Boat Tours -- Explore Lake George by hopping aboard a sightseeing cruise, generally available from May to October. With the Lake George Steamboat Company, 57 Beach Rd., Lake George (tel. 800/553-BOAT or 518/668-5777; www.lakegeorgesteamboat.com), you can choose from 1- to 4-hour narrated cruises -- with or without a meal -- on the steamship paddle-wheeler or one of the other old-time ships. Just be aware that these tours are often filled to capacity. Another option is The Morgan, The Sagamore hotel's 72-foot replica of a 19th-century wooden vessel, active from Memorial Day to October (tel. 518/644-9400). For the Fulton Chain of Lakes, take a sightseeing cruise with Old Forge Lake Cruises (tel. 315/369-6473; www.oldforgecruises.com), or ply Raquette Lake's waters with the Raquette Lake Navigation Co. (tel. 315/354-5532; www.raquettelakenavigation.com).
Canoeing and Kayaking -- The best way to explore this beautiful part of the park just might be with a paddle in hand. With lakes at every turn, canoeing and kayaking bring you up close to the waters that are such an essential part of the Adirondack experience. Keep an eye out for white-tailed deer, red fox, beaver, and numerous bird species. More reclusive are the black bear, coyote, and moose. The Fulton Chain of Lakes is a popular and heavily trafficked route, with eight lakes spanning 16 miles. From First through Fifth lakes, you'll find a continuous waterway lined with summer cottages. But you'll have to carry your boat to reach the remaining lakes, which are less developed. Lake George is also a gorgeous place to paddle, with crystal-clear spring-fed waters and a wealth of islands and small bays. It's 32 miles long, so you'll be better off in a sea kayak if you want to do some serious exploring. Get your canoe or kayak from Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company, Route 28 in Old Forge (tel. 877/226-6369 or 315/369-6672; www.mountainmanoutdoors.com). In the Lake George area, try Lake George Kayak Co., Main Street, Bolton Landing (tel. 518/644-9366; www.lakegeorgekayak.com).
Downhill Skiing -- Lake Placid's Whiteface it ain't, but Gore Mountain (tel. 518/251-2411; www.goremountain.com) isn't exactly your neighbor's backyard, either. It boasts some serious expert trails and a gondola of its own, making for a fun day on a 3,600-foot summit and 82 alpine trails. Bonus: Since the folks up in Whiteface run this place, too, multiday tickets of at least 2 days are good at both mountains if you must get your Olympic fix.
Golf -- The Sagamore (tel. 866/385-6221) has the area's most renowned links; the work of famous course designer Donald Ross, it dates to 1929. The first tee starts off with a spectacular view of Lake George, but the lake disappears after that. Greens fees for the visiting public are $100-$145 for 18 holes, or $80-$90 after 2pm. Over on the western side, Thendara Golf Course (tel. 315/369-3136) is another well-known Donald Ross creation, from 1921 (the back 9 were added in 1959). Greens fees are $35, or $25 if you tee off after 3pm. Just beware -- at dusk, the mosquitoes come out with a vengeance.
Hiking -- Bald Mountain, east of Old Forge, is a steep but short (2-mile round-trip) climb that offers several open vistas and a fantastic open rocky summit. Cascade Lake, just north of Eagle Bay, is a 5.5-mile easy loop that takes you to a scenic lake with a beautiful narrow waterfall at its eastern end. Around Lake George, the climb up Black Mountain runs 8.5 miles round-trip with a 1,100-foot vertical rise. The payoff? A rocky summit and amazing views. The Buck Mountain trail (6.6 miles round-trip) is another good option for a moderate hike. For more hikes, pick up a copy of Barbara McMartin's 50 Hikes in the Adirondacks: Short Walks, Day Trips, and Backpacks Throughout the Park, 4th Edition (Countryman Press), or contact the Adirondack Mountain Club, 814 Goggins Rd., Lake George (tel. 800/395-8080 or 518/668-4447; www.adk.org). The club also does group outings several times a year. For maps and supplies, try Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company, Route 28 in Old Forge (tel. 877/226-6369 or 315/369-6672; www.moutainmanoutdoors.com).
Rafting -- The Lower Moose River, near Old Forge, is serious white water -- April and early May bring Class IV and V rapids (on a scale of I to V). The Middle Moose River is more mellow, perfect for families and inexperienced rafters, from May to October. You can do either with Whitewater Challengers in Old Forge (tel. 800/443-RAFT).
Snowmobiling -- With some 15 feet of snow each year, the Old Forge area often makes national news. When the snow hits, adventurers race up here to plow through the backwoods of the Inlet/Old Forge area. The most popular snowmobile route connects Old Forge and Inlet to the Sargent Ponds area, the Moose River Recreation Area, and the Jessup River Wild Forest. For a trail map, check out www.hamiltoncounty.com. For trail conditions and a downloadable permit application, go to www.inletny.com or call the Town of Inlet Information Office (tel. 866/GOINLET).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.