As its name suggests, Old Forge was once a forge. With its land unsuitable for farming, Charles Frederick Herreshoff opened an iron mine in 1811. It was incorporated as a village in 1903 but only lasted 30 years before residents voted to dissolve it in 1933, due to the high costs of government operations.
It, however, remains the principal community of the Herkimer County today, serving as an extensive business district and targeting mostly summer tourism, with attractions like the Enchanted Forest Water Safari. Heading there soon? Check out the Enchanted Forest Water Safari, along with the rest of the best things you can do in Old Forge.
1. Have a family day
If you’re looking for a fun day out with the family, Calypso’s Cove has plenty of thrilling activities, both indoors and out. There is a multi-skill level rock climbing wall, go-kart track, mini golf course, zipline, batting cages and bumper boats. If you’d like to head indoors to continue the excitement, there are over 40 games in the arcade to have a friendly competition with the entire family.
Address: 3183 NY-28, 13420 Old Forge, NY
Website: Calypso Cove
2. Explore Bald Mountain
If you’re up for a challenge, head to Bald Mountain, which has a 715 meter (2,350 foot) summit offering breathtaking views of the Fulton Chain of Lakes. The hike may start off deceptively easy, but it won’t be long before hikers reach the steepest section of the mountain. Along the way, there are several intermediate viewpoints to catch your breath and get a glimpse of what’s to come when you reach the top. The Rondaxe Fire Tower has also been restored, so you can climb up for the best views from the mountain.
Address: Bald Mountain, 13420 Webb, NY
Website: Bald Mountain
3. Soak in mountainous views
Creaking legs making it hard for you to make that trip up to Bald Mountain? Worry not. You can enjoy the same glorious view of the Fulton Chain of Lakes at the McCauley Mountain Scenic Chairlift.
This 10-minute ride trip up lets you enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. On a clear day, both Whiteface Mountain and Mount Marcy are visible on the horizon as well. Pack a lunch for a picnic at the top. You may just get to see the many curious deer that wander in and out of the trees.
McCauley Mountain Scenic Chairlift
Address: 300 McCauley Rd, 13420 Old Forge, NY
Website: McCauley Mountain Scenic Chairlift
4. Go on a rail trail
Get on a steam rail and enjoy some of the pristine woods that Adirondack has to offer. There are plenty of activities aboard, from re-enacted Loomis gang train robberies to murder mysteries to solve. There are also eco-tours and dinner parties aboard to attend. This non-profit organization aims to preserve the rail history. It is most beautiful when it runs in the fall.
Adirondack Scenic Railroad
Address: 321 Main St, 13501 Utica, NY
Website: Adirondack Scenic Railroad
5. Take a relaxing cruise
Our "Rail & Cruise" package partnering with Old Forge Lake Cruises makes for a great day trip - take a train departing...Posted by Adirondack Scenic Railroad on Thursday, 23 July 2015
After seeing the Fulton Chain of Lakes from the mountain tops, take a tour of it by sailing through it. The Old Forge Lake Cruises is a great way of going back to the days when steamboats were once the most practical way to travel in the Adirondacks. There are several packages available, all of which provide great sightseeing and photo-taking opportunities. Each tour lasts about two hours and includes a bathroom and snack bar.
Old Forge Lake Cruises
Address: 116 Steamboat Landing, 13420 Old Forge, NY
Website: Old Forge Lake Cruises
6. Take on white water rafting
If being on a cruise is too calm for you, then come try Old Forge’s whitewater rafting and take on the rapids. Started by the Rafferty family, Adirondack Rafting Company lets guests experience the scenic and wild Hudson River Gorge through the heart of the Adirondack Mountains. It may be about an hour’s drive from central Old Forge, but it promises to be a thrilling adventure for the family.
Adirondack Rafting Company
Address: 100 W Main St, 12842 Indian Lake, NY
Website: Adirondack Rafting Company
7. Check out their local brewery
Come swing by to try a taste of the city’s very own local beers. The Fulton Chain Craft Brewery was founded by Justin Staskiewicz and Richard Mathy in 2014 with a goal of using locally sourced ingredients in its brews. Using hops and grains from New York State, the brewery has up to 10 beers on tap, where you’re pretty much guaranteed to walk away having at least one amaze you.
Fulton Chain Craft Brewery
Address: 127 North St, 13420 Old Forge, NY
Website: Fulton Chain Craft Brewery
8. Go camping at the Old Forge Camping Resort
If you’d like to truly be removed from society and be one with nature for a few days, the Old Forge Camping Resort is one of the best places to do so. It’s one of the busiest camping areas in the US, due in large to its popularity of its frequent bear sightings. The resort has two campgrounds: Nick’s Lake and Singing Waters. Both are open all-year round, with activities like fishing, bicycling, softball, and swimming available.
Old Forge Camping Resort
Address: 3347 NY-28, 13420 Old Forge, NY
Website: Old Forge Camping Resort
9. Visit New York’s largest water theme park
Don't let summer pass you by! Only ONE week left for splash-tastic summer FUN and the Best. Day. Ever! at Enchanted...Posted by Enchanted Forest Water Safari on Tuesday, 30 August 2016
The Enchanted Forest Water Safari is New York’s largest water theme park and it’s a perennial favorite every summer vacation. Admission gives visitors unlimited access to over 50 attractions, including 32 water rides and all shows. There are thrilling ones like Raging Rapids, Killermanjaro, and The Curse of the Silverback. It isn’t all water attractions though. The park has other amusement rides on land that guarantee just as much fun.
Enchanted Forest Water Safari
Address: 3183 New York 28, 13420 Old Forge, NY
Website: Enchanted Forest Water Safari
10. Tour the skies and waters
Experience the countryside in both the skies and waters in a seaplane. Payne’s Seaplane Rides & Air Service allows you to do just that. Once you’re high above the trees, you’ll be able to see for miles across the Adirondacks. This provides stunning views of the countryside. The company offers both short loop and long loop flights, so you’ll get to take in the views without feeling entirely uncomfortable.
Payne’s Seaplane Rides & Air Service
Address: 431 NY-28, 13360 Inlet, NY
Website: Payne’s Seaplane Rides & Air Service
11. Family fun mini-golf at Nutty Putty
Nutty Putty is a place to spend a few fun-filled family hours. It’s an attractive place with lots of flowers. It may sound like a throwback sort of thing to do, but with friendly staff and the kids enjoying themselves, you are bound to have fun. It’s a quirky little mini-golf course and unlike those you normally find.
The pine trees keep players cool as they navigate the tricky course. Some of the holes even have moving features so you won’t be bored trying to get around the blind corners.
Address: 2933 Rt. 28, Old Forge, NY
12. Step back in time and watch a movie at the Strand Theatre
Rainy days could see you stuck for something to do, but the Strand Theatre comes to the rescue. A combination of museum and shows, if you love cinema, this is a great place. Modern day digital quality features happen as well. Popcorn is available, and it’s an original machine! Delicious ice creams are also for sale.
You can also pick up some original posters of movies, so that’s a good find for movie buffs. The 1920s art-deco style takes you back to another era. There are four theaters in the property, with choices of what to watch. The whole family will enjoy it on a rainy, or a lazy day.
The Strand Theatre
Address: Route 28 Main Street, Old Forge, NY
Website: The Strand Theatre
Fun to be found everywhere
Old Forge is a dream vacation destination, regardless of the season. While it may be marketed more as a summer vacation, there are things to do even in winter, when McCauley Mountain becomes a ski resort. If you’re booking your next trip here, you’ll know that you’ll be in for a fun-filled holiday.
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