Lake George: Perfect Family Escape in the time of COVID
Lake George. Perhaps you've heard of it. It's a beautiful lake, 32 miles long, nestled in the Adirondacks of upstate New York, and I am very lucky to live in such close proximity to it at only 1.5 hours away.
If you like gorgeous scenery, a pristine lake with a backdrop of protected green mountains, a vibrant town, and a family-friendly experience, Lake George is well worth a much longer drive to get there. And with Covid-19 and families unable to hop on an airplane, as long as you practice social distancing and adhere to the regulations in the area, this is a perfect family getaway.
My kids and partner have been itching to get away, as many of us are, since Covid-19 has been restricting our movement. As a family who loves to travel, it’s been difficult but we’ve been making the most of our time at home and appreciative that we live in a state with abundant outdoor space that has allowed us to at least get outside. Nonetheless, we’ve been looking for an escape.
We absolutely love Lake George and have been several times before. Normally we go for the amusement parks. There are so many things in this area for families to do, most notably we love Dino Roar Park that includes life-size moving dinosaurs and a shaded park of rides that my young kids absolutely love. It’s perfect for little kids up to around age 10 I would say. Six Flags Great Escape is another popular destination for your high ticket item, but there is so much more, from mini-golf, to arcades, to boating, to visiting a historic fort. With many of these options being closed, we decided Lake George was still worth the visit.
Lake George is an incredible lake and it’s worth a drive around it just to admire it from different vantage points. There are plenty of cabins and homes to rent right on the lake if you are looking for a more relaxed scene. What’s really spectacular about this lake is island camping! For a few summers, I was able to split cost with a group of people and camp on one of these islands, and it was an incredible experience. I did it without kids, but kids would enjoy this as well! The water is pristine and the camp sights are tremendous, but you have to book as far in advance as they allow because they get snatched up quickly.
Although I haven't experienced it yet, SilverBay YMCA Family Conference and Retreat Center comes highly recommended. It's a wonderful spot right on the lake for families and includes meals and boats. It has a range of cabins, some of which are more budget friendly. They have tennis, yoga, boats, trails, games, play areas, adult arts and crafts, and a kids camp when Covid is not happening. I hope to stay here another summer.
For this particular getaway, we took a winding drive along the lake to reach the town of Lake George, a vibrant spot with an active downtown, public beach, tons of restaurants and shops, and cruise boats for you to enjoy a leisurely tour around the lake. Last summer we took the Minnie-Ha-Ha boat, and it was really fun. This boat was still running full steam (pun intended), and we could hear it's steam whistles blowing all throughout the day from the shores of our resort.
My kids are happiest when they have water to play in so we booked a place right on the water called Scotty’s Lakeside Resort. This place was perfection! Given that many attractions are closed due to Covid-19, we wanted a place we didn’t have to leave. It was right on the water and had a small beach. It had a variety of different boats to rent, a brand new playground and two pools! One was a big splash pad for kids and the other was a heated salt pool. They had ping-pong and cornhole outdoors, and allowed food to-go from their cafe. It was also a few blocks away from downtown Lake George so we could walk into town. I could not have asked for anything more. The kids had a blast!
To save money on this trip, we stayed only two nights, a nice amount of time for just staying at the hotel. We stayed during the week and booked as early into summer as we could because prices go up in this area as summer goes on. We packed almost all of our own food so we only ate out for one meal. We also didn’t go to any amusement parks because we couldn't thanks to Covid. A silver lining in the cloud: we could have a relaxing time without dealing with amusement parks, and saved a ton by skipping them. The best part: our kids couldn't be mad at us! Just blame it on Covid.
If Lake George is not already on your list, I highly recommend it!