10+ Ways to “Leaf Peep” in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire!
Driving / Boating / Dining / Zipping / Golfing / Apple Picking… find YOUR favorite here:
The scenery in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire is always beautiful, but during the fall it becomes a lot more colorful. And, although scenic walks and hikes are a favorite way for many to experience all the autumn shades, here are a few other suggestions to try!
Hit the road! There are plenty of scenic drives that lead you through the fall foliage. Just hop in the car and take a leisurely drive around Lake Winnipesaukee. Regardless of your starting point, there’s plenty to see on this 115-mile loop, sweeping through Alton, Alton Bay, Gilford, Weirs Beach, Meredith, Holderness, Center Harbor, and Moultonborough. While there are many routes to choose from – one of the most popular drives starts in Meredith at the town docks by the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee. Then travel on Rte. 25 through Center Harbor and Moultonborough and continue on Rte.109 where there are frequent views of the lake along the windy road that takes travelers to the oldest summer resort in American, Wolfeboro. Some visitors find that even on a rainy fall day, the colors are indescribable.
Don’t forget your hiking boots! Stop at Rattlesnake Mountain off Route 113 and take in the views of the beautiful Squam Lake. Take your bike or walk the Cotton Valley Trail in Wolfeboro going along Crescent Lake and Lake Wentworth shores and beyond.
All aboard! One of the most enjoyable ways to view the fall colors is on the water. Whether it’s on the M/S Mount Washington or Winnipesaukee Belle on Winnipesaukee or EKAL Activity Center’s Miss Meredith Antique Speedboat Rides or Sunapee Chartered Cruises or the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center’s pontoon boat, you’re sure to enjoy seeing the fall colors surrounded by water. Sometimes, when it’s still enough, the water mirrors the vibrant colors making the scene even more breath-taking. With over 273 lakes and ponds in the Lakes Region, you can also canoe, kayak or paddle board and explore some of the smaller lakes like Newfound Lake, Squam, Sunapee and much more. Bring your own or we have many places to rent one at Lakes Region On the Water website. During your paddle you can see the colors; explore the lake from a different view and have an opportunity to see the Lakes Region wildlife such as Bald Eagles, Loons, and so much more.
Ride the Rails! Another unique way to get up close and personal with the fall foliage is a train ride on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee on the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad, Cafe Lafayette Dinner Trail, the Hobo Railroad, or up to the highest peak on the Mount Washington Cog Railway which all run regular foliage trains throughout the season.
On the beach! Bring a chair and your favorite book. It’s not too late to put your feet in the sand while enjoying some of the best foliage in New Hampshire. Click here for a list of some of the beaches to visit.
Castle in the Clouds! What a great way to explore the fall. You’ll find at the historic 1914 Arts and Crafts mansion of Castle in the Clouds. You can take a tour of the castle, visit their gift shop, hike trails of the Ossipee Mountains, or eat lunch on the patio overlooking the mountains and lakes and the stunning colors of the season. As you drive up the 2-mile scenic road to the Castle, stop at the waterfall and scenic overlooks. You will be able to see much of the beautiful Lakes Region autumn colors simultaneously.
Ready, Set….ZIP! You can float above the fall foliage on the Gunstock Zip Line or Chair Lift rides, Alpine Zip Line Canopy Tours, or Bretton Woods Canopy Tour, giving you an up-close approach. Or take it to the next level and visit Skydive New England, just imagine the views you’ll experience after jumping out of the plane!
Bon appétit! Find your favorite restaurant and make sure you get a window seat for the views. Try some of the fall favorites like apple pie, pumpkin pie, butternut squash soup, apple pork chops and many of the fresh farm meats and vegetables are grown right here in the Lakes Region. https://www.lakesregion.org/dine/
Take in the regions colorful history! Explore the grounds of Canterbury Shaker Village and all that it offers – a variety of educational and engaging experiences in one of the most picturesque settings in northern New England. The village also has a network of nature trails that crisscross its nearly 700-acre site. The best-marked trail takes visitors around Turning Mill Pond, where they can see the historic Pump House, beaver dams and human dams, and enjoy the flora and fauna of this beautiful and serene site.
Pick your own memories! New Hampshire is known for its open land and longtime farms. A trip to a Lakes Region farm is a great way to pick your own fruit, take hayrides through the fields and much more. Click here to check out all the Lakes Region Farms and Farm Stands. https://www.lakesregion.org/play/farming-and-agriculture/
Score big! Tee off at one of the many golf courses the region has to offer. The golf courses offer many specials and promotions this time of year with fantastic conditions. A perfect way to unwind while on vacation and take in the beautiful scenery. https://www.lakesregion.org/play/golf/
Shop till you drop! New Hampshire’s Lakes Region is well-known for its large outlet centers, quaint New England style gift shop, antique centers, and one-of-a-kind artisan treasures. It is a great place to find the cozy fall clothes that will keep you warm during all your foliage excursions. https://www.lakesregion.org/shop/
Time live here year around? Thousands of vacationers flock to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire every year to enjoy the rich landscape. They come year after year to capture their moments of vacation heaven. If that’s you, you’ve no doubt considered investing in a piece of this glorious lakefront real estate? For those who haven’t determined exactly what type of Lakes Region property they are interested in, an option is to seek out a vacation home rental property and try the region out for a season. Lakes Region Vacation Rentals, Preferred Vacation Rentals by Natural Retreats, Maxfield Real Estate and Bayside Rentals offer a wide variety of long and short-term rentals for those who really want to experience living in the region before they make the commitment to buy. These companies also offer summer home rentals for a week or even longer for families. This has become a popular option with the recent trends of extended families traveling together.