Discover Lake Winnipesaukee

Located in the heart of New England, Lake Winnipesaukee near Gilford, New Hampshire, is a tranquil retreat that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and outdoor adventure.

This destination is ideal for nature lovers and thrill-seekers with its crystal-clear waters, stunning scenery, and diverse recreational activities. Whether you’re looking to go boating, fishing, hiking, or simply relaxing on the beach, Lake Winnipesaukee has something for everyone.

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Top 3 Facts About Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire

01

Grand Size

Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest lake in the U.S. state of New Hampshire. It’s approximately 21 miles long and from 1 to 9 miles wide—covering a staggering 69 square miles!

02

Untouched Islands

The lake contains at least 264 islands, half less than a quarter-acre in size. Imagine having your private island for a day!

03

It’s All in a Name

The Abenaki name Winnipesaukee means “smile of the Great Spirit” or “beautiful water in a high place.” That’s quite poetic, isn’t it?

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Must-See Attractions

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Lake Winnipesaukee Museum

Speciality Museum

A hidden gem for history enthusiasts, the Lake Winnipesaukee Museum is filled to the brim with local lore and legend. Within its walls, you’ll discover fascinating exhibits that narrate the story of the lake and its surrounding communities. It’s a journey through time, offering insights into the lives of the native tribes and early settlers who left an indelible mark on the area.

M/S Mount Washington

Boat Tour

The iconic M/S Mount Washington invites you on a spectacular voyage across Lake Winnipesaukee. This historic vessel, a fixture on the lake since 1872, offers breathtaking views and a unique perspective on the area’s natural beauty. Enjoy engaging storytelling from the captain, delicious onboard dining, and themed cruises that bring the lake’s history and culture to life, all while surrounded by stunning scenery and local wildlife.

Castle in the Clouds

Speciality Museums

Overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee, Castle in the Clouds stands as a majestic portal to a bygone era of elegance and opulence. This architectural marvel offers panoramic views of the lake and mountains, making it a paradise for photographers and history buffs alike. Explore the lush gardens and the beautifully restored interiors and admire the intricate woodwork and ornate chandeliers dotted throughout.

Annual Events and Festivals

August 2024

Fine Arts & Crafts Festival

In August 2024, the picturesque town of Meredith transforms into a hub of creativity for the Lakes Region Fine Arts & Crafts Festival. Hosted by the Meredith Area Chamber of Commerce, this esteemed event showcases over 80 juried artists and craftsmen, offering a diverse array of high-quality goods, including pottery, jewelry, and original artwork. As you wander through the charming Main Street and Mill Falls Marketplace, enjoy the added delights of musical entertainment, artisan demonstrations, and local culinary treats.

June 8 – 16, 2024

Laconia Motorcycle Week

Rev up your engines for Laconia Motorcycle Week, a legendary rally with deep roots in motorcycle history, slated for June 8-16, 2024. This iconic event, which began as a simple Gypsy tour in 1916, has evolved into a thrilling nine-day extravaganza, attracting biking enthusiasts from across North America. Immerse yourself in the excitement of motorcycle races, hill climb competitions, shows, and the unique camaraderie that defines this storied gathering in the scenic New Hampshire Lakes Region.

February 2024

Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing Derby

Embrace the winter spirit at the Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing Derby this February 2024. This much-anticipated event, hosted by the Meredith Rotary Club, invites ice fishing enthusiasts from all corners to compete for the grand prize and a chance to feature on the wall of fame. The atmosphere on Meredith Bay is electric, transforming into a vibrant mix of vendors and bob houses, offering a family-friendly, carnival-like experience on the ice.

Top Hiking Trails

Mount Major

875 Mt Major Hwy, Alton Bay, NH 03810

Mount Major is a splendid choice for a rewarding hiking experience near Lake Winnipesaukee. This 3.2-mile hike offers a moderate challenge with an elevation gain of 1,200 feet. Choose between trails like the gradual Brook Trail or the steeper Main Trail, each providing unique perspectives and a few steep sections. The effort culminates in breathtaking views from the summit, making Mount Major a memorable and popular hiking destination.

Belknap Mountain

3 Damson Ln, Gilford, NH 03249

Belknap Mountain, a moderate 2-mile hike, is a gem among the trails near Lake Winnipesaukee. This hike features a fire tower at the summit, offering spectacular 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape. The ascent via the Green Trail is a steady climb, gaining about 700 feet, but once you’re at the top, you’ll certainly agree the effort is well worth the stunning vistas.

Mount Roberts

455 Old Mountain Rd, Moultonborough, NH 03254

For a truly scenic hike, Mount Roberts offers a moderately difficult 5.5-mile trail with an elevation gain of 1,350 feet. Starting near the Castle in the Clouds, the trail initially meanders gently before ascending steeply towards the summit. Throughout, tackle several open ledges, each offering spectacular views that arguably surpass even those from the summit.

Best Golf Courses

Lake Winnipesaukee Golf Club

1 Lake Winnipesaukee Dr, New Durham, NH 03855

Nestled in a stunning 700-acre mountain setting, the Lake Winnipesaukee Golf Club is a private 18-hole championship course masterfully designed by Clive Clark. The course, recognized for its playability and design, consistently ranks among the top courses in New Hampshire. With breathtaking bent grass tees, fairways, and elegant greens, you can look forward to a high-quality golfing experience enhanced by modern technologies and professional staff.

Kingswood Golf Club

24 Kingswood Rd, Wolfeboro, NH 03894

Situated in Wolfeboro, NH, Kingswood Golf Club is a semi-private, classic Donald Ross 18-hole championship course that blends history with modern-day golfing excellence. Since its inception in 1915, Kingswood has maintained a reputation for quality and hospitable service, featuring a range of challenges for all skill levels, plush fairways, and velvet-smooth greens. The club offers an engaging layout and includes a driving range, practice areas, and a full-service restaurant, making it a complete golfing destination.

Ridgewood Country Club

258 Gov. John Wentworth Hwy, Moultonborough, NH 03254

Located in the heart of central New Hampshire, Ridgewood Country Club offers an 18-hole championship golf experience accessible to golfers of all levels. The front nine demands precision and accuracy as it winds through a picturesque landscape, while the back nine opens up, allowing for more aggressive play. Renowned for its beautiful views and excellent playing conditions throughout the season, Ridgewood stands out as a must-play course, offering exceptional value and a memorable golfing experience.

Water Sports

Wake Winni

Water Sports

Wake Winni is your one-stop shop for all things motorized water sports, including wake surfing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, and tubing. The service is designed to cater to both beginners and advanced participants, with experienced captains to guide and instruct. Their approach is focused on safety and fun, providing all the necessary equipment for an exciting adventure on the lake. Additionally, they offer the convenience of a boat with a captain, ensuring a stress-free and enjoyable time on the water.

SUPNH

SUP REntals

SUPNH is known as New Hampshire’s most experienced paddleboard company, offering unique paddleboard adventures on Lake Winnipesaukee since 2007. They provide a convenient service by delivering paddleboards and kayaks directly to you. In addition to rentals, SUPNH sells new boards at their shop, offers private lessons, and leads classes that are open to the public.

Dive Winnipesaukee

Scuba Diving

Did you know Winnipesaukee offers some of the best freshwater diving in the northeast, thanks to its clear waters and wreck-littered bottom? And if you’re curious to check it out yourself, be sure to check out Dive Winnipesaukee, which offers a range of services, including scuba diving lessons and charters, equipment sales, and repairs. Beyond that, they also offer water skiing, water trampolines, and stand-up paddleboards to rent.

Winter Activities

Snow Skiing at Gunstock Mountain

Gunstock Mountain offers a fantastic skiing experience for both beginners and experienced skiers. The resort boasts 48 ski trails covering 230 acres, providing a variety of terrain and challenges, including night skiing on 22 well-lit trails. Gunstock’s learning program is ideal for novices, with separate slopes and lifts for beginners and lessons available for first-timers, children, and groups. Plus, with 90% snowmaking coverage, you can look forward to good skiing conditions throughout the season​​​​.

Ice Fishing on Lake Winnipesaukee

From January 1st to March 31st, Lake Winnipesaukee transforms into an ice fishing paradise. The lakes offer a variety of fish, including white perch, black crappie, pickerel, bass, and even large cusk for night fishing. While lake and rainbow trout or salmon are also catchable, it’s important to note that some lakes restrict salmon fishing through the ice. Remember-always check ice conditions for safety before and during your adventure​​!

Snow Tubing at Gunstock Mountain

Snow tubing at Gunstock Mountain is an enjoyable winter activity for all ages, offering an alternative to skiing or snowboarding. The resort features a nine-lane tubing hill with two-hour sessions, allowing for repeated fun glides down the hill, especially as the convenience of the handle-tow lift means there’s no walking back up the hill! Snow tubing is typically available from Christmas through mid-March, with night tubing sessions also available on select evenings​​​​.

Where to Eat

Nolan’s Brick Oven Bistro

$ – $$ • Pizza, Burgers & More

O Bistro at The Inn on Main

$$ – $$$ • Upmarket American

Bailey’s Bubble

$ – $$ • Icecream

Where to Shop

Great Northern Trading Co

Gift Shop

Made On Earth

Boutique Shop

Black’s Paper Shop

Gift Shop

Where to Sleep

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1054 Grace River Road
Number of Guests 8
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 3
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Smoke detectors
$0.00 / day
sparkles New

JP Rest House

V262+C5P, Manikganj, Bangladesh
Number of Guests 4
Bathrooms 2
Bedrooms 4
Sq Footage 2,400
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Generator, Smoke detectors
$300.00 / day
sparkles New

Tips on Renting a Vacation Home on Lake Winnipesaukee

Location and Accessibility

Lake Winnipesaukee is vast, with many towns and areas around its perimeter, each offering a unique experience. Decide whether you want to be in a bustling area like Laconia or Meredith, known for their restaurants and shops, or in a quieter, more secluded spot.

Type of Rental and Amenities

Determine the type of rental that best suits your needs. Options range from cozy cabins to luxurious waterfront homes. Consider the amenities you require, such as Wi-Fi, a full kitchen, a private dock, or a hot tub. If traveling with kids or pets, look for family-friendly or pet-friendly accommodations.

Seasonal Considerations

Summer is perfect for water sports and outdoor activities, while winter brings opportunities for ice fishing, skiing, and snowmobiling. Rentals may be more expensive and harder to book during peak summer months, so plan accordingly. In contrast, off-season rentals (spring and fall) can offer quieter stays and better rates.

Budget and Booking Terms

Establish your budget and consider the total cost, including rental rates, cleaning fees, deposits, and any additional charges for amenities or services. Read the rental agreement carefully for details on cancellations, refunds, check-in/check-out times, and house rules. Booking well in advance is advisable, especially for peak seasons.

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Going Deeper on Lake Winnipesaukee

Geological Evolution and Formation

The landscape we see today was largely shaped before the last glacial period, about 50,000 years ago, with the region undergoing dramatic changes due to various cataclysmic events like earthquakes and volcanic activities. The most significant alteration to the area came during the Ice Age, particularly towards the end of the Pleistocene Epoch, about 14,000 years ago. The powerful glaciers of this era sculpted the land, carving out what would eventually become Lake Winnipesaukee. Prior to this glacial activity, there was no lake as we know it today.

Archaeological Significance and Aboriginal History

Following the glacial retreat, the region saw its earliest human inhabitants, possibly dating back close to 40,000 years ago, although the most significant evidence of early human life in the area dates back to around 10,000 years ago. Notably, the largest village of the Algonquian Indians in central New Hampshire, Aquedoctan, was located along the shore of what is now known as Lake Paugus. This village was an important fishing and assembly site for the Woodland People, who utilized natural resources like clay for pottery and saplings for constructing fish weirs.

This community was known for its fish weirs used to trap shad, pottery production from local clay, and other practices demonstrating the sophisticated use of natural resources. The area’s archaeological significance is highlighted by various artifacts found, including the Mystery Stone, a unique carved object, along with numerous other tools and relics that offer a glimpse into the life of the indigenous people who once thrived in this region.

Cultural and Recreational Evolution

Over the centuries, Lake Winnipesaukee has evolved from an important indigenous settlement to a popular destination for a range of recreational activities. The lake, known for its “Beautiful Water of the High Place,” is the largest in New Hampshire, featuring over 183 miles of shoreline and an array of islands. It has become a hub for activities like fishing, boating, ice skating, and snowmobiling.

Frequently Asked Questions About Lake Winnipesaukee

Lake Winnipesaukee, being the largest lake in New Hampshire, offers a wide range of activities such as boating, fishing, water skiing, wakeboarding, and kayaking. In the surrounding areas, you can also enjoy hiking, golfing, and exploring local shops and restaurants.

Lake Winnipesaukee spans an impressive 69 square miles and features about 183 miles (295 km) of shoreline. It’s dotted with 264 islands and is a major recreational center in New Hampshire.

Yes, Lake Winnipesaukee is an excellent destination for family vacations. It offers various family-friendly activities, including beaches for swimming, boat rentals for family excursions, and numerous parks and playgrounds. The region also hosts family-oriented events and festivals throughout the year.

Notable towns around Lake Winnipesaukee include Meredith, Wolfeboro, Laconia, and Alton. Each town has its unique charm, with attractions like historical sites, cultural events, local artisan shops, and delightful dining options.

Fishing is a popular activity on Lake Winnipesaukee. The lake is home to a variety of fish species, including salmon, lake trout, smallmouth and largemouth bass, pickerel, and perch. It’s important to be aware of and adhere to New Hampshire’s fishing regulations while enjoying this activity.

Yes, Lake Winnipesaukee offers a variety of boat rental services, catering to both experienced boaters and beginners. These services range from renting kayaks and canoes to motorboats and luxury yachts. Many rental companies are located around the lake, providing easy access to watercrafts along with safety equipment and instructions.

Muskoka is known for its picturesque towns and charming villages. Some popular towns you can visit include Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Huntsville, and Port Carling. Each town offers its unique attractions, shops, and restaurants, making them perfect stopovers during your exploration of the Muskoka region.

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