1. Adirondack Park, NY
New York State’s Adirondack Park is the largest publicly protected area in the continental USA, and much of it is within a stone’s throw of Montreal. The vast nature preserve contains the Adirondack Mountains, dozens of lakes and a handful of picturesque small cities. If you’re into to camping, check out one of the many State campgrounds, generally within range of lake swimming or hiking, or rough it pioneer-style in designated backwoods camping areas. If you’re looking for a more sedentary experience, the towns of Saranac Lake and Lake Placid (site of the 1980 Winter Olympics) have a unique log-cabin-meets-Main-Street feel that combines rustic appeal with boutique shopping and lakeside resorts and lodges.
Travel time: 2+ hours by car on way