The Perfect Camping Experience for Your Family

The snow is gone, there’s a warm breeze that has the whole family just itching to get outside, and that awesome camping gear that you got over the holidays is calling to you.

At long last, it’s camping time!

The Adirondacks are filled with all kinds of nooks and crannies that are great for camping. And right here, in the heart of the Adirondacks, there’s the perfect place for everyone. From first-time campers to experienced backpackers, we have so many choices that one of them is bound to be the perfect match for you.

Relaxing in a hammock at Lewey Lake Campground

Campgrounds and Camping on the Water

Campgrounds are the logical choice for many campers. Beginning and even first-time campers will find a campground set-up easy to adjust and settle in to without a hitch. Most of our campgrounds are run by New York State and are located close to a variety of outdoor activities. Campsites are scattered throughout each campground with hot showers and bathrooms just a short walk from every site. Many of the campgrounds in our area can accommodate tents, small campers and even RVs. Unfortunately, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation campgrounds do not provide hookups for RVs.

Speculator is home to two great campgrounds: Lewey Lake Campground and Indian Lake Islands.

Lewey Lake has almost 200 campsites to choose from! Each unique site features a fireplace for campfires, a picnic table, and an area for a tent, camper, or RV. Secondary roads meander through shady areas for tents and even lakeside campsites. This network of lanes also leads to a sandy beach and a boat launch for canoes, kayaks, and small motorboats.
Across and up the road from the entrance to Lewey Lake Campground is another, completely different, campground: Indian Lake Islands. (These two lakes are actually connected by water.) A handful of the Lewey Lake campsites are actually across Route 30 on Indian Lake and accessible by road.

Indian Lake Islands campsites are all boat-access only which means, of course, they’re all right on the water! If you don’t have access to a boat, don’t panic; canoe rentals are available right at the campground.
Indian Lake is twelve miles long and has a number of islands with campsites scattered throughout. The lake is fed by the Jessup River and some of the campground’s campsites extend to the shores of the Jessup. This campground is the perfect solution if you want to make sure you’ve got easy access to swimming, boating, fishing or just floating around!

Campsites at Tioga Point, Racquette Lake

Wilderness Camping

Maybe this camping trip isn’t your “first rodeo” - as they say - or maybe you’re just ready for a more immersive camping experience. If so, then you should think about taking your family for a wilderness camping adventure and create some memories that will be talked about for years to come. Of course, be sure to check with everyone in your group first because they’ll have to be ready for outhouses and no access to hot showers. However, the advantages are huge, including peace and quiet and tranquil settings. Wilderness campsites are usually spread far apart and allow you and your family to truly unwind, relax and simply enjoy being in the forests of the Adirondacks.

These free campsites in wilderness areas are on a first-come, first-served basis and there is no reservation system, so be prepared to make adjustments if the site you stayed in last year is already taken. But many families will tell you stories about meeting people at nearby campsites and then staying friends for years, often planning future camping adventures together.

Long Lake is where you will find the Whitney and Round Lake Wilderness Areas, two hidden gems with fabulous opportunities for wilderness camping. Over 60 designated campsites - some for tents and some lean-tos - are scattered among seven small bodies of water: Little Tupper Lake, Lake Lila, Hardigan Pond, Little Salmon Lake, Round Lake, Rock Pond, and Rock Pond Outlet. The remoteness of camping in these wilderness areas is what makes it so special. Many of these sites are only accessible by water so you might need to pack your gear into a canoe and paddle over to your site!

Camping on Cedar River Flow in Moose River Plains

Primitive Camping in Moose River Plains

Nestled between Indian Lake and Inlet is the Moose River Plains Recreation Area. This unique area offers a special camping experience. A seasonal secondary road, Moose River Road, connects the two entrance points, one at the end of Cedar River Road and one off Limekiln Lake Road in Inlet. Along Moose River Road are approximately 140 campsites, easily accessed from the road and all free of charge. Many of these primitive sites have picnic tables, fire rings and outhouses. Some sites are located by streams, some on ponds, and all are blissfully in the middle of nowhere. Families who come to Moose River Plains to camp often return year after year.
Throughout the Moose River Plains complex are numerous hiking trails, biking trails, and tons of streams to splash in and fish. At the Indian Lake entrance there is a group of campsites, including several handicap accessible, at Cedar River Flow. Many of these are right on the flow, a hotspot for fishing.

And winding its way north right through Moose River Plains complex is the Northville-Placid Trail, a 133 mile-long hiking trail that connects Northville and Lake Placid. This trail leads me to another rung in the camping experience ladder: backpacking.

Lean-to on the Northville-Placid Trail

Backpack camping

There’s no better way to really get into the back woods, far, far away from everyone, than by packing all your gear into a pack and setting out on the trail. You can choose a destination that’s just a few miles away from the trailhead, or you can plan to hike for a few days, setting up camp every night as you work your way to that secluded lean-to or that secret pond-side campsite that you heard about from a friend.

The Northville-Placid Trail may be 133 miles long, but that doesn’t mean you have to hike all of it! There are a number of accessible trailheads that can be used as jumping off points for your backpacking adventure.
The village of Piseco has one such access point. From Route 30, you can either head south along the NPT and into the Silver Lake Wilderness or hike north towards the West Canada Lakes Wilderness. Either way, you will encounter wooded trails, Adirondack lean-tos, picturesque waterways and peaceful solitude.

Do your research beforehand, as these are some of the most remote areas in the Adirondacks. A little pre-planning will go a long way on the trail.

Arrowhead Park Cottages in Inlet

“Cabin” Camping

Some of you may be reading this and thinking, “Yeah…no. Uh uh. Not me. Not ever. That’s too much ‘outside’ for me.” But I’m here to tell you that yes, even you can go camping! You just have to expand your definition of “camping” to “cabin camping.” After all, the Adirondacks are famous for their over-the-top elaborate Great Camps. (Psst: while you’re in the area, be sure to visit Adirondack Experience, the museum on Blue Mountain Lake to get an up close look at Adirondack Great Camps and more!)

Inlet has a wonderful assortment of cabins and cottages that will give you that Adirondack Camp experience without having to sleep under the stars. From ADK Little Cabins to Inlet’s own historic Arrowhead Park Cottages, just a hop, skip and a jump from the lake’s edge, you’re sure to fall in love with lovely little Inlet during your cabin stay.

So come on over to the heart of the Adirondacks where the wilderness is right at your fingertips and adventures await at the next bend in the trail. Start making your family’s future memories right here.

The view from an Adirondack campsite

Where to Find the Coolest Stuff

If you are anything like me, when you have the chance to do some shopping, you love to wander around and spend time looking at everything. Whether you are in the market for a...

Short Hikes

Known for its High Peaks and tough trails, hiking in the Adirondacks can seem a little daunting for beginners or those with families. But, I’m here to tell you, while we do have...

Summer Events

We have great events going on here year round, but when summer comes around our calendars are jam packed! Here is a sampling of what's to come this summer! Farmers Markets Every...

Lakefront Lodging

The Southern Adirondacks are peppered with great places to spend the night. Whether you prefer to stay right in the hustle and bustle of town, a secluded cabin in the woods, or in a...

The Perfect Camping Experience for Your Family

The snow is gone, there’s a warm breeze that has the whole family just itching to get outside, and that awesome camping gear that you got over the holidays is calling to you. At...

Best Places to Fish

We all know that avid fishermen are notoriously tight-lipped about their fishing spots. So much so that when I asked around about favorites, the most useful response I got was "on...

Run the ADKs

Whether you are a serious athlete who competes in marathons, or if you love to just take a casual jog now and then, the Adirondacks are the perfect beautiful setting to do your...

Your Family Reunion in the Adirondacks

If you're looking for the perfect place for your next family reunion, look no further than right here in the Adirondacks! We are home to many great locations for your family to get...

5 Great Options for Spring Hikes

We’ve all been there: winter (no matter where you have been) feels like it has stretched on forever. Every day the sun is creeping higher on the horizon and you’re feeling that itch...

Top 4 Ways to Enjoy Winter

You may be thinking “I’m getting the winter blues and I need a vacation,” and I know the first thing that pops into your head is somewhere tropical, but why not try something...

Fall Festivals

Many people think of the Adirondacks as a place to visit in the summer when they can enjoy the lakes and the beautiful green scenery. Or, maybe as a place to visit in the middle of...

Hiking Wakely Mountain

A couple of years ago, the fire tower on Wakely Mountain had some structural damage. Because it is so tall, it takes quite a beating from winds. The four support posts of the tower...

Beach Cruiser Biking...Adirondack Style

There are different ways you can experience the Adirondacks on bike: bike tours, mountain biking, singletrack trails, bike races, triathlons, and even a quadrathlon. I’m not a racer...

Summertime = Beachtime

One of my favorite summertime activities here in the Adirondacks is taking my kids and spending the day at the beach. We love to go to the public beach in Speculator. This is the...

Fishing for a Good Time With Your Kids

Whether you’re looking for a way to get your kids outdoors, sneak in a little extra family time, or just go out and show your son or daughter how to catch their own dinner, fishing...

Guide to a great day on the Hudson!

“All Forward!” “Stop!” “Back on the right!” “Hit the deck!” For eight years as a licensed whitewater raft guide, I’ve called out these - and other - commands to many different crews...

Things To Do Indoors

We are right in the thick of winter here in the Adirondacks and let me tell you what, it has been COLD! There have been many consecutive nights of negative temperatures — some...

7 Days at Lake Durant

 My adventures in  car camping days began a few years ago . While paddling on a local lake, I encountered a  friend paddling with other people from the Albany area. I was all ears...

Valentine's Day Tradition

While this will be mine and my husband's first Valentine's Day as a married couple, it is hardly our first rodeo. This will be our 11th Valentine's Day together. Our first being on...