Get Comfortable: Summer Events in Hamilton County

Summertime in the Adirondacks - what could be better?

The lakes, the forest, the mountains, waterfalls, and endless trails! It should be your summer vacation destination! Best of all, summer includes a lot of great events!

Here are eventful reasons to escape to the Adirondacks…

Night time photo of an orange tent glowing from the campfire light nearby. In the background is the black silhouette of pine trees against the night sky filled with stars and with the Milky Way in view.
Under the Stars Photo by Brooke O'Neil

Fishing, hiking, and birding

Nothing is better than a night under the stars - especially when you can see them! Did you know that the Adirondacks are one of the best places for stargazing in the world? Plus, all the other great reasons like campfires, s’mores, cool, crisp mornings, and the sounds of nature! With a plethora of state campgrounds, and a full spectrum of availabilities that range from bringing in your RV with most of the comforts of home to roughing it in the backcountry; you can find a spot that suits your interests. Many have lake access for swimming, paddling, or boating.

Let's not forget fishing! Fishing and camping go together like peanut butter and jelly, and we have many fishing derbies happening throughout the summer for youth and adults! Here's three!

Plus, you can usually find a good trail to hike or mountain nearby for a change of pace. The Northville-Placid Trail is celebrating 100 years of adventure! You can take part in this historic event by hiking on the trail, volunteering for one of the trail maintenance projects, or joining any of the celebration events happening throughout the county, like the Trail Mix & Tunes taking place along the trail in Piseco!

You can't be outdoors in the Adirondacks without experiencing the wildlife! Did you know that that Adirondacks is home to over 100 species of birds? Birding is a popular activity in this region, and it is home to many Important Birding Areas (IBAs).

  • Each year Hamilton County hosts the Adirondack Boreal Birding Festival in early June.
  • Missed out this year? Don't worry! There's always next year, not to mention several birding hikes happening throughout the summer with popular guide, Joan Collins. Sign up for a 'Birding Hike with Joan', as she leads a group in July, August, and September, but be sure to register soon as space is limited! 

Not into roughing it? There is a variety of accommodation to choose from! Particular to the Adirondacks are Great Camps like Great Camp Sagamore, where, even if you don’t stay there, they make for an experiential day trip as you get a glimpse of the historical Adirondack high life! Come the first weekend in August for Durant Days, a celebration full of activities celebrating William West Durant the inventor of the Great Camps Style Architecture!

A cyclist rides past a restaurant downtown in a small Adirondack town.

Artisan and antique fairs

Sprinkled throughout this vast expanse of wilderness are the quaint yet rugged small towns. Here you’ll find all that you need- souvenirs, good coffee, and cozy sweatshirts, in these locally-owned shops!

You'll also want to be in town for the great artisan fairs happening throughout the summer! Exquisite craftsmanship from woodworkers to jewelry artists, potters, photographers, and so many more

Live music and theater

Live music at the end of a summer day is a great way to wind down while enjoying the company of friends and family! Whether it's in the park or by the lake, we've got your music destination. See who's playing and when at:

There's even special events and activities for children! Kids art classes offered every Wednesday throughout July and August at the Mt. Sabattis Pavilion in Long Lake and kids' craft camps at the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts. For the curious creature lovers, there's the Monarch and Milkweed Festival in Indian Lake and the Utica Zoomoblie will be driving up to the Mt. Sabattis Pavilion, bringing some furry and slithering friends of a more exotic nature!

A small log cabin at the Adirondack Experience Museum, with a little boy and little girl playing with the wooden toys and baskets.
Kids Explore at the ADKX

Whatever the weather

Weather in NY is just about as unpredictable as it can get. Come prepared! It’s great to plan for a week of living out of your tent, but it’s better to know what’s available around you for those wet, soggy days. There are plenty of indoor destinations! Head to the Indian Lake Theater for a movie or the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts, they not only have an art gallery to view but you can also be entertained by the theatrical and musical performances scheduled over the summer. If you like to take part in the art, they also have adult workshops and kid's art camps.

Local history

A definite must do- rain or shine- is the Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake! Filled with interactive exhibits, a new exhibit this year highlighting the historic Nothville-Placid Trail, with special lectures and a tour when you sign up for the Tuesday Trail Talks, and Tours, ADK history, great views of the lake, and even a fire tower to climb. It is a 5-star review for all ages!

If you enjoy local history, there are many historical places and museums to explore! The Piseco Lake Historical Society is hosting several authors over the summer:

A view of Mason Lake from a yellow kayak with hills and pine trees in the background under a blue sky with some white puffy clouds, all reflecting into the water.
Mason Lake

On the water and in the air

In lieu of the paddles, perhaps you prefer the open water and wind in your sails! If that's the case, then Piseco Lake is your place this summer! The Piseco Lake Yacht Club has many activities scheduled for the 2024 season from Varsity Class sailing races running throughout the summer, Senior Regatta, and the Sunfish Bowl, to less competitive events like just getting together to sail around the lake, and even an introduction to sailing clinic to see if this new way of traversing the water is for you.

Relaxing paddles on the water are enjoyable, but have you ever done a paddle poker run?? If not, you have a few opportunities this summer to join in the fun and raise some money for good causes!

Other on-the-water events include:

  • Blu Moula Bufura, yes, you read that right! The prettiest darn race in America takes paddlers and rowers on a grand tour of Blue Mountain, Eagle, and Utowawa Lakes. 14.7 mile and 1.5-mile races for canoes, kayaks, guide boats, SUPs, and shells; all levels welcome!
  • You can sign up for that race to prepare you for the big one, the Adirondack Canoe Classic 90-miler! There are over 500 competitors from all over the world. The 90 Miler is open to all age groups and classes, from professional to family recreational. Bring your game face, great attitude, adventurous spirit, and your favorite companions to be a part of these special events!
  • There’s even an opportunity to do what you love for a great cause and possible Guinness world record! One Square Mile of Hope, which is taking place, Saturday, September 14th, 2024, which benefits the Golisano Children's Hospitals in Rochester & Syracuse and first responders, will have an attempt to break their previous record for the largest canoe and kayak raft!

If small planes are more your jam (or speed), then you definitely don't want to miss the Annual Lion's Club Fly-In Breakfast at the Piseco Airport!! This unique experience is well worth the ticket for a scrumptious breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, juice, coffee or tea, plus you get to watch the planes fly in and take off as well as walk around seeing them up close and personal. It is fun for the whole family!

A young woman and two young men, posing for the photo in a fire tower over looking the Adirondack lakes and mountains in the background.
Fire Tower Success

Leisurely active

Do you find relaxing hard and need a purpose? Check out the many 'Challenges' offered in the region. Hiking challenges, waterfall, fire tower, bike, paddle, and many more! You can do them at your own pace and once you’ve accomplished the goal, you often get a token for your achievement- along with the bragging rights!

Besides the many races to take part in on the water, there are also some races and walks happening for a good cause on land!

  • The Longest Day Walk in Inlet is in direct support for all the caregivers who struggle to take care of their loved ones with Alzheimer's and other forms of Dementia.
  • The Adirondack Interpretive Center hosts many educational events and would love you to join them for the Elaine Schwartz Memorial Woods Walk, along with this summer’s Interpretive Naturalist Intern for a walk and talk on their Rich Lake Trail.
  • Blue Mountain Lake is a picturesque town for this Adirondack 5K, the Blue Mountain Lake Sizzler. The Blue Mountain Lake Association is planning and sponsoring this event and participants can choose the category they prefer and there's even one for lil' ADKers: 5K road race, 5K recreational walk/jog, and a kids' half mile.
  • Jump in your vehicle with your crew and take on the Amazing Race Road Rally happening in Long Lake! Drive around Long Lake following a set of ridiculous instructions. On vacation, not sure where you’re going? That’s ok, the directions even confound the natives! Fun time with great prizes and memories made for a lifetime! 

Cycling

We even have events for those who prefer their outdoors activities on two wheels!

  • If you're not already signed up for this year's Black Fly Challenge come on out and cheer on the 1000 bikers participating this year! The Black Fly Challenge is a legendary Adirondack bike race held annually on the second Saturday in June. This 40-mile gravel grinder passes through the Adirondack backcountry, traversing the rugged Moose River Plains and continuing along waterways, dirt paths, and rugged trails through dense forest.

Be in the know before you go!

Check out Adirondack Experience to see the specific events happening in these small towns and big outdoors. Everything from live music to farmer’s markets and artisan fairs, big events like the Northville-Placid Trail 100 Anniversary with celebrations happening throughout the summer, kayak poker paddles, fishing derbies, trivia nights, etc. There’s something for everyone!

So, whether you’re glamping, camping, day tripping, or are just lucky enough to reside here- there is plenty of fun and adventure to be had this summer!

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