Top Things to Do in Lake Placid NY in the Summer

Post summary: 30+ of the best outdoor activities and things to do in Lake Placid NY in the summer

Nestled in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, Lake Placid is the pinnacle of summer vibes and outdoor adventure in Upstate New York.

While hiking is a must, there’s actually a whole lot more to explore beyond the trails, like natural swimming holes, Olympic training sites, brewery hopping, farmers markets, and whitewater rafting.

Whether you’re planning your summer trip to Lake Placid NY or you’re already there and looking for unique local activities, I’ve got you covered with some great suggestions (with some hiking recommendations sprinkled in, of course).

Let’s dive in to the best things to do in Lake Placid in the summer!

Guides to help you plan your trip to Lake Placid in the summer

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30+ Best things to do in Lake Placid NY in the Summer

1. Take in the views from Whiteface Mountain

Whiteface Mountain stands at 4’867 feet, making it the fifth highest peak in New York State. This is easily one of the best (and most iconic) things do in Lake Placid because the 360 degree views from Whiteface are hard to beat!

From the top of Whiteface Mountain, you get incredible views of Lake Placid and the surrounding High Peaks. On a clear day, you can even see all the way to Lake Champlain and Vermont.

There are two ways to take in the views atop Whiteface Mountain:

  1. Take a hike: If you’re in very good shape, you can follow a difficult 10.1-mile loop trail that leads you almost 5,000 feet up to the summit. Whiteface Mountain is one of the 46 High Peaks, so if you plan to become an ADK 46’er, this is the only way to get to the top that actually counts!
  2. Drive the Whiteface Memorial Highway: For the same exact views without the hike, drive the 5-mile paved road that begins at the Whiteface tollhouse and winds its way up the mountain. Along the way, you’ll pass several scenic overlooks before arriving at a parking lot just below the summit.
    From the parking lot, you have to hike about 0.5 miles to reach the top. The hike takes about 20-30 minutes up stone staircases and natural rock pathways. Parts of the rock are slippery, so wear proper hiking boots.
    The Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway is open daily from 8:45 am – 5:30 pm between May 24 – October 14. Parking costs $20 per vehicle and driver, with an additional $20 per passenger.

Summit of Whiteface Mountain near Lake Placid in the summer

Visiting Lake Placid in the winter? Whiteface has over 90 ski and snowboard trails covering 288 acres and the greatest vertical drop on the east coast. Scroll down for a list of the best things to do in Lake Placid in the winter.

2. Explore Ausable Chasm

Ausable Chasm is fondly referred to as the ‘Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks’, which is why it’s on the list of best things to do in Lake Placid in the summer.

There are awesome trails you can hike here that have spectacular views of waterfalls and rock formations, including Column Rock, Elephant Head, Rainbow Falls, and Hydes Cave. You can also make a whole day of your visit by adding on other activities, like rafting or tubing through Ausable Chasm for a different perspective of the gorge.

3. Take the Cloudsplitter Gondola to Little Whiteface

Enjoy a scenic 15 minute ride from the base of Whiteface Mountain to the peak of Little Whiteface. From the top, you get some of the best views of Lake Placid, Lake Placid Village, Lake Champlain and some of the tallest peaks in all of New York State.

Cloudsplitter Gondola rides are open June 30 – October 9. Tickets are $25 per person.

4. Browse the Lake Placid Farmer’s Market

Farmer’s markets are a tradition in Lake Placid! Swing by the Lake Placid Farmer’s Market for some fresh produce and handicrafts from local artisans.

Much of the food sold at the Farmer’s Market in Lake Placid is sourced from local farms and you can find everything from grass-fed beef to organic cheeses and fresh veggies.

The Lake Placid Farmer’s Market is located at 2051 Saranac Avenue, Lake Placid on Wednesdays between June 14 – September 13 from 9am – 1pm.

Nearby is the Keene Valley Farmer’s Market at Marcy Airfield along Route 73 on Sundays between late May to early October from 9:30am – 2pm.. This market has a larger selection of handicrafts than the Lake Placid Farmer’s Market. It’s also right near the highway, so you can pick up some

5. Go rock climbing in the Adirondacks

Are you ready to take your Lake Placid trip to new heights this summer? If your answer is heck yes, then let’s talk rock climbing!

Lake Placid has some of the best climbing routes in the northeast USA for everyone from pros to straight up beginners. Here are a few of the best places for rock climbing in Lake Placid:

  • Henderson Cliff
  • Avalanche Pass
  • Pitchoff Chimney Cliff
  • Gothics
  • Noonmark
  • Rooster Comb

Unless you really know what you’re doing, I always recommend hiring a licensed guide to show you where to go and make sure you stay safe. High Peaks Mountain Guides offer all kinds of guided rock climbing tours near Lake Placid from beginner friendly roadside climbs to mountaineering excursions in the backcountry.

6. Catch sunset from Mt. Jo

Whether this is your first time or 100th time to the Adirondacks, Mt Jo is always a good idea.

This Lake Placid hike is a classic, due to its ease of access, stunning views, and close proximity to Lake Placid.

The trail begins at the Adirondack Loj parking area, directly across from the payment booth. Follow the trail around Heart Lake until you see the sign pointing to Mt. Jo on the right.

Local tip: Still have some energy left? Pair your hike up Mt. Jo with a hike up nearby Mount Van Hoevenberg. You can access the trailhead from the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center.

Hiking Mt Jo in the Adirondack High Peaks near Lake Placid NY

7. Take a boat tour on Lake Placid

Taking a boat tour on Lake Placid is one of the best things to do when you visit Lake Placid during the summer.

Not to be confused with Mirror Lake (the lake in the center of town), Lake Placid (the body of water) is north of the town and is lined by fancy homes and mansions.

Book a tour with Lake Placid Marina & Boat Tours. They offer hour-long narrated tours that take you 16 miles down the lake, past jaw dropping views of Whiteface Mountain, Adirondack wildlife, and the stately manors along the shore.

Some famous people own those million dollar mansions on Lake Placid and they are definitely a sight to see!

All tours are first come first serve.

8. Whitewater rafting

The Adirondacks have thrilling rapids just a short drive from Lake Placid NY. Admittedly, this is something I haven’t had a chance to do, but it’s been on my bucket list for years now!

The best time to go is in the spring after temperatures warm and lakes and rivers have a chance to thaw into rushing rapids, but summer is also a prime time because of the warm weather.

The best places for whitewater rafting are:

  • Ausable Chasm: More easy going rapids and tubing; about 30 minutes from Lake Placid
  • Indian Lake (the whitewater rafting capital of NY): More intense than Ausable Chasm; about 1 hour from Lake Placid

9. Cool off in a natural swimming hole

Flume Falls on the West Branch of the Ausable River is a popular natural swimming hole about 10 minutes from Lake Placid.

The Flume is located off Route 86 in Wilmington, with a parking area and trail leading to the swimming spot. Go early to avoid the crowds!

Other options are nearby Split Rock Falls and the Bouquet River.

Note: Remember that these are wild swimming holes and not a public pool. Always leave no trace by packing out any trash, staying on established trails, and not disturbing wildlife or vegetation.

10. Browse the shops in downtown Lake Placid

Even if you’re not much of a shopper, walking around downtown Lake Placid is a fun way to spend a free afternoon. The shops are so cute and sell everything from locally made crafts, artisanal foods, to outdoor gear and Adirondack-style home decor.

This area is easily walkable because most of the shops are concentrated along Main Street and the surrounding side streets.

Here are a few of my favorite stores that are unique to Lake Placid, so you can be sure you’re supporting the local community:

  • Simpli Nature: Handmade soaps, candles, and bath products. Perfect for gifts or self-care treats.
  • Adirondack Decorative Arts & Crafts: Discover local artists’ work and unique pieces for your home, inspired by the Adirondacks.
  • Ruthie’s Run: Stylish clothing, trendy finds, and European knitwear
  • Sparkle Lake Placid: The best place in Lake Placid to buy local artisan made jewelry
  • The Bookstore Plus: Independent bookstore with a great selection. Grab your next read or a Lake Placid souvenir.

Local tip: If you eat meat, pop into Smoke Signals for happy hour, in-house smoked brisket, and STUNNING views of Mirror Lake.

11. Visit the Adirondack Experience Museum on Blue Mountain Lake

The Adirondack Experience Museum is one of the best things to do near Lake Placid if you want to take a deep dive into the history of the Adirondack Park. The museum covers everything from fire towers and logging to the art, culture, and conservation efforts in the Adirondacks. It’s definitely the most comprehensive museum in the area and well worth the trip.

This museum is generally open from late May through mid-October, so plan accordingly. It takes about 2-3 hours to see the whole museum, but you might want to consider planning a full day for your visit – there’s so much to see!

12. Lounge on Lake Placid Public Beach

Lake Placid Public Beach is on the south shore of Mirror Lake, smack dab in downtown Lake Placid.

You can easily spend a whole day swimming, fishing, and padding, and water biking here in the summer.

The beach is sandy and the shoreline is shallow and crystal clear – perfect for cooling off on a hot day. There’s an also a pier and a launch site for canoes or kayaks if you want to explore the lake.

Travel tip: Every July, the Lake Placid Public Beach is THE spot to watch Fourth of July fireworks.

13. Paddle on Mirror Lake

Calm, pristine water and an idyllic backdrop of the Adirondack Mountains make paddling on Mirror Lake one of the best things to do in Lake Placid NY in the summer!

You can rent kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddle boards, pedal boats, and aqua bikes for $30/hour from Downstairs Boat Rental.

Paddling a canoe on a lake in the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York

14. Stroll around Mirror Lake’s scenic 2.7 mile loop

The 2.7 mile loop around the Mirror Lake is a popular spot for walking, jogging, and biking. It’s a super easy, paved walk that takes less than an hour to complete.

Your walk around Mirror Lake takes you past Lake Placid Public Beach, through the business district and past the beautiful homes that line the shore of Mirror Lake.

Keep an eye out for the “Carry Path”. It’s a small path that’s used to transport canoes and kayaks to Mirror Lake. Follow the path down to Mirror Lake for some breathtaking views.

Tip – the Mirror Lake Loop is a popular spot, so try going early in the morning for some peace and quiet. Personally, I love to first grab a breakfast sandwich from The Breakfast Club and eat it on one of the benches along the Mirror Lake Loop Trail.

15. Learn about local culture at Six Nations Iroquois Cultural Center

Okay, so the Six Nations Indian Museum (Six Nations Iroquois Cultural Center) is actually about 30 miles away in Onchiota, near Saranac Lake. But despite not being in the heart of Lake Placid, it’s well worth the drive.

This is the best place to learn about the history, culture, and traditions of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy (Haudenosaunee), who called the northeast USA home for hundreds of years prior to the Europeans landing.

In fact, you’ll find things here that you won’t see anywhere else, plus mentions of lesser known history that other museums don’t share. Inside, there are over 3000 artifacts from Six Nations (the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora). There are also a bunch of crafts, original artwork, and tools that provide insight into the Iroquois’ way of life.

The small, humble museum is family owned and operated by members of the Mohawk of Akwesasne. They are deeply knowledgeable and often share stories that have been passed down through generations.

They’re open on a varied seasonal schedule so check the opening times before you head over!

16. Visit the Lake Placid Olympic Sites

The Olympic Sites are one of the best things to do in Lake Placid NY in the summer because they’re a big deal! This is because Lake Placid hosted not one – but TWO – Olympic Winter Games, in 1932 and 1980. Today, people come from all over the world to explore these sites, so you’ll obviously want to add it to your list of things to do while you’re in Lake Placid.

The Olympic venues are broken up into 4 sites that are open all year:

  1. Lake Placid Olympic Center in Downtown Lake Placid – The center houses the iconic ice rink, Herb Brooks Arena, where the Miracle on Ice game occurred and numerous figure skating and speed skating medals were awarded. You can ice skate on the Olympic Speed Skating Oval, which is open to the public from December to March. The Olympic Museum inside features interactive exhibits on Olympic history.
  2. Lake Placid Olympic Ski Jumping Complex in North Elba – The main attraction here are the 90- and 120- meter ski jumps. You can’t miss them if if you’re the area because they absolutely tower over the trees and fields around them.
  3. Whiteface Mountain Ski Area in Wilmington – Whiteface Mountain is the site of the Olympic downhill skiing slopes and the greatest vertical drop on the entire east coast. Whiteface is THE place to be in Lake Placid for skiing and snowboarding. There are over 90 trails on Whiteface for all levels, from beginner skiers to Olympic hopefuls.
  4. Olympic Sports Complex on Mt. Van Hoevenberg – Home to the continent’s longest mountain coaster, The Cliffside Coaster, which follows the 1980 Olympic bobsled track. Mt. Van Hoevenberg also has great hiking, mountain biking, the Sky Flyer Zipline, and world-renowned cross-country ski and snowshoe trails.

Guided tours of the Lake Placid Olympic & Paralympic Training Center are free. But if you want to actually partake in activities, consider purchasing the Lake Placid Olympic Sites Passport. The passport is $40 and gives you access to all of the Olympic venues.

17. Check out the ski jumps at the Olympic Jumping Complex

You might be surprised to see ski jumps on a list of summer activities in Lake Placid, but ski jumping is an all-season sport here!

The Olympic Jumping Complex is home to the 90-meter and 120-meter ski jumps used in the 1980 Winter Olympics.  You can’t miss the ski jumps as you’re driving through Lake Placid, as they quite literally tower over the surrounding landscape.

Here, you can watch ski jumping showcases, competitions, and athlete training year round, thanks to upgrades in the ski jumps that now allow for ski training in all four seasons.

You can also take the Skyride Gondola up to the base of the ski jump towers. From there, take the scenic glass elevator to the sky deck of the 128 meter jump for panoramic views of Lake Placid.

If you’re up for a thrill, zipline back down on the Sky Flyer Zipline. It follows the same flight path as the Nordic Ski jumpers as they go down the ski jump and fly the length of a football field – no skis required.

18. Take a day trip to Lake George

Lake George (known as the “Queen of American Lakes”) is about 1.5 hour drive south of Lake Placid. If you have time to spare, it can be a nice way to see another beautiful part of the Adirondack region and there’s a ton to do in/around the town.

Here are a few things you could do on a day trip in Lake George:

  • Take a boat tour: There are many options available, from historic steamboats to smaller, intimate tour boats.
  • Lake George Beach: Also known as Million Dollar Beach, this is a cute spot for swimming, picnics, and volleyball.
  • Hiking: There are multiple trails in the area with varying levels of difficulty, including Prospect Mountain which offers a stunning view of the lake.
  • Visit Fort William Henry: An old colonial fortress where you can learn about the French and Indian War.
  • The Village of Lake George: Find shops, restaurants, and a charming atmosphere. In the evening, you can stroll the walkways and enjoy the vibrant nightlife.
  • Adirondack Winery: A great spot to taste locally made wines.

19. Book a cozy Adirondack cabin

From rustic A-frames to waterfront chalets, there are countless cabins near Lake Placid. They make the perfect home base for your mountain adventures or just a long weekend spent relaxing with friends, loved ones, or even by yourself!

After all, there’s something undoubtedly special (and quintessentially Adirondack) about an off-the-grid adventure. Somewhere tucked away from the hustle and bustle of every day life, unplugged, and with only a connection to nature. And what better place to foster that connection with nature than in a cozy cabin near Lake Placid?

Juniper Hill Cabin, Wilmington NY (@juniperhillcabin)

20. Wine tasting at Highlands Vineyard

This is a perfect way to unwind after a morning spent exploring.  The wines at Highlands Vineyard are crafted from cold hardy grapes, specifically created to withstand the harsh Adirondack winters.

The best way to sample a variety of their cold climate wines is with a tasting flight, that includes six samples and a souvenir wine glass. I also recommend trying their maple syrup wine!

Pack a picnic lunch, sip some local wine and sit back in the Adirondack chairs and enjoy the views of Lake Champlain and the green mountains of Vermont. Stay for live music on Friday nights during the summer.

21. Go fly fishing in the Ausable River

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a first-timer, fly fishing in the Ausable River (pronounced Awe-Say-ble) is a super fun thing to do in Lake Placid!

The Ausable River is home to a variety of fish species that attract fly fisherman from all over the country, including brown trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout.

The best place to go is the West Branch of the Ausable River, especially the stretch around Wilmington. There are also some good fishing holes around the East Branch near Keene Valley.

Want a local guide? Check out The Hungry Trout Fly Shop in Wilmington. Their experienced guides know the river like the back of their hand and they’re wonderful teachers, too.

Important: Before you go, you need a New York State fishing license. And make sure to respect the ‘catch and release’ areas to help maintain the river’s healthy fish population.

22. Hike to Cobble Lookout

Looking for more of a leisurely stroll than a strenuous hike? Then this one’s for you!

Cobble Lookout is one of the best hiking trails in Lake Placid, especially for sunrise or sunset in the summer! The views at the end are so stunning that it’s almost hard to believe how little effort you just put in to get there.

The trail is located in Wilmington Wild Forest, about 20 minute north of Lake Placid town. The hike is 1.3 mile one-way.

We always see a lot of people wearing sneakers and sandals on this hike. While it’s short and easy, the trail is pretty muddy year round. You should definitely wear proper hiking boots and leave the flip flops at home.

23. Walk through Henry’s Woods

Henry’s Woods is a beautiful place for a quick walk in Lake Placid. The property was developed specifically for hiking, running, mountain biking, snowshoeing.

Follow the 0.9 mile Plateau Trail to a nice view of the mountains or head to the Heaven Hill trails to enjoy phenomenal views of the High Peaks from the Orchard Loop.

24. Attend a Lake Placid Horse Show

The Lake Placid Horse Shows are among the most prestigious equine events in the United States. They’re held in Lake Placid for three weeks between June and July every year, making them a must-do summer activity!

The event is internationally renowned and features world-class riders and horses vying for more than $550,000 in prize money and awards in championship Hunter and Jumper competitions.

Anyone can go to watch and children under 12 are free.

25. Visit John Brown Farm State Historic Site

John Brown Farm State Historic Site is the home and final resting place of abolitionist John Brown who played a significant role in the abolition of slavery in the United States.

The site gives you a glimpse of what life was like in the 19th century and shares fascinating information about Brown and his mission to abolish slavery.

26. Hike the Adirondack High Peaks

It doesn’t take long before you see someone sporting a green and yellow “46er” patch in Lake Placid as a testament to completing the 46 High Peak challenge. That’s because Lake Placid is smack dab in the middle of the Adirondack High Peaks, a group of 46 mountains in the Adirondacks that are over 4,000 feet (1,129 meters) tall.

Mount Marcy, New York’s highest point, is a classic choice for an ultra challenging hike. For something a slightly easier (but definitely still difficult), try Cascade Mountain.

You must be well prepared before hiking the Adirondack High Peaks. Pack the 10 essentials, check trail conditions, and remember that there can still be ice near the summit into early summer. Appropriate clothing and footwear is required.

27. Walk through High Falls Gorge

High Falls Gorge is one of the best things to do in Lake Placid NY all year round. It’s an easy, family-friendly hike that takes you past four majestic waterfalls that tumble into an ancient granite crevice.

The hike is only 0.5 miles and there are sturdy bridges, glass floor walkways, and well-maintained paths that lead you through the gorge. High Falls Gorge is one of the easiest hikes in Lake Placid and one of the best spots for waterfall photography.

Visit in the spring to see the waterfalls at their most powerful, in autumn for fall foliage, or in the winter to experience the spectacular ice formations that form in the gorge.

High Falls Gorge is privately owned, so you do have to pay an entrance fee. Entrance fees are subject to change, so click here for most up to date information before you go.

High Falls Gorge is one of the best things to do near Lake Placid in the summer

28. Grab a Brew at Big Slide Brewery

There’s nothing quite like a good craft beer after a long day of hiking, amirite?

If you’re a craft beer lover, Big Slide Brewery is a must-visit in Lake Placid! This trendy spot has the best selection of creative, locally brewed beers in the area. It’s our go-to place every time we’re in Lake Placid. They have a rotating menu of seasonal beers and craft cocktails, so you’re always guaranteed to find something new and interesting.

But it’s not just about the beer. Big Slide Brewery also serves up delicious food, making it a great place for lunch or dinner. Their menu mostly features gourmet pub fare with a twist. Try the pretzel bites – they’re DELICIOUS.

The vibe at Big Slide is really chill, perfect for relaxing after a day of exploring. Dogs are allowed in the outdoor seating area.

Be aware that they don’t take reservations and you might end up with quite a wait time if you show up during dinner hours in peak season. I recommend showing up a little earlier on days you know it’ll be super busy.

29. The Wild Center

The Wild Center in Tupper Lake is an immersive Adirondack adventure park that’s become one of the most popular attractions in the Adirondacks. Getting there from Lake Placid takes about 37 minutes.

At the Wild Center, you’ll find a unique blend of indoor and outdoor exhibits that highlight the region’s natural beauty and ecology. Inside, there’s an array of interactive displays, live animals, and even a planetarium with fascinating shows about the Adirondacks’ night sky.

But the real magic happens outside. You can follow The Wild Walk, which is an elevated boardwalk through the treetops. You can walk across a swinging bridge, climb into a giant spider web, and even take a slide down a giant tree trunk.

There are also walking trails, canoe trips, and guided tours available, which let you immerse yourself in the Adirondack wilderness.

The outdoor portion of the Wild Center is open 7 days a week from 10am to 5pm.

30. Brewster Peninsula Nature Trail

The Brewster Peninsula Nature Trails in Lake Placid are a network of easy, interconnected trails that offer a serene escape into nature while being conveniently located close to the town. This is a great place for hiking/walking, birdwatching, and photography.

Situated along the shores of Lake Placid, the trails cover approximately 2.5 miles and provide a mix of beautiful lake views, lush forest scenery, and opportunities for wildlife sightings. The area is well-maintained and marked, which makes it easy to navigate the trails.

There are 4 trails in the Brewster Peninsula Nature Trail network:

  • The Corridor Trail
  • Boundary Trail
  • Lakeshore Trail
  • Ridge Trail

All of the trails here are less than a mile long and relatively easy to hike. The only one that’s a bit more challenging is the Ridge Trail, which starts at the end of the Corridor Trail and ascends to the top of a long ridge before descending to the Boundary Trail.

31. Learn about native wildlife at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge Center

The Adirondack Wildlife Refuge Center is a non-profit educational center near Lake Placid. Visit in the summer to learn about animals native to the Adirondacks.

The Refuge Center is owned by a local wildlife expert, Steve Hall. Steve and his wife Wendy have rehabilitated hundreds of animals over the years and published several books on the local wildlife and ecology of the Adirondacks.

They used to house injured or orphaned wolves, bear, deer, foxes, and bobcats on site a few years back. However, a change in licensing rules required many of the animals to be relocated to out-of-state rehabilitation centers. Their work for now is mostly as an educational center. But they still care for several large eagle owls, a Saker falcon, a Magpie Jay, and several goats and reptiles that you can see while you’re there.

The Adirondack Wildlife Refuge Center is open to the public Thursday – Monday from 10am-4pm.


And that’s a wrap on my top picks for best things to do in Lake Placid this summer! I can’t wait to hear about your own favorite discoveries in this stunning corner of the Adirondacks. As always, reach out with questions. I love to hear from you!

Did you enjoy this guide to the best things to do in Lake Placid NY in the summer? Let me know in the comments!

More Upstate New York Travel Guides:

Upstate New York hikes: 20 Bucket List Hikes in Upstate New York for Every Skill Level

Adirondack hiking: Short Hikes With Incredible Views in the Adirondacks

NY Wineries: 15+ Hudson Valley Wineries and Vineyards You Need to Visit in NY

Fall in NY: Where to See the Best Fall Foliage in New York


Jackie - Adventure Travel Blogger and Author at The Adventures Atlas
( Adventure Travel Expert )

Hi, I’m Jackie! I’m a travel photographer and content creator based near the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York. I’m also a millennial who works full-time, yet I still find ways to travel frequently without breaking the bank, because traveling is what makes me feel most alive. Now I help fellow travelers who also work 9-5 and are looking for ways to travel more with limited PTO.

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