Sure, the Catskills are closer – but have you even Adirondacked?

At six million acres large, the Adirondack Mountains are the largest protected natural area in the lower 48 states. The park is bigger than the Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon National Park combined — and it’s right in our backyard!

Many New Yorkers think the Adirondacks are too far for a weekend; but the park begins just 215 miles from NYC, easily reached in under four hours. (Or catch the daily flight from JFK to SLK!) Enthusiasts of all hobbies and skill levels can hike extraordinary trails, canoe breathtaking ponds and lakes – or spend days traversing the cultural offerings of the region’s shopping, food and breweries.

Below, we’re sharing three favorite Adirondack getaways to call home base while exploring this expansive wilderness. After each summary, check out the expanded version of each guide in the links below, with our favorite hikes and outdoor activities, where to eat and drink, and what to expect at each authentic Adirondack lodge.

Great Camp Sagamore: Raquette Lake, NY

The Stay:

Classic Adirondack lodge rooms in the main building, plus private lakefront cabins, share larger shared spaces including a stunning lakeside dining hall – where guests are served three meals a day.

The Property:

An all-inclusive rate grants access to trails, watercraft including canoes and kayaks, property tours, short guided hikes, bowling and more at this iconic Adirondack Great Camp.

The main lodge hosts nightly fires in its massive living room where guests can recap their adventures, or hang by the many outdoor fire pits.

The Guests:

Several hiking trails on the shorter side, tons of programming, and three family-style meals a day in its dining room, make this our pick for families to spend time exploring the Adirondacks.

For a deeper dive, check out the Escape Brooklyn Guide to Great Camp Sagamore.

White Pine Camp: Paul Smiths, NY

The Stay:

Thirteen distinctively cozy cabins and cottages feature soaring roof lines, hand-built Adirondack style furniture, stone fireplaces or wood stoves, and breathtaking views.

The Property:

Trails through the property are perfect for leisurely strolls, while swimming, fishing, and boating on Osgood Pond lets guests take in the serenity of the Adirondacks just steps from their cabin’s door.

All guests have unlimited access to shared facilities at White Pine Camp: including a Great Room, equipped with WiFi; a Japanese Tea House on a tiny island accessed by a 300-foot wooden bridge; hand-set bowling alley and pool room; a boat house with kayaks, canoes and rowboats for guest use; and many outdoor decks and patios.

The Guests:

This property is great for the casual explorer and couples: it’s light on on-site hiking trails, but close to many – and favors the many water adventures to be had onsite. Bringing your own food and drinks might save you some dough, plus you can eat on your own schedule.

For a deeper dive, check out the Escape Brooklyn Guide to Saranac Region of the Adirondacks.

Elk Lake Lodge: North Hudson, NY

The Stay:

Petite but cozy rooms are located in Elk Lake’s main lodge, not far from the lobby, shared living space with a massive fireplace, and onsite restaurant/dining room.

The Property:

Located at the end of a five mile dirt road, inside the 12,000 acre Elk Lake Clear Pond Preserve, the lodge is ringed by the Adirondack Park’s High Peaks Wilderness.

Enjoy pristine Adirondack trails and water (with included watercraft access) minus the crowds. An onsite restaurant, plus daily snacks are included in pricing.

The Guests:

Our pick for the real outdoor enthusiast of the three options, with 40+ miles of hiking trails located within a massive, private nature preserve. Two meals a day included, we love that lunch is prepared to-go, so you can enjoy in the great outdoors.

For a deeper dive, check out the Escape Brooklyn Guide to Elk Lake Lodge.

Created in collaboration with the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism; all views and recommendations are our own.