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Anywhere you go in the Adirondacks during summer is going to be great. Lakes, mountains, fields, and streams – it’s all great. But why settle for great when you could have spectacular? Schroon Lake is a small, unassuming mountain town located between Lake George and Lake Placid that provides the perfect summertime oasis. Schroon Lake’s options for water recreation are as rewarding as they are relaxing. Cruise on a motorboat, ride the tide of the wind in a sailboat, or paddle your own way on a kayak, canoe, or stand up paddleboard. I recently enjoyed my first Schroon Lake experience – so much so that I didn’t want to leave!

Beating the summer heat can be tough in the Adirondacks. With so few hot months, air conditioning isn’t always guaranteed. Instead of fighting the heat, I decided to embrace it and soak in the sun from the deck of a 20-foot pontoon boat. Schroon Lake Marina, located at the northern end of the lake, is a great resource for boat rentals. Their staff is very helpful and they guided me to a vessel that would suit my needs perfectly. Their flexible rental system allowed me to choose from several trip options, and due to my fair skin, I decided two hours on a boat was just long enough to relax and explore the lake without also toasting to a crisp.

A group of adults and small children ride a pontoon boat on a blue lake with a forested shoreline in the background.

After a thorough tutorial on how to use all of the boat’s gadgets (and drive it in general), my co-captain and I were off! Never having visited Schroon Lake before, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect. We maneuvered our way out of the channel with ease, turned a corner, and were stunned by the beautiful, expansive lake before us.

Immediately off to our left was a stretch of picturesque sandbars – the kind of thing I would normally expect to see on the Gulf of Mexico. The shallow waters were almost completely clear, perfect for the paddleboarders just learning to stand. We pointed the boat south down the lake and our curiosity and desire to explore kicked into high gear. With a small island in our sights, we pushed the boat into high speed.

A woman sits on the end of a boat near a child in a life jacket who is about to go swimming.

All of my previous experience with boats had involved me propelling myself forward by using paddles. Getting behind the wheel of a motorboat for the first time was a lot of fun. While paddling holds a special place in my heart, getting to enjoy the sun and the lake with minimal physical effort was exactly what I was hoping for on a very hot day. The pontoon boat ended up being the perfect choice, too. It was so comfortable we kept referring to it as “our giant couch,” and it provided the perfect floating deck from which to enjoy a swim.

A woman and two children sit on a moving pontoon boat.

For a first-time captain, Schroon Lake was very easy to navigate. We explored bays, circled islands, and entertained ourselves with some excellent sight-seeing. In addition to the stunning mountain views, the elaborate lakeside camps, houses, and resorts lining the shores made for their own game of “I Spy.” I kept trying to decide on a favorite, but I eventually came to the conclusion that I would gladly take any one of them if it meant having access to Schroon Lake every day!

Not wanting to miss a thing, we went all the way to the southern end of the lake before parking the boat, cutting the motor, and jumping in for a swim. When it comes to clarity and temperature, no two Adirondack lakes are the same. Schroon Lake immediately landed itself at the top of my list of favorites. Clear, clean, and comfortably warm, the water was the perfect contrast to the hot air. After a couple fantastic belly flops off the boat (diving has never been my strong suit), we turned the boat on, the music up, and started cruising back to the marina.

Two hours on the lake went by in a flash, but it was long enough to induce that lazy summer day calm and give me a bit of a sun-kissed glow. We docked our boat back at the Schroon Lake Marina and headed into town to check out some of the things we had seen from the lake.

Downtown Schroon Lake was bustling with summer tourists and activity. We made our way to the Schroon Lake Town Beach, located minutes from the main street, and headed out onto the sand. I never thought northern lakes could have such pristine sand beaches! We had seen dozens from the boat, and had been enticed by the looks of them. Feeling the sand beneath my bare feet, meandering around the brightly colored sun umbrellas, and listening to the joyful squeals of children as they splashed in the water transported me to an entirely different place. If you had told me I had been picked up and dropped off in Florida, I would have believed you.

Right behind the beach, though, was an emerald green grassy hill, where families gathered around picnic baskets and children played on swings and slides. Everywhere we looked, it was like witnessing the perfect summer day.

After a while, sun-kissed and happy, we hit the road, knowing full well we would be back before long. We had discovered so much, we didn’t have time to experience it all in one day! Sticks & Stones Bistro and Bar is on my must-do list for next time, along with a trip to explore the nearby Natural Stone Bridge & Caves in Pottersville. I may even take advantage of some of the excellent Schroon Lake camping options so I have more than one day to experience and discover more of the Schroon Lake Region.




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