these flying skiers survey right before they launch.

Bobsled collection in the outdoor museum of the Bobsled Complex in Lake Placid NY.

SEE/DO:The Olympic Bobsled Complex

If you’re lucky, you’ll see bobsled teams training – squished into covered sleds and hurtling down a mile plus bobsled run like life-size bobbleheads.  With enough guts, sign up for the Bobsled Experience. For a fee, you can sit behind a driver and race, sometimes 50mph, down the last half mile of the track, avoiding the g-force perils of the starting mile.

DO: Cross Country Skiing at Mt Van Hoevenberg

The Cross Country Ski trails at Mt Van Hoevenberg first opened for the 1980 Olympics. But, even if you’ve never set foot in ski boot, or watched the Olympics, you can come to these paths that traverse snowy woods for the brisk winter air and to perhaps learn a new sport. X-Country skis and snowshoes are available for rent. And, experts are on hand to guide you through it all.

Lake Placid Boat Tour

TOUR: Lake Placid Boat Tour

Perfect on a hot day, taking a Lake Placid Boat Tour is the only way those of us who don’t own a lakefront “camp” (or know someone who does) can get out on this oval of water. You’ll see lots of classic wooden motor boats – the sports car of the lake set, required to get to summer homes on three islands; Moose, Buck and Hawk.

The one-hour trip features stories about the surrounding topography, Adirondack architecture, seasonal homeowners, and the “camps” that are camps the way Harry Winston is a jewelry store.

CEO’s and founders of Texas Instruments, the Vanguard Group, and other notables like Kate Smith owned or own these summer homes on water so pure you can drink it (through Brita filters) with no ill effects. Mid May to Mid October.

Mountain Climbing Adirondacks NY

HIKE: Adirondack Mountain Club

When you tire of all things Olympics, head out to The Adirondack Mountain Club Loj (this spelling one of several vestigial “Deweyisms” in his failed attempt to phoneticize written English) – a roughly-paved five miles off Route 73. 

The nonprofit AMC publishes a wide range of magazines and books that are essential reading for exploring this region. Also, they organize many recreational and social events through its many chapters. Recreational programs are available in the Adirondacks, as well as all around the world. And, in our view, best of all is access to backcountry lodging.

John Brooke Lodge
If you’d like to summit Mount Marcy, the tallest of the Adirondack High Peaks, consider booking a night at John Brook Lodge. It’s a hike in, hike out lodge with bunk room accommodations and seasonal dining options. But it makes the challenging trek much more doable.

Climb a mountain peak or two, or 46 to join the Adirondacks High Peaks club.

Trails to many of the region’s 46 “High Peaks” over 4,000 ft. (climb all of them and you become an honored “46er”) radiate out from here, though it seemed so hidden I felt as if I’d secretly stumbled on an intoxicating hiker’s paradise.  In a town overrun with tourists, this place reminds us of why our city-weary forbears came to the Adirondacks in the first place. 


Eager to try an extreme sport, but not sure where to start? Go to school with Eastern Mountain Sports, the outdoor gear shop also runs clinics, demos, and a school program offering instruction in climbing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and backcountry skiing.

Rockclimbing - Adirondacks

Or hire a guide  at High Peaks Mountain Guides who will teach you skills and safety while leading you on a outdoor adventure you won’t soon forget. Programs & clinics include: snowshoeing, telemark skiing, rockclimbing, hiking/backpacking, and mountain biking.

Lake Placid NY Restaurants

EAT: Locals Recommend

Aesthetically, Lake Placid NY may seem lost in time, but, except for Lake Placid Pub and Brewery (see below), The Cottage, and Lisa G’s – all high on review lists – most are pretty new. So, try Top of the Park for cocktails and small plates; Smoke Signals for BBQ; Wyatt’s for Tex-Mex; and Salt of the Earth Bistro for “quirky” New American.

DRINK/EAT: Lake Placid Pub and Brewery

Ever since 1996, when the then 20-something Christopher Ericson opened the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery, it’s been hitting it out of the park, with a focus on signature ales and lagers, including the popular Ubu Ale, now sold all over the place. Over the years, the Pub/Brewery expanded and grew as its reputation for great food and beer soared. So much so, it had to open a second brew-pub.

Drink/EAT: Big Slide Brewery and Public House

How to address the growing popularity of Lake Placid Pub and Brewery? The owners opened another pub-brewery! Big Slide Brewery and Public House offers farm to table dining with great, craft beer in a repurposed industrial building.

Lake Placid Hotels

Mirror Lake Inn in Winter

SPA/RESORT: Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa

Care to shuss downhill with an Olympic Medalist? Want to see how you measure up? Or need to get some tips from one of the best in the field? You can, as a guest at the Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa. Andrew Weibrecht (whose family owns the inn) offers his time (for up to two people, for an hourly fee) on Whiteface Mountain.

If skiing is not your thing, book a treatment at the Spa. Or rejuvenate in a setting that harks back to more gracious times. Afternoon tea service finds guests mingling, with nary a cellphone in sight.

Lake Placid Lodge Guest room

LUXURY: Lake Placid Lodge

The Gilded Age Adirondack Camps, where oil and steel barons came to recreate, made rugged chic.  Lake Placid Lodge, is “rugged-chic” of the highest caliber.  After a fire destroyed the main building (keeping most cabins intact), forty local artisans were hired to re-interpret camp design for the cosmopolitan set. 

The Lodge’s current incarnation retains the purity of tradition – lots of twigs, bark and logs as structural and design elements – bolstered by a transcendent dining and lodging experience.

Secure a Swiss Family Robinson tangled-tree-limbs suite in the main lodge or a slice of lakefront property – ripples lapping up to your picture window – for a night or two.  It’s Pendleton blankets and birch bark furniture with butler service. 

FAMILY: Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort

Featuring the only beach on Mirror Lake, Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort is a family favorite. But those white sands serve a higher purpose–the crushed limestone mitigates the effects of acid rain, a big problem in the Adirondack Park. Every spring, they truck in tons of it to help keep Mirror Lake clean, one of the many environmentally conscious actions that helped it earn Audubon Society’s Platinum Certification, an honor given to only six resorts in the USA.

Additional perk of eco-friendly focus–allergy-free rooms and suites, some with patios facing the beach.

High Peaks Resort pool and grounds overlooking Mirror Lake

FAMILY: High Peaks Resort

Encompassing multiple buildings, one right on the water, High Peaks Resort makes it easy to plan a group meeting or family reunion with a good range of rooms and meeting space options. Families can depend on the “natural hospitality” of a concierge team that helps guests plan activities–golf, birding, fly fishing, etc.–reflecting individual interests.

BUDGET: The Pines Inn

The last survivor of Lake Placid’s “golden age of hotels,” The Pines Inn has seen a lot of history, not to mention a number of changes in management. Today, it’s a homey place that specializes in welcoming large groups–with the discounts and amenities that make this an ideal place to stay with an athletic team or multigenerational family looking to save a buck.

MORE Lake Placid Hotels

Of course, as a resort town, there are dozens of lodgings to choose from. In addition to the above, stay at the luxury Whiteface Lodge, the Lake Placid Inn Boutique Hotel, Crowne Plaza Lake Placid, and more (see in map below).

Make it A Week-Long Adirondacks Road Trip

(One or two nights in each)

Start out in Saratoga Springs, the largest town in the southern Adirondacks, for some fresh spring water, outdoor entertainment, and of course, horse-racing.

Drive 30 minutes North to Lake George NY for some lakeside antics. Stay at the venerable Sagamore Hotel and get out on the water as much as possible.

It’s about 1 1/4 hours to Lake Placid, the undisputed gateway to the Adirondacks wilderness, marveling at attractions like High Falls Gorge and Ausable Chasm.

Drive about 15 minutes from Lake Placid to Saranac Lake NY (another 30 to Tupper Lake) for other Adirondack wonders. Pristine Saranac Lake became the center of restorative treatment for Tuberculosis sufferers in the late 1800’s. And you’ll find one of the best wildlife centers in Tupper Lake.


  • Malerie Yolen-Cohen and Sandra Foyt

    Travel experts Malerie Yolen-Cohen and Sandra Foyt share all-in-one destination guides for the best romantic getaways. Although they generally publish independent articles, this is their collection of collaborative posts. Malerie’s focus and specialty is the Northeastern USA, and she is the Author of the cross-country travel guide, Stay On Route 6; Your Guide to All 3562 Miles of Transcontinental Route 6. Originally from the Caribbean, but based in New York's Capital Region for over twenty years, Sandra specializes in warm-climate destinations.

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5 thoughts on “Adventurous Things to Do In Lake Placid NY For Game Couples”

  1. I’d like to stay at the Interlaken Inn, eat sweet potato pancakes and then work them all off with a hike. It’s been decades since I’ve been to Lake Placid and I’ve never been in summer. I am overdue for a visit.

  2. Pingback: Golden Arrow In Lake Placid; Green and Family-Friendly Too
  3. Hi Leigh – sounds like a great plan! Thanks so much for reading and commenting. And by the way – I’ll be writing about visiting Lake Placid specifically in the summer in late July.
    Glad to see you here- Malerie

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