Boating in Lake George, NY

New England
Lake George waterfront credit DenisTangney Jr

I dive off the dock at dawn and swim rapidly through the cool May waters of Lake George. Nestled in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, the lake is a paradise for all creatures. The loons that serenaded us last night have yielded to a lone great blue heron patrolling for his breakfast. As I swim, I take small sips of water, free from worry of what might be in it. The heron and I are alone as a brightening sky offers hints of blue.

Roughly 10,00-12,000 years ago, receding glaciers formed what is now called Lake George. The ice sheet paused at its southern end just north of Glens Falls, NY. Fed by underground springs, the lake is 32 miles long with 109 miles of shoreline wrapping around 170 islands, many of which are available for camping.

The lake flows south to north and at its tip, feeds into Ticonderoga Lake in New York and Lake Champlain in Burlington, VT. The lake is the cleanest in the United States, and you can drink its water without a filter.

Dubbed the “Birthplace of American’s Original Vacation,” Lake George (named for the English King George II) was immortalized by author James Fenimore Cooper in his 1826 novel The Last of the Mohicans. He writes about the Battle of Lake George, which was fought in the fall of 1755, when outnumbered British soldiers and Mohawk Indians defeated a larger French and Indian force.

Cooper’s popular novel still draws tourists to the Lake George area to view Fort William Henry, which was built in 1755 and used as a staging area for attacks against the French, who destroyed it a few years later. The fort was left in ruins until the mid-1950s when it was rebuilt using the original plans. Visitors today can take the Living History Tour, and kids may join the King’s Army and march to the fife and drum.

When you come to visit, take the three-mile Lake George walking tour that pauses at historic and natural sites along the way. Points of interest include the Lake George Steamboat Company, the ruins of Fort George, Battlefield Park and much more. The French & Indian War Society is also an excellent source of information on the early colonial times.

Lake George Area Tourism

Spring offers cool temps & outdoor fun

“America’s First Vacation Place” is packed with activities to do year-round. But, Adirondack spring, with temperatures ranging from the 30s to 50s in March and April, and 40s to 70s in May, is a wonderful time to visit Lake George. Minus the crowds, here are some of the historic, quirky and spooky attractions.

Opening Day Fishing Season

Residents claim, “The happiest fish in America live in Lake George,” and they are probably right. Open waters season begins in April and runs through November when ice becomes a problem. The lake is home to trout, Atlantic salmon, small and largemouth bass, perch and 30 other species of fish.

The Lake George Mystery

On a small pavilion behind the visitors’ center is a mystery that scientists have tried but failed to solve. Inside Mayor Blais Park facing the lake, people start shouting and hear their own voice echo back as though from another dimension. Legend has it that this very spot is where a Native American god shouted his wisdom to the mountains, lake and landscape.

Hike or Ride the Trails

It’s all about the vistas of the Adirondacks and the best spot to view the lake. A network of Lake George hiking trails ranges from easy strolls to climbing Prospect Mountain. This three-mile climb is steep but worth it for the views. Less strenuous options are the Blue and Red Pinnacle trails in Bolton, which also deliver beautiful scenery.

Channel Bob Marley on a Tiki Tour

Picture yourself on a thatch-covered tiki barge with your beverage of choice and the best of reggae playing as you tour the lake. The boat rides are about 45 minutes long and span Lake George and Saratoga Lake against a stunning mountainous backdrop.

Empire State Tribute Festival

A reimagined version of the area’s well-known Elvis Festival is scheduled for May 2–5 at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY. The festival offers tribute bands and one of the world’s largest Elvis tribute artist contests.

Lake George Area Tourism

Summer revolves around water & festivities

Summer in the city can be sweltering, and Lake George offers cool days for urban dwellers and other heat-weary guests. The Adirondack summer around its jewel of a lake is loaded with activities, and here is a hint of what you can find.

Spectacular boating in the peak season

This place loves its boaters and welcomes them with clear water for exceptional fishing and water sports. For guidance, lots of information is available. Boaters’ maps and lake map apps share fishing spots, along with a Lake George depth chart. You also find plenty of tips for the best places for water skiing, tubing, wakeboarding and more. The town of Lake George has public docks and other mooring options as well.

Festivals celebrate the local talent

Adirondack Wine & Food Festival presents more than 120 of New York’s best distilleries, wineries, breweries and artisan food vendors ( June 29-30). At Lake George Arts & Craft Festival, 100+ local artists display their craft skills with basket weaving, painting, wood carving and farm fresh food (August 2-4). Lake George Music Festival gathers together young musicians to deliver a series of classical and chamber music at the historic Carriage House at the Fort William Henry Hotel (August 11-22).

Eat, drink and be merry

Local restaurants span many types of cuisine. Some of the most popular are the French Bistrot LeRoux, the Chateau on the Lake where the views are just as lovely as the food, and La Bella Vita at the much-renowned Sagamore Resort, which draws families from all over to its endless stream of kid-friendly activities.

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