Lake George is arguably New York’s most famous lake (with Lake Champlain coming in a close second). Lake George encompasses a beautiful area filled with great hiking trails and cute towns. Unfortunately, we only had one day to get out and explore the area as our first day of our Lake George hikes were wrecked by rain. If you only have one day in the area, check out these three things to do in Lake George…
My brother overlooking Lake George, New York
All photos in this article taken by David M Gallo Photography. This page contains affiliate links, meaning that The Five Foot Traveler may receive a small commission when you purchase any flights, rental cars, or accommodations using the links in this article at no extra cost to you. I appreciate your continued support!
Where is Lake George?
Lake George is located in the northeastern area of New York, in the Adirondack Mountains. It’s very easily accessible via flight or car. We included Lake George as part of an eastern United States road trip and I highly recommend it.
If you want to arrive by plane, the Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport (GFL) would provide you with the easiest access to Lake George. Check out the best flights here.
If you’re road tripping to start your Lake George vacation, it’s relatively accessible from anywhere in the Northeast. We drove from New Hampshire’s White Mountains to Lake George, and from Lake George, onwards to Ithaca. Of course, if you don’t own a car or aren’t from the area, be sure to snag a rental car first!
Lake George Campgrounds
You have plenty of options when it comes to Lake George campgrounds! We personally stayed at Ledgeview RV Park, as we were towing a small trailer with us for our road trip. We found the facilities to be clean, and the location was incredibly convenient. With an itinerary full of things to do in Lake George, we didn’t spend much time at Ledgeview, but we slept soundly there.
Lake George Resorts
If, of course, camping isn’t your thing (and you don’t feel like lugging a trailer around like we did), the Lake George resorts are pretty fabulous too! You’ll find many known budget brands in the area — Courtyard Lake George, Best Western Lake George, Hampton Inn Lake George, Holiday Inn Lake George — as well as higher end resorts too. Check out your Lake George resorts options here!
After you check into your accommodation of choice, don’t get too comfortable — tie up those laces and explore the various Lake George hikes in the region.
Here are three of my favorite things to do in Lake George if you’re short on time:
1. Shelving Rock Falls
I didn’t expect much when my brother told me that we were only walking 0.4 miles to a waterfall; however, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Shelving Rock Falls was absolutely lovely! Despite a slight drizzle, it made for a peaceful morning in the woods around Lake George.
Shelving Rock Falls – Lake George Hikes
2. Pilot Knob Trail
At only a 1.2 mile loop, we expected the Pilot Knob Trail to be a stroll in the park. While it’s absolutely an easy trail that anyone could do, it’s a steep trail. Moving at a decent pace, it took us about 30 minutes up to the Gazebo Lookout (via the Orange Trail) and 20 minutes back to the parking lot. This hike is definitely worthwhile, as it offers great views of Lake George below!
Pilot Knob Trail – Lake George Hikes
3. Mount Defiance
Located North of Lake George, you will find Mount Defiance. Pay the entrance fee of $10 per car at the gate, and drive your way up this historically significant mountain. While you can drive up to Mount Defiance, many people choose to park at the bottom and walk up, as there’s only an elevation gain of 502 feet. The road was actually constructed in 1777 by British General Burgoyne’s Army. If you’re not a history buff, Mount Defiance also offers outstanding views of Lake George, Lake Champlain, and even the Green Mountains of Vermont!
Mount Defiance – Things to do in Lake George
Sadly, Lake George was just a quick and easy stop on our East Coast road trip, but I know we will be back sometime to continue discovering the best things to do in Lake George!
Map of Lake George
Now that you have a list of some of the things to do in Lake George when you're short on time, I've pinned them all on a map so that you can better visualize the distances. As always, feel free to leave any questions in the comments below.
Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport (GFL)
Ledgeview RV Park
Shelving Rock Falls
Pilot Knob Trail
Know Before You Go!
Packing for your Lake George Vacation
Now that you have a map of Lake George on hand and have read about my favorite quick things to do in Lake George, make sure you’re prepared! If you’re camping, ensure you have a reliable tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, camping pillow, and a warm coat at absolute minimum, especially if you stay at any of the Lake George campgrounds. All of the gear I linked to, I own and recommend personally. Of course, there are many more things that I recommend packing for your trip though, and I highly recommend that you check out my “137 Travel Essentials” to pack for your Lake George Vacation.
The Best Travel Card
Before you leave for your next trip, I highly recommend opening a free Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account. I know that might sound a bit overwhelming, but don’t worry, you don’t need to be an investor to open an account! This provides you with your own Schwab Bank Visa Platinum Debit Card, which offers a ton of benefits both at home and overseas. I’ve been using a Charles Schwab Debit Card since 2011, and it’s honestly the best free travel card out there because you can withdraw from any ATM around the world, and Charles Schwab will reimburse you any ATM fees! They also don’t charge foreign transaction fees either, which is, of course, important when you travel. It is worth noting there there is no minimum balance requirement and that they offer free online transfers between accounts (so it’s totally fine if you have another credit card, debit card, or bank account with another company). Open your Charles Schwab account today – FOR FREE – by following this link.
Purchase Travel Insurance for your Lake George Vacation
I hope you don’t embark without travel insurance! If you do, you better think again. Travel insurance is arguably the most important thing to have on hand (after your passports and visas) for a trip like this. I’ve had to use my travel insurance multiple times on the road, even though I’m healthy. You never know when something might happen; take comfort in knowing that whether your flight gets cancelled or you wind up sick and in the hospital, you will be covered. I recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance for each and every one of you travelers. You can get a free quote here.