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12 Things You Can Do in the Adirondacks That You Can't Do in Most Places

When you visit an area, you want to experience the best it has to offer. When it comes to the Adirondacks, you may find you have a tough time choosing your activities because there are so many incredible and unique things to see and do here. We've narrowed the options down to 12 that you should definitely try next time you're inside the Blue Line.

1) Climb a Historic Fire Tower

split image of fire tower and view from fire tower

The Adirondack Park was initially home to nearly 60 fire towers, built in the early 1900s as a means of spotting fires throughout the region. As aircraft grew in popularity, though, many of the towers and their accompanying cabins fell into disrepair and were torn down. Only about two dozen of these unique historic relics are still standing throughout the Park today, and some are open to the public!

2) Tour Old Lighthouses


Normally, you have to visit a coastal town in order to see lighthouses, but the Adirondacks is home to many of these. While you're in the region, check out the Split Rock Lighthouse in Essex, NY and the Crown Point Lighthouse on Lake Champlain (pictured above).

3) Go on a Guided Horseback Riding Tour

two people riding horses

Horseback riding is a relatively popular attraction, but have you ever ridden a horse through a winding trail in the Adirondacks? There are a number of different ranches that can take you on guided tours of the Lake George region and Adirondacks.

Pictured above is a photo from Circle B Ranch in Chestertown, who not only offer guided horseback riding tours and horseback riding lessons, but also hayrides and sleigh rides.

4) Take a Scenic Airplane Flight

view from airplane window

What could be better than experiencing the beauty of the Adirondacks from above? Check out Adirondack Aviation Academy in Saranac Lake! They not only offer flight instruction and pilot certifications, but scenic flights as well. This bucket-list activity is appropriate for all ages, and tours take place year-round.

Bonus Suggestion - Seaplanes: Seaplanes can land on many of the lakes in the region. Contact groups like the Long Lake Tourism Association or a seaplane-friendly lodging destination, like the Big Moose Inn on Eagle Bay, to arrange a seaplane ride.

5) Explore a Remarkable Cave

split image of the caves with summer on the left and winter on the right

Natural Stone Bridge and Caves is one of the coolest Adirondack destinations all year round! They have self-guided tours, snowshoe hikes, and hands-on activities for all ages. This is the largest marble cave entrance in the Eastern US, and it continues to be carved by the Trout Brook.

6) Jump Off a Cliff

cliff jump

There are tons of great locations on Lake George where you can jump off a cliff...and land in the water, of course! Check out Calves PenWest Dollar Island, and Burgess Island to start.

Note: Cliff jumping is dangerous and only you know your physical abilities and limitations. You jump at your own risk. Providing this information does not mean we condone or promote this activity.

7) Float Through A Chasm

split image of people rafting and people walking over bridge over water

Ausable Chasm is a breathtaking destination in and of itself, but imagine floating through the Chasm in a guided raft or drifting through in an innertube! Both scenic float tours and tube rides (for the more adventurous members of your group) are available.

8) Embark on a Hot Air Balloon Ride

two hot air balloons in the sky

The Adirondack Balloon Festival is one of the most popular annual events in the region, but you can get your balloon fix in another way. Check out regional hot air balloon companies that offer incredible flights with experienced pilots.

9) Visit the Site of an Olympic Miracle

ice skating rink

Lake Placid became home to the "Miracle on Ice" in 1980 when the US National Hockey Team defeated the heavily favored Soviet Union en route to winning the gold medal. While you're in town, be sure to check out other Olympic venues too - find Lake Placid Olympic Sites on Facebook for their hours and current information.

10) Marvel at a Picturesque Waterfall


The Adirondack Park is full of waterfalls that are definitely worth visiting! The falls vary from small to large and from easily accessible to more challenging - please do adequate research before heading out and make sure you're hiking within your abilities, as some waterfalls are tough to access. Pictured above is Shelving Rock Falls in Fort Ann, which is considered one of the easier hikes.

11) Enjoy a Dog Sled Ride

two sled dogs

Dog sledding is an incredibly fun and unique activity that you have to try while you're in the Adirondacks. There are a few local companies, like Thunder Mountain Dog Sled Tours, that would love to take you for a ride! Some even offer rides on wheeled sleds in the warmer months.

12) Get a Million-Dollar View

winter photo of tree on mountain

While you can certainly hike in other areas, we'd be remiss not to list this activity since it's quintessentially Adirondack. Plan for a spectacular hike, and note that many of the summits offer stunning views year-round, from lush evergreen trees in the summer to fall foliage in the autumn to breathtaking snowy landscapes in the winter. Always hike within your limits and make sure you are fully prepared before hitting the trail.

Bring your camera or smartphone and enjoy all the remarkable sights and activities in the ADK!

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