Lake George’s Newest Winter Wonder: Ice Castles Become Winter Realms and Winter's Dream

Winter Realms is a snow-capped fantasyland on the shores of Lake George. Photo courtesy of the event
Winter Realms is a snow-capped fantasyland on the shores of Lake George. Photo courtesy of the event
12/23/23 - By Ally Noel

Winter in Lake George, NY transforms this picturesque destination into a snowy wonderland, offering a ton of family fun. And this season, Lake George, NY is getting even better as it debuts two new winter immersive experiences: Winter’s Dream and Winter Realms. Both are located in Lake George Village and offer families a way to bring a little light into the darkest months of the year.

So grab your snow pants, put on those mittens, and check out this list of the best things to do in Lake George, NY with kids during the frosty season, including some family-friendly Lake George hotels. See our Guide to Visiting the Adirondacks & Catskills for even more family fun in this beautiful part of the country, including our list of 40 things to do in the Adirondack Mountains with kids.


Take a break for snacks and hot chocolate!
Take a break for snacks and hot chocolate!

Family-Friendly Winter Events in Lake George, NY

1. Winter Realms

This event is produced by the people behind the popular Ice Castles.  Located in Charles R. Wood Park, this immersive winter experience includes ice skating (for an additional cost), an ice sculpture garden, a light walk, a snow park, and a picnic plaza where you can warm up near a fire, grab a cup of cocoa, and enjoy a festive treat.

Winter Realms begins with a walk through a glowing tunnel of light that leads you right to the stunning outdoor ice rink. The rink is surrounded by twinkling light displays that create a picture-perfect winter setting. An additional reservation is required to book your skating time, so make sure you plan in advance. Skate rentals are included in the cost of your ice skating ticket.

Winter Realms also features an Ice Sculpture Garden filled with glittering creations that depict the ancient history of the Chinese zodiac.

After we took in all the sights, we made a stop at the picnic plaza where you can grab a cup of hot chocolate from an igloo. Once you find your way into the igloo, you can choose from a variety of custom cocoa options like whipped cream, chocolate chips, and syrups.

RELATED: Lake George with Kids: 30 Things To Do on an Adirondack Family Vacation

Experience hours of unforgettable winter magic at Lake George Winter's Dream.

2. Lake George Winter’s Dream

Step through the cozy walls of Fort William Henry Historical Fortress and be transported into a dream—Winter’s Dream. This event is an experience like no other and will tickle all your senses. The sounds of the original music, the smells of the cracking fire pits, and the sights of the wonderfully imaginative light displays will delight every member of your family.

Winter getaway to Lake George: Winter's Dream.
Have lots of hands-on fun at the immersive Winter's Dream.

This immersive winter experience in Lake George, NY was created by Moment Factory, the same team that brought us Astra Lumina.. Your visit will begin in a courtyard filled with imaginative invitations to play. Interact with Dreamscapes, where you can place yourself into a magical shadow and complete the scene. We spent a fair amount of time at the Cabin of Dreams, where we tossed balls at the cabin’s walls and watched them come to life with colorful projections.

WInter Woods is magically beautiful.

The rest of the event takes place above the fortress’s walls and includes four different light experiences: Full Moons, Frozen Lake, Winter Woods, and First Snow. You can travel through each of these installations in any order, but make sure to spend at least five minutes to see the entirety of each spot.

We walked up the stairs to Full Moons and just stood there in awe taking it all in before we started wandering through the shining spheres and listening to their sounds. I have been to my fair share of winter light experiences, and this one just kept getting better and better with each stop. We literally felt like we were walking through the coziest of winter’s dreams.

RELATED: 100 Things To Do in New York State with Kids Before They Grow Up

Lake George Village Winter Carnival
The Lake George Winter Carnival includes various fun winter activities. Photo courtesy of the event

3. Lake George Winter Carnival

Don't miss this annual carnival, a celebration that turns the frozen lake into a hub of family activities. From ice sculptures to dog sled rides, the Lake George Winter Carnival offers a delightful blend of winter wonders for the whole family. This event typically runs on weekends in February. Each weekend has a different lineup of events, so make sure to check the event calendar.

More Fun Winter Activities in Lake George, NY

4. Sleigh Rides with Circle B Ranch

Create lasting memories with a classic winter experience—a horse-drawn sleigh ride. Circle B Ranch offers scenic rides through snow-covered fields, complete with cozy blankets and jingling bells, providing a truly magical experience for the whole family.

5. Winter Hiking Trails

Bundle up and explore the enchanting winter trails around Lake George, NY. The nearby Prospect Mountain offers family-friendly hikes, where the snow-laden trees create a serene atmosphere. It's a great opportunity to teach little ones about nature while enjoying the crisp winter air.

RELATED: Best Family Resorts with Water Parks

Six Flags Great Escape Indoor Water Park
Enjoy the tropical vibes at Six Flags Great Escape Indoor Water Park. Photo courtesy of Six Flags

6. Indoor Water Park at Great Escape Lodge

Escape the cold without sacrificing the fun at Great Escape Lodge's indoor water park, where kids—and grown-ups—can splash around in heated pools, conquer water slides, and enjoy the tropical vibes. It's a perfect retreat for families seeking a break from the winter chill.

7. Snow Tubing at West Mountain

Thrills and chills await your family at West Mountain. Kids of all ages can experience the exhilarating rush of speeding down snow-covered lanes on inflatable tubes. With multiple lanes and a gentle incline, it's an ideal adventure for younger family members.

RELATED: The Best Ski Resorts in the US for Family Vacations

 Gore Mountain.
Learn to ski or improve on technical skills with kids' lessons at Gore Mountain. Photo courtesy of the mountain

8. Skiing at Gore Mountain

For families with older kids, Gore Mountain is the go-to destination for skiing adventures. With varying slopes for different skill levels, it's an excellent place to introduce your children to the thrill of skiing while enjoying the stunning views of the Adirondacks.

Great Lake George Hotels for Families

9. Courtyard Lake George

Located right in Lake George Village, the Courtyard Lake George offers breathtaking views of the Adirondacks, an indoor pool, and complimentary on-site parking. Also on site is Charlie's Bar and Kitchen, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

10. Fairfield Inn & Suites Queensbury Glens Falls/Lake George Area

The Fairfield Inn & Suites is conveniently located right off the highway, making it the perfect stepping-off point to many of the area’s attractions. The hotel offers an indoor pool, an outdoor hot tub, and a complimentary breakfast each morning. The spacious rooms are perfect for a family and include a mini fridge and microwave

11. Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor Water Park

Whatever time of year you visit, the Great Escape Lodge in Queensbury has comfortable accommodations and fun activities for the whole family, including the Kid's Klub clubhouse, an arcade, and an indoor water park. Need we say more?

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Unless noted, photos by the author

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