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Life’s a Beach

View of Raquette Lake showing Golden Beach at Death Brook. Raquette Lake, N. Y., Adirondack Mts.

By Standard Supply Co., Otter Lake, N.Y., circa 1930-1945. Courtesy of flickr user Boston Public Library

Summer is off to a fine start across the Adirondacks with balmy breezes, puffy white clouds and excellent swimming in lakes and rivers. Gone are the days when a nanosecond dunk in the waves meant shivering kids with blue lips; since late June the water has been just cool enough to refresh and just warm enough to invite long, leisurely swims.

So many communities have public beaches with lifeguards we don’t have space to list them here (for a sampling, see “Sand by Me” in our 2010 Annual Guide). There are even more hidden-away sandy spots for contemplating what it means to do nothing at all but relax in the warm sun. This month, though, a few towns are using their liquid assets for special events.

Long Lake not only boasts a terrific beach with a high-tech swimming raft—on July 14 it’s also the scene for Art on the Water with local artisans and musicians gathering on the strand. A week later, at 3:00 p.m., the U.S. Waterski Team puts on a free show of daring tricks and synchronized maneuvers in front of the beach.

At Old Forge’s waterfront there’s swimming for sure and a short walk takes you to the Pied Piper for a soft-serve cone. On July 14, starting at 10:00 a.m., the best old watercraft of the Fulton Chain and beyond are handsomely displayed at the village docks. The 21st annual antique and classic boat show wraps up with a parade into First Lake.

Continuing up the Fulton Chain, Inlet’s Arrowhead Park on Fourth Lake holds the 36th annual Arts in the Park Festival on July 21–22 . Crafts of all kinds—jewelry, basketry, quilting, pottery, woodworking—are well represented under the pines. If all the browsing makes you hungry, it’s a short walk to Northern Lights for real gelato.

Lake Placid’s Mirror Lake is right in the heart of the Olympic village, with plenty of shade for lounging, shallows for wading or tennis and basketball courts for action. But as the annual Ironman competition on July 22 approaches, the normally quiet beach will get crowded with serious athletes. You may want to wait a week or more for a swim here to give the space a chance to recover.

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