Lake Placid With Kids: What to Do, What to Eat, and Where To Stay
Lake Placid is the well known small Adirondack Village that hosted the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games. While many of the attractions found within Lake Placid are Olympic related and will take visitors into the history of the Olympics and even allow them to experience the games like the participants would have, there is plenty more to do in Lake Placid with kids!
Being an Adirondack village, there are plenty of outdoor adventure opportunities that are perfect for all age groups. Find yourself walking through a sandstone gorge, take a walk along the Ausable River past waterfalls and cliffs, visit the North Pole, take a walk among the tree tops, and enjoy a classic Root Beer float at A&W.
What To Do in Lake Placid with Kids
1.)Tour the Lake Placid Olympic Center
Explore the sites of the Lake Placid Olympic Center through a one-hour guided tour that visits the locations where the 1932 and 1980 games were held. You will also learn about the history of the games, the participants, the gold medal winners, and the ice rink where the US won the “Miracle on Ice” game. This tour may be better suited for older kids.
2.) Take a Hike Through High Falls Gorge
High Falls Gorge is located near the base of Whiteface Mountain and is the perfect stop for a family friendly hike. The one mile loop trail takes you past three main waterfalls along the Ausable River. The stairs and wooden boardwalks and short length make the hike easily doable for hikers of all levels, making the High Falls Gorge a must do when visiting Lake Placid with kids.
You will face some areas of incline, but nothing that even the lowest experienced hiker can’t complete. Along the path you will find plaques explaining the history of the area and its nature. If you are looking for more of an adventure, there are additional nature trails located off the main trail for you to explore.
At the end of your hike you can enjoy the gift shop and a small café (depending on COVID restrictions).
3.) Ride the Gondolas at Whiteface Mountain
A gondola ride to the peak of Little Whiteface is a great way to see Whiteface Mountain and the surrounding area. The fifteen minute ride starts at the Main Base Lodge and takes you up 3,676 feet where you will be greeted with an observation deck and picnic area. While enjoying the ride you will be greeted by views of Lake Placid village, Lake Champlain, the Ausable River, and New York’s high peaks to the South.
4.) Take A Ride on a Bobsled
Visitors can experience the thrill of riding a bobsled at up to 55mph around the track at the Olympic Sports Complex. The Bobsled Experience is a great way to experience what the participants in the winter Olympics experienced. In order to ride, participants must be at least 48″ and if under 18 accompanied by an adult and it is recommended that reservations be made in advance.
5.) Go For a Stroll Around Mirror Lake
The Mirror Lake Loop is a 2.6 mile trail that takes you around Mirror Lake and through Lake Placid village, making it a great way to explore when visiting Lake Placid with kids. The trail sees frequent traffic and is used for walking, running, biking, dog walking, and bird watching. With only 55ft. of elevation gain, the trail is perfect for hikers of all abilities. The trail begins in downtown Lake Placid and is a sidewalk that loops around the lake. There is also a sandy beach on the Northern end of Lake Placid for you to cool off on a warm day.
6.) Go For a Hike Along the Ausable Chasm
The Ausable Chasm is a sandstone gorge located about 50 minutes outside of Lake Placid, but well worth the drive and visit when visiting Lake Placid with kids. Visitors to the chasm can enjoy peaceful walks along the upper edges of the gorge and surrounding woods or opt to experience the Adventure Walk (for ages 8+), which features cable bridges, a cargo net climb, and edge walks. Other activities include Lantern Tours, raft float tours, rappelling, Riverwalk, rock climbing, and tubing.
7.) Walk Among the Trees at the Wild Center
Located in the small Adirondack village of Tupper Lake just 40 minutes outside of Lake Placid, the Wild Center gives visitors a unique view of the Adirondacks. The Wild Walk gives you the chance to walk along the tops of the trees, inside an actual tree, takes you inside a giant bird’s nest, and across a giant spider web.
The Wild Center also offers plenty of indoor exhibits, nature trails, and access to Raquette River for a canoe excursion. The Pines Play Area will be a favorite for your young adventurer and will get them using their creativity and imagination! The Otter Falls Exhibit will give the family an opportunity to observe otters as they play, eat, and sleep.
8.) Ride to the Top of the Olympic Ski Jump Complex
The Olympic Ski Jump Complex is the site of the 90 and 120 meter ski jump towers that were built for the 1980 Olympic Games that were held in Lake Placid. The Olympic Ski Jump Complex is still used for training year round.
The Olympic Ski Jump Complex can be explored on the newly added Skyride, which takes visitors to the K-120 meter jump observation deck. Once at the top, visitors can get out and walk around the top, looking down on what skier’s see before jumping.
Also located alongside the towers is a zipline, designed to create a similar experience to what the jumpers have as they shoot down the towers, with speeds up to 30mph.
9.) Spend the Day at the North Pole
Take a walk into the North Pole, NY with this theme park geared for children 48″ and under where you can visit with Santa any time of year. Located near the base of Whiteface Mountain, Santa’s Workshop is conveniently located near many of the Lake Placid area’s other attractions.
Guests can stroll through the North Pole while visiting tops sites, including Santa’s house, reindeer barn, the Saint Nicholas Chapel, the candy shop, Santa’s bake shop, Santa’s toy shop, and of course the gift shop. You will also find various classic amusement rides with a North Pole theme and shows taking place throughout the day. Visitors can also opt in for a breakfast or dinner with Santa experience at an additional cost.
10.) Get Out on the Water
Lake Placid has plenty of opportunities for getting out and enjoying some water sports. There are plenty of companies that offer a variety of tours and packages. The Adirondack Mountains are known for the outdoor adventure, and not getting out on the water would rob you of a great experience.
ADK Aquatics allows visitors to enjoy water skiing, tubing, wake surfing, wakeboarding, private boat tours, and sunset cruises on Lake Placid. Lake Placid Marina and Boat Tours takes visitors on a 16 mile boat tour around Lake Placid. ADK Watersports offers Jet Ski rentals. If you visit the Ausable Chasm, you can also enjoy a rafting or tubing excursion along the Ausable River.
You may also be able to find accommodations that offer water sports right on site, such as was the case with our accommodations at the Gauthier’s Saranac Lake Inn.
11.) Go Shopping
Along Main Street in Lake Placid you can find plenty of quaint shops with locally made products and souvenirs. The Alpine Mall is a small walk through mall that is home to small shops and cafes. Critters is an animal themed shop accessible from the Alpine Mall that features a selection of animal themed gifts for both pets and their human counterparts.
Simpli Nature is the perfect shop to get some all natural candles, bath salts, and other products. The Lake Placid Ski and Board shop is the perfect shop for finding ski and snowboard gear and apparel. Imagination Station offers a variety of unique gifts and the Bookstore Plus is an old fashioned locally owned bookstore for those looking for a good read.
If you are looking for something sweet, visit Adirondack Chocolates or one of the many soft serve and homemade ice cream shops found along Main Street.
12.) Visit the Lake Placid Olympic Museum
The Lake Placid Olympic Museum is a small, somewhat interactive museum highlighting the history of the Winter Olympics that took place in Lake Placid in 1932 and 1980. While fascinating for older children and adults, this may not be the best experience for younger kids. My daughter did enjoy the photo op spots and the mascot costume on display, and the short length of the museum made the visit tolerable for her.
Throughout the museum you will find gear and other equipment used during the Olympics, a screen displaying some scenes from the Olympics, and picture and information boards about the history of the Olympics in Lake Placid.
Where to Eat in Lake Placid with Kids
Address: 5629 NY-86, Wilmington, NY 12997
A&W is a classic American restaurant that features all the items your child will love. Choose from a selection of burgers, chicken, hot dogs, and great sides including fries and onion rings. The best part of the menu, though, is the dessert menu! Choose from a selection of classic root bear floats, sundaes, milk shakes, and soft serve ice cream. And don’t forget to stop and pose for a photo with the A&W bear!
Seating is available both indoors (depending on COVID restrictions) and outdoors.
Mr. Mike’s Pizza
Address: 2742 Main Street, Lake Placid
A classic Italian restaurant located just a block away from the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, Mr. Mike’s Pizza has a menu that is bound to be enjoyed by every member of your travel party. Mr. Mike’s offers indoor dining, take-out, and free delivery.
The menu features a selection of pizza and homemade Italian dishes, including salads, meatball subs, lasagna, stuffed shells, alfredo, primavera, and more! Mr. Mike’s Pizza is family friendly with a kids menu available!
Dancing Bears Restaurant
Address: 2404 Main St Lake Placid
The Dancing Bears Restaurant is features a menu selection of classic American burgers, hotdogs, pizza, sandwiches, and steaks. There are also plenty of vegetarian and kid-friendly options. Located along Lake Placid’s Main Street, Dancing Bears Restaurant is easily accessible and has great views of Mirror Lake.
Dancing Bears Restaurant has a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu as well as brunch menus on the weekends. For those looking to relax and enjoy a drink there are plenty of craft beer, ciders, and wines available.
Ere’s Pizza Ristorante
Address: 2439 Main Street, Suite 3 Lake Placid
Located along Lake Placid’s Main St. you will find Ere’s Pizza Ristorante, a classic Italian restaurant with outdoor patio seating overlooking Mirror Lake. The menu consists of pizzas, pasta, salads, chicken & veal entrees, calzones, subs, and more along with a full selection of craft beers and wines. You will also find a full kids menu with chicken fingers, fries, and pasta choices.
Where to Stay in Lake Placid with Kids
Gauthier’s Saranac Lake Inn
Address: 488 Lake Flower Ave, Saranac Lake, NY 12983
Gauthier’s Saranac Lake Inn is a conveniently located small waterfront property that provides access to 30 miles of waterways, including Upper, Middle, and Lower Saranac Lakes. One of the best things about the inn-it is the only fully Green property in the Saranac Lake area. The inn is located about 15 minutes outside of Lake Placid, but it is conveniently located between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake, where you will find the Wild Walk.
The rooms at the property are average hotel rooms, but the free access to kayaks, canoes, and pedal boats as well as bikes make a stay at this property a great value for the money. Room costs average $150-250 per night.
Placid Bay Inn on Lake Placid
Address: 2187 Saranac Avenue, Lake Placid
The Placid Bay Inn on Lake Placid is located along Placid Lake and features great views of Whiteface Mountain. The inn offers access to the lake with free canoeing, outdoor picnic areas, Adirondack chairs for lounging, and an outdoor pool. The Inn is also within walking distance of downtown Lake Placid, giving you access to many of Lake Placid’s attractions.
Rooms include suite options, lakeside view and fireplace options, and lakefront cottages with fireplaces. Costs average about $150-200 per night for rooms, with higher prices for the cottages.
Address: 3 Stagecoach Way, Lake Placid
The Stagecoach Inn is located just two minutes from the Olympic Ski Jumping Complex and a quarter mile from the Olympic Training Center. The decor allows guests to fully experience the Adirondacks with its rustic feel. The Inn also offers a two course breakfast meal daily for guests.
The Inn has a House Bar with a selection of beer and wines to choose from for the adults. Guests can also enjoy an outdoor fire pit and gardens and there are nature trails located on site to explore and enjoy. The Stagecoach Inn is more on the expensive side with room costs average from $300-425 per night.
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