Roadside America

Lake George, New York

Lake George, in east-central New York, is a wonderful place to get away. Here you can experience boat rides, swimming, parasailing, history, hiking, drinking, dining, arcades, mini golf, and so much more. In the spring through fall, visitors flock to this area, and it isn’t hard to see why. I’ve spent two weekends there, and still feel like I’ve only scratched the surface. It reminds me of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, or Wisconsin Dells, which is where my family vacationed when I was a kid.


Fall is a good time to visit because the leaves change color, but things start shutting down for the season. I happened to be there Oktoberfest weekend, and the main street was partially blocked off. They had rides for the kids and a beer tent. I did a wine tasting at Adirondack Winery and ended up with a bottle of their Amethyst Sunset (I like sweet reds).


There are so many little tourist shops, ice cream parlors, and places to eat. Exiting off Interstate 87 onto Route 9, you can follow Route 9 into town or explore south for a few miles. There are things to do all along that main street. Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, Magic Forest, outlet stores, and Six Flags Great Escape are all south of Lake George. Magic Forest has the world’s largest Uncle Sam statue (not sure if that’s actually true…).

Most of the tourists shops, arcades, and restaurants are located along Route 9 in the town of Lake George, but there is a strip along Beach Road (pictured above) within walking distance of Fort William Henry, the Lake George Steamboat Company, and the beach.


In terms of outdoor activities, there’s Lake George Beach State Park, Lake George Battleground State Campground, and Prospect Mountain. If you’re like me and don’t mind doing stuff inside, you can’t miss Dr. Morbid’s Haunted House and Frankenstein Wax Museum. The haunted house tour is guided from start to finish, with only a few moments to look around on your own. The wax museum is a self guided tour featuring various scenes involving classic monsters, torture, and executions. They are located about a block apart.


No visit to Lake George is complete without a tour of the lake. Lake George Steamboat Company offers several different types of tours of varying length, even one featuring an Elvis impersonator. My friends and I took an hour tour on the Minne-Ha-Ha, one of the last steam paddle wheelers in America, and had a great time. A lot of folks were watching Elvis, but I don’t know how you can miss sitting out on the top deck, drinking a mai tai and watching the view pass by.


If you love history like I do, you’ll want to visit Fort William Henry, at the southern tip of Lake George. It’s a faithful recreation of the original, which was burnt by the French in 1757. French General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm arranged for the British forces to leave, but American Indians under his command were angry at being denied war spoils and massacred several hundred retreating British. These events formed the backdrop for James Fenimore Cooper’s novel The Last of the Mohicans (1826).


With so much history and so many things to see and do, you’ll never get bored. There are dozens of motels and cabins lining the lake. I’m looking forward to my next visit this summer!

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