It’s easy to find something to do in the Adirondacks, especially if you like being outside, but it can be hard figuring out where to begin. If you’re traveling with the family, that can be even more difficult as differing ideas converge on what makes a fun day a fun day. Yes, it’s beautiful here — the question is, what is the best way to experience it and make a range of ages happy? Keep reading to find out!

Hit the beach

A large sandy beach on the edge of a glistening Adirondack lake that’s ringed by mountains. Need we say more? Pull up a blanket and enjoy the sun, go swimming (there are lifeguards on duty), lounge or dive off of the floating dock, go fishing off the nearby docks, and then head out for ice cream when it’s all over. The Schroon Lake Town Beach is located right downtown, so it’s super accessible and if you forget something — or if a certain somebody starts to get cranky — there are options for fixing the situation close by.

It's time to square dance!

Grab your partner — and your friends and family — and head to the bandshell for free square dancing at 7 p.m. every Wednesday in July and August. This event draws large crowds of people who range in experience from proficient to haven’t-done-this-since-gym-class. Even with that kind of spread, make no mistake — this is the real deal. There are live musicians who specialize in harkening back to days of yore, and the caller gives clear instructions that are easy for anyone to follow. The best part? It all takes place against a backdrop of Schroon Lake, so you can dosey-doe on over to the lakefront and hang out there if the action gets too intense for you.

Take an easy hike

Going hiking in the Adirondacks is like eating Buffalo wings in Buffalo or a Philly cheesesteak in Philadelphia — it’s just what you do. That said, hiking isn’t the easiest activity, so the best way to get the little ones into it is to take them up a mountain they can easily conquer. There’s no guarantee they’ll be hooked, but giving them a taste of success is a great way to hedge your bets. 

The Schroon Lake region is the southern access to the High Peaks, but if you’re traveling with kids it’s probably best to steer clear of the bigger mountains until their legs — and tolerance for walking great distances — are ready. You’re in luck! There are a lot of shorter trails to get you on the trail.

Mount Severance is the first hike for a lot of people, and with good reason. It’s short, it never gets steep, and the view is phenomenal. If that trek goes well, consider Goodnow Mountain. It’s longer and taller than Severance, but it’s still on the easy side as far as mountains go, and the 360-degree view from the summit fire tower is magnificent. 

Your canoe or kayak awaits

There are a lot of paddling options in the region, but quite a few of them require a short portage to reach. If you’re really adventurous and you have the right gear, the nearby Essex Chain Lakes Complex is well worth your time. Its 19,600 acres and numerous lakes and ponds make it a paddler’s (and camper’s and hiker’s) paradise. Just be sure to consult a map and don’t be afraid to hire a guide or ask for advice before setting out.

If you’re with family, you might want something a little closer to town. Schroon Lake, anyone? We’ve already mentioned how big and beautiful this lake is, but what we haven’t gotten into is how perfect it is for paddling. Launch right from town and paddle the shoreline for mountain views and a chance to see all kinds of wildlife, like ducks, bald eagles, and loons. For an extended adventure, keep paddling south to explore the Schroon River. If you need gear, you can rent it in town, too, making it even easier to try paddling, even if it wasn’t part of the original vacation plan!

Of course, the best thing about all of these options is they are close to town, which means food and a place to stay are never far!