Visiting the Stunning Scenery and Bustling Nightlife of the New Hampshire Lakes Region
The New Hampshire Lakes region is one of the most popular destinations in the state. In the summer, visitors flock to the cool and refreshing waters of Lake Winnipesaukee and other bodies of water to escape the heat. Not only does the Lakes region offer stunning scenic views and beautiful outdoor parks, but it also has some of the most unique attractions in the area. Let us give you a guide to this well-loved vacation destination.
What are the best attractions in the region?
One of the premiere attractions in the Lakes region is Lake Winnipesaukee. This area was once home to Abenaki Native Americans who referred to the vast lake as the “Smile of the Great Spirit.” There are 253 islands to explore in the lake and it spans nearly 70 square miles! It is the largest, and arguably, the most beautiful lake in all of New Hampshire. For camping information, please refer to the following link: Campgrounds
The New Hampshire Motor Speedway is another crowd-drawing attraction in the Lakes region. Hailed as “The Magic Mile,” this speedway hosts the oldest motorcycle race in the country: The Loudon Classic. It is held every year on Father’s day to conclude a nine-day motorcycle festival in the area.
For those who simply love the roar of a Harley on a hot summer day, Motorcycle Week in Laconia draws over 200,000 visitors to the region for a nine-day celebration. First inaugurated in 1923, this festival takes over Weir’s Beach and surrounding lake areas for non-stop entertainment. Here is a link with more information: Motorcycle Week
Gaming enthusiasts cannot possibly miss a visit to Funspot in Laconia. Recognized as the largest arcade in the world, Funspot has over 500 games to choose from. Founded in 1952, Funspot offers original video arcade games such as Pong and Frogger as well as new options. It also has a 20-lane candlepin bowling section, mini golf both inside and outside, bingo with cash prizes, a tavern and a restaurant.
Weir’s Beach is one of the most beloved attractions in all of the Lakes region. Visitors flock to this area to walk the classic beach pier, go to a vintage drive-in movie theater, test their luck at various penny arcades, enjoy traditional beach fare including hot dogs, pier fries, ice cream, etc., while racing headlong down a twisting water tube at one of their fantastic water parks. It also has several places to shop and a bustling nightlife in the summer.
It is well known that most, if not all of the New England region was once covered in glacial ice. When this ice retreated, massive boulders that had been trapped in the ice were deposited across the state in seemingly random places. One prime example is the Madison Boulder. The colossal granite boulder is 23 feet high, 83 feet long and 37 feet wide! Its estimated weight is 5,000 tons which makes it the largest glacial erratic in New England and definitely one of the largest in the world. This is truly a site that is not to be missed.
Right in the heart of Gilford is the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook. It is an enormous outdoor amphitheater that features well-known musical talent and other famous acts. The venue offers 5,746 reserved seats beneath the pavilion roof and 1,850 general admission seats. Resting right along the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, this outdoor stage allows viewers to enjoy shows in a beautiful, outdoors environment. For upcoming shows and ticket prices, please follow this link: http://www.meadowbrook.net/
New Hampshire is also known for its quirky points of interest. One of these fabulous attractions is the famous Castle in the Clouds in the Ossipee Mountain Range. Resonant of the Arts and Crafts movement in the 1910s-20s, this stunning mansion offers more than one would expect. It features a modern circular shower, a central vacuuming system and other marvels that would have been thought of as new and innovative during the period. Also, there are 45 miles of hiking trails around the Castle as well as lovely places to eat and more nooks to explore. Furthermore, with its outstanding, lofty location, one can see a 300-degree view of the White Mountains from the top! It is open from late May to early October.
The Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad is certainly not to be missed. This famous train attraction takes visitors on scenic excursions around Lake Winnipesaukee on either one or two-hour trips. This is the perfect way to view the stunning views the region has to offer while resting in a relaxing, accommodating seat.
Are there any good dining places in the area?
There are plenty of great places to find a great meal in the Lakes region. For an outstanding breakfast, head on down to Donna Jean’s Diner in Laconia. If you are especially hungry, the staff at Donna Jean’s dares you to try their Super Duper Hungry Fisherman breakfast plate. With heaping piles of eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, pancakes, homefries, toast and some of Donna’s famous breakfast beans, this quaint diner is sure to give you the right fuel to start your day.
For a good lunch spot, head to Wolfeboro and check out the Downtown Grille Café. They have excellent sandwiches, soups, salads and other tasty options. We especially like the Hot Pressed Cubano sandwich. Also, they have spectacular waterfront views and a reasonably priced menu.
If you are searching for a fine dining experience, look no further than the Inn on Newfound Lake in Bristol. This iconic New England inn has a restaurant that aims to delight the palate. The Chef’s own Mediterranean Haddock is said to be one of the most delicious entrees on the menu.
Where should I shop?
Why pay full price when you can find the same outfit for half? Shopping fashionistas should head to the Tanger Outlet Center in Tilton to experience a fabulous shopping excursion. For a complete list of outlet stores, please follow this link: Tanger Outlet Store Directory
The Lakes region is also known for its fantastic antique shops. There are several locations to pick through hundreds of oddities and treasures to take home with you. Some of the best towns to go antiquing are Wolfeboro, Laconia, and Meredith. Here is a link that lists many different antique shops and what they specialize in: Lakes Region Antique Shops
For additional shopping locations and resources, make sure to check out this link: Shopping/Outdoor Businesses
I want to see a good show. Where is the best place to do this?
The Winnipesaukee Playhouse in Meredith has a superb theater group that offers exceptional shows all year long! They strive to bring quality arts and theater production to the Lakes region with fresh and modern theater. They also have great dining and show packages for the big night.
- Lake Winnipesaukee
- New Hampshire Motor Speedway
- Motorcycle Week
- Weir’s Beach
- Madison Boulder
- Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook
- Castle in the Clouds
- Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad
- Donna Jean’s Diner
- Downtown Grille Café
- Inn on Newfound Lake
- Tanger Outlet Center
- Various Antique Shops
- Winnipesaukee Playhouse
- Annalee Dolls Merideth
- Castle in the Clouds Moultonboro
- FunSpot Weirs Beach
- Half Moon Amusement Weirs Beach
- Laconia Motorcycle Week Laconia
- Lakes Region Factory Stores Tilton
- Mt. Washington Cruise Weirs Beach
- NH Farm Museum Milton
- NH International Race Track Laconia
- Polar Caves Plymouth
- Squam Lakes Natural Science Center Holderness
- Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad Meredith
- Wright Museum Wolfeboro