Four great side trips around Lake George to add to your summer stay

Find natural and artistic delights in surrounding hamlets and towns
The Sembrich in Bolton Landing.
The Sembrich in Bolton Landing.

If Lake George is the Queen of American Lakes, she surely has a stately court of charming hamlets and towns surrounding her.

While there is plenty to do at the lake, not far away there are even more natural and artistic delights that make interesting and fun side trips.

Bolton Landing

In addition to its lakefront parks and a business district with shopping and dining, Bolton Landing has its share of interesting venues. The town, located on the west side of Lake George, offers visitors a well-rounded opportunity to indulge in history, adventure sports, nature education and the arts.

Bolton Landing

  • Adirondack Extreme Adventure Course: 35 Westwood Forest Ln., 518-494-7200,
  • Bolton Historical Museum: 4924 Lake Shore Dr., 518-644-9960,
  • Lake George Land Conservancy, Inc.: 4905 Lake Shore Dr., 518-644-9673,
  • Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum: 4800 Lake Shore Dr., 518-644-2431,
  • Up Yonda Farm Environmental Education Center: 5239 Lake Shore Dr., 518-644-9767,

The Bolton Historical Museum, housed in a former church built in 1890, features artifacts from the area that speak to the history of the town and Lake George. This summer’s special exhibition is “Landscapes Lost & Found: Two Centuries of Art from Bolton Landing.” This exhibit features the works of artists from the Hudson River School, through the twentieth-century modernists and onto prominent artists of the 21st century.

Famed Metropolitan Opera star Marcella Sembrich of Poland had a summer retreat and teaching studio in Bolton Landing.

Today, the Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum, which Bolton Chamber executive director Elaine Chiovarou-Brown describes as “a great little gem on the lake,” features some of Sembrich’s costumes, opera sets and photographs, along with a full schedule of concerts. 

The Lake George Land Conservancy offers 14 parks and preserves with hiking trails that are open to the public. In addition, this not-for-profit organization offers a full summer of “Walks & Talks,” events where attendees can learn about the culture, wildlife and history of the area.

Also supporting environmental education is Up Yonda Farm, a kid-friendly venue with a cornucopia of exhibits and spaces to explore. The center features a live butterfly exhibit and observation beehive, a sensory garden that includes a fairy garden, and a natural history museum. Visitors can also enjoy story walks and naturalist programs, as well as the center’s pond and picnic area.

To whet an adventurous appetite, Bolton Landing is also the home to the Adirondack Extreme Adventure Course where visitors take to the treetops in a choice of seven different aerial courses.

“Bolton Landing is a family-friendly, charming, elegant little town,” Chiovarou-Brown said.

Schroon Lake

“We are close to Lake George, and it’s a very different experience from Lake George,” said Schroon Lake Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Susan Palisano.

“We have a typical Adirondack waterfront beach town park and a launch with docks that are still free,” she said.

Schroon Lake


Just 35 minutes north of Lake George on I-87, this community offers a plethora of cultural and recreational opportunities and activities.

The Seagle Music Colony has been a training ground for up and coming opera and musical theater performers for over a century, making it the oldest summer vocal training program in the United States. All summer long, visitors can take in operas, musicals and concerts at the Oscar Seagle Memorial Theatre.

For a bit of nostalgia, visitors can take in a movie at the Strand Theatre, an art deco movie theater and performance venue that has been operating for 70 decades.

Visitors can sample beer brewed with pure Adirondack water at the Paradox Brewery, a microbrewery that produces craft beers.

Weekdays during the summer boast a variety of activities. The Schroon Lake Arts Council sponsors invites musicians to weekly JAM sessions on Monday evenings and visitors to concerts on Tuesday evenings at the Boathouse Theater. The organization also sponsors the Adirondack Music Folk Festival, which celebrates its 30th year this year, in the town park on August 11. In its second year is “Porchfest,” where people can stroll from porch to porch listening to local musicians perform.

Schroon Lake.Schroon Lake.

The chamber of commerce has partnered with the Adirondack Mountain & Stream Guide Service this summer to offer a guided paddling tour on Tuesday mornings. Participants will receive basic instruction, be loaned the use of equipment, and paddle with a guide up Schroon River.

Wednesday evenings, the chamber hosts grant-funded Summer Square Dancing in the park. On Thursdays, there are historic boat cruises. 


Just 15 minutes from Lake George is the town of Warrensburg, which offers some great recreational opportunities.

For those who like to hike, Hackensack Mountain Park and Recreation Trails is in the center of Warrensburg. There are three different trails covering 4.4 forested miles where visitors can hike and mountain bike in the summer. At the summit, there are views of the Three Sisters and where the Hudson and Schroon Rivers meet. Dogs on leashes are welcome.

More: Your guide to summer on Lake George

The Grandmother’s Tree Nature Trail is located in the Pack Demonstration Forest operated by the SUNY College of Environmental Science of Forestry. Legend goes that the landowners were going to cut down the white pine to raise money to buy Margaret Woodward a set of dishes. She told them to keep the tree instead, and now at 315 years old, it stands 175 feet tall.

A self-guided one-mile nature trail is wheelchair accessible. The forest also offers many other trails for hiking and mountain biking as well as canoeing and kayaking on an 85-acre lake.


  • Hackensack Mountain Park and Recreation Trails: There are two trailheads, one on Hackensack Ave and one on Prospect St. For the Prospect St trailhead, take the Northway to Exit 23. Turn left and then right onto US9. Continue 0.7 miles and turn right on Horicon Ave. Follow hiking signs and turn left on Pratt St, right on Terrace, and left on Prospect. The trailhead and parking area are on the right. The Hackensack Ave trailhead is a right-hand turn 1.4 miles after the turn onto Route 9, and the trailhead is on the right. Parking is on the street at the intersection of Hackensack and Warren Avenues.
  • Grandmother Tree Nature Trail: 276 Pack Forest Rd., 518-582-4551, X105,
  • Warren County Fish Hatchery: 145 Echo Lake Rd., 518-623-5576,

The Warren County Department of Public Works has operated the Warren County Fish Hatchery since 1914. The visitor center offers a film and educational displays. Guided tours of the hatchery are available by appointment. Visitors can see how trout and salmon are raised. In addition, the 38 acres on the Hudson River offer two picnic areas with shelters, a playground, an open area for activities and canoe access, making it a favorite recreational spot. 

Natural Stone Bridge and Caves.Natural Stone Bridge and Caves.

Natural Stone Bridge and Caves

Just 35 minutes from Lake George is the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves, which features the largest marble cave entrance in the United States. Visitors can take a self-guided .75-mile walk through the area to take in the natural rock formations.

Natural Stone Bridge and Caves

535 Stone Bridge Rd., Pottersville, 518-494-2283,


If you’re ready to get dirty and are up for more adventure, the venue offers its “Stone Bridge Adventure Tours” by reservation. During these three- to four-hour tours, participants learn different caving techniques by exploring four different caves, crawling through mud, water, sand and a waterfall. Other family-friendly offerings on site are a kids’ play area with several activities including a playground, rock climbing walls, jewelry making and disc golf; a gift shop and rock and mineral shop; and a snack bar and picnic area.

More: Your guide to summer on Lake George

Categories: Life and Arts

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