Nestled in the foothills of the Adirondacks and anchored by what is deemed the most beautiful lake in all the Adirondacks, Lake George draws tens of thousands visitors each summer who relish the natural beauty and recreational activities of this wild and wonderful region. And while watersports and hiking are some of the most popular attractions, this time of year is also when the arts and culture scene comes alive with professionally produced plays, art exhibits, and music festivals.
Activities & Attractions
Find Family Whitewater Rafting Options
The 17-mile section of the Hudson River, which runs north to south from North Creek to Warrensburg, just 15 minutes west of Lake George, is rife with Class III to Class V rapids come April through May as a result of the snowmelt plumping the river and its tributaries. But starting in June, the water finally mellows, making the summer months the most ideal time for families looking to hit the less intense Class II, III, and III rapids. Book a two-and-a-half-hour excursion with Wild Water Outdoor Center, offering easy access to the river from Warrensburg, rafts that hold six to eight people, and a riverside lunch.
Visit Broadway in the Mountains
Starting in June, the Adirondack Theatre Festival puts on an eight-week run of professionally produced plays and musicals in The Charles R. Wood Theatre, located 20 miles south of The Sagamore Resort in downtown Glen Falls. This summer, the main stage program includes Loch Ness (a musical), a Robin Hood dinner theater, and Some Lovers written by Grammy, Tony, and Academy Award winners Steven Sater and Burt Bacharach. You’ll also find short-run productions like The Jedi Handbook, as well as films, cabaret nights, concerts, and an evening event that blends cocktails and sleight of hand.
Splash like a Local at a Secret Swimming Hole
When the summer temps start climbing above 70 degrees, you can bet Lake George’s beaches get busy with vacationers looking to cool off. So, to beat the heat (and the crowds), head to the lesser-known swimming holes of Northwest Bay Brook, located right off Route 9 just north of Bolton Landing. Park at the small parking lot for the Clay Meadow Trailhead and make the short trek to the fresh mountain waters, home to great wading pools and two beautiful waterfalls.
Witness All Life Stages of the Butterfly
Up Yonda Farm, an environmental education center on 75 acres in Bolton Landing, may offer a variety of nature programs year-round – including nature walks, changing wildlife exhibits, and woodworking – but the best time to visit, hands down, is starting in late June through September. Why? Because that’s when the signature exhibit truly comes alive: The Butterfly Gardens, an enclosed netted structure home to plants that draws several colorful species of butterflies, including the coveted monarch, all at the same time.
Peruse Some Adirondack Masterpieces before They Move On
On display at The Hyde Collection in Glen Falls for a short window of time (April 8 through July 22), The Prints of Rockwell Kent is a free exhibit that showcases the seldom publicly seen art deco illustrations of the celebrated American painter, printer, and illustrator, who settled in the Adirondacks in 1928. While he illustrated literary classics such as Moby Dick and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, his work was often overshadowed by his outspoken political opinions and possible connection to the disappearance of one of his mistresses.
Soak up Fireworks over Lake George Village
Every Thursday night, starting after the Fourth of July and running through August, Lake George lights up the skies with a fantastic free fireworks display. While the best place to view them from land is right along the water between Shepard Park and Million Dollar Beach, it is often the most crowded, so take to the water on one of the specialty fireworks cruises: the Lake George Steamboat Company, which features live music onboard, or Lake Shoreline, offering a buffet-style dinner as well as two full cash bars.
Festivals & Events
Elvis Festival, 5/30–6/3
Every year, the country’s best Elvis impersonators converge on Lake George for this hilarious week of shows, look-alike contests, and meet and greets.
Americade Motorcycle Rally and Block Party, 6/4–9
The country’s biggest multibrand traveling rally comes to Lake George and includes special dinners and breakfasts, a fashion show, live music, a vintage bike show, stunt shows, a block party, and more.
Adirondack Wine and Food Festival, 6/23 & 24
The Charles R. Wood Festival Common in Lake George becomes the home for some of some of the tastiest eats around for two days in June. The best local wineries, distilleries, and breweries join forces with area food trucks and artisan eateries to create a farmers market–style festival full of good food and good drink accompanied by live music.
Community Band Festival, 7/20 & 21
While you can expect some sort of live music event at Lake George’s Shepard Park almost seven nights a week in July and August, one of the most popular special events is this giant community band concert. Concert bands, brought in from throughout the Northeast and Canada perform music selections together, including jazz, motion picture themes, TV, and Broadway show tunes.
Lake George Music Festival, 8/24–26
This classical music festival spans the month of August and brings some of the most talented young performers to Lake George. Daily shows and activities include lectures, showcases, and meet and greets, as well as symphony, chamber, and pops shows with the occasional wine and chocolate night or “uncorked” event.
Where to Stay The Sagamore Resort