You know the drill. It’s a sweltering summer day and the humidity has set in. What’s one to do? Find a refreshing, relaxing lakeside retreat, of course. And with 944 lakes in New Hampshire, that’s not going to be a problem. Here are some of the glorious summer getaways in the Granite State. Take your pick and hit the road!
Lake Winnipesaukee, Belknap County
New Hampshire’s largest lake has been a beloved vacation destination for over a century. It’s home to Wolfeboro, the nation's oldest resort town, and is teeming with opportunities to either kick back and relax, or get out and about for some serious summer fun. Rest assured, the words “I’m booored” will not pass your child’s lips when vacationing at Lake Winnipesaukee. There’s simply too much for families to do. Make lasting summer memories camping lakeside or in a breezy cottage overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee. If you prefer a more secluded scene you can leave your car on the mainland and catch a canoe to one of the 250 islands such as Cow, Bear or Rattlesnake. And when you’re not grilling and chilling your days away, grab some grub at one of the many lakes region restaurants and catch a movie at the Weirs Drive-In Theater.
Umbagog Lake, Coös County
Just getting to this gorgeous Great North Woods spot is a delight in itself, as you’re immersed in the pure natural beauty of New Hampshire wilderness no matter which direction you drive in from. And once you’re at Umbagog Lake, you can truly leave it all behind and unwind. The area often gives visitors a glimpse of some spectacular wildlife including moose, blue heron, deer, hawks and loons, whether you’re kayaking, fishing, hiking or camping at Umbagog Lake State Park.
Lake Francis, Coös County
If being surrounded by the slow, peaceful pace of the North Woods is what you want, Lake Francis is what you need. While it was man-made in the 1940s as a flood control measure, this lesser-known vacation retreat provides two-thousand acres of shining water to play on and picturesque views to take in. In the heart of “moose alley,” this area is a wildlife viewer’s dream and Lake Francis State Park provides everything summer memories are made of, including: camping, swimming, kayaking, fishing, ATVing and more.
Newfound Lake, Grafton County
Known for its clear, pristine water fed by eight springs, this seven-mile long, 180-foot deep glacial lake is a true wonder. Some of New England’s best swimming, picnicking, hiking, fishing and kayaking can be had on and around Newfound Lake. Paradise Point at Newfound Audubon Center provides a picturesque natural shoreline to explore and nearby Sculptured Rocks Natural Area showcases remarkable geology with rock formations and mini caves.
Chocorua Lake, Carroll County
Chocorua Lake may be small, but it’s a serene spot for a summer getaway. It has beautiful views of Mount Chocorua and is nestled at the base of the White Mountains, giving you easy access to some of the best hiking in the country. North Conway’s amazing restaurants are also just a quick drive away, as are outdoor activities like ziplining, kayaking and tubing and some of New Hampshire’s most beloved theme parks.
Lake Sunapee, Sullivan County & Merrimack County
With seven sandy beaches and six boat ramps dotting the 8-mile shoreline, Lake Sunapee is the perfect lakeside escape in western New Hampshire. Close proximity to Mount Sunapee State Park, The Fells and Wadleigh State Park also make Sunapee an ideal spot for outdoor exploration. Mix in a little history at the Cornish Windsor Covered Bridge that dates back to 1866, or the nearby Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum!
Mascoma Lake, Grafton County
Set in New Hampshire’s picturesque Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee region, Mascoma Lake is just as lovely and family-friendly as the rest, with plentiful picnicking, boating, swimming and camping options. Home to the Dartmouth College sailing team, visitors can take in scenes on the water, kayak up the mouth of the Mascoma River, hike the mossy woodland trails of the associated wildlife management area or bike the Northern Rail Trail. The Shaker Museum in town offers a glimpse into Enfield’s history and architecture.