There is a description below given by visitadirondacks.com that nicely summarizes the region. I say region because it is such a LARGE area with diverse features and activities. It is rich in outdoor adventure opportunities. You must explore the website to see all the adventures. It is the largest park in the lower 48! As far as the east coast goes....it is bountiful for the outdoor enthusiast.
As for our experiences with the ADKs, there are many!. But so many more to come. We have not sufficiently tapped into this area and the many opportunities for hiking, backpacking, and boatpacking! Our yearly trip is one of rejuvenation and restoration. As two teachers, the school year comes to an abrupt end and the transition into "summer mode" can be sloppy! The ADK trip is our bridge from chaotic school year, to slowed down summer time. We head to Indian Lake.
Indian Lake is this great big lake with many islands. On the islands are campsites. Some islands have one campsite, some have several, all of which require you to get there via some water vehicle. There are also campsites along the shore, but we do not do that. This lake is not like Lake George, or if you are not familiar, it is not highly populated. Yes, you will see other boaters, the ranger on his boat, kayakers, canoers, etc. but it is limited. We have been island camping here for years, and Bryan going back to when he was a boy and his Aunt Carol and Uncle David "dragged" him along! NOT! You must make advanced reservations or you will be shut out. 8-10 months advance should be good. If the island has multiple sites (tops is usually 4), we often reserve all of them so we can have the solitute we are seeking. In years past, when it was just Bryan and I, we would canoe, carefully, with all of our gear and dog to our reserved island. Now, we have a motor boat and use that to shuttle our weekly supplies. We set up camp and basically vegitate for the week. Fish, swim, build forts, read, read, read, campfires, card games, cook, eat, etc. It is slow, peaceful, energizing. There are not many amenities near by, in fact there is only one marina on the lake and it is SMALL. We will stop by a few nights for an ice cream (from the icebox, not soft serve). So, you need to plan on having all your food and supplies with you. WIth that said, and with the multitiude of adventures in the ADKS, you could totally boat to your car and then spend the day driving to hikes, through little villages, to the museam, etc. There is actually so much to do. But, for us, it has become mainly a refugee for NON-MOVEMENT, except swimming, fishing, hiking around the island.
Couple of inside tips. The water for swimming is never warm, but totally tolerable. And, sometimes the ADKS experience rain, and more rain. So, you need good rain gear, tent supplies, and make sure to set up an area in your camp that offers protection from the rain. So, we set up a large tarp overhead of our picnic table and cooking area. It will rain, and you won't want to be couped up in the tent the entire time. So, I highly recommend that you set up an area protected from rain (and wind)! Ha ha! I carefully plan out our meals. I have learned to fully structure the menu for the week. It takes any guess work out and ensures you have enough food and all the items you need so you don't have to leave the island if you don't want to! As far as getting everything to the island, we use our motor boat and pack one cooler for refrigerated items and then use plastic totes for food storage. We will go to the marina for ice as needed to replenish. Each year I try to reduce the number of items we bring making sure to bring only essential items.
"The Adirondack Regions feature over 100 welcoming communities, mountains, lakes, verdant valleys and steep cliffs. Spanning more than six million acres, the Adirondack Mountains are home to the largest protected natural area in the lower 48 of the United States. Like a patchwork quilt, the Adirondacks are made up of twelve distinct regional destinations, each offering their own brand of Adirondack adventure. From the endless canoeing and kayaking in the Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake regions, to the extensive hiking trails of the High Peaks Wilderness in the Lake Placid Region - discover an area as diverse in geography as it is in activities and events. Bicycle between wineries on the Adirondack Coast, or dive to sunken shipwrecks in the Adirondack Seaway near the Canadian Border. You're invited to explore the Lake George Region's family-friendly attractions and discover the Adirondack Tug Hill Plateau's one-of-a-kind recreation opportunities." --https://visitadirondacks.com/