Adventure, canoeing and kayaking

What’s not to Love about the St. Regis Canoe Area?

What budget adventure has the primitive solitude of backpacking without having to carry everything on your back? Where can you camp somewhere new every night, bask in the glory of breathtaking, wilderness scenery, and swim in pristine mountain lakes whenever the mood strikes you? If you said a canoe trip in the St. Regis Canoe area of the Adirondacks, you are spot on! This place takes my breath away and always leaves me feeling recharged. Here’s the scoop.

St. Regis Canoe Area

What’s so Awesome about the St. Regis Canoe Area?

St. Regis Canoe Area

Heading out to explore

  • Free canoe-in campsites – Yes, free. And if you play your cards right, you can have a whole island to yourself. Campsites are primitive, with a fire pit and an outhouse. If you get a picnic table, you’re lucky.
  • Cool, clear water for swimming – There are hundreds of lakes in the Adirondacks, and each has it’s own personality. While there are a few that are murky, and a few more that are overpopulated, the majority are perfect gems – wooded shorelines, calling loons, and water so clear and refreshing, you’ll be tempted to skip canoeing altogether and make it a swimming holiday.
  • The lakes are all connected – That’s why they call it a canoe area. The lakes are connected by well-marked portages, which means you haul your canoe and gear on foot to the next lake. Some are short and easy, while others require a bit of strength and finesse. On our last trip, we planned it so we didn’t portage at all. We were still able to tour 6 lakes, all connected.
  • You’re far from civilization, but not too far – When the sun goes down on your island campsite, you feel like you’re alone in a vast and wild country. You can scarcely hear a whisper of civilization. But, if you run out of bug spray or get a hankering for tuna fish, it’s really not a big deal to paddle to the nearest camp store.
  • It’s a vacation for kids and adults –  There is plenty to do for everyone. Spend the day paddling, fishing, hiking, or bird watching, then set up your campsite and relax with a glass of wine while the kids catch dinner.

St. Regis Canoe Area

 Okay, so now you know why the St. Regis Canoe area is so awesome.  Our family will keep going back as long as we can paddle a boat. Now for the logistics.

Sound Like the Adventure for You? Let’s Make it Happen!



St. Regis Canoe Area

Our canoe doubles as a table in our camp kitchen

St. Regis Canoe Area

St. Regis Canoe Area is located in the Adirondack Park, not far from the town of Saranac Lake, New York. The area encompasses 19,000 acres of wilderness, and is noted for its beauty, wildlife, and recreational opportunities.

St. Regis Canoe Area

If you are planning your very first canoe trip, I highly recommend the folks at St. Regis Canoe Outfitters for answering all of your questions and helping you plan a trip that will fit your level of experience and your time frame. They maintain an outpost on Floodbrook pond, which is a great place to start your adventure. If you don’t have a canoe of your own, St. Regis Canoe Outfitters maintains a fleet of rentals, plus camping equipment, food, and maps. We just love them, and we are getting no compensation to say that. Here are a few more tips for making this the best trip ever.

  • Visit the St. Regis Canoe Area before July or in September. Okay, it never actually gets crowded, but in the middle of summer, your favorite campsite may be taken, and that can be a bummer.
  • Pack your bug spray, and then pack an extra bottle. We really did run out one year, the buggiest two days we’ve ever experienced. We backtracked miles just to buy more.
  • Get the mapI’m a total map geek, and this map is one of my all-time favorite finds. You can’t plan a St. Regis Canoe Area trip without it.
  • Buy a fishing license and be prepared for fish dinners. 
  • Claim your campsite by the early afternoon, even if you want to keep exploring. This way, you won’t be left scrambling for a site in the evening.

So that’s a quick guide to the St. Regis Canoe area. Like many wilderness adventures, it is an awesome budget vacation, and perfect for families with young kids, couples, and  dogs. Whether you’ve got a few days or a week to spend exploring, it’s well worth the journey.

St. Regis Canoe Area

Want to know our favorite lakes and campsites in the St. Regis Canoe Area? Leave a comment or shoot me an email.

I’m linking up the post with Pierced Wonderings for Jen’s Photo Friday link-up. It’s great browsing for weekend inspiration. Beautiful photos, beautiful people, and beautiful blogs. Pop over and say hi!

Pierced Wonderings

If you’re on Pinterest, I’d love for you to share this post. Thanks!

Welcome to our favorite northeastern paradise. The St. Regis Canoe Area is the perfect backcountry vacation destination for families.


  1. What a great place! Such seclusion and yet still within easy reach of other people. Thank you for all the details and the lovely photos. This location has got to be in our future plans!

  2. This is amazing. We always bring our kayak everywhere but trust me, we never gone for specifically kayaking. Most of the time I go for touring in our nearing canal.
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  3. Janna

    Wow looks like a beautiful place to canoe! I’ve actually been wanting to do this but never really got around to it. I was hoping to do this in Grand Teton. Maybe nxt summer. Love the canoe photos! Nice shot!

  4. This sounds incredible! And an outhouse already takes it from primitive to luxury for me! Haha. We have a couple lakes here in the Ozarks that you can canoe to and camp for free but it’s just an island. Ha. I LOVE the ability to camp in beautiful places for free. I think my canoeing skills are a bit rusty, though. Thanks for sharing about this adventure. This is definitely in the books for my fiancé and me now! Cheers!
    Paige Brown recently posted…What I Packed for 101 Days in Southeast Asia vs. What I SHOULD’VE PackedMy Profile

    • Thanks, Paige. I’ve heard the Ozarks have some amazing lakes for canoeing. I bet there are cool trips not too far from you.

  5. We’re huge fans of canoe trips, and then huge fans of camping too (love the great outdoors), though I had never thought of combining the two! Canoe in campsites are an amazing idea!!! Thanks for the inspiration for our next trip 🙂
    Meg Jerrard recently posted…How to Keep Your Passport Safe While TravelingMy Profile

    • Before we started canoeing, we were avid backpackers. It’s so much easier not to have to carry everything on your back.

  6. I certainly need to start canoeing then. this looks awesome.

  7. I love this idea! My boyfriend and I both love camping and don’t mind primitive camping at all. The canoeing might be another matter though as one time we tried to canoe “as a team” it was kind of a disaster ha ha! It looks like a really magical spot.
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  8. Tara, this is amazing – hundreds of connected lakes you say? You keep bombarding me with dreams of floating on the lake without a care in the world. I LOVE LAKES!!! There’s actually a lake about a 10 minutes walk from my house and I’m there almost everyday in the summer. Imagine if there were hundreds of lakes all connected to each other… Great use of the canoe table by the way lol. I seriously wanted to make my way to the New England area this year but suddenly we’re getting all booked up with friends’ weddings and stuff… NOOOOOO
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  9. Looks amazing!

  10. Jim

    Great write up! St. Regis looks amazing. I’ve got a good friend from the NE Kingdom and the pictures I see from him (like yours) are stunning!
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    • Jim, I was born in the Northeast Kingdom and spent my early childhood there. It’s still such a wild and beautiful place.

  11. I love all of your beautiful photos! Excellent travel tips, too – so helpful. My whole family loves kayaking and canoeing.

  12. I love canoeing! I have not done it in ages, but would love to go again. I live in Tucson, AZ, so not a lot of lakes here. Time for a road trip!
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  13. What fun! I have never been to the area but it looks wonderful for a family camping trip. Love that you used your canoe upside down as a table – clever!

  14. Canoeing is so much fun & so relaxing! Looks like a fun place!

  15. Oh how fun!! That photo of the napping paddler reminded me of one time me and a friend were out on a lake and we both fell asleep and drifted waaayyyy apart. It was kinda funny waking up…. Anyways, St. Regis looks like a beautiful place to paddle around in, thanks for the photo tour around!-

  16. I haven’t been in a canoe in ages. Love reading about your backroad travels. I might not personally get to see and be there, helps that you share your adventures.
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  17. This looks amazing. I love canoeing and nature. I really need to check this place out!

  18. How amazing is this! Well… I think I may know where I am taking my kids… though my 6 y/o is terrified of kayaks… hopefully we can beat that. Great article with amazing information.

  19. This is awesome! We always bring our kayak (royak) everywhere, but have never gone on a trip specifically for kayaking. It’s on our summer to-do list…but on the west coast.
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  20. I’ve got to start canoeing! Looks wonderful in the wilderness!

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