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One of the best activities parents can do with young children (and really, children of all ages) is get them out into nature. Let your kids walk through a forest, climb on some boulders, dig in the sand. When it comes to natural wonderlands, the Adirondack State Park, which encompasses much of the Northeast part of Upstate New York, is hard to beat. Inside the 6 million acre park are hundreds of lakes, rivers, hiking trails, and the famous 46 Adirondack High Peaks.
It can be daunting to figure out where to start, especially if you have young children. Recently, we had the good fortune to spend a long weekend in the Adirondacks with Sweet Pea. We discovered some great toddler-friendly nature trails, and a smaller lake that was not crowded and very family friendly.
First up on our weekend was a visit to the Adirondack Interpretive Center in Newcomb, NY. The center is a great stop for families with young children for two big reasons- the center itself, and the trails that surround it. The Center has numerous hands-on exhibits like rocks/minerals for the kids to touch and hold, the skins of various animals (like bear, raccoon, and squirrel), with the head still attached, and an activity room, where kids can do small nature-inspired crafts.
The trails that surround the Interpretive Center are the best part of the visit though. There are four trails that start from the center and we chose a 1.1 mile loop. This trail was very doable with an almost 2-year old and Sweet Pea walked almost the entire time, only asking to be picked up towards the end. The nature walk meandered through a beautiful stretch of forest, popping out every once in a while for fantastic views of the lake. It was a great day trip!
5922 State Route 28N
We spent the next day at Minerva Lake. Minerva is one of the smaller lakes and Adirondack communities, and as such, has a very family-friendly feel. There is both a tot lot and a playground for older kids, lots of swings, a campground, tennis courts, and a great snack bar. The main draw though is, of course, the lake. Donnelly Beach is the center of the action. It is a nice little beach, with a gentle slope into the lake. If swimming or sand castles are not your thing, the lake it very canoe and kayak friendly- especially since motorized boats are not allowed.
If you go, there are two options for camping, the public campgrounds and the private Morningside Camps & Cottages.
Minerva, NY- Donnelly Beach
Morningside Camps & Cottages
Additionally, Lil’ Nony’s is a great place to stop for breakfast or to grab a sandwich for lunch. They make scrumptious donuts on site that smell amazing when they are fresh-baked.
Lil’ Nony’s Bakery & Sandwich Shop
1385 County Route 29
Olmstedville, NY 12857
Finally, if you go and are looking for family friendly accommodations, Laura at the Rocky Acres Inn is a great hostess. The B&B is very comfortable, both in the guest rooms and the living area, and the breakfast that Laura provides is delicious!
Rocky Acres Inn B&B
1094 Trout Brook Rd.
Schroon Lake, NY 12870
Thanks for reading and go out and play outdoors!
For more information on fun in the Adirondacks check out these links!