Lake Placid is a gorgeous alpine village located in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains and was the site of the 1980 Winter Olympic games. It had long been on my “bucket list” of places to visit on one of our family road trips, because I love being in a mountain setting with all of the hiking and activities and gorgeous views- and also because I knew there would be so many great things to do in Lake Placid with kids!
7 Great Things to Do in Lake Placid with Kids!
#1 Take a Bobsled Run
If your kids want to know what it is to feel like an Olympian for a few thrilling moments- then you have to take a Bobsled run!
We were divided into two groups and fitted with helmets before being driven up to the top of the bottom half of the 1980 Olympic bobsled track. There we met our bobsled driver who mans the front of the sled and our brakeman who sits in the back, while we all piled into the middle.
The run down the track (in the summer they use a wheeled sled) is crazy fast and bumpy, and you are constantly craning your head around the person in front of you to get a view of the track. But it is awesome!
Definitely one of those “once in a lifetime” experiences the kids will never forget!
#2 Hike the High Falls Gorge
For a beautiful hike head over to High Falls Gorge to walk past the waterfalls and check out the “potholes” that are created by the force of boulders spinning in the churning water over thousands of years.
At several points along the walkway, there are “glass-floored” lookout points, so you can see what it would be like to “float above” the gorge.
We also took a side hike into the woods on their nature trail where we came upon a tall wispy waterfall that we had all to ourselves to explore- it was so cool!
#3 Take the Elevator to the Top of the 120 Meter Ski Jump
Take a chairlift followed by a 26-story elevator ride to the top of the 120-meter Olympic ski jump to see what that looks like for an Olympian as they stand at the top of the tower before making the jump. And holy WOW- it is high!
Be sure to stop for an Olympic medal photo while you are there! And check out their website to see if any of the freestyle jumping events (skiers doing aerial jumps and landing in giant pools) will be taking place during your visit.
#4 Ride to the Top of Little Whiteface Mountain in a Gondola
There is nothing like drinking in a mountain view! So plan a gondola ride to the top of Little Whiteface Mountain where you can overlook the Olympic ski runs that are still used today.
There is an adventure park area set up in the summertime for kids to enjoy at the base of the mountain too.
#5 Visit the Olympic Ice Center
If you are road-tripping your way to Lake Placid, I highly suggest having the kids watch “Miracle on Ice” on the way there- the story of the USA hockey team who pulled off one of the biggest upsets in sports history over the Russian team. Then when you take your kids to see the Olympic Ice Center, they will be in awe!
There is also a small museum in the Olympic Center that my kids loved.
#6 Tackle the Adventure Trail in Ausable Chasm
Okay- technically this isn't in Lake Placid- in fact, it is about an hour's drive away. But it was such a fantastic adventure that I don't think you should miss it! Ausable Chasm bills themselves as the “Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks.”
We started our visit with a trip through their adventure trail- which is a series of cargo nets, rope traverses across canyon walls, and zip lines and suspension bridges back and forth over the churning Ausable River.
You traverse the gorge twice on a zip line. You then climb along the canyon walls while tethered to a safety line.
Next there is a rope suspension bridge, followed more climbing along the canyon walls, and then a final suspension bridge crossing to exit the trail.
We then proceeded down the Inner Scantum Trail over to the raft launch area where we boarded a river raft to continue the next few miles down into the chasm by water. It was mostly a gently float trip led by a river guide who shared some old stories about the area- but there was also a small section of bumpy rapids that made it a lot of fun for my older kids (who paddled along with the guide).
#7 Stay in a Campground
When you are out in the mountains, I think it is only fitting that you spend as much time in nature as possible. And bunking up at a chain hotel isn't going to cut it! We stayed in a cabin at the Lake Placid KOA Campground and had a blast.
We got the camping experience without having to deal with hauling and setting up our tent and camp kitchen. We swam in the pool, played on the giant chess board, on the playground, at the mini-golf course, in the game room, at the ping pong table. And we ended our days with s’mores in the fire pit. It was perfect.
*7 Reasons to Visit Lake Placid with Kids is part of a “MomOf6 Loves NY!” series that highlights some our family’s favorite places to visit during a New York road trip!
I fell in love with the beauty of the Lake Placid area! And I can't wait to go back!
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