Things to Do Near the Saratoga Race Course on “Dark Days”

During track season, the Saratoga Race Course is one of Northern New York’s most popular attractions! But while the horses and jockeys get their weekly break during the track’s “dark days,” visitors get the chance to explore some of the other fun things to do in the area.

The historic countryside of Washington County lies just a short drive across the Hudson from Saratoga Springs, NY. Visitors of all ages and interests enjoy the variety of experiences hidden within this area’s rolling hills and enchanting forests. And, the best part? Many of them are less than 30 minutes from the track!

Some of the best things to do near the track during Saratoga Race Course’s dark days:

1. Walk, bike, kayak or canoe along the Champlain Canal or Hudson River

Naturally, with such beautiful scenery, outdoor recreation is an incredibly popular activity in this area! Some of the best trails in the region can be found near Fort Edward, NY. We recommend exploring the paved Empire State Trail, paddling along the Champlain Canalway Trail or the Feeder Canal in Hudson Falls, or walking the beautiful Hudson Crossing Park. Discover more cycling trails.

Looking for a more structured social adventure? Check out Tuesdays on the Hudson in Fort Edward! This weekly, summer-long series offers Happy Hours, deals at local restaurants, special activities like yoga by the river and more. Stop by Evergreen Bicycle Works for all your cycling needs.

2. Visit the Old Fort House Museum

Also in Fort Edward, you won’t want to miss your chance to step back in time at the Old Fort House Museum! This well-preserved historic site explores life in Fort Edward throughout the ages, featuring a range of unique exhibits on its history as a canal town, the changes in transportation methods, religion, construction and more. From June through August, the Museum is open 7 days a week, 1 PM – 4 PM.

3. Shop at our farmers markets & farm stands

Taste the terroir of Washington County through our variety of local farmers markets and farm stands! While many local markets are held on Thursdays or on weekends, the Rt. 22 Farmers Market – Whitehall takes place Tuesdays from 2 PM – 5 PM. Stop by Whitehall or one of our always-open farm stands to find fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and other locally produced goods!

4. Enjoy a live music or theatrical performance

If you’re looking to relax and enjoy a live performance, you’re in luck! There are several great small-town venues to kick back & relax a short drive from Saratoga Springs, NY.

This includes the historic Strand Theater in Hudson Falls, who hosts national touring musicians, free movie nights, touring performances and more. While you’re in town, you’ll want to grab a bite to eat at DeNatale’s Italian Restaurant and Bar and check out a few of the town’s most unique shops: The McKernon Gallery, Village Booksmith and Helen of New York.

Additionally, visitors enjoy the unique barnyard venue that is the Little Theater on the Farm in Fort Edward, NY. There, you’ll find country, bluegrass, tribute and comedy performances. Or, explore more unique local venues. For the most up-to-date information on what’s happening in the area, check out our Event Calendar.

5. Shop & dine in historic downtown Greenwich

Of course, the charming town of Greenwich, NY is also less than 30 minutes from Saratoga Race Course! With its historic Main Street district, boutique shops and variety of delicious restaurants, it’s no wonder Greenwich has quickly increased in popularity with visitors throughout the area. With tasty options including breakfast at the Witches Village Cafe or Main Street Cafe, dinner at Wallie’s or Elsasser’s Beim 111, treats from Ice Cream Man and local brews at Argyle Brewing Company!

6. Go birding at the world-famous Washington County Grasslands

If you’re an avid birder, you’ve likely heard of the world-famous Washington County Grasslands! In the winter, this is a great spot to see raptors and other endangered species. But in the summer, you’ll also find a range of native grassland bird species!

Want more birdwatching recommendations? Explore our 7 best birding sites. Or, for other fun nearby activities, visit Wedgewood Golf Club on the Champlain Canal, Rogers Island Visitors Center or Slickfin Brewing Company.

7. Hike trails at Hudson Crossing Park or Denton Wildlife Sanctuary

Right in the middle of the Hudson lies Hudson Crossing Park, a community-operated park that’s also a popular birding spot a special Sensory Trail, unique sculptures and a handicap-accessible picnic pavilion. Between the Hudson and the Champlain Canal, this park gives visitors insight into local history as well as transportation via canal.

Not too far away you’ll find the Denton Wildlife Sanctuary, owned by the Nature Conservancy. This multi-trail area features a range of habitats, from forests to swamps and grassy barrens, perfect for spotting wildlife of all kinds. Discover more Washington County trailways.

8. Spend a Relaxing Day at Lake Lauderdale

Grab some sunscreen & a good book and enjoy a nice day at Lake Lauderdale! With a public-access beach, swimming area, picnic benches, trails, parking and plenty of shade, Lauderdale Park is one of the best places to spend a warm summer day. Without the crowds and noise of the more popular inland beaches!

Visiting with kids? Here are 8 more family-friendly activities near Saratoga perfect for boredom-busting on “dark days” at the track.

9. Take an ATV tour of the Adirondacks near Lake George

If you’re looking for a more adrenaline-fueled adventure, you’ll want to book a session with Adirondack ATV Tours near Whitehall, NY. They’ll guide you through their rugged trails, which give visitors an unprecedented chance to roar through the forest, splash through puddles and soak in the breathtaking scenery. Perfect for families with older kids and teens!

10. Visit the Washington County Fair

Finally, no visit to the Capital Region is complete without a visit to the historic Washington County Fair! After over a century, this annual event is still going strong, drawing crowds from near & far to experience our authentic agricultural lifestyle.

From August 19 – 25, 2024, you’ll be able to enjoy everything from concerts and rodeos to tractor pulls and blacksmithing demonstrations. Visit during the racing season’s dark days on Monday and Tuesday to enjoy smaller crowds and shorter lines! You won’t want to miss New York’s #1 Agricultural Fair, with plenty of activities for children and adults alike.

Find More Fun Things to Do in Our Area

Of course, these are just a few of the many fun things to do in Washington County, NY during the Saratoga Race Course’s “dark days.” Less than 30 minutes from Saratoga, you’ll find Victory View Vineyard‘s award-winning wine, Tiashoke Farm Store’s fully-stocked shop, Casa Reyes’ Jalisco-style Mexican food and more!

For even more adventure, explore Washington County’s unique “experience trails,” with themes from Antiques to Ice Cream to U-Pick.

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