Photo Courtesy of Purity Spring ResortSpectacular SunsetsCrusing at sunsetMountain view from Weir's Beachlake Winnipesaukee in fallTo the cruisephoto1.jpgphoto0.jpgLake Winnipesaukee

Families will love:

  • Prime New England vacation-land including beaches, amusements, restaurants, shopping and more
  • A picturesque shoreline dotted with dozens of pine-covered islands
  • A 70-mile expanse of waves and water offering all kinds of water sports and activities

It's not officially a Great Lake, but you'll be hard-pressed to believe that standing on the shores of New Hampshire's Lake Winnipesauke, a 70-square-mile expanse of waves and water that takes more than four hours to drive around it completely. A mandatory spelling bee word for generations of New Hampshire schoolchildren, Winnipesaukee is derived from a Abenaki Native American ... more
It's not officially a Great Lake, but you'll be hard-pressed to believe that standing on the shores of New Hampshire's Lake Winnipesauke, a 70-square-mile expanse of waves and water that takes more than four hours to drive around it completely. A mandatory spelling bee word for generations of New Hampshire schoolchildren, Winnipesaukee is derived from a Abenaki Native American word that has been alternately translated "smile of the Great Spirit" or "beautiful water in a high place." Whatever it means, the beauty of the natural environment here is likely to put a smile on your face, especially seen from the vantage of a pleasure craft on the lake. A twisting shoreline of bays and inlets is picturesquely dotted with dozens of pine-covered islands both large and small.

Lake Winnipesauke (or, as it's mercifully shortened, Lake Winni) isn't a place to come for quiet contemplation of the natural environment, however -- for more than 100 years it has been prime vacation-land for visitors from around New England. On any given day, hundreds of sailboats, speedboats, and jet skis ply its waves, while on shore, a variety of amusement parks and beaches bring tourists flocking in summer. That, of course, ensures plenty of family-friendly fun in an unpretentious atmosphere that draws people from all walks of life (and on any budget).

The action centers on Weirs Beach, a part of the town of Laconia, where the arcades and mini-golf courses have delighted thousands of children over the decades. A couple of miles away, Meredith is a more upscale destination, with plenty of boutiques and restaurants to please parents and children alike. The eastern shore of the lake is known as the quieter side of Lake Winni, centering on the lovely colonial village of Wolfeboro, one of America's first resort communities. And for even more peace and quiet, just north of the lake is its easygoing cousin Squam Lake, surrounded by dense woods and known as a famous breeding ground for loons.

You may also want to visit our New Hampshire destination page for more information.

Written by Michael Blanding less

Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H. Planning & Tips
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