Best Things to See and Do in New York's Adirondacks

© ORDA / Whiteface Lake Placid
© ORDA / Whiteface Lake Placid
Larger than Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Glacier National Parks combined, New York’s Adirondacks is the biggest protected area in the lower 48 states. Its size guarantees the area’s attractions are as abundant as the space itself. Experience them all with this guide to the best things to see and do in New York’s Adirondacks.

Storm King Art Center

Leave Museum Mile to the tourists in favor of this insider’s art attraction located just north of New York City. Storm King Art Center is a sculpture park featuring more than 100 sculptures by the world’s most celebrated contemporary artists. Occupying a whopping 500 acres, the park’s rolling hills, clear water ponds, and lush fields of native wildflowers are masterpieces in their own right.

© Melodie Mesiano / Flickr 

Whiteface Mountain

Athletic types will love the adrenaline-pumping activities awaiting on Whiteface Mountain, which features the largest vertical drop (3,430 feet) on the eastern seaboard. In addition to hiking, biking, and skiing (the mountain is particularly suited toward advanced skiers), daredevil visitors can also find extreme adventures such as 4×4 excursions and free-fall jumping.

© ORDA / Whiteface Lake Placid 

Adirondack Safari

If camping doesn’t appeal to you (New York City spoils us all), then perhaps glamping would be a superior fit. Give the outdoors a shot (sort of) at Adirondack Safari, a luxury campground furnished with extra-large tents, zero-gravity chairs, fire pits, and more. Here, outdoor movie screenings, palm readings, and painting classes trump hiking and foraging any day.

© Adam Griffith / Unsplash 

Lake Placid Olympic Jumping Complex

Sports enthusiasts will recognize Lake Placid Olympic Jumping Complex as the site of 1980’s Winter Olympics and the home base of many current Olympic athletes. Whether you catch a ski jump competition or try your hand at extreme tubing, you’ll feel prepared to go for the gold yourself at this sports world icon.

The Wild Center

It makes sense that the best way to experience the densely-wooded Adirondack region is to explore above it, not through it. The treetop-level nature path at The Wild Center provides a bird’s-eye view of the property’s 81 acres of forest. There’s plenty to be seen at ground-level too at the center’s 54,000-square-foot museum featuring live animals and hands-on exhibits.

© The Wild Center 

Join a Cycle Adirondacks ride

See more of the region’s six million acres safely when you join Cycle Adirondacks. From one-day, family-friendly rides to six-day bicycle tours, Cycle Adirondacks’ events are an ideal way to explore some of the highest mountains in eastern North America, New York State’s farm country, and the best of the Adirondacks. Best of all, riding with the organization supports local conservation efforts and economic development.

© suju / Pixabay 

Ausable Chasm

Rock-climb, bike, or tube Ausable Chasm, the “Grand Canyon of the Adriondacks.” Established in 1870, this is one of America’s oldest natural attractions, still in high demand today thanks to its variety of outdoor activities and timeless views from the Ausable Chasm Bridge.

© Tania Dey / Wikicommons 

Hike to Mount Marcy’s summit

At 5,344 feet, the summit of Mount Marcy is the highest point in all of New York State. From its stunning treetop vistas to its up-close views of the rare endangered vegetation present on just 85 acres of the Adirondacks, the view from the top makes the technically unchallenging (though generally long) hike worth every step.