ABOUT SQUAM LAKE
Experience the serenity of the filming location for “On Golden Pond”
Squam Lake, which is actually two lakes connected by a narrow channel, was a hidden gem until a Hollywood blockbuster shared its beauty with the world. It is now renowned as one of the most peaceful and pristine lakes in the country. Visitors and locals alike come here for the opportunity to breathe the clean, mountain air and enjoy the surrounding natural beauty.COME OUT AND PLAY
Get out on the water
Enjoy year-round events
Visit the Natural Science Center
Head into town
Here’s how to make the most out of your visit to Squam Lake.
Public areas and things to do
There’s no better way to experience the serenity of Squam Lake than by sail or paddle. Or, bring your boat and water skis for an exhilarating ride. Check your closest marina for watersport rental options.
Holderness Harbor on Squam Lake
Rentals, store, gas, registrations, storage and more, located on Route 3 on Squam Lake.
Riveredge Marina, Holderness
Rentals, sales, storage and more, located next to the beautiful Squam Lake Covered Bridge.
Squam Lake Public Boat Launch, Holderness
The ramp is located just off Route 3, along the channel that connects Big Squam and Little Squam lakes.
Squam Lakes Association, Holderness
Rent a boat, canoe or kayak to discover the lake’s islands, shorelines and more. Located at the Resource Center on Route 3.
Want to dip your toes in the sand? Squam Lake has two public beaches.
Town Beach, Ashland
Located at the southern end of Little Squam Lake, this is a perched beach that sits mostly behind a retaining wall, and includes wheelchair access to the water. You’ll also find picnic tables, charcoal grills and a volleyball court. $4 fee.
Chamberlain-Reynolds Memorial Forest, Center Harbor
Explore more than a mile of waterfront, including several beaches and a sandy-bottomed cove that are great for swimming.
Squam Lake is a destination for nature-lovers, with botanical gardens, swamp walks and live-animal encounters.
Squam Lakes Natural Science Center
Get nearer to nature! Live native animals in trailside enclosures, hands-on interactive exhibits, children’s activity center and playscape, and guided pontoon cruises on pristine Squam Lake. Howling Coyote Gift Shop features nature-related items. Trails are open daily May 1 through November 1, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last trail admission at 3:30 p.m.). Cruises offered daily May through October 23.
Take a quick stroll through beautifully landscaped gardens designed to attract birds and butterflies. Free and open to the public.
Chamberlain-Reynolds Memorial Forest, Center Harbor
Explore this 157-acre forest with more than a mile of waterfront, several beaches, swamp walk and more than four miles of hiking trails managed by the Squam Lakes Association. Look for the trailhead off College Road.
Squam Lake may be known for its peace and quiet, but there’s always something to do.
Squam Lakes Winterfest
This annual tradition, held every February, includes skating, pond hockey, cross-country skiing, sledding, live animal programs at the Natural Science Center, a chili cookoff and more.
Bike Around the Lake
Take this 25-mile loop each July, starting at Center Sandwich and passing through picturesque countryside and lakefront towns as you head back to your starting point.
Squam Ridge Race
Challenge yourself to a 12-mile race through the mountains that surround Holderness, including three summits and a 3,000-foot elevation gain.
Spend the day at the Squam Lake Natural Science Center to pay tribute to the planet we call home with activities, events and fun for the whole family.
Bring your own water vessel, or rent one from one of the nearby marinas, then spend the day on an island-hopping adventure.
This 30-acre island, owned and maintained by Squam Lakes Association, is home to several small beaches available for non-motorized boats, as well as overnight camping.
Owned and maintained by the Squam Lakes Association, this 23-acre island is located across a narrow channel from Moon Island. Overnight camping is available.
Travel to the quiet, out-of-the-way Chocorua Island Chapel for Sunday services from June to early September. Private services may also be arranged.
The hiking trails around Squam Lake lead to spectacular vistas, whether you like a slow and steady climb or a trek that heads straight up. Be sure to stop at the top and take in the breathtaking 360-degree views.
Eagle Cliff, Sandwich
A short, steep climb takes you to impressive views of Squam Lake. From the top, continue on to the western approach to the Red Hill Fire Tower for panoramic views of Winnipesaukee, Squam and the Ossipee and Belknap Mountains. Find the trailhead on Bean Road, off the northwest side of Route 25.
Five Finger Point, Holderness
Travel about five miles on Route 113 out of Holderness to Pinehurst Road. Look for signs for Rockywold Deephaven Camps, then pull off to the right when you see a gate. You’ll find points and coves along this scenic trail owned by the University of New Hampshire.
Mount Fayal, Holderness
Begin your hike to the summit at the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, and enjoy amazing views at the top.
Mount Morgan/Mount Percival Loop, Holderness
This five-mile trail that begins five miles outside of Holderness on Route 113 includes something unique — a series of ladders. Look for signs on the left.
Rattlesnake Mountain, Holderness
Trailheads are located off Route 113, about five miles north of downtown Holderness. This short, easy climb leads to amazing views, but use caution with children; there are steep cliffs at the summit.
Red Hill Fire Tower Trail, Moultonborough
Find the trailhead at 350 Red Hill Road, and hike up the fire tower for unparalleled views of Lake Winnipesaukee, Squam Lake, and the Squam, Belknap, Ossipee and White Mountain ranges.
THE SQUAM LAKE STORY
Why Hollywood thought Squam Lake was worthy of the big screen
It’s known today as Squam Lake, but its name has changed many times over the years. At first, this 6,791-acre body of water was known as Keeseenunknipee, meaning “the goose lake on the highlands,” before it was shortened in 1779 to a version of Casumpa, or Kusumpy, or Kesumpe. The 1800s saw it renamed again to Asquam, meaning “water,” which was then shortened to today’s Squam.
Despite its frequent name changes, though, Squam Lake looks much the same as it did hundreds of years ago. Fed by springs and divided into two smaller bodies of water (Big Squam Lake and Little Squam Lake) by a channel in Holderness, Squam Lake is the second-largest located entirely within New Hampshire’s borders. You’ll find it just south of the White Mountains in the state’s Lake Region, where it serves as a nesting site for common loons, bale eagles and great blue herons.
Squam Lake is famous, too: along with the town of Center Harbor, it served as the backdrop for the iconic film “On Golden Pond.” One visit here and you’ll see why this pristine and peaceful lake is truly worthy of the silver screen.