Looking for the perfect family summer vacation? Hoping to do so without busting your budget? How about a week-long, all-inclusive family vacation (dogs too!) in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains for less than $1500? Impossible? Not in Tupper Lake, NY.
First and foremost, rent a house. It’s much easier with kids and dogs–everyone has their own space, you can save money by making meals at home and you’ll probably get nice amenities like a washer and dryer to stay on top of laundry, a french press for fancy coffee on the deck while you watch the sunrise and a nice grill you can use at the lake while everyone splashes around. For groceries, head to the local IGA, Shaheen’s, for a nice selection (the meat is especially fresh), then try to hit the Marketplace for fresh summer produce. We’re experimenting with the planting of a small kitchen garden at Camp Wilderness Sunrise this summer, too. If it works out, you might have some (free!) fresh herbs, jalapenos and tomatoes to add to your grocery reserves. For sweet treats, Sunflour Bakery has very reasonably priced and extremely delicious cupcakes and donuts. I find it’s cheaper to buy those for the one special dinner of the week, rather than buy all the baking ingredients. We recently purchased 4 cupcakes (frosted to our specfication, in front of us!) and 2 whoopie pies for $8.
On Day 1 of your 7 day vacation you’ll be arriving and settling in, so I haven’t scheduled much in the fun department for this itinerary. Unpack, hang your clothes in the closets, take the dogs for a walk in the woods, put your feet in the water and chill out with a drink on the deck while you watch the sunset and the kids play on the tire swing.
Day 2 should be a super fun day, because it’s your first day of vacation and everyone is amped up to do something! I suggest a family canoe trip to The Bluffs. Pack a picnic lunch, make sure the dogs are settled in back at the Camp and get on the water. From Camp Wilderness Sunrise, head across the lake to the rock outcroppings, then follow those to the right until you see another set of rock cliffs set back a bit. There’s a sandy beach to pull the canoe up and camping spots on the island. You’ll probably see adventurous people jumping off the cliffs–it’s a favorite spot! There are a few different levels to jump from, a few feet from the water to about 10 feet from the water. It’s fun! As a kid, we came here with our parents all the time. I wanted to live on that island.
Canoe Trip to The Bluffs: Free (Camp Wilderness Sunrise has a canoe for your use)
Day 3 is a nice time for mom and dad to do something separately with the kids. My husband likes to take our son to the driving range at Tupper Lake Country Club (right behind the Camp!), while I take my daughter to my favorite salon in town to get our nails done. This is a nice thing to do in the morning, so everyone can meet back at the Camp for lunch and naps. Mom and Dad can sit in the hammock and read a book while the kids nap, then everyone can spend the afternoon splashing in the lake and the night can be capped off with a BBQ and S’Mores around the firepit in the backyard.
Driving Range with Son: $5
By Day 4 of vacation, Mom and Dad are probably ready for a break, right? My husband and I have a local babysitter (who is great with kids and dogs) stop by for the day every once in a while, so we can spend some time alone. We often go for a hike (there are a million nearby!) in the morning, so we can do a longer, steeper hike than is possible with the kids, then head to the 19th Hole at The Tupper Lake Country Club for lunch. After lunch, we play 9 holes during the twilight hours at the golf course, before heading back home for dinner with the kids.
Lunch at 19th Hole: $35
Day 5 is another water day, this time Bog River Falls! The Bog is a natural rock slide waterfall that you can slide down–it’s so much fun! Drive South on Route 30 until you see the Horseshoe Lake turnoff, then park when you get to the stone bridge. You walk through the woods on a well-worn path, then you’ll see the waterfall (and people sliding down it). It’s a fabulous place to spend the day–bring another picnic lunch.
Natural Water Park: Free
For your last full day of vacation, you’ll want to do something special, and The Wild Center Museum is very special. The Wild Center is also a great thing to do on a rainy day, so if you need to switch your activities around due to weather, keep that in mind. The museum is a natural history museum of the Adirondacks, with amazing interactive exhibits kids and adults will love. The awesome thing about visiting in the summer is that your admission pass includes a canoe trip on the Raquette River! They leave every hour and your group will have a naturalist in another canoe to help guide you, teach you paddling techniques and point out where the beavers and herons like to hide.
Day 7, time to go home. I suggest getting some laundry done before you leave so you can relax once you get home. The kids can play in the yard while you pack up. Have a great trip!