Looking for a week itinerary for the Adirondacks? Then read on for all the details on what to do and where to go.
I visited the Adirondacks for a week, and had a wonderful time visiting the breweries, the park areas, the castles and going fly fishing. There are so many things to do in the Adirondacks – it’s totally underrated in the USA, and it’s hard to find anyone who’s even heard of it in England.
I have though, so let me show you my brilliant itinerary for 7 days in the Adirondacks.
Week in the Adirondacks itinerary
– Mojitos on International Pirate’s Day at Tin Pan Galley, had to be done
I’ve taken the best of what I saw in the Adirondacks, rearranged it and added a few suggestions along the way. I can’t personally vouch for some of the hotels (only Hotel North Woods in fact) as I stayed at Comfort Inns and Best Westerns as I was in such a big group, but I thought it would be good to give you a choice of somewhere a little more locally run. I’ve double checked with the reviewers on Trip Advisor and they seem legit.
I’ve optimised my week-long Adirondacks itinerary so you can drink at all the breweries and wineries I visited, without needing to drive after.
Also, there’s only a few hours drive every day so if you really want to, you could stay two nights at some of the places instead of picking up and packing off every day, or you could miss a day out and fit the weeklong itinerary into a shorter time too.
Make it your own!
Day 1: Long Lake, Wild Center and Raquette
– One of the planes you could go in, I want to keep it
Long Lake is your first stop on your week-long Adirondacks itinerary. Put ‘Adirondacks Hotel’ into your GPS – I stayed here and despite the locals telling us it was haunted had a great sleep. Perhaps it was the soothing tones from local professional story telling entrepreneur Bill Smith?
If you need a night’s accommodation before this Adirondacks itinerary starts, I’d recommend the place.
The reason you’re starting at Long Lake is to take a flight on a small plane over Long Lake and the surrounds at Helms Aero Service. You’ll need to get in touch in advance to book, and the flights start from $90 per 20 minutes. If you go will you get me a tshirt? They were awesome but the booth wasn’t open.
You can also take a boat ride here round the lake from Long Lake Marina. I did, in the pouring rain, and lasted about 5 minutes before I had to demand to be taken back to land. On a sunny day though – stunning I can imagine.
– Never thought I’d say, mmm salad, but I did
Time to leave. Sad, but you’re surely ready for lunch?
Head for Well Dressed Food near Tupper Lake.
They’ve got all sorts of salads, smoothies and sandwiches, and a well stocked shop for goodies for the road trip too. Relax, have a coffee. You’re going to need your energy for the next stop.
– The super cool Wild Walk at the Wild Center
The Tupper Lake Wild Center! This was definitely one of my highlights from my trip to the Adirondacks. The (mostly) outdoors museum aims to bring the experience and education they preach to reality, so you can full immerse yourself in the centre and experience the lessons and teachings first hand. I loved it, even though I’m not that into history, or nature, or museums, or being told things.
The main aim of the Wild Center is to connect people with their surroundings, and how they can benefit them rather than destruct. The creators want to ignite a passion for the world and to encourage visitors to explore their own back yard, whether that’s in the Adirondacks or at home.
Their motto is to ‘leave no child inside’. I love this. Evidentially their Pines Nature Play Area may look like a pile of wood to some, but the whole point is to get kids to explore what their mind is capable of. Pretty much the basis of all the work done here. You can see what I chose to do…
I was there for three hours, but definitely could’ve spent a lot longer when I was visiting the Adirondacks.
No rush but when you’re ready take a quick drive over to the Faust Motel. Now I didn’t stay here, but the cabins look awesome, and just so olde American. A bit like a playhouse in fact.
The main reason I choose the Faust Motel is the proximity to Raquette River Brewing just up the road, walking. A flight (only just learnt that word, and I like it) of beers is only $5 and you get to try five. Flavours included such delights as Strawberry and Cilantro and Orange and Coriander.
I didn’t get to eat here but the pulled pork sandwiches coming out from the food truck parked outside looked incredible. The perfect dinner to complement all those beers.
Stumble back the 0.1 miles and that’s day one in the Adirondacks, over!
Driving total: 39 mins + getting from NYC
- From Long Lake: 25 mins / 21.6 miles
- Well Dressed Foods: 5 mins / 1.8 miles
- Wild Center: 10 mins / 3.8 miles
- Faust Hotel: 1 min / 0.1 miles
- Raquette Brewing
Day 2: Thousand Islands and Boldt Castle
Off to the border today – to the Thousand Islands Park. Yep, the place where Thousand Island Dressing was invented, so they say. There are a few rumours flying about as to how and who exactly invented the sauce, but I’ll leave it up to you to make your mind up regarding the truth.
– Travel blogger of many talents… driving a boat wasn’t one
Look up Holly from Boomerang Kayak & Bike Rental and she can provide you with bikes, kayaks, scones and cookies to keep you busy for the morning in the stunning Thousand Islands Park area. She might even take you for a ride in her speedboat above.
I loved the nature and the lake sure, but it was the houses I was fascinated by on this stop on our Adirondacks itinerary.
Go for lunch at the Wellesley Hotel and opt for the speciality fish and chips with a local brew beer. The ice cream truck over the road serves ridiculously sized portions if you fancy a little something something after you’ve eaten. I can personally vouch for the cookie flavour – complete with real chunks of cookie dough. Ar yes.
– Who lives in a house like this? Someone rich, obvs
Time to go. Next stop on your Adirondacks itinerary coming up.
You’re heading to Uncle Sam’s Boat Tours for a trip round the actual Thousand Islands. Exciting hey?
I didn’t know what to expect, knowing nothing about the area, but it was like a tour of star’s homes. Loads of America’s rich had uniquely amazing houses on islands all of their own. This trip takes you into Canada for a few minutes – no need to bring your passport though – you can even see a bridge marking the shortest point between the two countries.
– One of the rooms in Boldt Castle
Stop off at Boldt Castle and catch the next boat back. This castle was built by George C. Boldt, millionaire proprietor of the world famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, for his wife. Sadly she died before completion. Old George was devastated and all work stopped. It took 73 years but in the end he handed it over to the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority with a few stipulations:
- No one must spend a night there.
- No one must profit from it, it’s for the people.
– Sure was windy on Uncle Sams on the way back!
Tonight’s accommodation is the Ontario Place Hotel, chosen for the walking distance from the Tin Pan Galley. This is my favourite restaurant of the whole trip so wear something nice, yeah? And go for the scallops, and the mojitos, and the tuna for starters.
Driving time: 3 hours
- From Faust Motel: 2hr 5 /105 miles
- Thousand Island Park: 18 mins / 9.4 miles
- Uncle Sam Boat Tours: 42 mins / 38.8 miles
- Ontario Place Hotel: 1 min / 351ft
- Tin Pan Galley
Apartments in the Adirondacks
If you’d rather book an apartment in the Adirondacks, for social distancing and just so you have your own space, take a look at these beauties on that link. There are loads of apartments in the Adirondacks, for all budgets.
Get yourself a wood cabin!
Day 3: Explore Thousand Islands
– Just one of the 1000 Islands, in 1000 islands
This is your chance to explore the Thousand Islands area – something I didn’t have time to do. There are museums, diving, fishing, restaurants, bars and wineries to work your way around. Go free, explore!
Driving time: up to you
Day 4: Lake Placid and flyfishing
I’m going to assume you stayed another night at the Ontario Place Hotel and work it out from there. You’ve got your longest drive this morning, to Hotel North Woods.
I loved this hotel.
It’s right on the main strip in Lake Placid and has an awesome bar and restaurant downstairs and beautiful modern rooms upstairs. Recently updated and renovated it’s filling that gap between old hotel, new hotel and character, and does it well.
After you’ve settled in it’s time for flyfishing at the Hungry Trout Resort.
– Me, not a clue what I’m doing, aaaand my straps are twisted
Fishing is one of the top past times of people who live in the Adirondacks – along with skiing, canoeing and hiking.
If you haven’t done it before, like me, some time with Matt at the Hungry Trout is the perfect chance to learn. Unfortunately I ended up doing it in a bikini, for reasons outlined in this post, and still didn’t manage to catch anything.
It was really fun afternoon though, and one of the other people in my group felt a slight fishy pull on their line, so that kind of means I caught one.
First Ever Bikini Flyfishers at the Hungry Trout Resort
Drive back and after a shower you can spend the afternoon chilling in Lake Placid. There are shops and bars for you to enjoy and I have it on good authority that you need to try at least a few donuts from the many bakeries here. Walk the 2.5miles round Mirror Lake to burn them off and buy a badge for your car to congratulate yourself for doing so.
– View from my room at Hotel North Woods
Depending on what time of year you’re visiting keep an eye on the Songs at Mirror Lake Concert Series line up. Unfortunately my trip was called off by the torrential rain, and the fact I was running late, but they had some pretty cool artistes on the line up. This could make a really cool addition to your Adirondacks itinerary.
For dinner I went to the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery where they had a good list of beers just waiting for you to try. I also had the Summer Noodles – zucchini made into noodles with some chicken –interesting take.
It’s an easy five-minute walk back to Hotel North Woods. Just opposite there’s a club called Roomers – I never quite made it but do let me know how you get on if you do!
Driving time: 3 hrs 20
- From Ontario Place Hotel: 2 hrs 40 / 138 miles
- Hotel North Woods: 17 mins / 10 miles
- Hungry Trout: 17 mins / 10 miles
- Back to Hotel North Woods: 3 mins / 0.4 miles
- Lake Placid Pub and Brewery
Day 5: canoeing, hiking, exploring
There’s no doubt about it, you have to go for breakfast downstairs at the Cabine Grille in Hotel North Woods. I went for a Bloody Mary and a skillet – both house specials, and both highly recommended by me.
– Mmmm, house skillet special
Then it’s time to burn it all off so you’re ready for your next feed. Book yourself in for a canoe session at the Adirondack Lakes and Trails Outfitters.
Craig from stayadventurous.com and I canoed for 90 minutes and 8 miles through storms (or just a bit of rain, depending how you look at it) and danger zones (every time we liked to sing ‘Pad-dle through the danger zone, to the tune of ‘Highway to the Danger Zone’). Good job some random guys we met at the end passed over some beers.
The scenery was stunning though, and of course, I loved snooping at the lakefront houses along the way.
– That’s it Craig, you carry on while I take selfies, good lad
Head back to Lake Placid and take your pick from the range of restaurants and delis for some lunch overlooking Lake Placid.
If you have any energy left go for it with all the mountain trails, usefully divided up into 1-2 hours, 2-4 hours, 4-8 and 8+ on the Lake Placid website here. You could even make a start on the 46er High Peaks challenge, if you prefer. Or you could just do the one-mile route up Mount Arab, like I did.
– Stunning view from the top of Mount Arab
If not, there’s the Olympic skiing complex to explore, cycling, stand up paddle boarding on the Mirror Lake or birding and boating too. Alternatively you could just sit and relax and check out another bar / shop / restaurant, as you see fit.
Driving time: 30 mins
- From Hotel North Woods: 13 mins / 7.9 miles
- Adirondack Lakes and Trails Outfitters: 13 mins / 7.9 miles
- Back to Hotel North Woods
- Explore Lake Placid / Mirror Lake
Day 6: Fort Ticonderoga, Adirondacks Museum and Paradox Brewery
I’d probably go for breakfast at the Cabin Grille again, just so I could try something else, but if you’ve seen somewhere more intriguing around the Lake, go for it.
Big day ahead.
– Genuinely fascinating lesson in firing a Musket gun at Ticonderoga
Today’s the day for history lovers, with a difficult decision between Fort Ticonderoga, or the Adirondack Museum to face. Both are equal distance away.
- Fort Ticonderoga is one big reenactment of the American Revolution – they choose a different year to emulate, every year. There are gun shows, gardens and the whole fort to look around.
- The Adirondack Museum has 100s of exhibits dedicated to preserving the memory and history of the Adirondacks for years to come. Up to you (you could probably fit in both if you really wanted, or do one the day before?).
– Olde summer houses on the lake at the Adirondacks Museum
In the afternoon you need to head in the direction of Schroon Lake for Tumble Inn and the Paradox Brewery. A micro brewery serving small batch brews of IPAs, ales, Kolsch and Altbier with names like Beaver Bite, Beaver Overbite and the new Beaver Underbite. They also serve amazing pretzels.
Check into Tumble Inn – a great looking B&B that makes me want to go to sleep right now the rooms look so cosy. The Sticks and Stones Wood Fired Bistro and Bar is just a 14-minute walk up the road, you’ll need the walk after you’ve made it through this menu. It’s something else…
– Chocolate, ice cream, graham crackers and pretzels, arrr yes
Go for the Malbec for wine, the pretzel starter, and the smores pretzel dessert. Don’t get too over excited at the menu options, like I did and get too much – I was absolutely stuffed when I left here.
Driving time: 2-3 hours (depending)
- From Hotel North Woods: 1 hr 26 / 66.5 miles // 1hr 17 / 61.2 miles
- Fort Ticonderoga / Adirondack Museum: 35 mins / 23.6 miles // 1 hr 3 / 50.6 miles
- Tumble Inn: 4 mins / 3.5 miles
- Paradox Brewery: 3 mins / 2.7 miles
- Sticks and Stones Wood Fired Bistro and Bar: 14 mins walk / 0.8 miles
- Tumble Inn
Day 7: Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks wine trail
Get up, when you’re ready, and head to the Point au Roche State Park round Lake Champlain. Now’s the time to cycle, to hike, to lay on the beach or get in the water. Relax. I’d recommend the cake pops at My Cup of Tea for lunch, along with a sandwich or wrap of course (or maybe just cake pops).
After lunch it’s time to finish off your week in the Adirondacks and Thousand Islands in style with a trip on the winery and brewery trail of Plattsburgh. The Amazing Grace Vineyard and Winery, the Vesco Ridge Vineyard and ELFS Farm Winery and Adirondack Cider Co are all on the agenda.
– We tried over 50 wines and beers in a day, yikes
Up to you whether you book into your hotel first and work your way backwards. I’d recommend the Rip Van Winkle Motel, just a 30-minute walk from your final stop at Elfs, or the Beacon Motel (no website) is just two minutes up the road. I can’t vouch for either but at least they’re nearby so you won’t have to drive, and they both look to have ‘character’.
Elfs is awesome – buy a tshirt here too. I regret my stinginess. And also, I got six cans of their flagship cider for $12 to take home. Bargain!
Driving time: 1 hr 47
- From Tumble Inn: 1 hr 10 / 77.6 miles
- Point au Roche State Park: 13 mins / 10.7 miles
- Amazing Grace Vineyard and Winery: 9 mins / 6 miles
- Vesco Ridge Vineyard: 6 mins / 5.4 miles
- ELFS Farm Winery and Adirondack Cider Co: 1 min / 407 ft
- Rip Van Winkle Motel
Day 8: Montreal time!
Get up when you like, after all that ‘research’ and drive the 60 miles / Google-estimated 1 hour, up to Montreal.
How good of a week does that sound?!
– Clear roads Montreal bound!
Just so you know, I flew into and out of Montreal courtesy of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism in the area, but I’m giving you a better option based on the advice of people in the know, and what I’ve found out while I’ve been around.
About the Adirondacks
The Adirondack Park is a SIX million acre park up in the north of the state of New York, a 5-hour drive from the Big Apple. The park covers more land than Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon combined.
What are the Adirondacks like?
– View out to Long Lake
Driving around the Adirondacks the landscape of lush forest and fields is permeated by wooden houses, Amish horse and carts and bustling towns filled with traditional, unique buildings and signs. Rugged mountains give into lakes and lakes give into rolling farmlands. In winter this ‘Almost Canada’ as some people call it – ‘New York’ is too emotive of the city – the snow-covered landscape means you wouldn’t know where one country ends and the other begins.
– BBQ’s at Long Lake
After spending the last few months in the cities of Europe it felt like I’d travelled back in time as I drove past roadside stalls selling jam made by the Amish, huts with honesty boxes for wood, others for sweetcorn, but then a few miles on and there was Walmart (I bought some Yankees flip flops), Applebees and Starbucks. In between there were motels that looked straight from the movies, farmer’s markets (one stall had over 30 varieties of peanut butter) and fancy deli shops selling all the gluten free, vegan, raw food produce you could ask for.
– View from the hike up Mount Arab
There are more than 100 towns and villages in the ‘Adirondacks’, including Lake Placid, Tupper Lake, Long Lake and Saranac to name a few. Within the Adirondacks there are more than 2,800 lakes and ponds, over 30,000 miles of streams and rivers and 42 mountain peaks greater than 4000 feet in elevation. It’s an exciting, activity-fuelled wilderness.
Hiking, fishing, skiing and canoeing
– Hiking round Lake Champlain
If you live in the Adirondacks chances are you’ll enjoy at least half of the above, or your social life will be pretty limited. Life in the Adirondacks is an active one, within a few miles radius of wherever you are you’ll find the terrain for all four. Cars on the roads had all kinds of equipment strapped to the top and back and the well routed cycle paths were tempting for this amateur cyclist. I’d imagine it would be difficult to be stationary if you lived here, with so much to do on your doorstep.
– View out to Lake Champlain
The untouched wilderness and verdant meadows of the Adirondacks have created the perfect landscape for hiking. There are trails for everyone of all abilities, starting from 1 mile upwards. There’s even a 46 Peaks challenge where if you complete all 46 of the highest peaks you can become a locally renowned ’46er’ and revel in the glory.
The Ausable River has some of the best trophy trout fishing in the world – although the group I was in didn’t actually manage to catch a thing. And canoeing has been popular in the area since before time began, or thereabouts. Being August I didn’t manage to try the ski, but from the photos and stories the Adirondacks look like a perfect place to get some powder once the winter sets in.
Micro Breweries and Wineries
– At the Raquette Micro Brewery
The Adirondacks also has a burgeoning winery and brewery scene, which of course I appreciated. There are so many entrepreneurs setting up outlets for their creativity. I managed to fit in 3 microbreweries and 2 wineries, all of which will be recommended and reviewed over the next few weeks, but I spotted plenty more as I went around. Just another reason to go back.
– Craig from stayadventurous.com skimming stones at Lake Champlain
The weather in the Adirondacks is pretty ‘haphazard’. One minute you’re looking at a bright sunny day, and the next the sky’s gone grey and it’s chucking it down, 15 minutes later and it could all change again. If I was a sensitive soul, and believed I could have the power over such things, I’d say that every time I got in a boat, the rain began.
On the bright side this has led to a lush, green landscape characterised by a lot of wood. As our driver said:
‘The Adirondacks has its issues, but wood ain’t one’.
Why the Adirondacks?
I feel like the Adirondacks are an undiscovered beauty for the rest of the world, at least the UK anyway. I don’t know anyone who’s been before. A holiday do the Adirondacks would be great in itself, but with New York City so close and Montreal just over the border – there’s no reason why you can’t combine the three into one awesome two-week trip.
I was a guest of ROOST ADK in the Adirondacks. All thoughts, feelings and pics my own.