Rachel Pier, a longtime AAA travel counselor, always has something to do on the weekends.
She escapes to upstate New York’s Adirondack region whenever she can, snowmobiling over crystal-white trails in the winter and four-wheeling beneath blue skies and green canopies in the spring and summer.
The area’s rugged, mountain terrain combines nicely with beautiful lakes to create an outdoor-lover’s dream.
Watch “The Adirondacks Experience with Rachel Pier”
The Adirondacks area also has a diverse lineup of attractions, restaurants and lodging to fit any budget.
Stay: Camping is a relatively inexpensive way to enjoy nature. Adventurous sorts can head for Saranac Lake where they’ll find spots accessible only by boat. Less rugged visitors can still enjoy the area but might prefer to hang at Fish Creek Pond Campground with hot showers and children’s play areas.
Do: Explore 2,000 miles of hiking trails – several with waterfalls and scenic peaks – or hit the water by canoe or kayak. Visit the Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake, for lessons on local culture and history. It opens in late May. Enjoy all sorts of water activities in Lake George.
Dine: Paddle around Big Moose Lake, in Eagle Bay, and afterward, eat affordably at the tavern at Big Moose Inn. A dinner cruise on Raquette Lake can be a treat. You’ll also find a variety of budget-friendly options in popular tourist spots like Lake George and Lake Placid.
Stay: Ridin-Hy Ranch Resort, in Warrensburg, is a good option for families. The ranch is a place to relax and recharge with activities like horseback riding, fishing and horse-drawn wagon rides. An on-site spa nicely complements an afternoon sitting on the banks of Sherman Lake in an oh-so-appropriate Adirondack chair.
Do: The Wild Center, in Tupper Lake, tells the story of the Adirondacks through hands-on activities and live animals. Or visit Lake Placid to check out its Olympic pedigree. An Olympic Sites Passport provides access to the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, a gondola ride to the top of Little Whiteface Mountain and more.
Dine: Lake Placid has several dining options. The Lake Placid Club Boat House offers memorable views of Mirror Lake, while KANU at the luxurious Whiteface Lodge delivers rustic charm and superb scenery inside a log cabin. Other options include Taste Bistro & Bar and Caffe Rustica.
Stay: Fern Lodge, in Chestertown, earns its AAA Four Diamond status with rooms offering lake or mountain views. The Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid holds the same status, combining luxurious rooms with gorgeous mountain views and amenities ranging from hot tubs to a bowling alley to a stocked trout pond.
Do: From hiking to fishing to kayaking and more, guided tour operators offer many options. Visitors looking for pampering should schedule spa treatments at the Sagamore Salon, part of the AAA Four Diamond Sagamore Resort on Lake George.
Dine: The Inn at Erlowest, overlooking Lake George, is a restored late 19th century castle. A AAA inspector said entering made her feel like Cinderella. The View Restaurant, at the Four Diamond Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa, offers a menu with locally sourced produce.
Visit AAA.com/UpstateNYTrips for more ways to enjoy this area of New York.
Have you vacationed in the Adirondacks? Tell us about it in the comments. Let an expert AAA travel counselor help plan your next Adirondacks getaway. Get started here.