Looking for quick getaway from NYC? Lake George is only about 3 hours away and the perfect getaway for New Yorkers in need of some socially distant time away from the city!
A few weeks ago I spent the weekend in Lake George, NY with my boyfriend Dan to celebrate our 8-year anniversary. At first we were a little uneasy about traveling anywhere because of COVID-19, but we figured that staying within New York State and opting for more outdoor activities would minimize some of the risks associated with a regular sight-seeing vacation. For where to stay, things to do, places to see, and spots to eat at, keep reading!
Where to Stay in Lake George
Fort William Henry Hotel and Conference Center
The Fort William Henry Hotel and Conference Center is located right next to the lake and only a block away from the hustle and bustle of the main road. There are three kinds of accommodations depending on what part of the hotel you choose to stay at, but all guests have the same access to amenities.
- Luxury Accommodations at the Grand Hotel
- Mid-Range Rooms and Suites at Premium East
- Budget Rooms at Standard West
Since we planned on spending the majority of our time out and about, we decided to book a budget room. The room was clean and it served our needs just fine. We were really only in the room to sleep, so we didn’t need anything fancy. My only regret is not having a refrigerator in the room to have the option to store snacks and leftovers from dinner.
Courtyard by Marriott Lake George
This hotel is located right on the main street in Lake George, so it’s steps away from restaurants and shops! It also shares space with Charlie’s Bar & Kitchen and The Lake George Coffee Company Coffee House which makes your morning coffee and a quick lunch or dinner extra convenient!
I can’t speak for the rooms or other amenities, but most Marriott properties have similar accommodations.
If you expect to spend a decent amount of time on the hotel property, on Canada Street (the main drag), or simply prefer the familiar amenities of a Marriott, the Courtyard by Marriott is definitely a better choice.
Otherwise, if you know you’ll be mostly outdoors and exploring, the Standard West and Premium East rooms at Fort William Henry Hotel and Conference Center strike a good balance between cost and comfort!
Things To Do in Lake George
One of the main reasons we decided to visit Lake George was to take in the beautiful scenery and do more outdoor activities. If you love nature and being outdoors, there’s really so much to do and see!
- Fort William Henry Museum
- Million Dollar Beach
On the Lake
- Paddle Boarding
- Steam Boat Tour
- Boat & Jet Ski Rentals
Hiking & Kayaking
On our first full day, we attempted to hike up Prospect Mountain, but Dan isn’t big on steep heights so we had to turn back when we came across the steel overpass that crosses over I-87. Even though the bridge seemed sturdy enough, you can clearly see through the steel slats, so if you’re afraid of steep heights or are prone to vertigo, I recommend driving part way up the mountain and picking up on the foot trail later.
Dan and I tried to do that, but unfortunately Prospect Mountain Parkway was closed until July 1st. Be sure to check the town website before planning your trip itinerary!
Instead of hiking, we decided to rent a kayak for 2 hours and explore the beautiful lake. The water was so calm and the views were beautiful! Check out my Lake George Highlight on my IG here!
The following day, we hiked up Buck Mountain. Even though it started pouring rain an hour into our hike and we didn’t make it to the full summit, the experience was so worth it! We made it to the false summit and even with the fog, the view was amazing. I don’t recommend hiking up Buck Mountain in the pouring rain, especially if it’s your very first hike (whoops), but it’s definitely do-able on a nice day.
Click here for a list of 6 Lake George Hiking Trails for Beginners!!
(Please keep in mind that you should ALWAYS do your own research before embarking on a hiking trip, and please clear it with your doctor to ensure you’re healthy enough to be on your feet for an extended period of time!)
Places to See in Lake George
- The Summit (or false summit) of a Mountain
- Historical landmarks all over Lake George
- The Lake at Night
- All the Nature
Where to Eat in Lake George
- Cafe Vero
Cafe Vero is a super cute coffee house and brunch spot located on the corner of Canada St. and Smith St. Dan and I grabbed breakfast here on our first and last days in Lake George and it was so good! To be fair, it’s probably not the most affordable spot since the prices were pretty much on par with Manhattan, but it definitely had good food and great coffee.
I got the bacon and egg sandwich on a croissant both days and they were delicious! Yes I know, how New Yorker of me…
Dan got a roast beef sandwich and it was gone almost as soon as he sat down, so I think it’s safe to assume their sandwiches are really good too!
- The Adirondack Pancake House
If I had to recommend just one place to eat out of all the places we ate at, I would 100% recommend The Adirondack Pancake House for breakfast! Dan and I stopped by on our way to hike up Buck Mountain and got two stacks of pancakes to go. Dan got a stack of the dutch apple pancakes and I got a stack of classic blueberry pancakes. They were insanely good and a great carb-load before our 3 hour hike!
- Lobster Pot
This seafood spot is located on Canada Street directly across the road from the Fort William Henry Conference Center. It was super cute and the staff was great about accommodating us outside on the patio for an early dinner. We shared an appetizer of calamari and I ordered the lobster roll and Dan ordered the scallop roll. The calamari was crispy and flavorful, but not anything amazing. Both of us loved our rolls though. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been to Maine (it’s on the list!) or I haven’t had a lobster roll in a while, but this one was really good. Dan enjoyed his scallop roll too! I feel like scallops can sometimes be a hit or miss depending on where you get them, but these were cooked to perfection. I wish we had the opportunity to eat here again, before the end of our trip, but it’ll be something to look forward to next time!
- Moose Tooth Grill
The Moose Tooth Grill is located on Canada Street as well, right next to an ice cream shop, so that makes getting dessert super convenient! The food here was ok, but it wasn’t my favorite. It seemed very chain-like and generic. It wasn’t terrible, but I probably won’t eat there again.
- The Barnsider
The Barnsider is the first spot Dan and I ate at when we arrived in Lake George. It has great barbecue food and a ton of variety. On our first night, we ordered the brisket sliders as an appetizer, I ordered their chicken and shrimp dish, and Dan got a brisket sandwich on a pretzel roll. All the food was great and the perfect portion. We stopped by for take out two days later after our 3 hour hike up Buck Mountain because we were starving and wanted to grab something quick on the way back to the hotel. Dan ordered the chicken burrito bowl and I ordered the BBQ Pulled Pork Bowl. I don’t think we ever ate so fast in our lives!
I’m sorry I don’t have any photos! We were so hungry both times we ate here that I forgot I was a blogger lol!
- Charlie’s Bar & Kitchen
The last one on the list! For our last dinner of the weekend, we grabbed a bite at Charlie’s Bar & Kitchen. Dan ordered the salmon and I ordered the chicken mac and cheese. Both dishes came out great and we were so stuffed by the time we finished eating. Honestly, I think there are probably better choices if you’re looking for a nice dinner out, but Charlie’s is a good standby to have if you’re staying in the Courtyard Marriott or simply want something a bit more low key.
I wish we could’ve eaten at one of the many restaurants on the water, but neither of us were comfortable with the number of people in the restaurants at dinner time. All the restaurants were well reviewed and much of the dining space was in an open-air environment on the patio, but we decided to be extra cautious.
Lake George Safety and Pandemic Precautions
- All retail and dining establishments required a face mask, per New York State law.
- Hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes/ sprays were used frequently by staff and readily available to customers.
- Capacity was limited at all dine-in restaurants to provide for social distancing.
- All restaurants had some form of outside dining option to accommodate guests.
To be entirely honest, I was a bit surprised to find a more lax environment in Lake George, but I guess the rules are a bit more relaxed than New York City because it’s not as densely populated. Most people wore masks and everyone seemed courteous and aware of maintaining an acceptable social distance from each other. My only real concern was dining at any of the water-front restaurants because they appeared to be packed at a higher capacity than what I was comfortable with.
At the end of the day, traveling of any kind during a global pandemic is going to be, at the very least, a weird experience. Overall though, I really enjoyed our mini-vacation to Lake George, NY, and I highly recommend any fellow city-folks to book a trip before the end of the summer. The views of the mountains and the calming waters of the lake were the perfect way to unwind and take in the beauty of nature.
Hope you guys enjoyed my Lake George recap and travel guide! If you missed it, grab your Lake George hiking trail guide here and be sure to check back for my beginner hiker’s packing list and gear guide. I loved our hike up Buck Mountain, but there are definitely some things I’ll be adjusting for our next hiking adventure! For more travel tips, guides, and packing advice, check out my travel page and sign up for my weekly newsletter! I love to share my very best travel content and fashion insights every week, so follow me on Instagram and Pinterest to stay in the know!