If you can’t stand the heat, get out on the water. The Lakes Region comes alive in the warmer months, offering endless family-friendly fun on land and out on the lake. Travelers and locals alike flock to the state’s great lakes, serving as the ultimate summertime destination. New Hampshire is ripe with outdoor pastimes and camp-inspired entertainment for all ages. Here, we’ve gathered six of our favorite ways to spend a day in the Lakes Region this summer, highlighting the best activities to help you and your family beat the heat.
A Lakeside Bike Ride
A labyrinth of lakeside trails is woven throughout the Lakes Region’s 72 square miles of wooded forests and expansive lakefront terrain. Strap on your helmet and pedal across Laconia’s WOW Trail, a 10-foot wide, paved path open to walkers, bikers, and runners. The trail stretches for 4.25 miles, passing through Laconia and Belmont while guiding riders alongside the active trails of the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad. Bridge Falls Path in Wolfeboro is another scenic ride that hugs Bay Back’s shores and eventually merges with Cotton Valley Trail after crossing Route 28. Spanning 12 miles from Wakefield to Wolfeboro, Cotton Valley Trail has plenty of appealing spots to stop along the way. Enjoy a picnic overlooking the bay at Bean Park before continuing to Albee Beach for an afternoon in the sand, then wrap up your ride by indulging in one of the 30 flavors of premium ice cream offered at Morrisseys’ Porch & Pub downtown Wolfeboro.
Squam Lake Natural Science Center leads seasonal Loon Cruises from late June through August, bringing guests on a 90-minute long tour via canopied pontoon boats to observe common loons in their natural habitat. Learn about loon conservation from one of the science center’s naturalists and a Loon Preservation Committee (LPC) biologist during the expedition. The center also offers a Bald Eagle Adventure Cruise where guests can observe these majestic birds who have nested on Squam Lake since 2003. The tour includes an educational discussion with a naturalist who explains the recovery of Bald Eagles in New Hampshire while exploring areas on the lake where they’re most likely to be spotted. You’ll want to pack your binoculars on these two spectacular tours!
The Back Bay Skippers
Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon from May through October, the Back Bay Skippers race their radio-controlled model yachts from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m along the Bridge Falls Walking Path in Wolfeboro. Men, women, and children of all ages are invited to participate or simply admire from the sidelines. For those looking to get into the game, the Back Bay Skippers teach a model-yacht building course at the New Hampshire Boat Museum every summer. Participants are supplied with everything they need to create their model, minus the paint and radio kit, while learning from their team of model-building experts.
NASCAR returns to New England for a weekend of racing from July 15-17. The New Hampshire Motor Speedway, or “The Magic Mile,” kicks off the celebrations on Friday the 15th with a Friday Night Dirt Duel presented by New England Racing Fuel. On Saturday, catch the Crayon 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race starting at 2:30 p.m., followed by the Whelen Manufactured in America 100 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at 6 p.m. Sunday features the Ambetter 301, a 318.45-mile race, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets for the Ambetter 301 start at $49 for adults and just $10 for kids 12 and under.
It’s easy to spend a day getting lost in the numerous attractions, dining experiences, and entertainment found at Weirs Beach. As the most popular spot in Lake Winnipesaukee, visitors have their pick of the area’s best summertime activities, all in one place. Take you and your little ones to FunSpot – the largest arcade in the world with over 500 video games, pinball machines, ticket redemption games, an 18-hole indoor mini-golf course, cash bingo, a 20-lane bowling alley, and two dining options on-site. Once the kids (and you!) are tuckered out, grab some blankets and a few orders of popcorn while you settle into a nostalgic drive-in movie at Weirs Drive-In Theater. Boasting four silver screens, the theater shows classic films and new releases on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Wild Meadow SUP
Summer in the Lakes Region isn’t complete without days’ worth of watersports. Wild Meadow Paddlesports supplies adventure-seekers with kayaks, paddleboards, canoes, and fitted life vests for youth and children. In addition to gear, the shop also offers guided lake tours and SUP Yoga classes taught by certified instructors on select Saturdays in June, July, and August at 10:30 a.m. Rent and launch right on-site at Center Harbor Bay or take your pick to your favorite spot for the day.