Lake Winnipesaukee

Overview

Introduction

This spectacular lake in east-central New Hampshire covers 72 sq mi/190 sq km and has more than 200 islands. We recommend taking one of the many sightseeing boats to view the scenery along the shoreline, the islands, and the magnificent backdrop of the White Mountains and Mount Washington.

Be sure to visit the Castle in the Clouds (southeast of Moultonborough), a 6,000-acre/2,430-hectare estate with waterfalls, forests, an impressive mansion and a spring-water bottling plant (tours available). Do make a stop at the Old Country Store and Museum, in business since 1781, to stock up on maple and cheese goods. Nature enthusiasts will want to visit the Loon Center to learn about these beloved birds; you can hear their haunting calls on the lake. We also suggest stopping in Wolfeboro, a charming community that's been a summer resort since the 1700s. It's a great place to walk around. The E. Stanley Wright Museum in Wolfeboro documents the history of the U.S. home front during World War II with artifacts, memorabilia, costumes and films. Weirs Beach is a fun but tacky town full of amusement arcades and vacationers. Stick around for fireworks on summer evenings. Climb aboard the Hobo Railroad for a variety of scenic trips in the area—an especially good option during fall foliage season. Shoppers in search of arts and crafts will find much to peruse in nearby Meredith.

Don't neglect the other lakes in the vicinity. We particularly enjoyed the boat tour of Squam Lake, a lovely place featured in the movie On Golden Pond. In Holderness, visit the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center of New Hampshire—visitors to its 200-acre/80-hectare wildlife sanctuary can observe native animals (black bears, eagles and otters) in natural enclosures. There are also numerous excellent hiking and exploring trails around the Squam Lake area. If outlet shopping is what you're after, try the Lakes Region Factory Stores in Tilton. Lake Winnipesaukee is 25 mi/40 km north of Concord.

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