The Lake George NY area is known as America’s Original Vacation and a playground for NYC residents looking for a weekend escape. The area is now filled with luxurious resorts and other amenities. But there are still plenty of activities for families looking to stretch their dollar while still having a fun-filled vacation. These 5 free activities to do with kids in Lake George NY are tried and tested by my own family and made our week in the Adirondacks especially memorable!
Free Beaches in Lake George NY
A trip to Lake George isn’t complete without a day or three spent at the beach. The gorgeous views of the Adirondacks with the calm water ahead of you is breathtaking. Fortunately, Lake George has plenty of free, public beaches for you to enjoy!
Shepard Park Beach– if you are staying downtown in the village of Lake George, Shepard Park Beach will be your go-to beach. It’s completely free and an easy walk from anywhere in the village. With a roped-off area for swimmers, it’s a great option for families.
The beach also boasts public restrooms, a playground and benches. We took our own beach chairs out of personal preference, but they aren’t necessary! Depending on the time of year you go, you want to think of the water temperature since this is upstate New York. We went in June and were glad to have long-sleeved swim shirts with us!
Million Dollar Beach– This is the largest and most popular beach in Lake George. If you have teenagers with you or are young adults, this is the beach you want to visit! It’s also great for families since there are picnic areas, grills, lifeguards and volleyball courts.
While the beach is completely free, there is a small fee for parking if you need to use the parking lot. We didn’t and were able to enjoy a completely free day at the beach with plenty of amenities!
Usher Park Beach– This Lake George beach is ideal for families with small children. It’s a much smaller beach and just down the road from Million Dollar Beach. The water is shallow in all spots and there is always a lifeguard on duty.
It also boats public restrooms, a playground and picnic facilities. There is a steep hill to get down to the beach, but there are state park employees who are able to help you carry your stuff if you need that perk!
Live Music in Lake George NY
No matter where we travel, we try to find some local, live music. Luckily for us, Lake George’s music scene is active and lively! You will find plenty of kids dancing and enjoying the free concerts at the park!
Shepard Park Amphitheatre– In the heart of the village of Lake George, there is live music nearly every night at the Shepard park Amphitheatre. Be sure to check out the summer schedule, to see the full line-up and plan your trip accordingly.
All shows are completely free and family-friendly. The amphitheatre sits right beside the public beach and you have a gorgeous backdrop of the lake and the mountains. You can listen to live music while you watch the sun set over the lake!
There are stone seats built into the hill in front of the amphitheatre or benches through the grass. There is also plenty of room for you to bring your own chairs. No coolers are allowed, but we brought our own snacks and drinks and enjoyed a wonderful, free evening!
There is also live music at a lot of the local restaurants. Our favorite night of vacation was listening to a local act while sitting on the deck of the Shoreline. Check their schedule for upcoming acts and if you enjoy classic rock, we highly recommend catching PJ Ferguson!
Free Fireworks in Lake George NY
My family has been fortunate to catch some wonderful fireworks displays in my life, including the national fireworks in Washington D.C. But there is nothing quite like watching fireworks over the water.
Lake George sets off an incredible fireworks display on Thursdays during July and August. Be sure to check their fireworks schedule, because there are other random dates with fireworks displays as well.
Hiking in the Adirondack Mountains
A trip to the Adirondack Mountains would not be complete without a hike or two. The mountains are certainly a majestic backdrop from afar, but it’s even more breathtaking from the top! The Lake George Hiking Guide offers hikes that are suitable for all ages and abilities.
Prospect Mountain– From downtown Lake George, you can walk to the beginning of the Prospect Mountain trail and see views for 100 miles once you reach the top. This hike took my husband and teenage son around 3 hours total, but they were also taking their time and exploring some. My son actually hiked this trail twice during our week there, because it was so easily accessible from the village.
Shelving Rock Falls– If you’re looking for an easier hike or one suitable for small children, Shelving Rock Falls would be ideal. It’s an easy hike on a dirt trail, and you’ll be rewarded with waterfalls at the end! There are also geocaches to discover, a beaver dam and you’re able to swim in the lake if you choose as well!
Boat Watching on Lake George NY
Boat watching sounds like a subdued activity not worthy of mentioning, but I spent part of nearly every day doing just this! The village of Lake George makes it easy with the abundance of Adirondack chairs at the end of the lake.
It’s the perfect spot to relax with a drink and cinnamon bun while you watch the boats and parasailers. There are piers to walk out on, fishermen to talk to and a breathtaking view of the sunset. My husband and kids found me here most mornings while they woke up slowly.
All four of us often ended up back here each evening waiting for the boats to come in. It was the best view of the lake and ideal for pictures!
For about 5 years now, my kids have said our vacation to Migis Lodge on Sebago Lake in Maine was their absolute favorite vacation! They’ve told everyone about it and how they would pick it even over going back to Disney World!
Last year, our trip to Beaches Negril in Jamaica, edged everything else out for the top spot. It was a hard decision, and one they talked about A LOT… but it was just hard to top a Beaches vacation.
Until Lake George! The discussions they have had over what their vacation is are looong and detailed, but filled with funny stories and great memories! And no clear winner… so far!