25 Best Lakes to Visit in New Hampshire

There’s no denying that the state of New Hampshire has some of the most beautiful natural attractions in the country. From majestic mountains to mile upon mile of gorgeous wilderness, there are tons of places for nature lovers to explore in this small but magnificent state. When it comes to lakes alone, New Hampshire is beyond impressive. There are dozens of lakes for locals and visitors alike to explore and spend the day at. Looking for a way to relax and recuperate from a long and stressful week? A weekend getaway to one of New Hampshire’s many beautiful lakes is certainly one way to get the R & R you’re looking for. Photo: kdannay/Fotolia


»Baxter Lake

Baxter Lake


Arguably one of New Hampshire’s best-kept secrets, Baxter Lake is a 302-acre large body of water that is a spectacular place to visit for those who want to enjoy some watersports or those who simply want to soak in an incredible view. The lake is a great spot for swimming, fishing, and boating for locals and guests who are blessed to find it. The lake sits on the town line between Farmington and Rochester, with cottages available for rent along the western side of the lake. It’s important to note, however, that there is no public park on Baxter Lake, so visitors will have to make sure that they’ve got a place to stay or a boat to bring to the state-maintained marina. Those who don’t mind camping can also access one campground along the lake shore near the marina. Contact: Strafford County, New Hampshire Photo: Alberto/Fotolia


»Bow Lake

Bow Lake


Roughly 30 miles south of New Hampshire’s beloved Lake Winnipesaukee is the less frequented but equally beautiful Bow Lake. Although there are other much more favored lakes in the state, there’s no denying that Bow Lake is endearing and charming thanks to its colonial history. Bow Lake actually started as Bow Pond and eventually grew in size when water-powered mills were built around the pond back in the 1700s. Fishing is the top activity of Bow Lake, with over a dozen fish species swimming under the surface such as rainbow trout, black bass, chain pickerel, eel, pike and sunfish. Apart from fishing, Bow Lake is also a great place for sailing, camping, hiking, and canoeing. When winter rolls around, Bow Lake is perfect for cross-country skiing and ice fishing. Contact: Strafford County, New Hampshire Photo: arybickii/Fotolia


»Canobie Lake

Canobie Lake


For over a century, locals and out-of-state visitors alike have flocked to New Hampshire’s Canobie Lake for multiple reasons. Birding, boating, and fishing tournaments are all a way of life around Canobie Lake, but perhaps the most popular attraction of this beautiful body of water is Lake Canobie State Park. Opened in 1902, the park has a Ferris wheel and even a roller coaster to enjoy amongst other fantastic attractions. The lake covers about 275 acres and is roughly 40 feet deep at the most. The lake itself is only about a mile and a half long and borders the towns of Salem and Windham. Contact: Rockingham County, New Hampshire Photo: AboutLife/Fotolia


»Conway Lake

Conway Lake


Nestled in the towns of Conway and Eaton, Conway Lake is a hidden gem in eastern New Hampshire. This natural freshwater lake has a surface area of 1,316 acres and remains quiet and private thanks to many very careful preservation efforts and building guidelines put in place. Conway Lake sits in the shadows of the White Mountains, which means that visitors to the lake have easy access to a wide array of outdoor recreational activities like rock climbing, camping, and hunting. Meanwhile, at the lake, fishing, boating, swimming, and sailing are all activities to enjoy as well as fishing. Fishermen can find black bass, salmon, smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, and more at Conway Lake. Contact: Carroll County, New Hampshire Photo: Jennifer/Fotolia


»Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake


Sitting peacefully within a quiet and rural area in Enfield, Crystal Lake is a great place to visit for a relaxing weekend at a lakefront home. Crystal Lake offers fantastic views of the White Mountains and beautifully showcases all of the natural wonders and scenic vistas that New England has in spades. Summers at Crystal Lake see many avid fishermen in town to fish for perch, largemouth bass, pike, sunfish, rainbow trout, and more. Boating, swimming, and kayaking are also great lake activities, while visitors can also head to the mountains for horseback riding, hunting, wildlife viewing, and camping. Winter is equally enjoyable at Crystal Lake, with ice fishing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, and cross-country skiing available to visitors. Contact: Grafton County, New Hampshire Photo: josephsjacobs/Fotolia


»Eastman Lake

Eastman Lake



Eastman Lake is an artificial reservoir located in the center of the Dartmouth–Lake Sunapee region of New Hampshire. It’s a popular lake to visit for both locals and visitors from nearby states due to its proximity to both Vermont and Boston. Eastman Lake is a gorgeous place to visit at any time of the year. During the summer and spring seasons, the lake is a great place to play tennis, go on picnics, go sailing or boating, fish, canoe and kayak, and even play golf. The surrounding areas are also fantastic for hiking and biking and wildlife viewing. Meanwhile, the colder seasons bring the excitement of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and more. Contact: Grafton County, New Hampshire Photo: yak_olesya/Fotolia


»Echo Lake

Echo Lake


Situated near North Conway in New Hampshire’s Carrol County, Echo Lake is a 15.7-acre large body of water that features a small swimming beach perfect to beat the heat of summer. The lake is a main draw of Echo Lake State Park, which is relatively small and shallow when compared to the other great lakes of New Hampshire. Vacation rentals are available on the park and provide great trails to explore around the lake. Anglers love visiting Echo Lake because of the fewer but much larger fish that swim in its depths. Some features of the lake to visit for hiking, horseback riding, and trail running include the Cathedral Ledge and White Horse Ledge, which are also fantastic for rock climbing. Contact: Carrol County, New Hampshire Photo: Michael Shake/Fotolia


»First Connecticut Lake

First Connecticut Lake


First Connecticut Lake is situated in New Hampshire’s Great North Woods Region and is one of four lovely lakes to visit. First Connecticut Lake is the largest of the four lakes and has a surface area of 3,071 acres. While this lake is great for all kinds of recreational activities, the main draw of First Connecticut Lake is really its fishing. The trout and salmon in the lake will test the skills of all great anglers, and sports fishermen are bound to set new records with the game in this lake. Fly fishing and ice fishing are equally popular here. Meanwhile, visitors can also enjoy the wildlife that the lake has to offer while hiking through the surrounding areas. Vacation rentals are also available for those who want to spend the weekend (or longer) at the lake. Contact: Coos County, New Hampshire Photo: Kristina/Fotolia


»Forest Lake

Forest Lake


It’s not unusual to find many locals and visitors alike enjoying a clear summer’s day at Forest Lake. One of the biggest draws of Forest Lake, after all, is its 200-foot-long white sand beach where children love to run around while their parents enjoy the sun and the sand. The nearby dock is also a great platform for kids to catapult themselves into the crystal-clear waters of the lake. Another great feature of the lake to enjoy is its waterfall, the gorgeous birding, and wildlife viewing. Hiking and camping are equally enjoyable activities to enjoy at Forest Lake, while the national forest provides great hikes to explore. Contact: Dalton, New Hampshire Photo: Robert/Fotolia


»Franklin Pierce Lake

Franklin Pierce Lake


Franklin Pierce Lake, also known as Jackman Reservoir, is a relatively unknown lake in the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire. It has a surface area of 520 acres and is just outside the historic region of Hillsborough. Close enough to draw visitors from neighboring states, Franklin Pierce Lake is much loved by all those who discover it. Vacation rentals are available to out-of-state and in-state visitors alike who want to spend a few quiet and relaxing days by the lake’s wooded shoreline. Canoeists and kayakers love paddling across the serene lake, while tubing, waterskiing, and sailing are available activities for those who want a bit more action while at Franklin Pierce Lake. Contact: Hillsborough County, New Hampshire Photo: progat/Fotolia

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»Halfmoon Lake

Halfmoon Lake


Sitting on the borders of Alton and Barnstead, Halfmoon Lake is a serene and gorgeous natural freshwater lake in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. Known originally as Crescent Lake, Halfmoon Lake has a surface area of 282 acres and an average depth of 15 feet. At its deepest, Halfmoon Lake is 27 feet deep and stretches over a mile and a half long. As a mesotrophic lake, Halfmoon has a healthy population of fish, which makes it great for anglers who want to catch largemouth bass, cod, black bass, perch, pickerel, pike, and white perch for starters. Visitors to Halfmoon Lake can enjoy nature without being too far from modern comforts either, as the nearby towns of Alton and Barnstead have great shops and restaurants for those who don’t necessarily want to camp out for the night. Contact: Barnstead, Belknap County, New Hampshire Photo: Sergii Figurnyi/Fotolia

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»Lake Kanasatka

Lake Kanasatka


Another gorgeous body of water in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire is Lake Kanasatka. This clear and natural freshwater lake has about 375 acres of surface area and is known for its magnificent and sweeping vistas. The lake is nestled amongst New Hampshire’s towering trees and rolling hillsides, which is exactly what causes all those who visit to fall in love with it. In the summer, it’s common to see avid fishermen sitting on boats waiting for their next greatest catch or children enjoying a refreshing swim in this oligotrophic lake. Meanwhile, in the winter, families love spending their time ice skating and taking in the spectacular views. Contact: Carroll County, New Hampshire Photo: Matteo/Fotolia

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»Lake Monomonac

Lake Monomonac


There’s something peculiarly magical about Lake Monomonac. Whether it’s the mesmerizing view of the birds gliding over the lake or the mixture of white and colorful sails billowing from the sailboats as they float atop the water, we can’t say for sure. But there is definitely one thing that we’re sure of, and that is that Lake Monomonac is a great option for a weekend getaway. Lake Monomonac is a freshwater lake that is completely natural. It’s one of New Hampshire’s smaller or moderately sized lakes, having a surface area of 711 acres, and is situated within a national forest. This lake is also a great option for people from Massachusetts, given its proximity to Boston. Contact: Cheshire County, New Hampshire Photo: kieferpix/Fotolia

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»Lake Sunapee

Lake Sunapee


Situated in the western region of New Hampshire, straddling both Sullivan and Merrimack Counties, Lake Sunapee is the sixth largest lake in the state. The lake has a whopping 4,090 acres of surface area, which houses three out of five of New Hampshire’s lighthouses. Visitors visiting Lake Sunapee can enjoy the lake in many ways. For example, those fond of water sports can enjoy kayaking in the lake and peering down into the crystal-clear waters. Guided tours of the lake are also available through the MV Mt. Kearsarge, a stunning replica of an antique steamship. If you’re a fan of fishing, Lake Sunapee offers anglers the chance to reel in smallmouth bass, lake trout, salmon, or pickerel. A trip to the nearby Mt. Sunapee is an equally awesome choice, too. Contact: Sullivan County, New Hampshire Photo: duke2015/Fotolia

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»Lake Waukewan

Lake Waukewan


Another beautiful destination in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, Lake Waukewan is located in Belknap County and has an alluring 928-acre expanse of sparkling waters to enjoy. The lake easily lures visitors to its shores and bustles with activity all year round. From fishing derbies to ice sailing, there’s no shortage of interesting recreational happenings to dive into head-first. Lakeside vacation rentals are prime locations to stay at for a relaxing getaway. Don’t worry though, the lake has an 8-mile-long shoreline, so there are tons of great rentals to look forward to exploring. Fishing is fantastic at Lake Waukewan, while adrenaline junkies can hop on a wakeboard or a jet ski to get their heart pumping with excitement while on the lake. Contact: Belknap County, New Hampshire Photo: kamaz007/Fotolia

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»Lake Wentworth

Lake Wentworth


Arguably one of the prettiest lakes in the whole state of New Hampshire is Lake Wentworth. Located in the eastern region of New Hampshire and part of the Lakes Region, Lake Wentworth has an epic 3,116 acres of surface area and a 20-mile shoreline. While this lake is generally overlooked due to the proximity of the better-known Lake Winnipesaukee, Lake Wentworth is incredibly beautiful and will definitely take your breath away. The lake is most popular for swimming as there are two public beaches at the lake: Albee Beach and Wentworth State Park Beach. Meanwhile, the beaches provide a great spot for picnics, tubing, and waterskiing while other surrounding areas of the lake give way for antiquing and even museum hopping. Contact: Carroll County, New Hampshire Photo: Steven/Fotolia

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»Lake Wicwas

Lake Wicwas


Although it’s one of the smaller lakes in New Hampshire, there’s no denying that Lake Wicwas is one of the most photogenic lakes in the state. The lake provides photographers with dozens of vistas to immortalize in print thanks to its location in the center of three state-protected wildlife areas. Interestingly, the lake’s 328-acre surface area blends seamlessly into shallow marshes and lovely mountainous landscapes. Visitors can retreat to Lake Wicwas at any time of the year, too. For summer visitors, hiking and camping are top choices of activity while snowshoeing is surprisingly popular when the winter months roll around. Contact: Belknap County, New Hampshire Photo: Nadezda/Fotolia

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»Lake Winnipesaukee

Lake Winnipesaukee


Lake Winnipesaukee is by far the largest lake in the entire state of New Hampshire. With a staggering surface area of 44,586 acres, it’s no surprise that the lake spills over into two of the state’s counties – Belknap County and Carroll County. Sailing is a year-round activity at Lake Winnipesaukee as boaters navigate the 365 islands that dot the lake’s surface. Additionally, swimming is also popular for visitors to the lake, especially during the summer months. You won’t have to worry about finding a spot to enjoy the sun and water either, as the beach’s 240-mile shoreline has several beaches open to the public. Ellacoya State Park, which sits on the lake’s western shoreline, is great place to park your RV if you plan to camp in luxury. Contact: Belknap County, New Hampshire Photo: Jo Ann Snover/Fotolia

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»Laurel Lake

Laurel Lake


Blessed with a densely wooded shoreline, Laurel Lake is a magical and ethereal body of water to visit in Cheshire County. This natural freshwater lake has a small surface area, as far as lakes go in New Hampshire, at just 180 acres. Meanwhile, the lake has an average depth of 15 feet and a maximum depth of 46 feet. Public boat access is situated at the southern end of the lake and is the best way to access the lake if you’re not renting out one of the vacation homes situated around its shoreline. It’s not uncommon to find locals living around the lake whizzing through the waters on wakeboards, tubes, and waterskies. Meanwhile, canoers and kayakers can be found paddling around the shoreline in the wee hours of the morning and in the evening. Contact: Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire Photo: movieaboutyou/Fotolia

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»Lovell Lake

Lovell Lake


Lovell Lake is an artificial reservoir located in Carroll County and the southeastern corner of the state’s Lakes Region. What makes Lovell Lake particularly beautiful is its wooded perimeter, which is densely covered in forest pines, firs, beech trees, elm trees, and oak trees. Despite being on the smaller end of the lake spectrum of New England, it’s still a popular destination for vacationers who retreat to its shores for refreshing summers. In fact, it doesn’t even matter if winter rolls around, you’ll still be bound to find visitors making their way to the shores of Lovell Lake. Vacation rentals are available around the lake’s perimeter, while cabins are also available for rent in the surrounding area. Contact: Carroll County, New Hampshire Photo: spiritofamerica/Fotolia

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»Merrymeeting Lake

Merrymeeting Lake


Located in the town of New Durham is the cutely named Merrymeeting Lake. Truly, this lake is a place for merriment and meetings as it is frequented by locals and out of town visitors alike on a regular basis. This artificial reservoir has a surface area of 1,233 acres and is ideal for boating, sailing, kayaking, and canoeing. The lake is already great for other recreational activities like biking, hiking, golfing, and fishing. Visiting in the winter? No problem there! Merrymeeting Lake is still a popular destination in the winter with activities like ice skating, snowmobiling and ice fishing being some of the most popular wintertime goings-on to enjoy. Contact: Strafford County, New Hampshire Photo: Jo Ann Snover/Fotolia

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»Ossipee Lake

Ossipee Lake


A spectacular playground for all four seasons, Ossipee Lake is an artificial reservoir with an impressive surface area of 3,245 acres. It’s certainly one of the bigger lakes in the state, and its many amenities make it a pretty popular one at that. One of the top draws around Ossipee Lake are the villages that look like they haven’t changed at all in the past 100 years. The residents are lovely to get to know as well and are extremely hospitable to out-of-town visitors. There is no shortage of great nature to enjoy at Ossipee Lake either as pine trees and other gorgeous trees line the lake’s shores. Photographers ought to get a kick out of the lake as well as the Ossipee Mountains in the distance, giving the lake an inexplicable magnificence that begs to be captured in photos. Contact: Carroll County, New Hampshire Photo: fotonaturali/Fotolia

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»Shellcamp Pond

Shellcamp Pond


Located in the town of Gilmanton, Shellcamp Pond is a beautiful body of water in which to find some respite from the busyness of everyday life. The lake is much like the town that it’s found in, quaint and quiet, and its pristine blue waters regularly draw visitors from near and far. Despite its small size, the pond is a great spot for fishing, with a dozen different species just waiting to be reeled in. Meanwhile, Huckins Brook, which flows into the pond, is a lovely spot to hike around and take in the wildlife. It’s worth mentioning that Shellcamp Pond is located nearby several different forests and parks, so there’s a very low likelihood of anyone getting bored when visiting this particular body of water. Contact: Belknap County, New Hampshire Photo: Barbara/Fotolia

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»Swanzey Lake

Swanzey Lake


Swanzey Lake is a 108-acre large freshwater lake that is located in the town of, you guessed it, Swanzey. Swanzey Lake one of the unsung gems of the Monadnock Region and is beloved by all those who have had the pleasure to visit its shoreline. Situated amidst a thriving residential community, there is a small-town charm that permeates the area. It’s important to note however that the lake is mostly private. There is a small park and a swimming beach that is open to local residents, so if you’re an out-of-state visitor who wants the opportunity to enjoy Swanzey Lake, then now is the time to start making some local friends. Contact: West Swanzey, New Hampshire Photo: siriboon/Fotolia

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»Winnisquam Lake

Winnisquam Lake


Part of New Hampshire’s Lakes Region and with a surface area of 4,624 acres, Winnisquam Lake is the fourth largest lake in the state. The lake is most accessible through city of Laconia, which is situated on the eastern shore of Winnisquam Lake. As such, the lake is no stranger to out-of-town guests and regular visits from water loving locals. It’s clear that nothing quite compares to the inexplicable beauty of New Hampshire’s outdoors as visitors quickly fall in love with the recreational activities available to them. Some of the top draws of the lake are its fishing tournaments, wildlife viewing, hiking, and swimming. Contact: Belknap County, New Hampshire Photo: Cappi Thompson/Fotolia

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25 Best New Hampshire Lakes