As the name of the area implies, New Hampshire’s Lakes Region is chalk-full of beautiful lakes perfect for all of your summer water-sports. Swimming, boating, kayaking, fishing, water skiing and more are available for residents and tourists alike, but one thing you can count on in addition to the lakeside fun are vibrant local economies and lively cultural centers. The assortment of towns and activities that circle the lake can provide enough variety to keep everyone happy.
Vacationers frequent Lake Winnipesaukee and surrounding areas year-round. Summer months see the highest amounts of visitors due to the beautiful weather and array of outdoor activities. Tourists might be surprised though by the popularity of local business, farm stands, and downtown areas as well.
The southern tip of the lake is home to towns like Alton and Wolfeboro, both with ample lake-front access, town beaches, and charm to spare. Wolfeboro’s active downtown community is home to many shops selling everything from penny candy to hand crafted gifts. With upscale bed and breakfasts and frequent dockings of Lake Winnipesaukee’s Mount Washington day-cruise liner, Wolfeboro is a wonderful place to enjoy a long weekend before summer’s end.
Alton is equally charming, but with an entirely different set of characteristics. The downtown is up-and-coming and boasts several new restaurants and little shops, while the real town’s heart and soul rests in Alton Bay with a kitschy mini golf and arcade, waterfront picnic tables, and several delicious take-out and drive-up options. Alton Bay is like a blast from the past, and during the summer months frequent live music, fireworks, and craft fairs can be found there.
If you drive north on the west side of the lake, you’ll find quite little towns with lake-side cabins, hiking trails, and even a castle–Kimball’s Castle in Gilford, NH. Scenic overlooks lead the way to towns like Meredith and Center Harbor, with farm stands and shopping centers to cater to every taste. Antique shops and diners coupled with historical societies and museums provide a taste of New Hampshire’s rich history. Boat rentals, fishing holes, and hiking trails dot the way.
If you continue around to the north side of the lake, things will get a little quieter. Sleepy towns provide the perfect away-from-it-all feeling, but still offer cafes and restaurants with locally sourced foods and occasionally free wifi. Hiking trails and sprawling farm lands allow for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy the nice weather away from motor boats and sea-doos.
Once you round the lake and reach the east side, you’ve got another beautiful castle — Castle in the Clouds — to explore. Wildlife reserves abut quiet bays with more quaint cabins.
Whether you enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, sailing, or motor boating, the Lake is the perfect place to have some summer fun. And if those activities aren’t your idea of a good time, curl up with a good book in a quiet cabin, go antiquing in one of the many vibrant downtowns, or explore the local history. New Hampshire’s Lakes Region can suit anyone’s idea of a dream vacation.