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photo of ferry boat in the Lake Region of New Hampshire

The Lakes Region:
Activities
&
Attractions

The Lakes Region has something for everyone, from the thrilling to the serene, from the action-packed to the educational, and in every season of the year. Your choices of activities and destinations span the spectrum, including golf courses, ski resorts, water parks, lake cruises, museums, concerts, historical sites, festivals, fairs, fireworks, and forest trails. Go hiking, water skiing, snowmobiling, horseback riding, cycling, walking, biking, and sailing. Explore an old mill, spend the day at the speedway or greyhound racetrack, or find glacial formations at the polar caves. Whether you want to spend the day expanding your horizons in the museum, consuming cotton candy at the amusement park, or sleeping peacefully on the beach by Lake Winnipesaukee, the Lakes Region has the attractions and natural splendor for these pursuits and everything in between.

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Theater ... Galleries ... Cruises ... Games ... Golf ... Natural Attractions ... History Tours ... Racing ... Trains ... Skiing ... Water Parks

Performing and Visual Arts

Aficionados of all genres of music, art, and drama will love the Lakes Region, an area where the performing and visual arts thrive in community theaters and galleries. Dramatic and musical performances run along with arts festivals all summer long and often throughout the rest of the year. The Lakes Region Theatre in Meredith and the Barnstormers Theatre in Tamworth are two major centers for the performing arts in this area. Kids will get a kick out of the Kingswood Summer Theatre for Children and the Lakes Region Theatre, both of which put on special performances for children.

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The Winnipesaukee Playhouse (Winni P!) is a year-round, family-run theatre dedicated to bringing quality arts and entertainment to the Lakes Region. We aim to provide a fun and challenging theatrical environment for all Lakes Region locals and visitors in both performance-based and educational arenas. Whether your interest is to be onstage, behind-the-scenes, or in the audience, The Winni P has something for you!

Downtown Laconia is the home of the restored Belknap Mill, acting as a year-round cultural center for the Lakes Region. Historical and artistic exhibitions are held in its gallery throughout the year, and the mill hosts a long line of musical and educational programs.

Nearby Meredith hosts many concerts during the summer months, including the Pemi Choral Society. The town's library hosts many exhibits throughout the year, as do its sister libraries in New Hampton, Wolfeboro, and Sandwich.

Offerings in classical music come from the New Hampshire Music Festival, the Tamworth Arts Council and the Wolfeboro Friends of Music. A number of concerts are also offered by the Governor Wentworth Arts Council during the course of the year.

Crafts & Galleries

The Lakes Region is alive with arts and crafts. In Meredith, you can see the home of the world-renowned Annalee Dolls and learn all about these felt creations and what goes into their making. Visit Hampshire Pewter in Wolfeboro and see how pewter is finished by skilled craftsmen. Drop by Pepi Hermann Crystal in Gilford and you'll get to witness fine crystal being cut.

The shops and galleries of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen, located in Meredith, Sandwich, and Wolfeboro, display many fine crafts. If you'll be spending some time in Meredith, make sure you stop by the Old Print Barn, where an expansive collection of antique and modern prints can be seen.

Two juried events showcase fine crafts in the Lakes Region. Artists in the Park kicks off in Wolfeboro during mid-August and the Meredith Fine Arts and Crafts Festival is held in late August.

Adults and kids alike will find many exciting exhibits at the Museum of Childhood in Wakefield and the Toy Museum in Ashland, both brimming with amazing dolls and toys from wall to wall. Also, Meredith is the home of the Center Harbor Children's Museum, full of many inter-active exhibits designed for kids.

For more information: Crafts and Galleries

Cruises

Visiting the Lakes Region without taking a cruise is like visiting Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower; it's a must. Luckily, there are plenty of options for landlubbers to choose from to get their feet wet. Most of the larger lakes in the region offer both day and evening cruises.

If you hang around the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee long enough, you're bound to eventually spot the M/S Mount Washington, plying the waters of the lake from Weirs Beach to Alton Bay, Wolfeboro, and Center Harbor.

During the day, passengers are treated to onboard dining. At night, dinner/dance cruises begin, as the ship glides out across the water under the sparkling starlight.

The M/V Judge Sewall also runs on Winnipesaukee, offering casual, narrated cruises between Wolfeboro and the eastern islands of the big lake, all of which last less than two hours. White-linen-style dining-on-the-water is offered on a restored 54-foot Burger yacht, The Aishling, and the Queen of Winnipesaukee sails out the Weirs regularly. If you can get up early enough, you can catch a ride on one of the lake's mailboats in the morning. There are even cruises available on Newfound and Squam Lake, the famed site of the movie "On Golden Pond."

For more information: Cruises

Games

Miniature golf courses and recreational centers abound throughout the Lakes Region, where you can practice your golf swing on the driving range, bowl a couple of rounds, or take a spin around the go-cart track.

Golf

For the serious or recreational golfer, there are plenty of course that will suit your game. Beautiful greens and fairways with breath-taking mountain and lake views. For a directory of these fine course click here: Golf

Natural Attractions

Natural attractions abound throughout the Lake Region, with its unspoiled New England setting and pristine countryside. All across the region, natural sites beckon visitors to explore their history and wildlife.

Spend the day at Lost River. Go prospecting for minerals at Ruggles Mine, where more than $30 million in valuable minerals have been minted since 1803, including mica, amethyst, garnet, and rose quartz.

Take a drive to Holderness, home of the Science Center of New Hampshire, where you can see otters, deer, raptors, bears, and other animals living in natural habitat areas. Visit Polar Cave, where you can witness the glacial formations left over from the last ice age.

For more information: Natural Attractions

Lakes Region History and Tours

New England is alive with history to entice the young and old alike. Historical markers dot the New Hampshire's roadsides to commemorate pieces of the state's past, such the birthplace of Daniel Webster, the legend of Chocorua, and the archaeological site at Wentworth. Several towns throughout the Lake Region are home to historical societies and museums that have been preserving artifacts, passing down stories and legends, and maintaining the region's rich heritage. The area's history as a summer resort for 200 years is often reflected in the displays at these museums.

Tour the new Wright Museum in Wolfeboro, where you'll get a handle on the entrepreneurial spirit of the World War II era. While you're in Wolfeboro, drop by the Libby Museum, where you can learn all about the area's last alligator. Take a tour of the Lake Region's agricultural history at the New Hampshire Farm Museum in Milton. Farther away, Moultonborough is the home of Castle Springs, which in turn is the home of Castle in the Clouds. Be sure to see the Cantebury Shaker Village, where you can see how its unique lifestyle has been preserved over the generations.

For more information: Lakes Region History and Tours

Racing

Motorsports enthusiasts and followers of greyhound racing alike have plenty to look forward to in the Lakes Region. A complete summer schedule is presented each year in Belmont at the Lakes Region Greyhound Park. Even on nights when there's no action on the track, fans can follow thoroughbred, harness, and greyhound races from around the nation with the track's satellite television coverage, simulcast seven nights a week all year round.

A quick drive down Highway 106 lands you in Loudon, site of the New Hampshire International Speedway, offering a NASCAR, Indy, stock, vintage, and motorcycle events all season long.

Riding the Rails

For vacationers that share a love affair with trains and all things on rails, there are two attractions worth noting in the Lakes Region. Visitors can take narrated tours through Wolfeboro Village in the town's own unique sightseeing vehicle, Molly the Trolley. Also, the Winnipesaukee & Pemigewasset Valley Railroad connects the towns of Meredith and Weirs Beach, winding its way along the scenic western edge of the big lake during the trip.

For more information: Riding the Rails

Skiing

There's no secret that New Hampshire is easily one of the best places for skiing in the East, if not in the entire nation. The state's resorts are recognized nationwide for their easy accessibility, well-maintained trails, and breathtaking natural beauty. Additionally, the high elevations and latitude keep ski areas in action for most of the year with consistent snow cover and plenty of happy skiers.

Not only is the Granite State first-rate when it comes to cross-country and Alpine skiing, but it's also a popular spot for snowmobiling, boasting more than 6,000 miles of extensive, interconnected snowmobile trails. New Hampshire, along with Vermont, are now sharing a series of Commerce Zone Trails, snowmobile trails that wind past businesses, restaurants, and lodging, all of which cater to snowmobilers.

For more information on skiing in the New Hampshire and the Lakes Region, including a listing of New Hampshire ski facilities, click here: Skiing!

Water Parks

Between the water theme parks and its own pristine lakes and ponds, the Lakes Region has plenty of water to go around. Weirs Beach is the water fun capital of the area, with it famous Water Slide and Sun Coaster, providing thrills for kids of all ages. Beyond the amusement parks, there are four state beaches in the Lakes Region: Ellacoya in Gilford, White Lake State Park in Tamworth, Wentworth Sate Park in Wolfeboro, and Wellington State Park in Bristol. Additionally, almost every town has a public beach open for residents and vacationers alike.

For more information: Water Parks

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