Any parent knows that traveling with kids is an exercise in logistical planning. Not when you’re on a family vacation to Lake Placid, where the kid activities naturally abound year-round.
While the Lake Placid Lodge may be better known as a couples’ retreat with a lack of TVs, romantic stone fireplaces around every corner, and intimate dining experiences, there’s something undeniably magical about this lodge that speaks to and sparks the imagination of the younger set. Perhaps it’s the way the architecture is framed in birch saplings, as if trees were growing from the floor, and bronze animal statues are posed in such life-like stances, it’s almost like your guest room is a doorway deep in the woods.
But that’s just the beginning. Beyond the lodge, in the town of Lake Placid, there’s a slew of other kid-friendly activities and offerings that make a family vacation effortless and something they’ll never forget.
1.) Playing Monopoly in Maggie’s Pub
This cozy, wood-paneled restaurant has deep armchairs and a crackling fire – perfect for pulling out a classic game of Monopoly and seeing who can acquire the most properties. If a bambino goes bankrupt, Maggie’s (open from noon to 9:30 p.m.) serves a warm ginger cake with lemon ice cream and gingersnap streusel to soothe any sore losers. The shelves are also stocked with puzzles, checkers, and chess.
2.) Riding the Lake Placid Toboggan Chute
After pulling an old-fashioned sled up a 30-foot-high converted ski jump trestle, little ones can tuck their feet for a front-row seat to whiz more than 1,000 feet, skittering across the frozen surface of Mirror Lake in the heart of Lake Placid. The Lake Placid Toboggan Chute is open from noon to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 3 p.m. on Sundays in the winter; prices (children $5, adults $10) include the toboggan rental.
3.) Visiting the Imagination Station
Mad Libs, kites, and koala puppets, oh my! This toy and game store on Main Street treats kids of all ages to hundreds of hand-picked selections for fostering creativity and family fun.
4.) Cruising around Lake Placid
Kids love playing captain during an afternoon hourly tour on Christie, the lodge’s 36-foot mahogany Hacker-Craft. You’ll putter through the Shelter Straight between Moose and Buck islands (two of the three lake islands), while the driver expounds upon area-related fun facts, like how 12 streams drain in and out of the lake, completely changing out the entire body of water in three days’ time.
5.) Ice-Skating the Olympic Oval
Kids with visions of gold, silver, and bronze Olympic medals will be dazzled by taking a twirl on the Speed Skating Oval, one of the last outdoor rinks of its kind in the country that was host to the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Winter Games. The skating is just $4 for juniors, with skate rentals at $6; open from 7 to 9 p.m. on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and from 1 to 3 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
6.) Doing the Wild Walk at Tupper Lake’s Wild Center
It’s time to take a walk on the wild side – particularly, the Wild Walk that follows a trail across the treetops some 30 feet off the ground that mimics Manhattan’s High Line in the way it changes visitors’ perspectives on their surroundings. The elevating experience, open only in warm-weather months, includes a four-story twig tree house, a full-sized bald eagle’s nest, a spider’s web, and swinging bridges.
7.) Tucking into Homemade Goodies
From gooey macaroni and cheese and kids’ pasta with a rich bolognese sauce to classic chocolate chip cookies at turndown service, Lake Placid Lodge caters to the youngest set every hour of the day. Make-your-own s’mores are also available every night around the bonfire on the edge of the lake year-round (no matter how deep the snow may get).
Where to Stay Lake Placid Lodge