There’s so much to do within the village of Lake Placid that you’ll want to spend a good chunk of time here before or after you set out exploring the rest of the Adirondacks. Or, you could make Lake Placid your base and take excursions from there. Either way, know that it’s best to plan more than just a couple of days in this unofficial capital of the Adirondack Park. (Heck, it will likely take you a while to travel here, so go ahead and plan a good week.)
First thing you need to get straight is that that beautiful, serene lake situated parallel to Main Street of the village of Lake Placid is actually Mirror Lake. Best to identify that from the get-go or you’re likely to come across as a real tourist. (And, of course, none of us want to look like tourists–right?) The “real Lake Placid” as in the body of water named thus so sits to the north of the village of Lake Placid. Trimmed with handsome Adirondack homes, that lake is equally soothing and small yet more private.
Winter or summer, you might want to head out on either of those lakes right away. Most winters you can walk right across the ice (if you’re not too terrified of the sound of the glug, glug, glug from the air bubbles roiling beneath you). During the fair weather, it’s all about the lakes in the Adirondacks, so make sure you swim in them and float upon them as much as the air and water temperature permits.
Mirror Lake Boat Rentals outfit water fun enthusiasts with kayaks, canoes, SUPs, paddle boats and sailboats. If you want a motorized tour, Lake Placid Marina Boat Tours offer a lovely one-hour narrated excursion on Lake Placid that serves as a great introduction to learning about the natural and manmade highlights of the area. There’s nothing like getting out on the water!
Lake Placid is synonymous with the Olympics, which were held here in the winters of 1932 and 1980. These facilities remain active centers for training, competition and play (for amateurs like me) today. The 400-meter speed skating track practically at the entrance of town announces the importance of ice skating to this historic destination. Know that it’s possible to watch and partake in skating year-round, whether you’re donning a pair of speed skates and working out your best Eric Hensel moves or cruising along the beautiful skating loop on Mirror Lake on a bright winter’s day. As with all the Olympic venues, lots of pros train here, so expect plenty of inspiring moments and a squad of spectacular shows.
For a real thrill, take the plunge on the Lake Placid Toboggan Chute, a 30-foot-high converted ski jump trestle that promotes a gravity-sucking descent onto frozen Mirror Lake. (I don’t know–maybe this would be easier in the summer, however, this activity is only open during the winter.) Definitely not for the faint of heart.
Did you know that one of the first U.S. golf courses was built in Lake Placid? Indeed, the history of the game is as deep as some of the sand traps that might trip you up on these renowned courses. Start at Lake Placid Club Golf Courses and bring your A game.
You’ll find lots of nice places to walk and enjoy the fresh air in this oh-so outdoor-oriented town. Cobble Hill Trail is a local favorite.
And if you’re into being outside in a more leisurely manner, music lovers will enjoy the open-air concerts held at the newly-built Mid’s Park at Band Shell Park. It’s a summertime thing.