QUEENSBURY - With the knowledge that many families are keeping an eye on their budget, Warren County Tourism officials have come up with seven suggestions for fun, free family-oriented winter activities in the area.
The Lake George area hosts plenty of activities that extend from now through ice-out in April - ones that will keep everyone happy, moving and learning without spending a cent, the officials said.
Here's the list, appropriate for visitors and residents alike:
1) Ice Fishing - Ice is now thick in many regions, and the fish are hungry and biting. Discover the fun that outdoor enthusiasts have enjoyed for generations. However, always use caution when venturing out, check conditions with local guides and bait shops. Fish for perch, salmon, lake trout and northern pike.
2) Cross Country Skiing - Grab the skis and head out to one of eight maintained area locations that offer cross-country skiing free of charge while offering some wondrous scenery. Try Dynamite Hill, Crandall Park International Ski Trails, Gurney Lane, Lake George Recreation Center, Pack Forest, Rogers Rock Campground or the Warren County Nordic Ski Trail System.
3) Snow Tubing - Riding a sled, tube or saucer down a slope offers lots of giggles and grins. There's no better time to take lots of photos to peruse with some hot chocolate later in the day. Get bundled up and head to the Lake George Recreation Center or other sites around the county.
4) Snowshoeing - Strap on those things that resemble tennis rackets, and you can go anywhere. Snowshoeing can be experienced on many area hiking trails or on designated trails reserved for this purpose. Locals consider this a prime way to enjoy nature, particularly on a sunny, clear day. Head out to the Gurney Lane Recreation Area in Queensbury for over three miles of trails or the forest trails at Pack Demonstration Forest in Warrensburg.
5) Museums, Exhibits & Galleries - Throughout the county there are 28 venues to spend some time at a leisurely pace exploring history or the world of art, looking and learning.
6) Winter carnivals - These frigid festivals, a staple of wintertime in Warren County, are a magnet for visitors who know they'll have plenty of fun. The famous, ever-popular Lake George Winter Carnival takes place each and every weekend in February with a myriad of family activities, and the smaller Hague Winter Weekend is set for Feb. 14 and 15.
7) Lace up those skates, and try out the three area rinks that offer ice skating at no charge. Half Mile Ranch in Lake Luzerne, Dynamite Hill in Chestertown, and the Glens Falls Recreation Department Ice Rink. Plus, several local towns have rinks that are maintained.
For details and free brochures on many more indoor and outdoor activities and a host of free events that are happening in the Lake George Area, call the Warren County Tourism Dept. 800-365-1050, extension 5100 or visit the agency's website at: www.VisitLakeGeorge.com