Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest lake in the state of New Hampshire. Carved by glaciers, it has a water surface of just over 70 square miles and boasts a 182-mile shoreline. In addition to being characterized by numerous inlets and coves, Lake Winnipesaukee is dotted with islands – 258 of them, to be exact. The scenic allure of Lake Winnipesaukee and the abundant recreational opportunities make this a very popular New Hampshire attraction. The region in general, which is known as the Lakes Region, is busiest during the summer, though other seasons can be rewarding times to visit as well. Area communities offer accommodations and ways to stay entertained on the side, so it’s easy to make a true vacation out of your Lake Winnipesaukee visit.
Lake Winnipesaukee Beaches
Lake Winnipesaukee Beaches Image: enelem (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0
Lake Winnipesaukee is proof that you don’t have to go all the way to the Atlantic Coast to find good New England beaches. With so much shoreline of its own, Lake Winnipesaukee offers numerous spots to swim, sunbathe and enjoy other beach-related activities. The largest public bathing area on the lake is Weirs Beach. Known locally as “The Weirs,” Weirs Beach has a wide sandy beach to go with its boardwalk and boulevard. Attractions such as a drive-in movie theater and the Funspot Family Fun Center help to make Weirs Beach a major tourist hub, as does the community’s role as the main summertime port for the Mount Washington cruise ship. You can find Weirs Beach in Lake Winnipesaukee’s main commercial city – Laconia.
Various other places around Lake Winnipesaukee provide spots for swimming. Examples include Ellacoya Sate Park in Guilford and Brewster Beach in Wolfeboro. There is a long sandy swimming area at Ellacoya State Park, and visitors can also make use of the local RV park and its amenities. At Brewster Beach, a picnic area and public restrooms complement the well-sized swimming area. Fees may or may not apply at the main swimming areas around Lake Winnipesaukee, and if you want to get away from the crowds, you can search for your own cove or islet for the day.
Lake Winnipesaukee Things to Do
Lake Winnipesaukee Things to Do Image: stanmate (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0
The list of things to do at Lake Winnipesaukee is a long one. Of course, the time of year that you visit will have a lot of influence over the available activities. In addition to swimming, popular summer activities at Lake Winnipesaukee include hiking and biking on the extensive area trails. Back out on the water, summer activities of choice include boating, water skiing, fishing, and kayaking. Many of these same activities can be enjoyed during the spring and fall, while winter is a great time to go skiing or snowboarding in the Lakes Region. Other winter activities include dog sled racing, ice fishing, ice skating, and snowmobiling.
The communities in the Lake Winnipesaukee area provide an array of shops and restaurants. The area is also full of other notable attractions, such as the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook and the Castle in the Clouds mansion and museum. With so many options for things to do throughout the year, Lake Winnipesaukee and the surrounding Lakes Region is an ideal base for New Hampshire vacations regardless of the season.
Lake Winnipesaukee Hotels
Lake Winnipesaukee Hotels Image: NNECAPA (flickr)
Lake Winnipesaukee hotels and motels are in good supply and come in virtually all shapes and sizes, from chain-brand establishments to your more unique lodgings with no corporate affiliation. Being that this is New England, you can find your fair share of charming inns and quaint bed and breakfasts in the Lake Winnipesaukee area. For those who prefer a cottage, cabin or home rental, there are plenty of those as well, and the camping crowd will be happy to know that there are RV parks and campsites to select from in the region.
Lake Winnipesaukee Map
Lake Winnipesaukee Map
Lake Winnipesaukee is located near the center of New Hampshire approximately 40 miles north of Concord. Portsmouth is about 60 miles southeast of the lake, and those who are coming from Boston have a drive of around 110 miles to negotiate. Among the main cities and towns in the more immediate Lake Winnipesaukee area are Alton, Gilford, Laconia, Meredith, Center Harbor, Moultonborough, Tuftonboro, and Wolfeboro.
Top image: Mark Crawley (flickr)