ABOUT LAKE SUNAPEE
Surrounded by mountains, Lake Sunapee has a relaxing, rural feel
Nestled in the shadows of Mount Sunapee and Mount Kearsarge, Lake Sunapee is ringed with state parks, small villages and more covered bridges than you can count. Slow down and enjoy your time in this picturesque area that’s rife with activities yet feels far away from it all.COME OUT AND PLAY
Take a tour of covered bridges
Get out on the water
Attend events all year long
Hike up a mountain
Get your adventure on
There are lots to see and do at Lake Sunapee. Here’s everything you need to know to plan your visit.
Public areas and things to do
Launch your vessel from one of five public access points around the lake.
This public boat launch is located on Lake Avenue, near the intersection with Main Street. No fee, and parking is available.
Mount SUNAPEE STATE PARK
The boat launch includes ample parking, a playground for the kids and a large nearby beach. The state park also offers kayak, canoe, rowboat, paddleboat and stand-up paddleboard rentals.
GOODHUE BOAT COMPANY
Rentals include bowriders and pontoons, as well as tubes and other pull-behind equipment.
The Lakes Region is home to more than 50 covered bridges, with more than a dozen within a short distance of Lake Sunapee. (Pro tip: Each of the names listed below will show you the location on Google Maps.)
Near Andover, NH
Cilleyville Covered Bridge
Crosses Cascade Brook near the junction of routes 11 and 4A.
Crosses the Blackwater River on Bridge Road west of Andover.
Near Cornish, NH
Dingleton HIll Covered Bridge
Crosses Mill Brook on Root HIll Road south of Town House Road.
Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge
A long covered bridge that crosses the Connecticut River into Vermont on Bridge Street west of Route 12A.
Near Plainfield, NH
Crosses Blow-Me-Down Brook one-and-a-half miles southwest of Plainfield Village on Squag City Road.
Crosses Blood’s Brook on Colby Hill Road west of Main Street.
Near Bradford, NH
Bement Covered Bridge
Crosses the west branch of the Warner River on Center Road off Route 103.
Near Langdon, NH
Crosses the Cold River on Crane Brook Road just north of Route 123A.
Prentiss Covered Bridge, Langdon, NH
Crosses Great Book off the Cheshire Turnpike about a mile south of Route 12A.
Near Lebanon, NH
Packard Hill Covered Bridge
Crosses the Mascoma River on Riverside Drive south of the Bank Street Extension
Near Newport, NH
Corbin Covered Bridge
Crosses the North Branch of the Sugar River on Corbin Road, west of Route 10.
Pier Covered Bridge
Crosses the Sugar River off Chandlers Mill Road west of Route 103.
Wright’s Covered Bridge
Crosses the Sugar River on the Sugar River Trail just west of the Pier Covered Bridge.
Near Warner, NH
Waterloo Covered Bridge
Crosses the Warner River on Newmarket Road south of Route 103.
Crosses the Warner River on W. Joppa Road just south of Route 103.
Dip your toes into the cool lake water or soak in the warm summer sun at one of the area’s public beaches.
Lake Sunapee State Beach
Enjoy the beach, have a picnic, pitch a tent, or rent a boat. Beach admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children ages 6 through 11.
Open seven days a week from mid-June to Labor Day, with free picnic tables, lounge chairs and umbrellas.
NATURE PRESERVES & STATE PARKS
Enjoy the area’s nature parks year-round, with opportunities for hiking, bird-watching, swimming, canoeing, skiing and snowboarding.
Lake Sunapee State Park
Offers hiking, swimming, picnicking, boating, canoe and kayak rentals, and fishing in the summer; cross-country skiing and snowboarding in the winter.
Pillsbury State Park
A diverse habitat makes this home to a variety of wildlife, including loons and moose. Explore 51 miles of trails that connect Mount Monadnock with Mount Sunapee, either on foot during warm months or skis or snowmobile in the winter.
Rollins State Park
Located on the southern slope of Mount Kearsarge, this park includes a scenic auto trail, picnic areas and unparalleled views from the summit.
Winslow State Park
Located on the northern slope of Mount Kearsarge with a mile-long hike to the summit.
John Hay National Wildlife Refuge
This beautifully kept property, located on the former estate of politician John Hay, is a sanctuary for migratory birds and includes the longest stretch of undeveloped shoreline on Lake Sunapee. The Fells, the Hays family estate, is available for tours and events.
You’ll find a variety of ways to go play in the snow, including ice fishing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice-skating, winter hiking and more.
Next to Lake Sunapee Bank in Sunapee
Newport Town Common in Newport
The Bob Andrews Memorial Ice Rink in New London
Pine Hill Ski Club, New London
Dexter’s Inn Trails, Sunapee
Eastman Cross-Country, Grantham
Winter Hiking & Snowshoeing
The Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway offers guided winter hikes each season.
Lake Sunapee Snowmobile Club
New Hampshire Snowmobile Association
New Hampshire State Parks
THE LAKE SUNAPEE STORY
A destination that ushered in the steamboat era
Lake Sunapee, nestled in the shadows of Mount Sunapee and Mount Kearsarge, has a unique history in the Lakes Region in that it was the first to embrace the power of the steamboat. The area first became a vacation destination for New Englanders in the late 1800s, who traveled by rail to reach the north end of the lake, then by water to reach their family estates.
Although the first ferries were actually powered by horses that pulled the boats from the shoreline, a landowner named N.S. Gadrner changed that when he purchased Little Island for $1 and built a bowling alley. Because it was only reachable by water, he launched a steamboat to carry passengers back and forth.
Steamboats continued to increase in length and capacity, able to carry as many as 650 passengers, and visitors can still take a ride around the lake today. Other testaments remain to the history of Lake Sunapee, as well, including an original caboose on display in Newbury Harbor and a bandstand at the site of the former Ben Mere Hotel that holds free summer concerts.