A mere two-hour drive north of Boston lies the gorgeous Lake Winnipesaukee region. Lake Winnipesaukee offers snowy slopes in winter, invigorating hikes in the spring, sun-drenched beaches and water sports during the summer, and vibrant foliage each autumn. It’s a challenge for our family to decide on the best season to visit Winnipesaukee — we are year-round lake-life enthusiasts!
Where to stay
Our family of five typically rents a house or a condo when we travel — our standbys are Airbnb and VRBO. Lake Winnipesaukee spans eight charming cities, offering plenty of rental options. Meredith and Laconia are convenient locations to stay in for easy access to the lake, mountains, restaurants, and shopping. If you prefer a hotel, Mill Falls at the Lake is a great option. Centrally located in Meredith, Mill Falls is within walking distance to restaurants and shops, and it offers water sports activities and stunning lakefront views.
What to do
There is no shortage of outdoor activities in and around Lake Winnipesaukee. Visit Castle in the Clouds and experience a mountaintop mansion built in 1913. The property boasts an array of wildlife, hiking and walking trails, waterfalls, scenic paths, and Shannon Pond (a man-made pond home to many friendly ducks and trout).
Explore Mount Major for a family-friendly hike with incredible panoramic lake and White Mountains views. Mount Major is a 3.6-mile loop with some steep sections but accommodates all levels of hikers.
Weirs Beach is Lake Winnipesaukee’s most popular beach and is more than just a spot to relax, swim, and picnic. The activities and attractions at Weirs Beach include the scenic railroad and cruises on the M/S Mt. Washington. Both offer an exciting way for the kids to explore the lake along with spectacular views. Weirs Beach also includes a drive-in theater and the boardwalk to Winnipesaukee Pier for arcade games, food, ice cream, and shopping.
Be sure to visit the Old Country Store & Museum. This classic country store has been open for more than 200 years. The store is filled with a penny candy section full of nostalgia and sweets, local jams and syrups, and toys, antiques, and New Hampshire souvenirs.
Where to eat
Many restaurants in the Lake Winnipesaukee region are family focused. Indulge in summertime nostalgia at Camp — think buttermilk fried chicken with s’mores for dessert! You’ll feel like you’ve walked into a throwback summer camp with delicious food and a campside vibe.
Twin Barns Brewing Company offers a fun, casual, and delicious experience for the whole family to enjoy. Dine in the outdoor beer garden or head inside to eat in the barn — be sure to grab one of their board games to play while you wait for your food.
Giuseppe’s Pizzeria & Ristorante is a family favorite. You can grab a pizza for a picnic by the lake or enjoy delicious Italian cuisine with live music inside their comfy and inviting atmosphere.
After you’ve filled up on a delicious meal, you may want to stop for dessert. Visit Kellerhaus and experience the legacy of New Hampshire’s oldest ice cream, candy, and chocolate maker. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to create your own sundae masterpiece at the make-your-own sundae bar. For candy lovers, try Lee’s Candy Kitchen for chocolates, fudge, and just about every candy you could wish for!