A Multigenerational Summer Escape
The key to a memorable multigenerational family vacation? Activities that satisfy a wide range of ages. Luckily, the Lakes Region of New Hampshire has that in spades – think nostalgic attractions like the Weirs Beach Drive-In and a Lake Winnipesaukee mail boat tour to easy hikes with big rewards and family-friendly restaurants.
3 p.m. | Laconia
Set beside Opechee Bay, a 449-acre lake located directly downstream from Paugus Bay and Lake Winnipesaukee, Art Escape is a quaint interactive arts studio ideal for large groups looking to kick off their vacation with a bit of creativity. A variety of paint-your-own ceramic objects, from Disney characters to garlic presses and can openers, cater to a wide range of ages. Plus, walk-ins are always welcome.
5 p.m. | Meredith
Family-Friendly Beach Eats
Lakeside outdoor seating in a beach vibe setting? This is perhaps the biggest selling point of this classic Lake Winnipesaukee restaurant, Town Docks, never mind the menu that offers both elevated seafood options (ahi tuna and Cajun-grilled salmon) and picky-eater preferences like hot dogs, chicken bites, and grilled cheese. After throwing back a round of mudslides (there are five varieties to choose from, plus nonalcoholic options), take turns snapping a shot with the famous human-size lobster cutout that has taken social media by storm under the custom hashtag of #DoxRox.
11 a.m. | Weirs Beach
Lake Winnipesaukee’s Iconic Mail Boat
Departing from the Winnipesaukee Pier, the Sophie C. – a 76-foot-long, 80-ton vessel with a jaunty red, white, and blue paint job – offers a glimpse of lake life on its two daily tours that you won’t see via its larger steamship counterpart, the M/S Mount Washington. Able to navigate smaller channels and waterways of Lake Winnipesaukee, she’s actually the oldest mail boat in the country, delivering mail to residents who call the lake’s several islands home – on which passengers can hitch a ride to witness this storied tradition.
1 p.m. | Weirs Beach/Laconia
Stroll for Sweets
Originally constructed as a boat livery in the 1920s and renovated in 2017, the Winnipesaukee Pier may not be the longest pier, but it more than makes up for that with curated storefronts, an arcade, restaurants, and a scenic walk along the water that leads to a little gazebo. Afterward, find everyone a flavor to satisfy their sweet tooth at Lilliuckolani’s Ice Cream & Coffee Bar, a pastel-hued ice cream parlor serving hard- and soft-serve versions of the creamy treat as well as frozen yogurt and sherbet with views of Paugus Bay.
5 p.m. | Laconia
Dinner for Everyone
Finding a dinner spot that will please everyone can be a struggle, but T-Bones does that, while featuring an amazing view overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee to boot. In addition to an inviting family-friendly atmosphere boasting soft blue walls and homey antique signage, it’s known for one of the most well-rounded menus around: two different kids’ menus (one for young kids, one for “tweens”), as well as a designated steak menu, seafood menu, and vegetarian menu.
7:50 p.m. | Weirs
An Old-Fashioned Film Feature
Marked by an iconic retro marquee boasting neon lights, Weirs Beach Drive-In is a little slice of nostalgia located right across the street from the beach. Home to a small concessions stand and four screens that play nightly double features starting at dusk, the 13-acre plot will have grandma and grandpa reminiscing about their first date while the modern blockbusters will keep the kids entertained.
9:30 a.m. | New Hampton
Easy Views for the Whole Crew
Thanks to its short length (1.6 miles round-trip) and a low-elevation gain, Bald Ledge Scenic Trail off of Sky Pond Road is an ideal hike for families looking for some impressive views for not much work. Culminating in a series of small cliffs that sit above Winona Lake, the scenic overlook offers a grand expanse of Lake Waukewan, as well as the Sandwich, Ossipee, and Squam mountain ranges.
12:30 p.m. | Meredith
Turkey for Every Taste
Perhaps no restaurant better accommodates large groups than Hart’s Turkey Farm, located right near the junction of Routes 104 and 3. And that’s not because it offers a whopping 500 seats within its sprawling roadside complex, but they also cater to a wide range of tastes. Yes, the number-one item here is turkey – as it has been since 1954 – but it goes beyond just your traditional hand-carved interpretation. Here, you can enjoy the Thanksgiving classic in a dozen different forms: as nuggets, croquettes, pot stickers, and even tempura.
2 p.m. | Moultonborough
For the Love of Loons
At The Loon Center and Markus Sanctuary, families can leave their cars behind for nature walks through this 200-acre wildlife sanctuary where nesting loons are visible from the trail, or take a lake loon cruise to look for the elegant birds. With a live loon camera at the education center, visitors are guaranteed to at least see a loon in real time.
7 p.m. | Meredith
Professional Theater at The Winnipesaukee Playhouse
What started as just a modest storefront theater in Weirs Beach in 2004 has grown into a year-round professional and community theater now housed on an 11-acre arts campus: The Winnipesaukee Playhouse. Come summer, the cast and crew of this 200-seat venue bring high-quality drama and comedy such as Chicago and Moon Over Buffalo. It’s as close to Broadway as you can get without leaving New England.
10 a.m. | Tamworth
An Agricultural Museum
Centering around the lives of nineteenth-century father-and-son country doctors who lived on this very 50-acre plot of land, Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm is a historic homestead interesting for any age to explore. Blending old-fashioned medical care with farm life, programs reflect Tamworth living 200 years ago with interactive activities like milking goats, boiling sap in the sugar house, cutting ice slabs at the ice house, and more.
1 p.m. | Tamworth
Go Karts, Mini-Golf & Massage Chairs
And just like that, you’re brought back to the future at White Lake Speedway, a family fun center offering go-kart racing on a twisting 730-foot track, 18 holes of mini-golf, and a game room home to arcade entertainment and massage chairs (for family members who want to take it easy). But the latest and greatest attraction is the brand-new laser tag arena added in 2018 that features multiple gameplay experiences and DMX game-controlled LED lighting, transporting you to a whole other world.