2 days in NY: Catskills or Adirondacks?

Old May 5th, 2024, 12:03 PM
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2 days in NY: Catskills or Adirondacks?

We are planning a road trip from the DC area to Quebec in August and want to stop for two full days in either the Catskills (Lake George?) or the Adirondacks. We are a family of four, with parents in 50s and adult children in 20s. Average activity level is light-to-moderate, with two being at the upper end of that range and one at the lower end. We'd like to do some hiking or something else outdoors in addition to staying somewhere picturesque and not too remote.

Thoughts? Also interested in opinions on places to stay, if you have them.


Last edited by sbcinmd; May 5th, 2024 at 12:05 PM. Reason: Trying to add NY tag, looks like it didn't work the first time
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Old May 5th, 2024, 01:29 PM
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Adirondack Park. It has more public land than Yellowstone Park, which is the second largest national park in the Lower 48! The park contains the largest protected wilderness area east of the Mississippi including the High Peaks Wilderness Area (34 mountains over 4,000 feet) with many fine hiking trails. There are some wilderness areas in the park which have never seen a footprint or axe. There is lots to do in Lake Placid.
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Old May 5th, 2024, 03:41 PM
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Lake George is in the Adirondacks, not the Catskills. Both areas are beautiful and filled with hiking. If you’re into food, I’d say Catskills/Hudson Valley. There are lots of Culinary Institute of America graduates and the Hudson Valley is really fertile with great produce and products. Lots of NYC folks, too, whatever that means. The Adirondacks are magnificent with unparalleled hiking and a more rustic vibe. This is all my own personal opinion from first hand experience. I can probably recommend restaurants and activities regardless of which you go with, if you’d like.
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Old May 5th, 2024, 06:21 PM
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Lake George is dense with tourists and totally urban, parking is a constant issue, not a choice for hikers.

Other than that you could try Adirondack Loj if you want scenery and hiking.

I donít really know the area well though.
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Old May 6th, 2024, 04:48 AM
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Lake George is 32 mi long and only the village at the southern end is as Tom describes. The rest of the long narrow lake is mostly cabins or large homes, with a few hotels and tiny villages along the west shore.

i frequent LG in the summer for outdoor / water activities as a quick day trip from home so i don’t have recommendations for lodging. Its a great place if you have a lakeside house and a boat. Weprefer smaller lakes for kayaking.

The hiking options near Lake Placid are much more varied and numerous.

One of the challenges with LP is there are a few big summer sport event weekends that take a lot of hotel rooms and drive up prices. LP tri is the biggie. I think thats july 21 this year. LP open water swim is another - mid Aug. weekdays will have more hotel options.

I’d recommend you go to either LP or nearby Saranac Lake. And not Lake George.

Another option is Schroon lake. Were eyeing Schroon Lodge for a getaway this summer. quintessential ADK lodge right on another beautiful lake, and not far from the highway or remote. .

i can come back here in a few days to give more info about the area. Traveling at the moment.

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Old May 6th, 2024, 05:03 AM
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Thanks all! Appreciate the advice (and location correction) on Lake George and alternatives. Now thinking of stopping in Saratoga Springs overnight en route to Adirondacks, where we are looking at Mirror Lake, Lake Placid, and now Saranac Lake and the other suggestions.

Another question: is Ausable Chasm overrated or a must see?
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Old May 6th, 2024, 05:30 AM
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If you are in Saratoga Springs during racing season, be ready to raid your retirement fund to pay for lodging.
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Old May 6th, 2024, 10:37 AM
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I love Saratoga Springs. Walkable downtown area with lots of restaurants. The area of historic homes just north of downtown and near Skidmore College are beautiful. You can check the schedule for the Performing Arts Center.
While Lake George Village is tacky and touristy, I love the area north of that, especially Bolton Landing. You might check out the Sagamore Hotel which is lovely but perhaps too pricey. It has a beautiful setting and different types of rooms/lodging. They have a historic boat that takes you on boat rides and sometimes, not always there is a guide that provides info about all the little islands.
If it is midweek, Lake Placid would be a good option although it is somewhat of a drive from I-87. Not only is it historic, it is beautiful. Weekends do require a two-night minimum.
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Old May 6th, 2024, 08:12 PM
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We love to stay in Lake Placid (Adirondacks) for a few nights. It is very representative of what people think of when they hear the Adirondacks mentioned. Lots of bark in the decor, log cabins, lakes.

Last edited by HappyTrvlr; May 6th, 2024 at 08:15 PM.
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Old May 6th, 2024, 10:39 PM
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If you decide to stop in Saratoga Springs be sure to come back here and post as your trip gets closer. I can help you personalize your stay there.

Mondays and Tuesdays are dark (no racing) days so dinner reservations are easier to come by and hotel prices might be a bit cheaper …. Or not….

with the Belmont Stakes running this year and next at Saratoga in June the town is pulling out the stops to spruce up the town. Trimming trees, repaving roads and fixing sidewalks. With the Belmont comes $$$ signs in peoples eyes - short term rental prices are through the roof, and there may be upward price pressure all thru the summer.

Let me know if you have any Saratoga questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.
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