Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire, USA
Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Winnipesaukee — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!
Topics we cover in this article:
- All About Lake Winnipesaukee
- Things to Do
- Fish Species
- Where to Stay
- Vacation Planning Tools
- Lake Winnipesaukee Map
- Statistics / Weather / Helpful Links
- Shop Lake Winnipesaukee Gifts
Looking for Lake Winnipesaukee cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.
All About Lake Winnipesaukee
By far the largest lake in the state, Lake Winnipesaukee covers an incredible 44,586 New Hampshire acres. The lake is the third largest lake in all of New England, trailing Lake Champlain and Moosehead Lake. Lake Winnipesaukee lures tourists and residents to its shores year-round. Five dams control the lake’s water levels as it flows downhill to meet the Merrimack River on its way to the Atlantic Ocean.
The lake is huge, and just driving around it is a 63-mile undertaking. As if to prove its size, 365 islands dot Lake Winnipesaukee’s surface, 274 of them actually inhabitable. Because of the sheer size of the lake and circuitous nature of driving its circumference, it is best to see the lake by boat. You can either take your own or rent one when you get here, but you are in for a treat when you head out into the Winnipesaukee waters.
Surprisingly to some, boating on Lake Winnipesaukee is truly a year-round activity. Summer brings power boaters who speed over wake, hair blowing in the breeze, pontoon boats out for an afternoon pleasure cruise, and canoeists and kayakers interested in testing their endurance as they explore each nook and cranny of a cove. Ice sailing prevails in winter, and you will find sailboats lined up for competitions or friendly contests in this interesting sport.
Cruise boats are also available for tours of Lake Winnipesaukee, including scenic daytime cruises and evening dinner cruises. The historic 230-foot M/S Mount Washington offers daily cruises from Weirs Beach during summer, with stops at other ports (Wolfeboro, Meredith, Center Harbor and Alton Bay). The M/V Doris E is a smaller sister ship that cruises Meredith Bay and northern Lake Winnipesaukee. The U.S. mailboat, the Sophie C offers sightseeing cruises while delivering mail to Lake Winnie’s islands.
If you’re a swimmer, you’ll enjoy the crystal clear Lake Winnipesaukee waters. Just cool enough to refresh you from some sunbathing, swimming in the lake is one of life’s simple pleasures. Float on your back, watch the clouds, bring some goggles to observe fish, or test your skill by swimming for as long as you can. After you’ve worn yourself out, drag yourself out of the inviting waters and enjoy a lakeside picnic.
With a lake as large as Lake Winnipesaukee, you’d expect to find public beaches for a dip on a hot summer day, and visitors will not be disappointed. Public beaches are scattered around the lake’s 240-mile shoreline. Weirs Beach, located on the western shoreline, is the most popular swimming area, complete with a boardwalk, playground and picnic area. Ellacoya State Park, also on the western shoreline, provides a long sandy swimming area and an RV park. The northern end of Lake Winnie provides swimming beaches at Melvin Village Wharf, Leavitt Park, 19 Mile Bay Beach, and 20 Mile Bay Beach. Brewster Beach and Carry Beach are located on the eastern shoreline near Wolfeboro. Rounding out the list is a swimming area at Alton Bay at the southeastern end of the lake.
New Hampshire’s Lakes Region is well-known for its beautiful four season scenery. All the photos you’ve seen are accurate: you’ll find covered bridges, church steeples, old red barns, and homes from previous centuries. The charm of New England unfolds with drives through scenic towns accented by mountain overlooks.
It isn’t hyperbole to say that Lake Winnipesaukee’s natural beauty is awe-inspiring. Incredibly, four castles exist near its shores: Kimball Castle, Roxmont Castle, Castle in the Clouds, and Graystone Castle. Their stunning architecture is accented by beautiul wrought iron and large verandas. Castle in the Clouds is open to the public.
Lake Winnipesaukee offers something for everyone year-round, and you and your family are sure to have an experience you won’t soon forget.
Things to Do at Lake Winnipesaukee
- Vacation Rentals
- State Park
Find Places to Stay at Lake Winnipesaukee
If you’re considering a Lake Winnipesaukee lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.
Recommended Sites to Book a Lake Winnipesaukee Vacation
If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Winnipesaukee lodging partners.
- VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
- Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
- Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
- Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
- TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
- Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
- KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
- RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
- CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.
Lake Winnipesaukee Statistics & Helpful Links
Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed
Water Level Control: New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
Surface Area: 44,586 acres
Shoreline Length: 240 miles
Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 504 feet
Average Depth: 43 feet
Maximum Depth: 180 feet
More local lakes to explore in this area:
We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.
Shop Lake Winnipesaukee Gifts
Advertise Your Lake Winnipesaukee Business or Vacation Rental
LakeLubbers will soon offer businesses the opportunity to advertise and homeowners and property managers the ability to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily. If you would like additional details, please contact our advertising team.
Looking for the Lake Winnipesaukee Forum?
LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here. We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!
Lake Winnipesaukee Photo Gallery
New photos coming soon!
Spread the word! Share our Lake Winnipesaukee article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!