Budget-Friendly Activities That Families Can Do During COVID & Beyond in the North Country


With many of us now pulling double or triple duty as parents, professionals, and now teachers, finding activities to keep our kids happy and engaged is crucial to maintaining peace and balance in our lives. While heading outside to ride bikes, hike nature trails, and play in the backyard are our go-tos as well, we wanted to present a few additional options for when the inevitable, "I'm bored!" happens.

From earning a new patch on an Adirondack Mountain Club-sponsored hiking challenge, to learning about local history and landmarks, there are plenty of engaging experiences hidden in plain sight across the North County. They include:

Visiting Local Farms 

What day isn't made better by a visit to a farm to see cute animals, and when the season is right, pick some apples, berries, or pumpkins, and reconnect with the land away from screens? From Kaneb Orchards in Massena, to Rulf's Orchard in Peru, there are so many places in our communities to enjoy life's simple pleasures. Pick-your-own apples and enjoy making a delicious treat with them, or pick pumpkins and challenge each other to a pumpkin carving or painting contest.

Hiking Challenges

The North Country is renowned for its miles of hiking trails, but hiking with kids can present its own challenges. Munity, hunger, thirst, and the dreaded, "How much further?" Enter the reward-based hiking challenge! From the Saranac Sixers, to the Waterfall Challenge, the Firetower Challenge, and the ADK Mountain Club's ADK Kid's Challenge, there are a few really fun ways to motivate kids and adults to get outside and explore the region. The Kid's Challenge is sponsored by the ADK Laurentian Chapter based out of Potsdam, and is a hiking challenge where kids must complete at least 16 of the designated hikes laid out in the book, Kids on the Trail! Hiking with Children in the Adirondacks. Upon documented completion of any of the above challenges, participants can submit their accomplishments to the ADK Mountain Club or sponsoring organization and receive a cool patch in the mail. Sew patches on a backpack or vest for a neat reminder of time spent outside and in pursuit of adventure.

Library Pick-Up

While most of our local community libraries are closed or limiting services because of COVID-19, they do continue to offer curbside pickup for books, DVDs, videos, and more. Why not reimagine rainy day library trips for the home? Simply call your local library, place your order for books ahead of time, then pick them up curbside, create a fort with pillows, blankets, and some snacks, and voila! A cozy place that encourages kids to sit quietly and read! Reach out to your local library to see what kind of pick-up service and programs are currently being offered. Many libraries are also offering support from assistants who will help you choose books since you can't browse the shelves for yourself.

Historic Landmark Tours

In the North Country Savings Bank community of Saranac Lake – and many others – historic walking tours highlight the unique people and places that make this Adirondack village so special and interesting. Simply stop by Historic Saranac Lake's Laboratory Museum or the Saranac Lake Welcome Center to grab a brochure and follow along on the self-guided tour to learn about this community's captivating past.

Whether you're working with your neighbors to organize a kid's fun run, or just looking for a rainy day activity, try out these budget-friendly activities in the North Country and discover new things to explore in your own backyard.