What to Do in Raquette Lake: The Perfect Adirondack Getaway
August 11, 2020
It’s no secret that the Adirondack region is one of my favorite places in the world. I spent summers there as a kid, and so did my husband. It’s magical up in the mountains. Camping, boating, hiking, fishing – there’s so much to do. And Raquette Lake has just as much charm as the rest of the park. It’s no wonder my husband’s grandparents met there as children and continued to go back every summer. The family has been camping at the same sites at Golden Beach State Park for a century – and I’m proud to have become a part of it. With several summers under my belt, I’ve got a growing list of what to do in Raquette Lake. It’s our home away from home.
A Guide to Raquette Lake
Located in the heart of the Adirondacks, Raquette Lake is about 15 minutes north of Inlet, 30 minutes north of Old Forge. It’s part of the Low Peaks region, with its mountains smaller than the 46 high peaks.
Where to Stay in Raquette Lake
Golden Beach Campground
The Benjamin family has been camping at Golden Beach for roughly a century. And always around the same few road sites. Why? Because the campground is right on the water, there is easy beach access, and there are adequate facilities.
Visitors can choose to stay in the park on a tent or RV site. But for those who want a more private experience, rent one of the road sites along Route 28. That’s what we do! We have our own access right to the water, where the family anchors our boat when we are camping. But, there is no electricity or plumbing, so it’s strictly for campers who don’t mind it being more rustic! (Don’t worry, if you reserve these sites, you still have access to everything in the park. That includes hot showers and proper toilets!)
Camping at Golden Beach is super budget-friendly, as most state parks are. Sites are typically $20 per night, with an additional charge for out-of-state guests. Each site also has its own fire pit.
Tioga Point Campground
Looking for something a little more unique? Check out Tioga Point Campground. Accessible only by boat, Tioga Point takes the remote camping experience to another level. There are a handful of lean-to sites and tent sites available, but no running water or facilities. Perfect for more experienced campers who want a bit more privacy! There is beach access for those who are camping there, and the views are incredible.
Like anywhere you go in the Adirondacks, there is so much to do in Raquette Lake. It’s the perfect escape for nature lovers, families with kids, or couples looking for a getaway.
While not in the high peak region, there are still plenty of trails and smaller mountains to explore.
Located just outside of Inlet, Rocky Mountain and Blue Mountain share a parking lot on the side of Route 28. For a half-mile, moderate hike to some incredible views, choose Rocky Mountain. If you’ve got a little more time, and want to wander a little further through the forest, choose Black Bear. There are two trails (yellow and blue) that will both lead you about 2.5 miles up to the top, but yellow is the milder of the two.
If you’re looking for something a little more challenging, check out some of the slightly higher peaks a little further away: Wakely, Blue, and Owls Head. PS – When you’re out on the water in the middle of Raquette Lake, you get a gorgeous view of Blue.
Lastly, not far from Golden Beach you’ll also find Death Brook Falls. Just a short walk off the road, it’s a pretty little spot!
Raquette Lake is a gorgeous lake for a boat ride. It’s the largest natural lake in the Adirondacks, just north of its smaller, neighboring Fulton Chain counterparts. There are also lots of bays to explore while you’re out on the water – and gorgeous views of the surrounding water.
Canoeing & Kayaking
For a more adventurous experience on the water, trying canoeing or kayaking. With the smaller size, you can venture further through the nooks and crannies around the lake, even traveling through the waterways to surrounding lakes.
Don’t have a boat, canoe, or kayak of your own? Don’t worry, there are a few marinas in town that rent them out. Located close to each other, both Burke’s Marina and Bird’s Marine offer options for daily rentals for a variety of water equipment. They both also offer boat launches.
Any good fisherman will fall in love with Raquette Lake. A variety of trout, sunfish, smallmouth bass, and more are swimming in the waters. A yearly Bass Fishing Tournament is held every July and there’s even ice fishing in the winter. Just make sure to grab your NYS fishing license and your poles before you leave home.
Swimming and Sunbathing
What camping trip is complete without a bit of relaxation? Raquette is a great spot for swimming, whether it be on the beach or out in the middle. It’s also pretty kid-friendly along the shore because the depth of the water there is shallow.
While visiting the lake, you also need to check out the charm of tiny Raquette Village. The general store in town is exactly what you’d imagine from a small-town Hallmark movie. They also stock a wide selection of Adirondack souvenirs, groceries, and camping essentials. If you forgot something at home, I bet they have it there! And don’t forget to get yourself a fresh baked good or ice cream when you visit.
A little further away is the larger village of Inlet, one of my favorite places to visit. There are several more cozy shops to check out. And more ice cream, of course!
One of the best parts about visiting the Adirondacks is the wildlife viewing. In addition to the typical chipmunks, squirrels, and deer, there is quite a variety of native birds and fish. The loons are an Adirondack favorite, and beautiful to listen to as you fall asleep at night.
Don’t forget the bears! Yes, the Adirondacks is home to black bears. Whenever you are camping, please be extra mindful that there could be bears in the area. The campgrounds have strict rules about leaving out food and trash, so as not to attract them.