Ultimate Camping Trip With Friends to Lake Placid

Updated: Jul 20

If you’re going to visit Lake Placid and plan to camp, I highly recommend you stay at Wilmington KOA. The facilities are wonderful and it works for large groups. Lake Placid is a very special place for me where my family has been going almost my whole life. Then in July 2017, my sister and I embarked on the biggest mission, bring our friends to experience this amazing place!

We went for five days, from Thursday to Monday to accommodate friends coming and going so we also had to coordinate groups and facilitate plans to not be repetitive but also give them an amazing experience.

If you are looking to go with friends for a long weekend here is the best way to experience it!


Before getting into the guide, let’s figure out how far this is from certain destinations near Lake Placid and a major airport.

Directions from Montreal, Quebec, Canada: 1 hour and 51 minutes

Directions from NYC: 4 hours 50 minutes

Directions from Stewarts Airport: 3 hours and Thirty One Minutes


Why KOA Wilmington?


Going on vacation with your friends in your mid-twenties can be challenging. People are getting into their careers, student debt, or just an easy way to plan a trip for a large group. As mentioned we got a tent campsite and cabin.

Something the is great about the KOA there is a social area like massive chess set to play and a playground. It was just something fun on our final night we had taken advantage of. 


The campsite is extremely clean, you have a full bathroom and showers. You don’t have to pay to use either. So after days of adventuring, it is wonderful to know you’ll be able to get cleaned.

Another thing that is great, the sites are decently spaced out so you can have a semblance of privacy when at your campsite at night. Me and my group of friends, would leave the campsite for breakfast and would not return till about 7 PM and that was to cook dinner. It was great to relax with a fire, drinks, food, and just socializing.

If you are looking for a nature escape in a clean space, you’ll want to check out this KOA. If you just want to get your toes wet with camping, KOA’s is the best place to start.


Recommend Camp Meals:


If you didn’t see this blog post, I talk about meals for camping in this post.

For both sites, you get a fire pit and picnic table. It is really wonderful. If you do not have a camping stove, which none of us did, you can get tin pans to cook all of your food in. If you haven’t camped before, as in the drive-up camp and don’t want to eat out every meal, I suggest talking to your group which meal would make sense for you.


My group, decided breakfast we would eat out, lunch would potentially be a snack or if you’ve been on an adventure focus trip you easily don’t eat. Dinner was our ideal time to cook our meals. Mainly stuck to burgers, hot dogs, and veggies. Anything you can easily put in a tin, let it be to cook and it’s ready to eat? That’s ideal.


Mirror Lake


If you ever seek a photo of Lake Placid or seen the movie Miracle, this is the lake you’ll see in so many photos of Lake Placid. This lake holds so much history and is a focal point of the town. Many people mistake this lake for being Lake Placid, yes there is an actual lake called Lake Placid in Lake Placid.

You are able to swim here at the public beach or if you’re staying at a location that has beach access you’ll have a private swim area. Different beaches allow you to rent paddle boats, paddleboards, or kayaks. If you have your own non-motorized watercraft of your own, you can launch from any public area on the lake and launch.


This is honestly one of the best things to do! Especially if you go in the morning, the mist that comes off the water in the morning is such a special thing.


Above is mainly summer focus since I’m sharing what you can do with a summer camping trip with friends. If you go in the winter, the is toboggan launch, ice skating, and dog sledding.

Whiteface Mountain


Many people know of Whiteface as the ski mountain in the winter for the area. If you stay at the KOA Wilmington site, when you turn out of the KOA, this is your view!

Whiteface in the summer is hiked, people mountain bike down by taking the gondola up the mountain. This if for little Whiteface. However, the main peak of Whiteface, if you want to accomplish climbing a 46er (a 46er is part of the 46 high peaks in the Adirondack State Park) you are able to do this.

There is a scenic drive up the mountain to a wonderful parking lot. That you have two options to get to the top, hike up, or take the elevator. You have these options for coming down as well. I suggest taking the elevator up and hiking down.


Be sure to wear close toes shoes! Sneakers are highly recommended. Be mindful of the edge when wandering the top.

Haystack Mountain, Not the Highpeak

This is a great hike! It is wonderful, but it is a challenge. Haystack is part of the 46 high peaks. Little haystack is the small peak of the mountain and was a solid wake up call to me of how out of shape I was. It made it even more glorious to reach the summit.

I’m sharing that I was out of shape, to keep in mind if you’re planning to do this hike, it’ll be a challenge. Looking back at the logistics, it is only 3.3 mile, which it honestly felt a lot longer. The elevation though is surreal.

If it had rained the day before, be prepared for a muddy hike. The beginning of the trail is similar to any hike you’d begin in the Adirondack’s, fallen pine needles everywhere. From there you come to water you need to cross over then rocky surfaces. This is all the easy part!

From here you come to a bend that is along water coming down the mountain, nothing like a waterfall more like a creek. At this point, you’ll just be climbing. I am only 5’2” and I needed help to be pulled up at different points.


It is seriously a challenge! The elevation is the crusher, the elevation is 2,878 feet. The ascent is 1,240 feet.

Walk the town


Lake Placid is such a cute town that will bring you back in time. There are so many adorable shops to get clothes to remember your trip. There are so many amazing spots to sit down and eat or take and eat along the water.


Behind the town library, there are Adirondack chairs set up to sit and enjoy the view of Mirror Lake and Whiteface Mountain. Mirror Lake has a walking loop around it that is 2.6 miles loop. This is a heavily trafficked loop, keep this in mind for your walk. There will be many runners, walkers, and potentially bike rider on your walk.

The stores I enjoy going into are Eastern Mountain Sports, The Imagination Station, and Critters Gift Shop.

Recommended other options:

Eating Spots:

Save this pin to remember these spots!

Facts & Attractions of Lake Placid:

  • Lake Placid is located in the Adirondacks in New York State

  • Albany is the capital of New York

  • American currency is in American dollars and cents

  • The area is known for skiing at Whiteface and being an Olympic training center

  • The USA won the gold for men's hockey in 1984 against the Soviet Union

I hope you enjoyed hearing about my trip to Lake Placid, New York. If you have any questions about the area please email me at rebeccanoelle@r-noelle.com


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