Lake Winnipesaukee, an iconic New England destination isn’t just a lake; it’s a playground teeming with activities that cater to every taste and desire. From water adventures to scenic hikes, charming towns to lakeside relaxation, no matter when you choose to visit, there are so many things to do in Lake Winnipesaukee. Join us as we dive into the best this beloved destination has to offer, guiding you through a curated list of activities that promise to make your visit to Lake Winnipesaukee an unforgettable experience amidst New Hampshire’s breathtaking beauty.
Attend Local Events and Festivals
When visiting Lake Winnipesaukee, you’ll find a variety of local events and festivals to attend. If you’re a fan of racing, don’t miss the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in nearby Laconia. They host exciting events throughout the year, providing thrilling entertainment for the whole family.
Another great way to experience Lake Winnipesaukee is by attending seasonal events, like arts and crafts fairs, farmers markets, and concerts. These events offer a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the community and learn about local artisans, musicians, and farmers.
Visit Cultural and Heritage Sites
There are plenty of museums and heritage sites to explore around Lake Winnipesaukee. For history buffs, the Wright Museum, located in Wolfeboro, showcases World War II artifacts and information. You’ll find fascinating exhibits that tell the story of the war and its impact on American life.
A trip to Moultonborough gives you the chance to visit the Old Country Store, a charming and historic building filled with unique antiques, local products, and souvenirs.
You must also pay a visit to the Castle in the Clouds, a beautiful mansion perched high above Lake Winnipesaukee in Moultonborough. With captivating views and incredible architecture, it is a must-see attraction for history and architecture enthusiasts.
Engage in Traditional Experiences
Immerse yourself in the unique experiences that Lake Winnipesaukee has to offer. Enjoy a scenic journey on the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad – a nostalgic trip that takes you from Meredith to Weirs Beach and offers delightful views of the lake and surrounding area.
For an authentic taste of the region, be sure to shop at League of NH Craftsmen, featuring handmade products from local artisans. You can also take the opportunity to explore the beautiful Weirs Beach area, where you’ll find plenty of opportunities for relaxation, shopping, and dining.
With so many traditional experiences available in and around Lake Winnipesaukee, you’re sure to create lasting memories during your visit.
Things to do in Lake Winnipesaukee: Outdoor and Nature Activities
Nature Trails and Hiking
Exploring the beauty of the lake and its surroundings through its nature trails and hiking options is one of the best things to do in Lake Winnipesaukee. One popular hiking destination is Mount Major which offers stunning views of the lake, islands, and Alton Bay. If you prefer a lower-key hike, head over to Ellacoya State Park in Gilford, where you can enjoy a lovely stroll along the shoreline.
While visiting Moultonboro, make a point to stop at the Cotton Valley Rail Trail, perfect for a leisurely walk or bike ride through the beautiful landscape of the Lakes Region. And if you’re up for a challenge, the White Mountains nearby offer more intense hikes and breathtaking views.
Lake Winnipesaukee boasts a multitude of water activities to enjoy. Start by hopping on a boat tour aboard the M/S Mount Washington for a scenic cruise around the lake, with stops in Meredith, Alton, and Wolfeboro. Ready to go for a swim? Jump in at one of the many public docks and enjoy the cool, clear waters. For a more relaxing experience, explore the numerous inlets and bays by kayak or paddleboard.
- Boat Rentals: Choose from various boat rental services available around the lake, allowing you to enjoy Lake Winnipesaukee at your own pace.
- Islands: Spend a day exploring the many islands dotting the lake, each with its own unique charm.
- Fishing: Try your hand at fishing, from casual casting to taking part in an ice fishing tournament during winter months.
Looking for the best things to do in Lake Winnipesaukee that gets your adrenaline running? Look no further than the adventure sports offered around Lake Winnipesaukee. Head over to Gunstock Mountain Resort in Gilford for ziplining, mountain biking, or a thrilling mountain coaster ride. If you’re more into water sports, check out the local businesses that offer wakeboarding, waterskiing, and jet-ski rentals.
In the winter months, don’t miss out on skiing or snowboarding at Gunstock Mountain Resort, or explore the beautiful snow-covered landscape on snowshoes or cross-country skis.
Remember, Lake Winnipesaukee and the surrounding area offer a variety of outdoor activities to suit everyone’s interests. Be it hiking, water sports, or adventure thrills – you’ll find it all here.
Relaxation and Wellness
Spas and Wellness Centers
Looking for relaxing things to do in Lake Winnipesaukee after a day of exploring? Treat yourself to a rejuvenating afternoon at one of the many spas and wellness centers in the area. Indulge in a soothing massage, facial, or body treatment that will help you unwind and revitalize before continuing your Lakes Region adventure.
Beaches and Pools
If you prefer the calming presence of water, Lake Winnipesaukee has plenty to offer. Take a break from shopping and dining near the shoreline to dip your toes in the refreshing water at public docks and beaches. Weirs Beach, for instance, is a popular spot known for its sandy shoreline and bustling boardwalk. The Half Moon Family Fun Center and Penny Arcade are nearby for some light entertainment. Don’t hesitate to explore other accessible beaches too, as each one may offer a unique experience for your perfect day of relaxation.
Parks and Gardens
Another way to unwind and reconnect with nature is by visiting the many parks and gardens in the area. The Squam Lakes Natural Science Center provides an opportunity to explore the local flora and fauna, while several public parks allow for leisurely strolls and picnics. Find a cozy spot by the lake where you can enjoy the peaceful scenery and breathe in the fresh air. As you explore these serene spaces, you’ll discover that Lake Winnipesaukee has a lot more to offer than the picturesque views.
Food and Culinary Activities
Lake Winnipesaukee is a popular destination for food enthusiasts, offering a rich culinary scene that includes local cuisine, cooking classes, and visits to local markets. Let’s explore these activities in more detail.
Local Cuisine Tasting
You will find a variety of delicious restaurants and eateries around Lake Winnipesaukee. For a satisfying meal with a view, head to the towns of Wolfeboro, Meredith, Alton, or Center Harbor. These areas have diverse dining options, including:
- Waterfront dining: Enjoy a meal with a beautiful view of the lake’s 72 square miles.
- Ice cream shops: Treat yourself to a sweet dessert at one of the many ice cream shops in the area.
- Arcade restaurants: Have some fun while grabbing a bite at an arcade-themed eatery.
A friendly tip: Do visit some of the local shops in these towns to get a taste of the region’s culinary offerings while supporting small businesses.
Ever thought about learning to cook like a local? There are cooking classes available around Lake Winnipesaukee that will help you master local dishes. These classes allow you to:
- Learn unique recipes and cooking techniques.
- Experiment with local ingredients and flavors.
- Connect with other foodies in a fun and engaging environment.
Keep an eye out for classes held in the towns of Wolfeboro, Meredith, or Alton, where you’ll get a chance to improve your culinary skills.
Visit Local Markets
One of the best things to do in Lake Winnipesaukee is to visit local markets. These markets offer a variety of fresh produce, artisanal goods, and an opportunity to meet the producers themselves. Some popular markets around Lake Winnipesaukee are:
- Beans & Greens Farm
- Cate Park Farmer’s Market
By visiting these markets, you can:
- Discover local produce and ingredients.
- Learn about the region’s food culture.
- Support small businesses and local farmers.
Entertainment and Nightlife
Live Shows and Performances
If you’re into live entertainment, you can always find something happening in Lake Winnipesaukee areas like Wolfeboro and Meredith. Take a trip down to the New Hampshire Boat Museum in Wolfeboro, where they host events and performances regularly. While you’re in the area, explore Meredith’s thriving theater scene with a play or a musical performance.
Bars and Nightclubs
When the sun sets, the nightlife around Lake Winnipesaukee comes alive. There are plenty of bars and nightclubs in the region where you can unwind with friends. You could visit Willow’s Steak and Spirits in Weirs Beach, offering a variety of entertainment, or enjoy a local brewery for a more laid-back experience. In addition, Funspot, the world’s largest arcade, is located in Weirs Beach, perfect for a fun-packed night too!
Evening Cruises or Tours
For a unique evening experience, M/S Mount Washington offers Mount Washington Cruises. These cruises provide breathtaking views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the surrounding areas while you dine on delicious food and drink. If you prefer to stay on land, consider New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where you can catch a thrilling race or other events.
While exploring Lake Winnipesaukee’s entertainment and nightlife options, remember to keep an open mind and have a great time!
Shopping and Souvenirs
Local Artisan Shops
While exploring the beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee area, you’ll come across plenty of local artisan shops, showcasing the finest craftsmanship in the Lakes Region. In Moultonborough, for example, you’ll find stores filled with handmade items, ranging from pottery and jewelry to woodworks and textiles. Alton and Gilford also have a variety of talented artisans with unique creations, giving you a chance to bring home a piece of the Lakes Region.
Popular Shopping Districts
One of the most popular shopping districts in the Lake Winnipesaukee area is Mill Falls Marketplace in Meredith. Spanning across 72 square miles, this marketplace features:
- 14 shops and eateries
- 8 acres of park-like setting with flowers and sculptures
- A 40-foot waterfall
Another popular spot is the charming town of Center Harbor, where you can find boutiques, galleries, and gift shops, offering locally-made goods and one-of-a-kind treasures — all without sales tax!
Some unique finds in the Lake Winnipesaukee area are the family-owned Kellerhaus in Weirs Beach and Mills Falls near downtown Meredith. Kellerhaus is famous for its homemade chocolates, candies, and ice cream, making it a perfect stop for a sweet indulgence. On the other hand, Mills Falls is a sought-after shopping destination featuring a lovely waterfall and several shops, offering an enchanting shopping experience.
Remember, as you stroll through the quaint towns of the Lakes Region, immerse yourself in the local culture and take home a souvenir that will always remind you of your journey to Lake Winnipesaukee.
Children’s Museums and Attractions
Looking for things to do in Lake Winnipesaukee with your family? There are several children’s museums and attractions to explore! The New Hampshire Boat Museum in Wolfeboro is a great place for kids to learn about the history of boating and see some impressive boats up close. Another excellent option is the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, located in the nearby town of Holderness. This educational center features live animal exhibits, nature trails, and interactive workshops, making it perfect for a family day out.
Parks and Play Areas
The area surrounding Lake Winnipesaukee offers numerous parks and play areas for children. In Meredith, the Hesky Park is known for its beautiful views and public boat launch, making it an ideal spot for a family picnic. Alternatively, you can visit the Moultonborough Playground & Recreation Area which features modern equipment for kids and sports facilities.
In addition to these designated play areas, several town docks and boat ramps around the lake provide easy access to the water for a day of swimming and fun.
Interactive workshops are a fantastic way to enrich your family vacation with educational experiences. At the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, you’ll find a variety of workshops and programs tailored for children of all ages. Topics range from nature exploration to wildlife conservation efforts, giving your kids a hands-on experience they will cherish long after the trip is over.
If you’re looking for more indoor entertainment, don’t miss out on the Funspot Arcade. As one of the world’s largest arcades, this attraction combines classic and modern games for endless fun with the whole family.
Lake Winnipesaukee is more than just a picturesque destination – it’s a haven for family-friendly activities. No matter your interests or your kids’ ages, there’s something for everyone to enjoy, ensuring your family vacation is one for the memory books.