12 Fun Family-Friendly Adirondack Adventures
Bringing the kids along on your next trip to the Adirondacks? That doesn't mean you can't experience the region to its fullest! The Adirondack Park is full of thrilling attractions, stunning natural landmarks, and fascinating educational experiences that will appeal to the entire family. Keep reading for 12 of the best kid-friendly places to visit in the Adirondacks!
Go on an Exhilarating Excursion
An exciting, family-friendly way to experience the Adirondacks is to head up into the treetops at an aerial adventure course. You can't go wrong with Adirondack Adventure Center, which has a selection of zip lines and fun aerial challenge courses. In addition to treetop platforms and rope bridges, there are also inventive obstacles like pogo posts and horizontal tires, as well as a freefall device for the most adventurous visitors.
Not sure what kind of adventure you'd like to have? Then head out to North River to ARO Adventure Center, where they offer family-friendly aerial obstacle courses, thrilling ziplines, and paintball. For additional fun, you can also sign up for rock climbing, canoeing, camping, and hiking excursions to nearby landmarks.
If the weather's hot, beat the heat at Enchanted Forest Water Safari in Old Forge. It's the largest waterpark in the state and boasts tons of thrilling amusement park rides, water slides, and lazy river tubing, as well as a large wave pool. Not the warmest of summer days? That's fine! All of the water at the park is heated.
Experience the Great Outdoors
If you're visiting the Adirondacks in the winter, hit the trails at Gore Mountain. Ten percent of their 110 downhill and 11 cross-country/snowshoe trails are beginner level, which means there's plenty of ground for you to cover as a family. You can also check out The Nordic Center for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on their family-friendly trails. Not visiting in the winter? In the summer and fall, take in the view from the gondolas and go mountain biking, hiking, or ziplining. They also offer a challenge course, climbing wall, bounce course, and bungee trampoline that kids will love.
Why not explore the Adirondacks on horseback? At Circle B Ranch in Chestertown, you can choose your trail and length of the trip that's just right for your family. Their trail guides will also pair you and your kids up with the horses that are best suited for your skill levels, so you can enjoy a scenic ride through the wilderness regardless of your previous riding experience. They also offer pony rides for children.
The Wild Center
Located in Tupper Lake, The Wild Center is a unique way to explore the Adirondacks. Their treetop Wild Walk offers visitors the chance to experience the forest in a new way, from a perspective usually reserved for the birds and animals that call the treetops home. Climb a stairwell inside the trunk of a giant white pine, take in the view from the human-sized nest, and sprawl out on a web suspended high above the forest floor. There's also a down-to-earth play area for kids, as well as a variety of indoor exhibits and daily Animal Encounters, where kids can meet Adirondack wildlife in person.
Embrace Your Inner Explorer
The Adirondacks are full of stunning natural landmarks just waiting to be seen, trekked, and photographed. While parts of the Adirondacks are too remote and wild to explore with the whole family, plenty of natural attractions are kid-friendly. Visit Ausable Chasm, sometimes referred to as the Adirondacks' own Grand Canyon, for amazing views and a thrilling experience. Hike past primeval scenery and unique rock formations, float through the chasm on the Ausable River, and challenge yourselves on the kid-friendly adventure trail.
The four waterfalls of High Falls Gorge are stunning and rugged, and thanks to some safe and accessable pathways and bridges, are now Adirondack landmarks that everyone can enjoy year-round. The hike is only about 45 minutes long and offers spectacular views of the falls. They also have a gemstone mining site that kids will enjoy, as well as a cafe and a spot for picnicking.
Go exploring with the family at Natural Stone Bridge & Caves, which boasts the east coast's most sizeable marble cave entrance. Take a self-guided trail tour past the Stone Bridge, waterfalls, grottos, and surface caves for a beautiful and informational afternoon. There are also tons of fun, kid-friendly activities onsite, like disc golf, a dino dig, bouldering walls, gemstone mining, geode popping, and jewelry making, as well as a snack bar and ice cream shop.
Explore Adirondack Culture & History
Located near the shores of Blue Mountain Lake, Adirondack Experience has tons of exhibits on the history, art, and culture of the region, as well as scenic and historic outbuildings to explore. Kid-specific attractions include the Reising Schoolhouse (a historic one-room schoolhouse with fun activities), the Kids Cabin, and daily scavenger hunts.
While technically just to the north of the Adirondack Park, the North Country Children’s Museum in Potsdam is a great way to get kids excited about the region. The interactive exhibits teach kids about nature, art, and engineering. Some exhibits have a regional spin, such as Adirondack Waterplay, where children can learn about rivers, boats, and hydropower dams. They also often host fun theme days and family art projects.
If you’re exploring the southeastern Adirondacks, Fort Ticonderoga is a can’t-miss attraction for families wanting to learn about local colonial history. The large fort sits overlooking both Lake Champlain and Lake George, and you’ll find costumed historians demonstrating daily life and military drills, galleries full of artifacts, hiking trails, and a gorgeous garden to explore.
Whether you're looking for a thrilling summer adventure, an educational excursion, or some winter fun, there are tons of options in and around the Adirondack Park that will appeal to the whole family. Still searching for more ideas?