Saranac Lake is all about the water. Seriously, early settlers literally built their own lake in the middle of town. Thanks to those folks, we all get to enjoy access to dozens of miles of boating. Whether you own your own boat, need to rent one, or just want someone to take you for a cruise, we can get you out on the water in Saranac Lake. Sightseeing, waterskiing, tubing, swimming, fishing...they're all just a few steps away! Here's a rundown of some questions (and answers) you might have if this is your first time exploring the region by boat.
Where can I take my boat?
You can find quite a few launch sites for boats of all sizes across the Saranac Lake region. But the heart of Saranac Lake boating is the Saranac Chain of Lakes.
The defining feature of downtown Saranac Lake, you can quite literally walk off Main Street and onto your boat! With a launch in the middle of town and docks at Riverside Park, Lake Flower not only gives you access to the village itself but three quarters of the Saranac Chain as well. Your entire day can start and/or end steps from town. Swiss Marine and Fogarty's Marina are both a short drive or float from town on Lake Flower and can help you get on the water!
Lower Saranac and Middle Saranac
Directly connected by channels and locks to Lake Flower, Lower and Middle Saranac offer many miles to explore. Beautiful mountain views, islands, and Great Camp ogling await! The Middle Saranac Beach makes for a great spot to pull up for a swim, and if you're extra adventurous, a hike up Ampersand Mountain is accessible from the beach area. Lower and Middle Saranac are also home to the Saranac Lake Islands Campground, a one of a kind island campground which can only be accessed by water. There’s no ferry service, so you’ll need to bring or rent your boat (more information on renting below). If you don’t want to float all the way from downtown you can put in at the Second Pond Boat Launch on Lower Saranac. The Saranac Lake Marina located on Lower Saranac can outfit you for the day with anything your boat needs.
At over 8 miles in length, this is the largest of the Saranacs. A dam prevents you getting to Upper Saranac from the lower lakes, but the Saranac Inn Boat Launch will have you exploring in no time. The extra work is worth the payoff. There are a ton of bays to explore and islands to circumnavigate. Pull up on the Square Bay sandbar for some sandy swimming or stop by one of the primitive campsites hidden about the lake for a picnic. You won't find much commercial development on Upper Saranac, but the large stone boathouse (unstaffed) near the center of the lake next to the small seasonal Donaldson's Campground at the mouth of Fish Creek Bay does keep a credit card only gas pump.
Fish Creek Ponds
Connected to Upper Saranac by a winding channel, Fish Creek Ponds are notable as the home of Fish Creek Ponds Campground, one of the largest lakeside campgrounds in NY with over 300 water sites. With the pond's proximity to Upper Saranac Lake, it makes another great camping destination for those with boating in mind. You'll also find the Upper Saranac Lake Marina on Fish Creek for all your boat's needs and Knapps Trading Post, a one-stop camp store not to be missed. Groceries, drinks, a deli, gifts, and food...you name it, they probably have it.
But...what if I don’t have a boat?
You’re in luck! We’ve got a boat(s) for that! The Saranac Lake Marina (Lower Saranac), Swiss Marine (Lake Flower), Ampersand Bay Resort (Lower Saranac), HK Waterfront Rentals (Lake Flower), or the Upper Saranac Lake Marina (Fish Creek Ponds/Upper Saranac) would all be happy to hook you up with a boat for the day. From pontoon boats to fishing boats and more, they can get you out on the water quickly and safely!
That’s awesome, but I was really looking for a guided experience. Maybe even some fishing.
We get it. You’re on vacation, you’re not comfortable driving yourself, or you just have time for a quick trip and not an all day/multi-day affair. HK Waterfront Rentals offers sunset cruises on Lake Flower. ADK Massage Therapy also offers private tours and will even throw in a floating massage! If jet skis are what you're looking for, Adirondack Watersports can take you adventuring. If fishing is your thing, you can also find several Adirondack Guides that can take you sport fishing on any number of local lakes; some also offer scenic cruises if you don't feel like throwing a line.
Cool! But I’m really all about sailboats. Anything for that?
While this is a specific request, REQUEST GRANTED! Sail Adirondacks started sailing on Upper Saranac in 2021. Guests can go out in their 23-foot O’day sailor either as a fully crewed pleasure cruise, or a learn to sail class. Captain Barry Brogan has a lifetime of sailing experience and will be happy to get you on the water!
I'M PUMPED! SEE YOU ON THE WATER!
That's great! But, before you take off on your Saranac Lake boating adventure, don't forget to stay safe and brush up on boating regulations, check the weather, carry a PFD for each person in the boat, brush up on invasive species (and brush off your boat), and take a moment to take the Love Your ADK pledge to keep our Adirondacks wild and beautiful for decades to come!