16 Best Things to Do in Lake Winnipesaukee, NH

Lake Winnipesaukee, NH

When I first moved to the heart of New Hampshire, I was captivated by the natural beauty and serene charm of Lake Winnipesaukee.

I learned quickly that this area is more than just a haven for nature lovers.

It's a vibrant community where every day is an opportunity for a new adventure.

Whether it's your first time here or you're an old friend of the Lake, here's my guide to making the most of your time in this remarkable part of the world.

Let's dive into the best things to do in Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire.

About this article: This article was written by a local contributor based on their own experiences and those around them. While this list showcases some remarkable places, it's important to note that this is an opinion piece, and there are many other exceptional places to visit that are not featured here.
Our aim is not just to guide you to popular places but to encourage you to venture out and experience the city for yourself.

Hike Mt Major

View of the sunset from Mt Major
Andrew J McFarland / Shutterstock.com

You haven't experienced New Hampshire until you've hiked up Mt Major.

I've done this trail more times than I can count.

The paths leading to the peak wind through a thick, serene forest before revealing stunning panoramic views that make every step worthwhile.

Over the years, I've developed a fondness for the Orange trail on the way up.

It's a bit rocky, but the challenge is part of the fun.

Plus, it's always easier to navigate when you're fresh and energetic.

When it's time to descend, I prefer taking the Blue Trail.

It's a gentler path and a perfect way to end the adventure.

The summit of Mt Major
IP Singh at the English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Of course, it's not just about the journey but also the destination.

The peak of Mt Major provides an outstanding view of Lake Winnipesaukee that leaves me in awe every single time.

It's become a bit popular over the years, so there's often a crowd, especially on the weekends.

Parking along Route 11 can be a bit of a challenge, but the beauty of the view is worth it.

Mt Major is a great place to start for those new to hiking.

The trails are clear and manageable, even for beginners.

Bring a camera, too. You'll want to capture the breathtaking scenes from the top.

Despite the crowds, Mt Major remains my go-to trail, a true local's gem in the heart of New Hampshire.

Visit Meredith At Hermit Woods Winery & Eatery

I find myself returning to Hermit Woods Winery & Eatery again and again, no matter the season or occasion.

It's all about the enchanting wine selection and mouth-watering food menu that always keeps me returning.

Nestled in the heart of Meredith, the winery offers an impressive array of fruit wines, and they're all so reasonably priced that I can never resist bringing back a bottle or two.

Just last week, I ended up at Hermit Woods without a plan.

The Turkey Bacon Jam Panini for lunch was an absolute delight, served with a side of Deep River Black Pepper Chips - an unexpected treat that makes the place feel all the more special.

But the show's real star at Hermit Woods has always been the wine.

I've seen them grow since they moved to their building on Main Street years ago, and their passion for every bottle has always been inspiring.

The blueberry wine that first caught my eye years ago remains my favorite, but the Petit Blue and Deep Red (a raspberry wine) are serious contenders too.

And the best part? They ship their award-winning wines down to Florida, so you can enjoy a taste of Meredith wherever you are.

I can't recommend it enough, and I'm already looking forward to my next visit.

Spend the Day at Beans & Greens Farm

Do you know what the best part about living here is? It's places like Beans & Greens Farm.

This charming farm is a delightful combination of a farm shop, a nursery, and an entertaining hub for family activities.

Visiting here is like stepping into a vibrant postcard of fresh fruits, vegetables, and handmade goodies.

The farm shop boasts a fascinating array of local produce.

From seasonal fruits and veggies to local eggs and milk, there's always something fresh to take home.

The prices may not be the rock-bottom cheapest in town, but they're pretty fair considering the quality you get.

Plus, there's a unique assortment of baked goods and handcrafted products like candles that you won't find anywhere else!

The outdoor area and greenhouses are a garden enthusiast's dream.

Rows upon rows of beautiful plants catch your eye as soon as you step outside.

On one of my visits, a friendly employee even offered my family and me a bowl of kitchen scraps to feed the animals.

Speaking of animals, they have a whole bunch in the back, making it a fun day out for the kids.

What's more, the place is a hub of activities.

From chair swings to a kids' corner packed with fun rides, there's never a dull moment.

The farm even has a corn maze that's a hit with kids and adults alike.

Not to mention, they've done a tremendous job of creating diverse spaces for special events and simply soaking in the beauty of nature.

It's a great little place for all your home-grown needs and a fantastic spot for a family day out.

A visit to Beans & Greens Farm is a day well spent, indeed!

Spend a Day Out At The Castle In The Clouds

View of Castle in the Clouds
Fletcher, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the magnificence that graces our lovely town is the Castle in the Clouds.

This mountaintop estate is not just a visual artistry but a place brimming with history and charm.

I enjoyed the self-guided tour of the grand 1913 mansion in Lucknow just last week.

The castle experience is not just limited to the mansion. The sprawling 5,500-acre estate is a wonderland in itself.

I embarked on the brook walk trail, a hike that revealed the estate's stunning waterfalls.

It's always a joy to experience the tranquility offered by the path; the sound of the water falling, the chirping of the birds, it's almost therapeutic.

The cherry on this delightful day was the lunch at the gatehouse.

Moreover, the shrimp tacos are a must-try, full of flavors, and delicious.

It's a pleasure to dine amid such breathtaking lake views.

The estate also offers a fun twist for the little ones with scavenger hunts and interactive stations.

Castle in the Clouds is an experience, a day of fun and exploration steeped in history and nature's allure.

Explore the Wright Museum of World War II

Not every day you discover a treasure trove in your backyard, but the Wright Museum of World War II is one of them.

Nestled in our humble town, this museum is an astounding amalgamation of knowledge, history, and authentic memorabilia.

Its vast and diverse collection, dedicated to not only the frontline battle but also the home front during WWII, keeps pulling me back.

This institution's charm lies in its ability to keep even the most restless of teenagers engaged, a testament to its thoughtfully curated exhibits.

Moreover, the museum is a chronicle of life in America during those difficult years.

The meticulously maintained building offers an immersive experience, transporting you to a bygone era.

Coupled with its interactive displays and home front scenes, it guarantees to keep youngsters entertained and educated.

The Wright Museum of World War II is a treasure chest waiting to be explored, a must-visit in our town.

Whether you're a history buff, a student, or just a curious observer, this place has something to offer everyone.

Once you've stepped through its doors, you'll want to return, eager to uncover more hidden gems.

Enjoy the Day at Cate Park

There's a certain charm to living in Wolfeboro, magic best encapsulated by the tranquil beauty of Cate Park.

Nestled in downtown Wolfeboro, opposite the post office, this park infuses our town with an appreciation for simple, nature-infused pleasures.

Cate Park is a visual treat, well-tended and teeming with blooms throughout the year.

It's a great spot to enjoy a stroll or rest on one of the benches, soaking in the views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the bustling Town Docks just across the street.

The park's gazebo, a stone's throw away from the local restaurants and shops, is a haven for shutterbugs.

It offers the perfect vantage point to capture the lake and the summer nights' musical concerts.

These concerts are a staple of our community, bringing together residents and visitors in a celebration of music and camaraderie.

One of my favorite features of Cate Park is the "Sharing" bronze sculpture.

It depicts a grandfather and his grandson seated on a park bench, engrossed in an ice cream moment.

This sculpture infuses a sense of warmth and nostalgia in the park.

Most days, you can spot visitors mirroring the statue, creating their ice cream moments with treats from nearby shops.

The park also offers easy access to public bathrooms, located just behind the train station, a short walk away.

It's one of the many small ways the park provides convenience and comfort.

Whether you're seeking solitude, recreation, or simply a spot to enjoy an ice cream cone, Cate Park is a delightful part of our town's charm.

It's not just a place but a testament to the community spirit of Wolfeboro.

Discover Ellacoya State Park

View of Ellacoya State Park
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

There's something incredibly serene about listening to the soft lapping of waves on the sandy shore, with the faint crackle of family barbecues in the distance.

That's what my typical summer evenings sound like at Ellacoya State Park.

The place is practically a stone's throw from my house, and I've been a frequent visitor for years.

Moreover, it remains open all year round, and it's my retreat!

From a quick dip in the warm water from June to August to a quiet stroll on the beach while watching the sunset, this park has activities for every mood and season.

The place is also a haven for families with children; its playground is lively, always buzzing with cheerful squeals and laughter.

And the considerable RV campground? It's a sight to behold when lit up with campfires and stories.

If you are a fan of barbecues, you would love the dedicated grilling spaces and picnic tables scattered all around.

View of Ellacoya State Park
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

And let's not forget the clean shower rooms - perfect to freshen up after a day full of fun and frolic.

One of my favorite pastimes is hiking along the well-maintained trails and biking for miles.

Sounds tiring? Trust me, the mesmerizing views are worth every drop of sweat.

And if you're lucky, you might stumble upon the tranquil Poor Farm Brook, nestled right in the park's heart.

The calming sound of the babbling brook is enough to wash away all your worries.

Ellacoya State Park is a community, a peaceful retreat, and an adventure all rolled into one.

I wouldn't trade my backyard view for anything else. Give it a visit, and you'll know what I mean.

View of Ellacoya State Park
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

Take a Journey through Time at Lake Winnipesaukee Historical Society

A trip to the Lake Winnipesaukee Historical Society is like opening a time capsule.

Nestled near the shores of our beloved lake, this quaint museum has become one of my regular haunts.

It's not just about the charm of the place but the wealth of information and stories it offers about our great lakes region.

During one of our many fishing trips, my buddy first introduced me to this hidden gem.

The museum is unassuming on the outside, but don't be fooled. Once you step inside, you're met with a treasure trove of history.

What struck me the most was the breadth of the exhibits and the level of detail.

Each artifact, each photograph, and each document tells a tale of the people who lived here, their culture, their triumphs, and their tribulations.

From the native tribes to the first settlers, the region's evolution is bare for all to see.

And that's the beauty of it. You're not just reading about history. You're experiencing it firsthand.

Every visit leaves me knowing more about this place I call home, making me feel even more connected.

I've learned so much, yet I know there's still so much more to discover.

That's the allure of the Lake Winnipesaukee Historical Society, where the past isn't just remembered and brought to life.

Spend the Day at Ragged Island

I have spent countless summer days on Ragged Island, and every visit always brings me peace and joy.

Its location, nestled between Long Island and Cow Island, makes it a favorite among our community and visitors alike Ragged Island Map.

One of the smaller islands on the lake, it has an intimate, cozy feel perfect for a day trip with family and friends.

Its public access and bathroom facilities make it convenient, and small beach areas on the South and West sides quickly become the perfect spots for sunbathing on sunny days.

Swimming here is a pure joy, with many lovely spots around the island.

However, I must stress that navigating the waters near the dock areas and the South and East sides of the island requires caution.

Massive boulders just beneath the surface are not visible, especially when the water is a bit choppy.

Another thing I love about Ragged Island is the nice hiking trail managed by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust.

It wraps around the island, offering beautiful views of the lake and the surrounding areas.

The sense of community here is vital, too.

I've often seen families throwing their anchors and spending the entire day on the island, chatting, playing, and enjoying the sun.

It's a great place to relax and create lasting memories. Ragged Island truly is a small slice of paradise in our hometown.

Embrace the Thrilling Adventure at Gunstock Mountain Resort

View of Gunstock Mountain Resort
Wikiuser100, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Just like clockwork, every winter season, I strap on my snowboard and head straight to the slopes of Gunstock Mountain Resort.

You can't beat the family-friendly atmosphere combined with the adrenaline-pumping thrills.

Diving down the variety of trails Gunstock offers is a winter's dream.

The mountain is conveniently large enough to cater to different skill levels yet retains that small, old-school mountain resort charm that keeps it cozy and welcoming, not to mention affordable!

On those Sundays when I'm not speeding down the slopes, you'll find me at a unique spot - an outdoor church that occasionally meets at the summit.

The serenity up there, coupled with the breathtaking views, is a spiritual experience quite unlike any other.

You wouldn't want to miss the mountain coaster either.

A popular summer attraction, it's a roughly five-minute ride that winds and twists its way down the mountain.

You can speed down at full pelt or ease off the brakes to soak in the stunning surrounding views leisurely.

View of Gunstock Mountain Resort
Wikiuser100, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

My post-adventure spot has always been the lodge at the top of the mountain.

They serve draft beer, and the food hits the spot after a day spent outdoors.

The panoramic view of Lake Winnipesaukee and Mount Washington is the perfect icing on the cake after a day of snowboarding or coasting.

Gunstock's killer deal also sees a lot of takers; $50 gets you a night lift ticket and rentals!

You'd be hard-pressed to find a better deal on any other mountain.

Having been to numerous mountain resorts, Gunstock holds a special place in my heart.

The views, the trails, the challenging yet doable glades, it's a package that's hard to resist or forget.

Winter or summer, it never fails to provide an unforgettable experience.

Every time I enter The League of NH Craftsmen, it feels like I'm on a delightful scavenger hunt.

Each visit unveils many new items, stirring up the joy and anticipation of Christmas morning.

I've found myself countless times losing track of hours, enraptured in exploring the store's diverse selection.

One of my favorite parts of shopping here is finding unique, one-of-a-kind pieces to decorate my home near Lake Winni.

There's a particular pride in knowing that each item has a story to tell, a story that's been shaped by the skilled hands of New Hampshire craftsmen.

But the store isn't just about home decor. I've discovered that it's a treasure trove for gifting too.

With something for everyone, it has become my go-to place for finding that perfect Christmas or birthday gift.

My favorites are the Meredith and Conway locations, each brimming with a mix of craft items that make every shopping trip an adventure.

The League of NH Craftsmen is a hub for local craftsmanship, a place to uncover masterpieces, and a testament to the talent that thrives in New Hampshire.

Play the Arcades at Funspot

There's something undeniably magical about stepping into Funspot.

It's like being transported back to the days of classic arcade games; its three floors of endless gaming action are the heart of my town and where I've spent countless weekends.

The first time you walk in, you're greeted with the whirring and beeping of countless arcade machines and an overwhelming sense of nostalgia.

From retro games to modern ones, there's something for everyone.

The assortments of games are in thousands, sprawled across the three floors.

I've been a patron for years, and I still find myself discovering new games.

The American Classic Arcade Museum (ACAM) within the complex is a particular favorite of mine, offering a range of games that transport you directly to the 70s and 80s.

And it's not just about the games. The food is equally delightful.

My personal favorite? The large cheese pizza on the first floor.

After a few rounds of intense gaming, nothing quite like that cheesy goodness hits the spot.

Let's not forget about the bumper cars and other fun activities that my daughter enjoys. She loves the claw games!

One of the best things about Funspot is the value for money it offers.

For example, with just 10 dollars, you can get 50 tokens.

That's about two hours' worth of play for me! And if you're smart about it, you can stretch those tokens even further.

Games in the ACAM section and classics like Skeeball only require one token per play.

So, if you're like me and prefer these games, your tickets will last a while.

But don't just take my word for it. Come on down and experience Funspot for yourself!

You might just find yourself becoming a regular like me.

Visit the Winnipesaukee Pier

Entryway of Winnipesaukee Pier
Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock.com

Waking up to the familiar scent of the lake on a warm summer morning always means one thing to me - it's a Winnipesaukee Pier day.

I remember one such day, during the peak of the Laconia Bike Week.

The ordinarily serene waterfront was teeming with bikers, tourists, and locals like me, creating a lively atmosphere.

After a short walk from my home, I found a parking spot on a back street and braved through the unusually heavy traffic to reach the pier.

The dock, bathed in the soft glow of the morning sun, offered a magnificent view of the sparkling lake, beckoning me to explore it.

Meanwhile, the main floor of the pier is home to various eateries catering to both adults and children.

I remember making a pit stop at a seafood joint, where the wait was surprisingly short, given the crowd.

The food was worth the wait, as the succulent lobster roll I had was heavenly.

But the Pier is not just about food. There are plenty of activities to keep you entertained.

The dock-like porch facing the water is one of my favorite spots to unwind, with tables conveniently placed for you to sit back and enjoy the view.

For those seeking nostalgia, the old-school arcade games on the Pier are a must-try.

The Pier never lost its charm for me that day despite being crowded.

Its beautiful views, the wide range of food and activities, and the vibrant atmosphere make it a place worth visiting.

And as I sat there on the porch, relishing my meal and gazing at the mesmerizing lake views, I felt a sense of contentment.

Such is the magic of Winnipesaukee Pier, a local gem that never fails to dazzle.

Visit the Libby Museum of Natural History

Do you know that feeling of going somewhere new yet right at home?

That's exactly how I felt when I visited the Libby Museum of Natural History.

Maybe it was the friendly faces around me or the quaint charm of the place itself.

Regardless, it was apparent that this museum had something unique to offer.

As I walked through the doors, I was greeted with many exciting exhibits, each more intriguing than the last.

The museum is small, but don't let its size fool you. It presents a world of exploration in its nooks and crannies, ensuring every visit feels like a new adventure.

One of the best parts is their scavenger hunt, designed especially for the little ones.

It's an ingenious concept that keeps the kids engaged and fosters their curiosity about the natural world.

And the best part? The scavenger hunt comes with prizes, so children walk away with knowledge and a memento of their journey of exploration.

Honestly, every trip to the Libby Museum feels well worth it.

You never walk away without learning something new or without having interacted with some of the most warm-hearted people.

So if you're ever in the neighborhood and search of an enriching experience, give the Libby Museum a go. You won't regret it.

Make a Getaway at Threemile Island

Have you ever had that longing to escape the humdrum of the city and immerse yourself in the tranquil embrace of nature?

If so, I've just the place for you – Threemile Island.

Living near this place, I've visited it many times, and each visit never fails to revitalize me.

One of my most memorable moments was my first visit during a crisp fall weekend.

The riot of autumn colors, the serene island air, and the friendly locals instantly made me fall in love with the island.

One of the best things about Threemile Island is that it advocates for an unplugged lifestyle.

No, I don't mean it's devoid of electricity.

It encourages visitors to stow away their gadgets and take in the beauty around them.

There's nothing like soaking in the peaceful silence devoid of smartphones' constant beeps and clicks.

Moreover, the food on Threemile Island hits the spot.

Maybe it's the fresh, local ingredients, or perhaps it's just the joy of eating your meal while looking out at the beautiful view.

Relaxing, rejuvenating, and simply refreshing – Threemile Island is my paradise.

So the next time you feel the city stress creeping up on you, you know where to find your escape.

Take a Leisurely Ride on the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad

View of Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad
Ceri Breeze / Shutterstock.com

You know, living close to the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad has its perks.

It's a trip down memory lane, a history lesson, and a scenic outing all rolled into one.

While it may not have the grandeur of a mountain range, you get a simple, serene view of the lake that always calms me down whenever life gets a tad hectic.

For me, it's a neat little hour-long jaunt - thirty minutes each way. At $22 a pop, it's not too hard on the wallet, either.

Plus, they sell munchies and bottled drinks on board so you won't go hungry or thirsty during your ride.

Even when it's pouring outside, it's a cozy escape.

The best part about it? The options. You can pick between a one- or two-hour trip depending on your schedule and company.

I've tried both.

View of Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad
Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock.com

The two-hour journey starting from Meredith is fantastic when I have guests over.

But when it's just a casual day out with my nieces and nephews, we choose the one-hour course from Weirs Beach–it's simple enough to keep their young minds engaged.

And let's not forget about the cleanliness. The trains are well-kept and always in immaculate condition.

It's a slow, lazy ride - perfect for those who like to soak in the surroundings.

But for me, the absolute joy is in the unexpected encounters.

Once while I was riding a bike, I came across the train trundling along towards Laconia.

These small, unexpected delights make me appreciate the quaint charm of the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad. And I'm pretty sure you'll love it too.

View of Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad
Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock.com

Final Thoughts

Living in the heart of Winnipesaukee is a never-ending adventure.

Words can hardly do justice to this town's authentic charm and dynamic spirit.

Next time you plan a trip, remember Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire - a small place with a big heart and much to offer.

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