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Boating New York’s Lake George

Known as ‘The Queen of American Lakes,’ it’s easy to see why Lake George is such a wonderful boating destination.

Located about 50 miles north of New York’s capital of Albany, Lake George has a long history that’s made it an interesting destination for centuries. Long a Native American boating artery, Lake George was pivotal in both the French and Indian wars, as well as the American Revolution. The lake was named in honor of King George in the mid-1700s, when there was also a Battle of Lake George to extinguish French rights in the U.S. Erected during the war, Fort William Henry (named for King George’s brother) from this war is now a museum.

Fed by huge underground springs, Lake George is approximately 32 miles long and ranges from one to three miles in width for a total boating area of almost 45 square miles. Featuring a widely varied shoreline, about 300 islands, and depths of anywhere from one to 195 feet, The Queen of American Lakes is among royalty when it comes to boating destinations.

The mouth of the lake is located at Lake George Village and the outlet is up at Ticonderoga. The water is remarkably clear, with many locals and seasonal residents actually taking their drinking water directly from the lake. Boating conditions are typically ideal spring to fall, though cooler temperatures and wind-driven waves can occur at any time.

Thanks to development restrictions, Lake George’s shoreline is relatively undeveloped (especially on the eastern shoreline). The lake’s topography ranges from rich groves of trees to sandy beaches, marshes, and rocky cliffs.

Boating is definitely one of the most popular activities on the lake, with the possibilities including many marinas, quiet coves for anchoring, many beaches, secluded islands, picnicking, convenient restaurants and shopping, unique accommodations for those not staying on their boat, and so much more. Many of the islands on Lake George are state-owned and -run, making for several popular places to picnic, camp, and other activities only reached by boaters. Boating families will alslo enjoy options like amusement and water parks, miniature golf, arcades, go-carts, and even regularly scheduled rodeos.

Fishing (from boats, docks, and the shoreline) is a popular pursuit. Perch and bass are plentiful and several charter fishing companies can help visitors land the big ones from Lake George’s deep waters.

In addition, scuba diving is a popular activity for those certified to dive. Thanks to clear water and several historic shipwrecks, boaters who are divers have a further reason to head to Lake George.

One of the beauties of Lake George is the variety of shoreside activities within walking distance of marinas, docks, and boat ramps. Lake George Village offers a true village setting, where the possibilities include a cruise on the Minne-Ha-Ha (a steam ship paddle wheeler), dining, miniature golf, war reenactments, carriage and trolley rides, swimming, nightlife, and more. Other communities around the lake, like Bolton, Lake George, Cleverdale, and Diamond Point, offer additional dining, shopping, and further options near marinas.

During the summer, there are several excellent boat shows. The Antique and Classic Boat Show is one of the most interesting and this year it’s at the public docks in Lake George Village on August 24th.

The marina scene on Lake George is quite extensive for a body of water its size. Marinas (and boat ramps) are spread throughout the area, with concentrations in Bolton Landing, Diamond Point, Lake George, Lake George Village, and Cleverdale. Some of the best bets (all within area code 518) include: Adirondack Marine (668-2658); Beckley’s Boats (668-2651); Dockside Landing Marine (543-8888); Dunham’s Bay Boat and Launch (798-1718); Fischer’s Marine (656-9981); Gilchrist Marina (668-2028); Hall’s Marina (668-5437); Port Jerry Marina (644-3311); Snug Harbour (543-8866); U-Drive Boat Rentals (668-9234); Water’s Edge Marina (644-2511); and Yankee Boats (668-2862).

Of course, other small marinas, public ramps, and facilities for boaters are situated throughout the area. The Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce (see below) can help boaters find the best bet for their boats and circumstances.


For boating and tourism information, contact the Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 272, Lake George, NY 12845 (518-668-5755 or 800-705-0059; www.lakegeorgechamber.com). They offer a great free Travel Guide and even an invormative video ($5.95). Visiting boaters who bring their boats will find it quite easy to launch and dock, but will need to purchase a Lake George Park Commission boat permit (from the Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce main office or at most marinas).