Lake George vs Lake Placid for Weekend Trip? An Honest Comparison to Help You Choose!

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Weekend trips are a great way to spend a peaceful and relaxing weekend away from the hustle and bustle of city life, and it is especially true if you are living in one of the most happening and liveliest cities in the world like New York.

When talking about a tranquil and serene setting for a weekend in upstate New York, the first two places that immediately come to mind are the picture-perfect Lake George and Lake Placid, known for their crystal-clear waters and stunning landscapes that surround them.

Both these Lakes offer plenty of sightseeing, outdoor activities, and shops to make your weekend trip memorable, but they are also unique in their own way.

Here’s an honest and In-Depth Comparison to Help You Choose!

Lake George vs Lake Placid

The Vibe

Lake George

Lake George Vibe - Lake George vs Lake Placid

Lake George is also popularly known as “The Queen of American Lakes“, thanks to its pristine beauty and crystal clear waters.

Lake George lies on the southern bank of Lake George and is a small and quaint village nestled quietly on the foothills of Adirandocks mountain and is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and hotels.

Mirror Lake, located on the outskirts of the village is another popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking.

Thanks to the mighty Adirandocks mountain, Lake George boasts several amazing state parks with picturesque hiking trails, making it the perfect family weekend getaway.

Lake Placid

Lake Placid Vibe

If you’re looking for a livelier vibe with a rustic charm and a laid-back town vibe with plenty of activities, attractions, great food, shopping, and a sophisticated nightlife scene, then Lake Placid is your weekend getaway.

The village of Lake Placid is located on the eastern shore of Mirror Lake and is home to a lively Main Street lined with shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars and is easily walkable.

This classic picturesque Lake Town is also home to Mt Van Hovenberg, the site of the 1932 and 1980 winter Olympics. So, believe me when I say this is the best place to be in winter if you are a winter sports enthusiast.

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Lake George vs Lake Placid: Which is Better for Swimming?

When talking about which is better for swimming, it is rather quite difficult to choose one over the other as both these places offer plenty of opportunities for swimming with lifeguards on duty.

Lake George is known for its lively vibe and family-friendly scene, while Lake Placid is much more tranquil and relaxed. If you’re looking to spend your weekend swimming in a relaxed and serene setting then Lake Placid is the better option.

However, if you want to be able to take a dip in the lake and then end your day on a high note with some nightlife afterward, then Lake Goerge is probably the better option for you.

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Lake George vs Lake Placid: Which is Better for Hiking?

Mount Marcy Hiking

There are tons of hiking trails to explore in both areas. However, if you’re looking for truly challenging hikes with stunning views, then Lake Placid is the place to be. 

The High Peaks region is nearby, and it’s home to some of the most popular hiking trails in New York State – including Mount Marcy, the tallest mountain in the state. 

If you’re not up for such a strenuous hike, don’t worry – there are plenty of shorter trails available near Lake George as well. So whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner, there’s sure to be a trail that’s perfect for you in either area.

Lake George or Lake Placid in Summer?

I love spending my summers up in the Adirondacks, and one of the best parts is getting to choose between two amazing lakes- Lake George and Lake Placid.

They both have their own unique charms, but I have to say that I slightly prefer Lake George. It’s just a little bit bigger, so there’s more to do in terms of swimming, boating, and hiking. Plus, the views of the lake from the surrounding mountains are absolutely breathtaking.

That said, Lake Placid is also a great choice for a summer getaway. It’s very peaceful and serene, and it’s the perfect place to relax and recharge. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference, but for me, Lake George is the clear winner.

Lake George or Lake Placid in Winter?

Lake Placid in winter

Both are great destinations for winter sports lovers, but they each have their own unique charm.

When it comes to the ultimate weekend trip in winter, I personally prefer Lake Placid because of its smaller size and more intimate feel. Even though it may not have all the bells and whistles of a larger resort town, its quaintness is part of its appeal.

And of course, being home to Mt Van Hovenberg, site of the 1932 and 1980 winter Olympics, it should come as no surprise asto why Lake Placid is the best place in upstate New York for a weekend trip in winter.

The snow-capped Adirondack Mountains provide a stunning backdrop for outdoor activities like skiing and snowboarding, and the frozen lakes are perfect for skating and hockey.

Best Things do in and around Lake George

Visit The Fort William Henry Museum

fort henry william museum
Image credit: Image by Doug Kerr on Flickr

The Fort William Henry Museum near Lake George is a reconstruction of the original fort that was built in 1755.

The museum is housed on the site of the original fort and features exhibits on the French and Indian War, and transports you back into a time in history when the fort was used as a prison during the Revolutionary War.

You can also explore the fort’s grounds, which include a replica of the original palisade fence. 

Go Hiking at Tongue Mountain Range

The Tongue Mountain Range is a paradise for hiking enthusiasts place with amazing nature trails and stunning views of Lake George.

There are several hiking trails to choose from, ranging from easy to difficult. I recommend taking the short hike up Mount Defiance for an incredible view from the top! 

Take a Boat Tour of Lake George 

Lake George boating
Image credit: Image by Ron Cogswell on Flickr

What better way to see Lake George than from the water?

There are several boat tour companies including Lake George Steamboat Company and Lake George shoreline company that offer cruises on Lake George, lasting anywhere from 1-3 hours.

You’ll get to see some of the lake’s most popular landmarks, including Steamboat Island, Million Dollar Beach, and Quaker Bay and is a great way to learn about the history of the place. 

Visit The Gideon Putnam Resort 

The Gideon Putnam Resort is a historic resort located in Saratoga Springs, just minutes from Lake George.

The resort was built in 1812 and includes an outdoor pool, spa, restaurants, and shopping. If you’re looking for a place to relax and enjoy some luxury, this is it! 

Visit The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom 

The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom is a Six Flags theme park located in Queensbury, NY, and is a go-to destination for entertainment near Lake George.

The park has something for everyone with rides, shows, games, and more. Make sure to visit during Fright Fest for some extra fun!

Best Things to do in and around Lake Placid

Visit Whiteface Mountain 

Whiteface mountain

Whiteface Mountain is New York’s fifth-highest mountain, and it offers some of the most amazing views in the Adirondacks.

You can drive to the top of the mountain, or take the gondola ride up if you’re feeling adventurous. Either way, don’t forget your camera! 

Go canoeing or kayaking on Mirror Lake 

mirror lake lake placid
Image credit: Image by Mwanner on Wikimedia Commons

Mirror Lake is a beautiful lake located right in the heart of Lake Placid village. It’s a great place to go for a paddle, and you can even rent canoe and kayaks right from the lakeshore. 

Take a hike 

The Adirondacks are home to thousands of miles of beautiful hiking trails, so there’s sure to be a perfect one for you, no matter your skill level.

If you need help choosing a trail, stop by one of the many local hiking shops and they’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.

Explore Lake Placid’s Olympic sites

Lake Placid Olympic Ski Jumping Complex from below
Image credit: Image by Mwanner on Wikimedia Commons

Owing to the stunning mountain landscapes and plenty of snow-covered peaks, Lake Placid has long been a home for winter sports enthusiasts and was also the site of the 1932 and 1980 winter Olympics.

Today, the Olympic sites located on Mt. Van Hovenberg are still home to many such well-maintained sites that take you back to the times when the Olympics were hosted.

The Lake Placid Olympic Museum is located just a few steps away from Herb Brooks Arena and features many photographs, videos, and memorabilia that tell the story of the two Olympics earning Lake Placid the title of winter sports capital of America.


So which lake should you visit?

It really depends on what you’re looking for in a weekend getaway and when you are planning your weekend trip, in summer or winter.

If you’re searching for scenic beauty and peaceful tranquility in summer with a family-friendly vibe, then head to Lake George.

But if you’re looking for more action-packed fun with great outdoor adventure opportunities like skiing and mini-Golf, then make your way to Lake Placid.

Whichever lake you choose, you’re sure to have an amazing time!

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About the author
James Williams
James has been travel lover since childhood. Reading and traveling have been spiritual experiences for him. Learning about new places, cultures, and ways of life and sharing his own experiences and learnings has always been his passion.

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