Photo: Canoeists passing tree-covered cliff

Thousands of lakes and ponds provide many opportunities for canoeing in the Adirondacks.

Photograph by Phil Nelson, Aurora/Getty Images

The Adirondack Park covers six million acres (2.5 million hectares) in Upstate New York, making it the largest wilderness area east of the Mississippi River. The park includes 3,000 lakes and ponds, 2,000 miles (3,220 kilometers) of hiking trails, and 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) of rivers and streams. Learn about life in the Adirondacks at the Adirondack Museum, where kids can play with old-fashioned toys and make craft projects. Twenty buildings comprise the museum, located on Blue Mountain Lake. Explore the marsh, hike a trail, play in the playground, and visit the Native Species Butterfy House at the Adirondack Park Agency’s Visitor Interpretive Center in Paul Smiths.

Where to Play

Lodges in the Adirondacks offer plenty of activities. Elk Lake Lodge in North Hudson provides access to 40 miles (64 kilometers) of private trails. The beach at the Normandie Beach Club in Westport is the main draw for families. Canoes, kayaks, and sailboats are available, as are waterskiing and windsurfing lessons. Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid runs a children’s program with activities including scavenger hunts, tennis, basketball, kayaking and canoeing lessons, orienteering, and plant identification. Another option for exploring the Adirondacks are boat tours on Lake Placid that go to Pulpit Rock and around the islands. On Raquette Lake, book a family-friendly pizza lunch cruise on Tuesdays aboard the W.W. Durant.

At Day’s End

At Whiteface Lodge, the Sunset Club entertains and feeds the kids, allowing parents a fine dining experience. Afterward, attend a nightly bonfire, complete with s’mores.


The Adirondacks are about 200 miles (320 kilometers) from New York City. To book a cruise on the W. W. Durant, visit

For trip planning information, go to

Based on articles from National Geographic Traveler and compiled by Stephanie Robichaux

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